Now she has over 800,000 followers.
Dunlap, who notes on her website that she is not a licensed financial adviser, says her parents taught her a lot about money growing up, but she quickly realized that wasn’t the case for everyone, especially for women.
“Having a financial education as women or any marginalized group is our best form of protest and is our best way of gaining agency in a world that is increasingly inequitable,” Dunlap said.
And TikTok, she said, is leading the way in enabling a younger, more diverse group of people to both provide and gain access to this education.
But many personal finance TikTok creators are bringing diversity and relatability to conversations about money for young people.
When it comes to the apps’ thriving personal finance community, most of the faces dolling out financial advice are new — and many of them are women and people of color.
“Women, people of color and young investors are traditionally underserved segments of the investing public, so it’s natural for them to turn to non-traditional sources of financial advice,” said Lisa Kramer, professor of finance at the University of Toronto. “If a TikTok video encourages someone to start planning and investing for the future, that’s a win.”
A new generation seeking personal finance advice
Personal finance TikTok has become a wildly popular destination for Gen Z’ers and Millennials looking for money advice.
The hashtag #personalfinance alone has a total of 4 billion video views, with #finance trailing behind with 2 billion. Other finance-related hashtags, like #financialiteracy, #financetiktok, #finances and #finance101, have a total of roughly 427 million video views combined.
So what’s with the sudden fixation with personal finance?
The pandemic may have something to do with it.
“It has made people acutely aware of the risk of unforeseen disasters,” said Matt Kasman, assistant research director at the Brookings Institution, a left-leaning think-tank. “It’s increased motivation from all people who lived through it, but certainly younger people to become motivated to save a nest egg or reserves of cash.”
Taking the taboo out of money talk
Talking about money with other people has long been considered taboo. But on TikTok, those taboos don’t seem to exist.
In a number of videos on the app, some of which have gone viral, TikTokers are talking about their salaries, how much they pay for things and how much debt they owe — all down to the cents.
“Finance is often a fraught topic space. For one thing, it’s traditionally been seen as taboo. It’s also anxiety-producing for a number of other reasons, it’s high stakes and can be seen as complicated,” said Kasman. “Anything that makes it accessible, fun, and takes away from some of the anxiety and some of the taboos is a good thing and should be a goal in any setting or format that seeks to do effective financial education. It’s one that I think these new platforms excel at.”
“When I started understanding that you could become financially independent really early in life and you can totally change the way your life is going to unfold, it completely changed my mindset,” she said.
Barros didn’t grow up receiving much financial advice from her parents except for two things: to get an education and have good credit.
As a former attorney turned full-time entrepreneur, Barros’ quest for financial independence began with a desire to pay off debt as quickly as possible — $150,000 worth of student loans to be exact. And there was a lot of trial and error along the way.
“It’s a subject that we do not talk about,…