While the world of finance has traditionally been male and white, Instagram is now catapulting female finfluencers to the fore – an unlikely pairing since many charge the platform with creating a generation of conspicuous consumers. However, with more than a billion monthly active users and as female debt is at an all-time high, there’s no better place for this new breed of influencers to break the taboo of talking about money – how much you make, spend and owe. The term is still in its relative infancy, but when first coined around 2015, finfluencer accounts were flooded with memes for the enjoyment of those working in the finance industry – yes, you guessed it: rich white guys. Fast forward to 2020 and finfluencer has been completely rebranded thanks in part to the following women making financial literacy relatable and accessible, transforming our relationship with money one follow at a time.
Tonya Rapley, 35, 156k followers
Best for: keeping you accountable
As a young Black professional working in the non-profit world, Rapley felt bogged down by her student loan, credit-card debt and the “financially abusive relationship” she was in. Ditching the guy and the job, Rapley eventually launched her blog, My Fab Finance, in 2013 to help show people (especially women of colour) how to achieve financial freedom and stability. Since then she’s been hailed the “new face of wealth building” by Black Enterprise magazine and recognised as a “modern day history maker” by lifestyle channelTV One. Rapley is an OG finfluencer and a big name in the field of money management. When she’s not touring the US delivering workshops for private and non-profit clients and producing events for finance brands, she’s got her finfluencer hat firmly on. Her @myfabfinance account encourages and challenges followers to eliminate debt, with savvy hacks on how to avoid unnecessary purchases, generate extra income, rewire the way you think about money and, most importantly, forgive your past financial transgressions.
Alex Stedman, 36, 254k followers
Best for: a realistic approach to spending
Fashion stylist and finfluencer Stedman started her blog The Frugality in 2012, focusing on sensible spending and how to save for the things you love, and her Instagram account has followed suit. With a self-proclaimed realistic approach, Stedman believes it’s not about how much you earn, but how you make your money work for you. Her account is a refuge from trying to keep up with the Joneses, and it won’t make you feel guilty about what you choose to spend your money on. “It’s not a competition,” she says. “Frugal doesn’t look a certain way – it can be squeezing every last inch out of your toothpaste, making your office lunch every day [so you can] save up for a holiday of a lifetime or pay off a debt. It’s about making the most out of the money you have.” For more of this shame-free approach to frugality, Stedman can be found hosting panel talks IRL, and sharing cash-saving tips that don’t make you feel like you’re scrimping in her e-book Money, A Realist’s Approach To Everyday Spending.
Patricia Bright, 33, 48.8k followers
Best for: making your side hustle a reality
Bright’s open, honest and candid approach as an influencer has seen her reach more than a million Instagram followers on her own account and 2.89 million subscribers on her YouTube channel. She’s an author and award winner who has worked with countless lifestyle brands and given a Ted talk, based around building a brand from nothing to becoming a millionaire. Given her enormous success as an influencer, she found there was an appetite from her followers to know more about the financial aspect of her success, which is why she launched @thebreaksocial last year. “It was the perfect time to begin sharing my experiences on personal development and finances,” says Bright. “I knew people wanted more from me than clothing hauls and make-up tutorials, and it felt right to create something that could have a practical and valuable effect on their lives. I’m a believer in social mobility and creating a level playing field, and Instagram is the perfect platform for that as it allows anyone to consume valuable financial information on a daily basis without feeling overwhelmed,” Her feed and online courses are a one-stop shop for financial literacy, offering the tools needed to start your own side hustle, get out of debt or simply learn to invest your savings wisely.
Bola Sokunbi, 38, 270k followers
Best for: setting money goals
“It’s not all about acquiring things – it’s about giving back, helping others and leaving a lasting, positive impact for those you care about,” believes certified financial educator and money expert Sokunbi. That’s what she learnt from her biggest inspiration – her stay-at-home mum, who stepped up her financial game and became a “hustle queen”, paying for Sokunbi’s four years of international college tuition. While her parents had taught her how to save, knowing what to spend on was something Sokunbi learnt through trial and error. This is what you’ll get insight into from Clever Girl Finance – it’s full of tips on how to avoid money mistakes, rethink your spending habits and set financial goals. It doesn’t stop there: Sokunbi has also penned a bestseller; has a podcast, writes regular blog posts, sends a weekly newsletter, hosts courses offering one-to-one mentorship and has her own YouTube channel.
Clare Seal, 30, 47.3k followers
Best for: combating emotional spending
Racking up more than £25k of credit card debt, Seal realised she had lost control of her finances and set up @myfrugalyear to keep herself accountable as she started to live more economically. “The shame element was so massive, I didn’t want to put my own name to it,” says Seal. For a year, mystery surrounded who ran the account – until she turned author and released Real Life Money: An Honest Guide To Taking Control Of Your Finances.
Seal believes financial literacy is a feminist issue, and as a former marketing manager, she’s all too aware why 64 per cent of people in debt in the UK are women. “There’s the 16.3 per cent gender pay gap to contend with, as well as the relentlessly marketing of products and services to fix what is supposedly wrong with us,” she explains.
It’s this emotional side of money management that sets @myfrugalyear apart and Seal revels in the fact she can use a platform that provides “women [who are] vulnerable to emotional spending [with] a vehicle to remedy it”.
Emilie Bellet, 36, 12.6k followers
Best for: actionable investment tips
Former Lehman Brothers analyst Emilie Bellet may have been savvy when it came to corporate finance, but in terms of her own money and how to save and invest it, she didn’t have a clue. Discovering the same could be said for her friends, she launched Vestpod, with a weekly newsletter providing actionable tips and practical financial advice to women. Vestpod ignores the taboos surrounding personal finance, cutting through the jargon and offering guidance, tools and the confidence to take your money into your own hands. The account keeps followers up to date on Bellet’s workshops and networking events, features excerpts from her bestselling book, You’re Not Broke, You’re Pre-Rich: How To Streamline Your Finances, Stay In Control Of Your Bank Balance And Have More £££, so that when all is said and done, “you can have your avocado on toast, stop renting and start saving too”.
Berna Anat, 31, 25.4k followers
Best for: budding younger savers
After spending most of her early 20s as a broke freelancer, having to cash out saving bonds she’d had since birth in order to pay the rent, Anat felt like she had no option but to get a full-time job and tackle her $38,000 student-loan debt. Working as a teen community lead at Instagram, she was inspired to start budgeting, but quickly discovered that most of the online advice didn’t relate to her situation or come from people who looked like her. As a child of Filipino immigrants, she wanted to be the change she hoped to see, which involved the start of her financial education, the evolution of @heyberna and a passion for helping young people. Anat is a woman who – after paying off her debts and saving enough money to quit her job to become a digital nomad – proves anything is possible. She makes videos, hosts workshops from far-flung destinations and offers budgeting courses to teach young people the absolute basics of money management.
Alice Tapper, 28, 25.8k followers
Best for: financial advice with humour
For most finfluencers, the book comes later, but this Instagram account launched to coincide with financial strategist Tapper’s Go Fund Yourself: What Money Means in the 21st Century, How to be Good at it and Live Your Best Life. With a degree in economics and a masters in behavioural economics specialising in financial behaviour, Tapper has always been fascinated by how people think about cash. “Being ‘good at money’ goes beyond budgets and pensions,” she says. “It’s about the bigger picture: what you want from life and how you can earn, spend, save and invest your way towards getting it.” But in order to be ‘good at money’, you need to really understand finances, something Tapper believes is majorly lacking in our education system. @go_fund_yourself_ puts you back in the classroom, albeit a fun one – she loves a meme – and thanks to the plethora of personal stories from fellow ‘pupil’ followers, this account makes it feel like we’re all in this together.
Tori Dunlap, 25, 21.1k followers
Best for: girl-power vibes
Dunlap started her own business at nine, had made £100k by the age of 25, and now, is on a mission to fight the patriarchy through financial education. “It’s a woman’s best form of protest, and my Instagram is there to give actionable resources on how to make, save and grow your money,” she explains. Having ditched her day job in marketing, Dunlap works as a full-time finfluencer, collaborating with brands as well as creating online courses, workshops and offering one-to-one coaching. Her openness about how much she makes, and how exactly she manages her own money is refreshing and inspires her Insta followers to strive for financial freedom whatever their age. You’ll find tips on how to negotiate a pay rise, make a priority list and save for an emergency fund.
Marsha Barnes, 45, 169k followers
Best for: encouraging financial affirmations
Certified financial social worker, educator and commentator Barnes founded the first financial education service on wheels (an old school bus that she has turned into a travelling financial literacy hub) and hasn’t looked back. Pitching up wherever needed, her aim is to help transform people’s spending habits and help them achieve financial wellness. But she soon recognised the need for an online presence too, if she wanted to make a real dent in closing the financial gaps imposed on the Black community in particular. “My Instagram account serves as my ministry online for individuals I will never meet,” says Barnes, who is committed to “lending a voice to those that need financial guidance the most”. She believes financial wellness isn’t a luxury to be enjoyed by the few, and that any determined person can turn their situation around. It comes as no surprise that boosting self-belief and offering a major dose of encouragement are at the top of Barnes’ agenda. As the saying goes: if you can see it, you can be it, which is why’s focus on financial literacy, as well as confidence, is such a hit.
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