Bankrate Social Honors

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The most influential in personal finance

The ways we talk about and consume information about money are changing rapidly. There are countless individuals amassing large followings on social media, giving financial advice to audiences that have traditionally been underserved. Online communities offer people a place to interact with other like-minded individuals and get detailed answers to their specific questions. And a number of organizations are on a mission to bring financial awareness and education to the masses.
 
We launched the Bankrate Social Honors to amplify the voices of these influential people, communities and organizations.
How we picked these winners:
  • Bankrate evaluated a number of the personal finance influencers, communities and nonprofits.
  • Each superlative was narrowed to a field of a few finalists. The number of finalists varied for each superlative.
  • From there, the editorial team voted on the winner for each superlative.

Best personal finance influencer

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Delyanne Barros, The Money Coach

Highlights Social justice through financial education

Delyanne Barros started The Money Coach in January 2020. Her mission: “To empower women of color to build life-changing wealth so they can choose whether they want to work instead of having to work. I also want to show the financial industry that you cannot talk about personal finance while ignoring issues of systemic discrimination, gender inequality, and misogyny.”
 
Safe to say she’s executing on that mission. She has more than 317,000 followers across her Instagram, TikTok and Twitter accounts with content that’s a mix of fun and educational takes on investing.
 
“I'm also very transparent about my own financial independence journey,” Delyanne says. “I share screenshots of my investment accounts and my net worth as a way to motivate my community.”
 
Delyanne’s early life led her on a journey to financial empowerment. “Investing in my education literally lifted me out of poverty,” she says. “I believe that education is a start to changing people's lives. The next step is changing the systems that hold so many people back from having access to knowledge and opportunities.”
 
As for where Delyanne wants to take The Money Coach platform in the future: “My platform is about social justice through financial education. … My goal is to uplift my community and make a mark in the financial industry, a male-dominated industry that is just now starting to welcome diversity into it. I want to show up in the spaces where Latinas are not often seen so that my community can see what's possible for them. I hope to inspire millions of women to start investing and take control over their financial future.”

  • Mission to empower women of color to build life-changing wealth
  • Calling attention to the inequities built into the financial system
  • Built a platform with more than 317,000 followers
For the best personal finance influencer award, Bankrate evaluated more than a dozen personal finance influencers on their CreatorIQ score, average engagement, audience growth percentage over the previous six months and number of followers. Qualitative elements included rating the influencers’ content quality, level of entertainment and the actionability of their content.

Best personal finance YouTube Channel

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The Financial Diet

Highlights Helping young women improve their relationship with money

The Financial Diet was founded by Chelsea Fagan in 2014. Chelsea started the brand as a blog to hold herself accountable with improving her finances, and it has since grown into an independently owned business with a team of 12 women who work in the company’s Manhattan office.
 
“The overall mission is to help young women improve their relationship with money,” Chelsea says, both financially and emotionally.
 
“We speak to women and we are women, so that differentiates us from 98 percent of media who are male-focused and male-driven,” she says.
 
The Financial Diet may have started as a blog, but now the brand is pretty much everywhere. There are popular accounts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, a podcast and even a book. “We have something for you, no matter how you like to consume your content.”
 
The Financial Diet YouTube channel alone has more than 927,000 subscribers. Chelsea stands out for her ability to speak provocatively about money and help women improve their finances while remaining engaging and approachable to her audience. 
 
On the channel, you’ll find actionable explainers, such as this video breaking down the 50-30-20 budget. But there’s also “a lot of videos that are about the culture and psychology of money,” Chelsea says. For example, this recent video titled “Rich White Women, Pinkwashed Capitalism, & The Downfall Of The Girlboss,” in which Chelsea “unpacks the rise and fall of the ‘girlboss,’ and what it says about our shared cultural values.”
 
As for what comes next for The Financial Diet, there are plans for a new flagship podcast, a return to in-person events and much more. “There’s never any limit to what you can do,” Chelsea says.
 

  • Mission to empower young women to talk about money and take control of their finances
  • Massive YouTube following with a range of high-quality video content
  • Creates content on a range of platforms, including social media, a podcast and a book
For the best personal finance YouTube channel, Bankrate evaluated a number of the top YouTubers’ average engagement percentage, content quality, level of entertainment and the actionability of the content.

Best financial activism account

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Dasha Kennedy, The Broke Black Girl

Highlights Culturally relevant financial resources for Black women

Dasha Kennedy started The Broke Black Girl in 2017 after facing a series of financial hardships. She soon realized there weren’t many resources that covered her unique set of financial circumstances as a Black woman, and so she decided to fill that void herself.
 
“My mission is to bridge the gap between equity and financial education by providing culturally relevant and competent financial literacy resources to Black women,” Dasha says.
 
Dasha operates The Broke Black Girl on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. She has more than 237,000 followers across platforms.
 
The one word Dasha uses to describe her content: Relatable. “My content is straight to the point, well-written and easy-to-digest without all of the fluff and over-the-top finance terminology. I am not afraid to have tough but necessary money conversations.”
 
She adds: “I give a voice and platform to people who often feel unheard and unseen while on their finance journey to meet them where they are and gain the knowledge they need to make informed financial decisions going forward.”
 
Dasha says two common regrets she hears from women are not learning about finances at an earlier age and not being able to work with an expert who understands “how existing in the interaction of being both a Black person and a Black woman can offer a different set of financial hardships than most people. TBBG will move forward and aim to solve both problems by working directly with school-age students and encouraging college-bound students in Black communities to consider careers in finance.”
 

  • Mission to provide relevant financial resources for Black women
  • Giving a voice to a community who is often underserved and unseen
  • Built a platform with more than 237,000 followers
For the best financial activism account, Bankrate evaluated nominees by their content quality and the actionability of the content. Bankrate also evaluated them based on whether they’re reaching an audience that has historically been underserved and whether they’re reaching their audience in innovative ways.

Best personal finance podcast

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Planet Money (NPR)

Highlights The economy explained

Here’s a quick description of what to expect when you tap play on a Planet Money podcast: “The economy explained. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, ‘Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy.’ Now imagine that's actually a fun evening.”
 
Planet Money is hosted by Amanda Aroncyzk, Mary Childs, Sarah Gonzalez, Kenny Malone and Erika Beras. The podcast launched in 2008 with a deep dive into the housing crisis. In 2018, the podcast celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a list of their 10 favorite podcast episodes
 
Planet Money has won a number of awards, chief among them being a Peabody Award and Edward R. Murrow Award for the podcast’s deep dive into the Wells Fargo scandal. The podcast scores a 4.6-star rating on Apple Podcasts. Here’s a sampling of what reviewers have said about Planet Money:
 
  • “Offers (a) mix of entertaining and relevant topics with (a) side of simplicity!”
  • “The show always comes up with current and/or interesting topics to discuss. It’s informative and fun!”
  • “I have learned more and been entertained (by) this podcast more than any other. Great content and editing.”
You can listen to Planet Money on its website or wherever you consume podcasts.

  • Explains the economy and other financial subjects in a way that’s easy to understand and fun
  • Creates award-worthy content, including investigations and deep dives
  • Receives high scores from reviewers on Apple Podcasts
Bankrate evaluated more than a dozen podcasts for the best podcast award. We considered factors such as content quality, level of entertainment and the actionability of the content.

Best personal finance community

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Reddit Personal Finance

Highlights Massive community, personal interaction

Personal finance is personal. Individual circumstances can vary greatly from one person to the next. But when we’re talking about 15 million people, chances are there are a few who have experienced something similar and can offer advice.
 
Reddit’s personal finance community (what’s called a “subreddit,” for those who aren’t familiar) is a massive group of people interested in personal finance and interacting with like-minded individuals. The group has more than 15.1 million members. 
 
The posts that generate the most interaction generally are unique questions or circumstances that you likely wouldn’t think about or encounter. Some recent examples:
 
  • “Electric usage increased 600% in one month, more than quadrupling our bill. What are our next steps?”
  • “Help - robbed and transactions on my phone”
  • “My boss wants me to choose my salary”
For community members looking for more broad advice, the community built a wiki page full of helpful information. (This helps to keep the message board area clear of repeated questions.) Moderators do a good job of fostering a positive environment and have public rules in place to guide users on how to be helpful contributors. 
 
Because of the range of advice available and the positive interaction, r/personalfinance is a great community for interacting with people who love talking money.

  • Massive community with more than 15 million members
  • Personalized advice from members and educational resources from the wiki
  • Positive environment with moderators and community rules
For the best personal finance community award, Bankrate evaluated a number of the top personal finance communities where members can interact with each other and give and receive advice. In the evaluation, we considered the communities’ content quality, level of entertainment, the actionability of the advice from the community, and whether the community fostered a positive environment for members.

Best financial nonprofit

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National Endowment for Financial Education

Highlights Champions effective financial education

The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) was established in 1992. The nonprofit’s roots go back to its first financial education program, which launched in 1984 as part of the College for Financial Planning.
 
NEFE’s mission is to champion effective financial education. “We are the independent, centralizing voice providing leadership, research and collaboration to advance financial well-being,” according to NEFE.
 
The organization believes that everyone deserves the chance to live their best financial life. “NEFE believes that equitable and effective financial education makes it easier for everyone to navigate the financial system, creating a more just society.” Here are a few examples of how the nonprofit is making that happen:
 
  • In July 2020, NEFE made $25,000 grants to six nonprofits who serve communities that were severely impacted by COVID-19 as well as those affected by racism.
  • Also in July 2020, NEFE partnered with the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education to certify 100 financial counselors who are also people of color.
  • And in early 2021, NEFE partnered with the Council for Economic Education to create financial education policy convenings. “These discussions aimed to provide state policymakers an open forum in which to discuss the opportunities, technicalities and challenges they encounter when considering statewide financial education policy and programming,” according to NEFE.
NEFE also supports research to help improve the public’s financial well-being. “In 2021, NEFE surpassed $5 million in grant funding for rigorous, innovative and actionable research that increases the field’s body of knowledge, provides insight into financial behavior and contributes to a better understanding of effective educational practices,” according to NEFE.
 
For those who are interested in helping NEFE pursue its mission: “NEFE leverages research and evidence to pilot innovative approaches and potential interventions to assess their ability to affect positive impact and their potential when scaled. NEFE is open to exploring ideas with like-minded organizations that share their mission and vision, and supporting financial well-being advocates to help them thrive,” according to the nonprofit.
 

  • Mission to champion effective financial education
  • Believes that financial education should be effective but also equitable
  • Has demonstrated numerous recent examples of how it’s effectively carrying out its mission
For the best financial nonprofit, Bankrate evaluated each nominee’s mission and impact on society.
Illustrative elements
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