“Financial Influencers”: Investing, Enrollment and Your Employees

The good news is that you aren’t alone in encouraging your employees to enroll in retirement plans. Content creators on social media outlets don’t limit themselves to fashion and food anymore. Many have gone into finance. There may be some who can communicate about retirement basics, in a way that reaches plan participants in a fresh new way.

Each Fall, plan sponsors tackle the process of planning their enrollment education programs. There may be a lot of buzz around new laws making auto-enrollment easier for plan sponsors and their employees but getting those employees to enroll is still a pain point for many sponsors. Additionally, many employees may have concerns about how inflation will impact their budget. Those employees may be considering opting out of retirement plans right now. If plan sponsors aren’t reaching their employees about the importance of saving for retirement, maybe there’s another option: social media influencers who post about personal finance. Here’s a rundown of a few finance and retirement writers who have successful followings on social media.

Make no mistake: automatic enrollment for employees has an enormous impact. “Although employees subject to automatic enrollment can opt out of the 401(k) plan at any time, few choose to do so. As a result, automatic enrollment has a dramatic impact on retirement savings behavior: 401(k) participation rates at all three companies exceed 85 percent, regardless of the tenure of the employee. Prior to automatic enrollment, 401(k) participation rates ranged from 26-43 percent after six months of tenure at the three firms and 57-69 percent after three years.”[1] But auto-enrollment may not be enough. Some employees may fail to take full advantage of their retirement plans. Some employees may also forgo making choices that benefit them. “For many employees who are automatically enrolled, the automatic contribution rate is not high enough to generate the savings that they’ll require for retirement.  Instead of completing a comprehensive plan enrollment to determine an appropriate savings rate, some employees complacently accept the default contribution rate.”[2] That’s the bad news.

The good news is that you aren’t alone in encouraging your employees to enroll in retirement plans. Content creators on social media outlets, like Instagram, TikTok and YouTube don’t limit themselves to fashion and food anymore. Many have gone into finance. They might be better thought of as financial influencers: “A financial influencer is someone who shares their knowledge and expertise on specific financial topics, primarily on social media.”[3] There may be some financial influencers who can communicate about retirement basics, like enrolling in retirement plans, that reaches plan participants in a fresh new way. Here are a few that may be helpful.


@Betterwallet: Marc Russell is a financial coach and former foster kid. He mixes his experience from Wall Street and Main Street to explain the basics of saving and investing. His latest posts explain how parents can create a custodial Roth IRA for their children.

@thebrokeblackgirl: Dasha Kennedy is a financial educator who draws on her life experience as a single mom to explain the importance of saving. Her posts provide examples of how to simplify building an emergency fund. She also has content around how to pay down debt including moving at a “marathon” pace “The only way to get out of debt is to go through it, and sometimes that may be slowly and one payment at a time.”

@ellevest: Unlike the other two accounts mentioned here, Ellevest is a investment company. But their feed is a mix of videos, photos, reposts from other accounts and gorgeous graphic design. Employees may find that Ellevest’s content answers questions they feel too shy to ask. That might include posts that specifically addresses market and inflation, including one on August 9 answering the question: “Should I pause my retirement contributions until the market calms down?”


@herfirst100k: Tori Dunlap is a self-described financial feminist. Her posts include a wide variety of topics. Her posts can help simplify compound interest as a motivator for investing. In a recent one, she shows how investing $100 into a Roth IRA with a 10% return can yield over $600,000 in 40 years. ““Where are you finding such a high return?!” The S&P 500 index has an annualized average return of 11% since its inception. But remember, time IN the market is better than TIMING the market.”

@seth.godwin: Seth Godwin’s content may focus more on everyday budgeting tricks than others. Many of his recent posts focus on the alarming rise of the amount car payments. He uses simple math to show viewers how investing small sums, like $100 per month, can build wealth over time.

@moneymarprivette: Mar is a money coach, not a financial advisor. She specializes in explaining general concepts. Some of her best viewed videos explain compound interest by showing viewers exactly how much money they could make with compound interest. She even tackles indexed annuities.


Minority Mindset: Jaspreet Singh has a self-declared mission to make personal finance not boring. With close to 1.5 million subscribers, Singh has a high energy approach to the basics of saving, budgeting and investing. He is a licensed attorney but turned his focus to financial education after a business mishap.  While launching a business, “he was scammed by a marketing company which cost him thousands of dollars. This scam pushed him to start an educational social media page, which he called Minority Mindset. The Minority Mindset implies thinking differently than the majority of people.”[4]

Graham Stephan: Stephan describes himself as a ”30 year old real estate agent and investor who started working in real estate shortly after turning 18, with over $120,000,000 in residential real estate sales since 2008.” But his videos work exceptionally well at speaking to Millenials and GenZ folks about the investing and retirement savings basics. Many of his recent videos walk through the recent trend of “what I spend in a day” videos and discuss the basics of budgeting and saving.

Andrei Jikh: Jikh may have started his notoriety in Hollywood as a card trick master, but he has gained a following for his videos discussing financial minimalism. Along the way, Jikh has found a way to explain complex (and dry) topics, like the Federal Reserve, in a way that keeps attention without using scare tactics. Similar to Singh, Jikh draws on his experience as a child of immigrants as a lens through which he views daily life.  

[1] https://www.nber.org/digest/apr02/path-least-resistance-401k-plans

[2] https://www.trpcweb.com/pros-and-cons-of-automatic-enrollment-in-a-401k-plan

[3] https://www.investopedia.com/10-tiktok-influencers-you-should-know-5224412

[4] https://theminoritymindset.com/about-us

These articles are prepared for general purposes and are not intended to provide advice or encourage specific behavior. Before taking any action, Advisors and Plan Sponsors should consult with their compliance, finance and legal teams.

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