Personal Finance

5 min read

December 22, 2020

10 Best Money Tips from the Internet's Favourite YouTubers

Actionable money advice for the modern day mogul from your favourite online creators

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What books were to previous generations, YouTube is to us - the ultimate repository of information. The video platform has matured from its early days of dinghy webcam footage to a complex melting pot of ideas and personalities.

Especially for hard-to-digest topics like personal finance, YouTube has become the de-facto destination for learning. From engaging video conversations, to lecture-like charts and graphs, to re-enactments of relatable anecdotes, videos from creators like Ali Abdaal, Patricia Bright and Graham Stephan make personal finance digestible and exciting.

As obvious fans of the genre (psst, we run a bank after all), we've compiled some of the best money advice from our favourite online creators.

1. "Sometimes the best investments you can make don’t make you more money but save you money and hiring a CPA is the best example of that."

Coming from Graham Stephan, this advice seems much sounder than it would if anyone else gave it. But, this video on eight of the best investments to make in your 20s is an advanced crash-course for young professionals on how, and what, to invest in--and why.

For Stephan, a CPA makes that list since on average, people unknowingly pay nearly a third of their salary in taxes. As such, a CPA can save you more in the long-run even though they may cost a steep amount. While a CPA may not be the best investment for someone who doesn’t have their own business, this mindset of thinking about investments as more than just vehicles to grow your wealth is nevertheless a cornerstone of successful personal finance.  

2. “If you buy cheap you buy twice.”

From Patricia Bright's YouTube page, The Break, this video on the ways in which being cheap is costing you more is a game-changer. Given that most personal finance advice is centered on saving money, budget bargain deals seem like something to embrace.

But, the reality is that companies make money from entrapping you in a cycle of buying cheaper items even when you don’t need them. It is not always true that expensive items are better quality, but when the item in question needs to last you a long time (like an home appliance), it's best to shell out that additional price for longevity.

3. "Pay yourself first."

Told over a particularly delicious anecdote involving biryani and nihari, Ali Abdaal emphasises the concept of "paying yourself first". No, this doesn't mean diverting your pay check into a fun account, but rather, moving money into your savings and investments pool at the start of every month.

The mental model of putting your savings before other expenditures like rent, food, and social outings, is incredibly powerful and compounds over time. Ali also expands this concept into other areas of his life. For example, "When approaching the end of the day, if we paid ourselves first, we'd prioritise getting 7-8 hours of sleep, rather than scrolling though instagram or reading paranormal romance books until 3am" (aliabdaal.com).

4. "Investing into courses, into real, working knowledge, is one of the best investments that I've ever made."

Jeff Rose, of the Wealth Hacker, may not be the first to emphasize investing in your education, but he's one of the first to claim that this will double your income. In his video, detailing seven ways to double your wealth, he breaks down just how valuable certain investments are above others.

While Rose’s investment advice is a bit different from Stephan’s, both are examples of investments where you spend a little upfront for longer-term gains, albeit by different means.

5. "If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die."

Grant Cordone's no-nonsense style of imparting personal finance advice has gotten him a rabid fan following. In this video about his best financial decisions, he outlines why he rents where he lives but owns dozens of other properties to make him an income.

Cordone talks about how he learned to invest in real estate and even offers tips like “don’t buy a single family home,” and backs that up with his own experiences. While real estate investing isn’t for beginners, this channel is one to look to for more seasoned investors.  

6. "Even in a recession, don’t stop investing."

Andrei Jikh's videos are always informational and well-told, with anecdotes and historical stories emphasized to better explain finance and investment ideas. In this video, he discusses money mistakes people make when they anticipate than a recession is near—namely, that they swiftly stop investing.

But, in reality, keeping your investments so that they grow again when the market snaps back, and contributing to your investments even when rates are low, will yield long-term benefits more than if one simply dried up their investments and saved them, instead, exposing that cash to inflation concerns.

7. "Saving money isn't about depriving yourself. It's about deciding you love Future You as much as you love Today You."

Chelsea Fagan, of The Financial Diet, hits the right note with this golden nugget of advice (which would also make the best T-shirt). In an Instagram-first world, saving money can seem like a compromise to living life king-size.

But just like all her videos, which are extremely personable and relevant, Chelsea urges people to reorient towards saving for long term goals of financial freedom rather than short term gratifications.

8. “As long as you’re in debt, the money that you’re making doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to the bank.”

As a minimalist and lifestyle guru, Matt D’Avella has a lot of advice. But, his personal finance success story of paying off student loan debt in a record amount of time makes him an expert when it comes to money, too, and this quote, highlighting that life under debt means that your paycheck doesn’t even belong to you, underscores how important it is to prioritize paying off your loans.

The examples Matt discusses, of accumulating debt in order to reach societal milestones—a new car, a private college, your own home, etc.—simply isn’t worth it when you consider that you could be paying off these bills for decades after you even make the decisions. Moreover, you’ll stop feeling entitled to spend your money, to “treat yourself”, so that you can finally begin to dig yourself out of the negative money you have.

9. “Save 10% and invest 20%, minimum.”

Ramit Sethi is a NYT bestselling author whose financial advice is seen as gospel. Still, this simple piece of advice is often ignored in favor of saving 30%, or at least 25% and investing just 5%. It is all-too-easy to invest less, especially given that investing seems intimidating and risky.

But, if you really want to grow your wealth, investing is the strategy to adopt and it’s essential that one becomes comfortable with this. Admittedly, Sethi also advises to save a year’s worth of expenses in an emergency fund, but consider that your 10% contribution and double that for your investments.

10. “Pay off any debt that has a 5% or higher interest rate as fast as possible. For any debt that has an interest rate below 5%, just pay the minimums on that debt and take all the extra money you have at the end of the month and put it in a responsible investment, like an index fund.”

Now, this advice is likely controversial—after all, paying off debt is the #1 piece of financial advice given to most college students. But, Thomas Frank makes a point, here, that the rate of return on your investments could make it easier to pay off your debt, especially if the interest rate of your debt is lower and if you’re slightly risk-resistant.

While this method won’t work for everyone, it certainly is a different way of thinking about your debt and could very well work for financially conscious folks who are confident of maximising their portfolio returns.

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Keertana Anandraj
Keertana Anandraj
Keertana Anandraj is a recent college grad living in San Francisco. When she isn’t conducting international macroeconomic research at her day job, you can find her in the spin room or planning her next adventure.

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