The last two years have forced America to throw much of what it knew about personal finance out the window as the pandemic changed the rules of money management over and over again. The whole mess, however, provided a golden opportunity for a new crop of financial experts to make their names in these uncertain times, which seem to grow more uncertain by the day.
2021 saw a wave of emerging talent put its skill and insight on display for legions of new followers looking for guidance in the new financial landscape.
Some of 2021’s hottest financial experts were young unknowns until they hit the big time on social media. Others are well-established pros — including some who appeared in the GOBankingRates list “Where Americans Get Their Money Advice,” — who re-asserted their bona fides and relevance this year.
All, however, have proven their ability to take some of the stings out of your money stress while informing, educating, and inspiring.
From starting S Corporations to avoid paying taxes to shorting the stock market, Tik-Tok is brimming with terrible financial advice that gets a scary amount of views. Shilling financial snake oil, however, is not the only way to go viral — and Mark Tilbury is the proof. With 7 million followers, Tilbury is one of the biggest names in the game, and in 2021, he proved that you don’t have to sacrifice integrity to gain popularity.
Tilbury did his viral January TikTok “How to Beat Evil Credit Cards” in skit form, and it racked up 18 million views, including 3.7 million likes. In it, he makes the fundamentals fun while giving sound advice on things like keeping your credit utilization ratio low and avoiding interest charges by paying your bills every month.
Fans love ecommjess for the glasses-on/glasses-off back-and-forths she has with herself — but they also love her for her sensible, real-world-tested insight. Like Tilbury, she avoids the sensationalist clutter that clogs up the TikTok pipes — and 2021 rewarded her for her authenticity.
In her May 11 TikTok “Holding ftw,” ecommjess managed to make the topic of capital gains taxes fun and relatable — no small feat. In describing the tax benefits you get by holding stocks for more than one year, she provided a refreshing break from the legions TikTok carnival barkers exalting the latest way to make a million bucks by tomorrow at 10 a.m. “Holding ftw” earned her a certified-viral 4 million views.
Tamarius Washington — TamariusTalks, to his rapidly growing TikTok viewer base — spent 2021 establishing himself as one of the most powerful and popular up-and-coming voices in the FinTok space. Although 35,000-ish isn’t a record-breaking number of followers, the young and dynamic Charlottesville, Virginia, native can boast more than 1.7 million views and 1.3 million likes.
A local sensation who has gone national, Washington graduated from high school in 2020 and has generated a frenzy of buzz in the Charlottesville-regional media as his FinTok star continues to rise.
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Humphrey Yang struck internet gold in 2020, but 2021 was actually his breakout year. Early last year, Yang increased his following by a multiplier of 10 when a TikTok of him roasting an overpriced water bottle went viral and turned his 10,000 followers into 100,000 overnight, according to Money.com.
Unlike so many FinTokers who play influencer-for-a-day with one-and-done viral videos before fizzling into obscurity, Yang displayed real staying power. His done-it-all Wall Street bona fides paid dividends in 2021, as he emerged as one of the most exciting and authentic voices in the personal finance world. He now has 2.7 million followers on TikTok and 314,000 subscribers on YouTube.
Guy the Crypto Guy (Coin Bureau)
The Coin Bureau had a banner year in 2021, and it’s not hard to understand why. The brand’s leader, who goes by the name Guy the Crypto Guy, is known for the deep dives it takes into the world of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and all the other cryptocurrencies. When those digital coins finally broke into the mainstream this year, the Coin Bureau was well-positioned to become the go-to source for information on the volatile and risky but exciting world of crypto investing.
Although it has impressive follower lists on TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram, YouTube is the format that plays best for Coin Bureau’s mission to break down the complicated world of cryptocurrency to laypeople. After its strong showing in 2021 Coin Bureau now has 1.7 million YouTube subscribers.
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Known worldwide as the Budgetnista, Tiffany Aliche is far from a newbie looking to get her name out there. In fact, the former Newark preschool teacher was the driving force behind New Jersey Law A1414 — known as “The Budgetnista Law” — which requires financial education to be taught in the Garden State’s middle schools. More than 1 million women have participated in her Dream Catchers movement.
She has more than a half-million followers on Instagram, more than 60,000 on Twitter, and nearly 59,000 YouTube subscribers, but her big success in 2021 came the old-fashioned way — through book sales. In March, Aliche released “Get Good with Money: 10 Simple Steps to Becoming Financially Whole.” A New York Times bestseller, the book re-established Aliche as one of the most sought-after personal finance pros of both yesterday and today.
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