The rise of the female finfluencer: Empowering women's financial independence

Female finfluencers are conquering the digital world - and motivating young women worldwide to master their finances.

Annabelle Chapman, guest contributor
Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen, Emma Due Bitz and Camilla Falkenberg from Female Invest.
Female Invest from Denmark: “Parents are more likely to teach their daughters about the importance of saving while educating their sons about building wealth.” © Female Invest

From the United States to Europe, the past few years have seen an explosion of finfluencers (a portmanteau of “financial influencers”) - including female finfluencers creating content for other women. Their primary target is young women in their 20s and 30s, who are starting their careers and not always sure how to manage their money and build wealth.

As they warn: there is still a huge gender pension gap, with pension payments to women aged 65 and over 25% lower, on average, than for men in the European OECD countries. Yet, unlike in the case of older women who might need to “catch up” with their male counterparts in financial terms, their focus is on “doing it right from the beginning”.

Financially savvy and charismatic, these finfluencers share content across a range of digital platforms, from Instagram and YouTube to newsletters and podcasts, sometimes supplemented by in-person events. Some make their money from advertising and events, while others offer paying subscriptions that provide members with access to exclusive content and online community. Run by women for women, these platforms encourage women to build wealth through investment and entrepreneurship so that they can live life on their own terms.

Here are some prominent female finfluencers calling the shots:

USA: Chelsea Fagan, The Financial Diet

Chelsea Fagan and her book The Financial Diet
New Yorker Finfluencer Fagan: money shouldn't be something intimidating or embarrassing, but a topic we all feel comfortable and confident with. © Chelsea Fagan / TFD

Founded in 2014, The Financial Diet began as a blog run by New York-based millennial Chelsea Fagan. Since then, it has grown into a media company for young women seeking to learn about money, with a team of eight women led by Fagan at its offices in Manhattan. As its website puts it: “Our mission is to fundamentally change and improve the way we talk about money, to take it from something shameful or intimidating into something we can all feel confident about”.

Bursting with down-to-earth advice, The Financial Diet navigates financial topics from money management to starting to invest (while the content is geared at women in the United States, most of it is relevant to those in other countries, too).  It also seeks to get women to talk about money with friends, partners and family members, whether they are splitting the bill during a night out or merging finances with a partner.

While The Financial Diet operates across a range of platforms, its forte is YouTube: its channel boasts 1 million subscribers, with two paid membership tiers to choose from.  Narrated by Fagan, popular videos include “7 Insane Ways Americans Waste Money” to “Six ‘necessities’ I no longer need since moving to Europe”, which contain a critique of American-style consumerism and encourage women to be more intentional with their money. 

Britain: Emilie Bellet, Vestpod

Emilie Bellet's book "You're not broke, you're pre-rich"
From private equity to financial education: The female finfluencer Emilie Bellet. © Emilie Bellet/LinkedIn

Originally from France, Emilie Bellet worked in private equity and at Lehman Brothers, before founding Vestpod, an online platform for women, in London in 2016. “I want to help women to strive to be more financially independent, to live their lives on their terms, while feeling secure and confident about their present and future,” she writes on the Vestpod website. Bellet brings the same attitude to her book You’re Not Broke, You’re Pre-Rich (first published in 2019 and recently updated), which is also aimed at young women.

While Bellet’s advice is geared at women living in Britain, her message of female financial empowerment is universal. In addition to in-person events in cities in the UK, Vestpod hosts online events that can be attended from anywhere, from a monthly bookclub to a six-week bootcamp,  which covers topic including “(re)setting your money mindset” and “managing money during uncertainty”, a reference to the recent surge in inflation in many countries, including the UK.  

Yet Vestpod’s content is not limited to surviving the cost of living crisis: its weekly podcast, The Wallet, features interviews with a diverse range of women, from financial journalists to entrepreneurs. Popular episodes include conversations with Otegha Uwagba about overcoming anxiety around money  and with Aja Barber about quitting fast fashion.  Like all Vestpod’s content, the tone is encouraging and inclusive, without financial jargon.

Germany: Margarethe Honisch, Fortunalista

Margarethe Honisch and her book "Easy Money"
Aren't women risk-averse anyway? Bias like these made Honisch become a finfluencer. © Margarethe Honisch/ LinkedIn

Founded by Margarethe Honisch, Fortunalista is a leading German platform promoting financial education and empowerment for women. Honisch traces her journey back to when she attended her first stock seminar in 2013. As the only woman in the room, she heard that “men shouldn't always tell their wives how they are investing their shared money” and that “women would be risk-averse anyway”.  After educating herself about investing, she founded Fortunalista in 2017, initially as a finance blog where she could share her own experience with other women. Two years later, she published a book in German entitled Easy Money,  which is full of tips for saving and investing while also enjoying life.

Today, Fortunalista is a fully developed digital platform that has been featured in publications from German business newspaper Handelsblatt to Vogue. Its products include a six-week online bootcamp, where participants calculate their own “individual pension gap”, define their investment strategy and select a stock portfolio. However, as the website notes, it does not provide financial advice or recommend specific shares.  

While most of Fortunalista’s content applies to other countries too, it is attuned to the German context: the country has one of highest gender pension gaps in the EU.  As its website notes, in Germany “every third woman receives a pension of less than 1000 euros” net, compared to around 15% of men. 

Denmark: Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen, Emma Due Bitz und Camilla Falkenberg, Female Invest

Founded by Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen, Emma Due Bitz and Camilla Cloëtta Falkenberg in Copenhagen in 2017, Female Invest “was born as a reaction to the inability of women to find accessible and inclusive financial literature”, as its website puts it. It operates as a subscription-based platform: users can purchase annual or monthly membership that gives them access to Female Invest’s financial learning products, which include courses, weekly webinars and market news updates, but also to an international community of women investors.

Although the trio — who have been featured on the Forbes 30 under 30 list — hails from Denmark, Female Invest’s reach is wider: it has since expanded to London, where it now has an office.  It has also published its first book, Girls Just Wanna Have Funds, which positions itself as “a feminist guide to investing”.  As it puts it: “Parents are more likely to teach their daughters about the importance of saving while educating their sons about building wealth.” With this in mind, it guides readers through the investment process, including preparation, making their first investment, and then managing their portfolio.

Educational, leading and inspiring 

From twenty-something women landing their first job to further milestones, the finfluencers above are here to help. While these women are not certified financial advisers and their tips should be treated with caution, their broad educational content and encouragement can go a long way by helping young women get off to a good financial start.

While the details can vary between countries, the sense of empowerment and online community that these finfluencers offer is universal. Ultimately, for both women and men, it comes down to the same principles: start investing early and think long-term.

Woman on her phone in front of a skyline
Just a click away: Many female finfluencers target women in their 20s and 30s. © iStock

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