Nicole Alba, a Generation-Z YouTuber with 100,000 subscribers, creates videos on personal finance, investing, and self-development. She posted her first video in May 2020, shortly after the pandemic broke out because she wanted to have something to work on during the lockdown.
“I don’t think I can speak for Gen Z as a whole, but I personally save and invest so I won’t be trapped in a 9–5 job in the future,” she said.
The political science student had little background in personal finance growing up. A dilemma on which course to take in college led her to online resources on ways to earn money and start preparing for the future. In the beginning, she followed the advice she read about buying blue-chip stocks in the market and invested in Jollibee.
For financial advice, she now consults Investopedia, PH Invest on Reddit, and BusinessWorld, as well as personal finance YouTubers like Graham Stephan, who became a millionaire by the time he turned 26; Andrei Jikh, who became a millionaire in one year; Meet Kevin, a 28-year-old real estate broker and investor; and Nate O’Brien, who posts videos on productivity and minimalism aside from personal finance. These YouTubers have a wide audience, with subscribers in the millions.
“For the most part, I don’t monitor what happens in the markets on a regular basis. I prefer to keep my investments simple, boring, and mostly automated,” said Ms. Alba, “so I can focus my time doing other things, like making videos for my YouTube channel and finding other ways to increase my income.”
Many who belong to her cohort (those born between 1996 and 2010), she added, are “interested in starting their own businesses online to leverage the power of Internet platforms.”
The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2020, meanwhile, found that while long-term finances are a top cause of stress, more than half of millennials, and nearly half of Gen Zs, are saving money and could cope if they unexpectedly received a large bill. The said survey also found that family, financial future, and job prospects remain the primary sources of stress of both millennials and Gen Zs, with Gen Zs being more concerned about longer-term money issues.
Among the specific funds Ms. Alba invests in are the First Metro Philippine Equity Exchange-Traded Fund, Inc. (FMETF), a local exchange-traded fund, and the MP2 (Modified Pag-IBIG 2) Savings Fund, a savings facility with a five-year maturity designed for Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF, or more popularly known as the Pag-IBIG Fund) members.
“Before I decide what to invest in or what action to take, I always identify my goal first. Since I’m mostly investing for the long-term (10–15+ years), I’m able to be more aggressive in my investments and take on more risk when it comes to investing,” said Ms. Alba.
Her YouTube subscribers who are around her age, she noted, are interested in investing and trading because they are seen as viable paths “to get rich.” Those who are new to personal finance are vulnerable to scams. “People comment on my videos and ask if [this or that business] is legit or not. I see that as a problem,” she said.
A self-learner, Ms. Alba turns to finance education websites like Investopedia, which tells you that if an advisor guarantees returns higher than 12–15%, it is likely a scam. She also warned against chain referral schemes and Ponzi schemes. “At the end of the day, it’s also a business, so ask: how do they generate revenue? How do they give back money to their investors?,” said Ms. Alba.