Breaking Into Finance In 2022
“It’s funny, my dad would never in a million years start a company with people whom he had never met in real life. But I guess it’s different for my generation”, says Oliver Hamrin, the 26 year-old co-founder of investor relations app Quartr, set up by five strangers who met on Twitter.
Oliver is part of a new generation of financial entrepreneurs, who intersect the increasingly overlapping worlds of finance and social media. A product of ‘Fintwit’, the Twitter space where like-minded investors and finance enthusiasts interact through sharing everything from investment ideas to memes, Oliver entered into the world of investing as a content creator. “I started off posting content, mostly deep dives into public companies or texts about my own investing journey” he says. Fast forward to today, and Quartr (launched in March 2021), employs over 30 people, has 150,000 active users, and recently raised $4.5 million to take their investor relations product global.
Teaching Through TikTok
The financial creator economy has produced CEOs and founders like Oliver, and many are trying to use their platforms to give others a leg up. Another creator using their financial acumen to educate their following is Mark Tilbury, a serial entrepreneur who now provides content on financial awareness to his 8.5 million followers across Youtube, TikTok and Instagram.
What sets Mark apart as a financial influencer is his decades of experience as an entrepreneur, having first become a CEO over 30 years ago. He started out creating content on YouTube (helped by his son’s videography skills) with the goal of teaching young people about personal finance – something he was really shocked to find they weren’t getting from school. “I started all of this with the intention that if I could just help one or two people with some financial awareness, then I would be more than happy. Social media has amplified my message,” he says.
A 2020 OECD survey on Global Financial Literacy found that only 26% of adults were able to answer simple questions on money and interest correctly. Social media can go a long way in improving the financial information readily available to the public, allowing people with Mark’s experience to educate others on money management.
Mark has made it big (7 million) on #FinTok, FinTwit’s younger cousin, by embracing new technology to boost engagement. He believes that content like his should be accessible, “Everything I do is about making complicated finance simple and easy to digest.” Mark, like Oliver, has found success by making content that interests him, and where he feels his experience lies.
Then there’s financial influencer Tori Dunlap, who attributes her success in reaching the younger generation to TikTok (where she has 2 million followers). She likes how the platform is built for bite-sized content, which she believes makes her advice “engaging, entertaining, and super actionable.”
In college, Tori noticed how privileged she was to have more knowledge than her peers about money, simply as a result of her upbringing. She was inspired to build the foundations of what is now Her First $100K, a financial education service that provides resources on earning, saving and investing.
Financial equality is a major motivation of Tori’s activity online. Access to financial education for women and BIPOC in particular drives her content-making decisions. Tori has found that women still get lectured with the traditional ‘pull yourself up’ bootstrap ideology, which offers no practical solutions to implement and is out-of-touch with the realities of 2022. She aims to remove the fear and embarrassment around spending and access to funds. “I’m never going to shame people for their oat milk lattes or blame their brunch habits for not being able to buy a home,” she says.
The Social Media Career Ladder
Social media has rewritten the traditional finance and investing career paths, and the creator economy is producing new opportunities for work every day. Creators can turn their social media followings into profitable enterprises. As Oliver has found “thanks to social media, you now have a global stage where you can show off your skillset.” He has seen individuals without degrees be handpicked from FinTwit to start working at professional financial firms, as analysts and fund manager interns, just because they put themselves out there and were demonstrating creative skills, understanding of the markets, and passion.
This can also make for a highly rewarding career. Oliver found that in his job, he is paid for his passion, as reading earnings reports and listening to earnings calls to create content was his hobby before he built Quartr. For Mark, being a financial influencer has meant helping as many people as possible become more financially aware, which is endlessly satisfying. And Tori feels rewarded by the wins of members of the Her First 100k community – whether that’s people opening their first investing account, paying off debts, or even leaving abusive marriages. “I now have people coming up to me in public and telling me that my work changed their lives,” she says.
The Future of Finance Communities
Democratized access to financial information which is appearing en masse online is considered by some as levelling the playing field. Movements like r/wallstreetbets on Reddit (famous for their inflation of the GameStop stock price in Q1 2021) have gained huge traction, begging the question ‘Could online communities be the future of finance?’.
Of course, for everyone making great sums of money, there are people losing out. Mark stresses the importance of doing your own research before placing trust in popular movements. Oliver’s view is that public company information should be as accessible as anything else online and not cost a fortune to access. He believes that companies like Quartr are needed in order to give people the tools to study the fundamentals of companies before investing, making their financial decisions more informed and therefore safer.
Financial content has become so prominent on the internet as a result of its absence in the education system, and Oliver, Tori and Mark all concur that this needs to change. Going forward, financial literacy must be more achievable for all. As Oliver puts it, “It shouldn’t be just a hobby to actually know what to do with your paycheck to not see it go up in flames, it should be like a drivers license”.