21-year old administration student Nathália Rodrigues runs a YouTube channel focused on financial education for the low-income population
By Marques Travae with info from UOL and O Povo
I’ve said this often since about 2012. I watch videos on YouTube far more than I watch television. To be frankly honest about it, there simply isn’t much on television that I want to see. OK, let me say in terms of free TV. Ever since Netflix emerged, friends and associates have been telling me about some great shows on the online platform. Makes me wanna check out a few of the shows. But with three little people always battling over which cartoon they want to watch and whose turn it is, my TV is constantly tuned to Netflix Kids or YouTube Kids.
When I do get some time to watch some things I like, they’re often short videos, between 15 and 30 minutes, or if they’re longer, I’ll download them and listen on my way to work. What gets me about YouTube is that, the videos that get the most views are the kiddy videos, the latest song by the pop tart of the moment or some silly sh*t. These videos will attract hundreds of millions and even billions of views, while the types of videos I like usually pull in between 5-20,000. I guess it would be different if I were 22 again, but for several years now I’ve been far more interested in why the world turns the way that it does and the people and groups and make it this way. And, for the most part, ain’ nobdy tryin’ to hear that.
But I ain’t mad. My interests and my searching habits often lead me to some very intriguing people who are doing important work online. One such person is Nathália Rodrigues who I only learned about a few months back. Nathália is just about the exact age of which I mentioned that my viewing preferences could be different. At just 21 years old, she’s changing the lives of thousands of low-income people with her YouTube channel on personal finance.
I admire this type of work.
It is the poor who are ignored by the rich, disrespected by the middle-class neighborhoods and the government, but with their combined salaries, they represent a market which enormous potential for marketers, businesses and entrepreneurs. Another downside to their existence is that they usually don’t have enough money to be able to participate in the consumer market as much as they’d like to and when they do, they end up suffering when it comes time to pay those pesky bills that never stop coming.
Nathália’s work isn’t necessarily about making poor people rich, but at least helping them organize their financial lives so that they can enjoy what they have a little more, either now, or, with her saving and investment tips, in the future. I have to commend her for this information because most of us go through 12, 16 years or more of schooling and never learn anything about finances. Elites did this on purpose. People who have no knowledge of financial matters are much easier to manipulate and control.
On Nathália’s channel, she reveals, with a touch of humor, that the first person to inspire her not to spend more than she earns is Julius, a character on the TV series Everybody Hates Chris, which is known as Todo Mundo Odeia o Chris in Brazil. As I’ve discussed in previous posts, Everybody was enormously popular in Brazil, all the more so for a black Brazilian community starving for media representation that, for the most part, the Brazilian media refuses to provide.
Nathália has 73,800 subscribers to her YouTube channel that she calls Finanças com a Nath (Finances with Nath). In the seventh period of an Administration course and doing an internship in the finance department of a company, the college student’s videos on economics especially appeal to people who earn a minimum salary or are unemployed. Remember. Today, Brazil’s monthly minimum salary just reached BRL $1,039 per month. That’s worth about US$242.53! Yes, A MONTH!
What provoked her to create such a channel?
“In January 2019, I created the project to teach everything I learn in college in an accessible way. I saw channels talking about financial education, but in a way that doesn’t serve low-income people, talking about magic formulas for getting rich,” she says.
I can imagine that there are probably some haters out there who don’t like to see someone like Nathália, a young black woman, using the education that she is receiving to educate people with similar origins as she. In Brazil, what I note from the stories and comments that I read is that, it’s not enough for the middle classes to maintain their status. They seem to relish seeing people who have slim chances of making to their class level remain in poverty. This is the message I get when I hear people not liking seeing “certain” people being able to catch flights, study in the same university as their children or live in certain neighborhoods and buildings. They don’t even try to hide this discomfort.
For this reason alone, I wish Nathália continued success with her financial education channel. The only way to change the community is for the people who managed to ascend, improve their lives and fortunes to reach back and help those who come from where they came from. Learn more about this brilliant young lady in the piece below.
YouTuber passes financial education tips to low-income people
“If you already have five credit cards, why do you need one more?”
It was by asking and trying to answer these types of questions of that a financial education piques Nathália’s interested. A native of Nova Iguaçu in the state of Rio de Janeiro, about 17.7 miles from the city and capital, she first got a taste of finances working in a shoe store, where one of her responsibilities was to offer a credit card to customers.
She managed to fulfill her daily tasks but she wanted more. Chopping it up with people who came into the shoe store gave her the incentive to think of opening her own business. A working student, she was getting close to attaining a college degree and came up with idea of creating short videos to reach low-income audiences to share the knowledge she was receiving. Her proposal was to shape her advice to the reality of those who earn little money. Saving very high figures every month or making risky investments with those who already have little, for example, is out of the question. “I have no way to tell a person to save a thousand reais a month, because this is their full salary or not even that,” she explains.
Nath’s work and reach fits her under the category of “micro influencer” – a person whose digital presence attracted between 10,000 and 100,000 followers. In many of her vídeos, she explains step by step for anyone to comprehend how to save and invest. Besides YouTube, she also reaches follwers through networks like Twitter and Instagram. Some of her most popular videos approach topics such as “Is Black Friday Worth It?”, “Blow to your Checking Account” and “How to Make Your Emergency Reserve”.
Need for education came from home
In reality, Nathália’s journey to financial education didn’t begin exactly in the shoe store nor in the university classroom. It started after she noted her father’s difficulties with money, bills and his numerous credit cards. At home, Nathália struck up conversations with her father about the money, credit, savings and related topics. She was already in business school on a scholarship, and was starting to get a deeper understanding with key concepts of finance.
“I began to encourage him to write down his own expenses, to reduce the number of credit cards. He had no habit of organizing himself financially,” says the 21-year-old.
“He just wrote down what he spent mentally, by heart. He wanted to save money, but didn’t know where he was spending.” By simply having him start by jotting things down expenses with pencil and paper, it already became easier to adjust the bills.
In this process of making these simple changes, Nathália identifies an additional benefit: the impacts on mental health. “My father was very sad, and always at the end of the month came that stress because there was no money left. My father’s need is the same as many Brazilians who earn little money.”
Exposure to a few finance concepts changed not only her father’s daily life, but also influenced Nathália’s own life. In the beginning, Nathália said she was exaggerating spending her first few paychecks. Between helping with house bills and buying things for herself, Nathália sometimes slipped and “spent more than she earned” – although she was careful to not ruin her credit.
“The first thing I did with my money was buy a McDonald’s snack and a cup of ice cream,” she says. Also, for her audience on the networks, items of the “are a victory” type. “It’s that outfit you always wanted to buy, the food you always wanted to eat, whatever yogurt it is.”
In that sense, she says that aligning bills makes a difference. “Everyone should learn how to organize their money, but there is no school to teach this from an early age.”
From A to Z
So, what’s the best way to teach finance without wasting too much time? Nathalia’s approach adapts the content around two axes: the type of theme selected and how to explain it to whoever is listening. The subjects come from various sources, from themes that blowing up in the news or from private messages she reads in social networks.
“If they are talking about active and inactive FGTS (Government Severence Indemnity Fund) accounts, I’ll go there and do it,” she says. She always makles sure to keept the vocabular simple when she presentes new material and concepts on YouTube. “When I talk about capital, I talk about money, so people understand the financial terms that go into the (TV) journal and are in the books.”
By focusing and presenting the information as a financial education, she avoids the idea that she’s sharing “step by step (tips) to get rich.” Instead, issues that affect the low-income population take precedence and the information turns into explanatory videos – such as a step-by-step walkthrough on “clearing up our name” (credit), renegotiating debt and maintaining an emergency reserve.
“I show ways for people to get organized – and people identify with what they can. If you can save 20, 30 reais a month this is already wonderful,” she details. “It’s not always possible because unforeseen events happen. A refrigerator, a stove breaks down… But people are learning to get organized.”
Positives results from her work come through the networks, in comments and private messages she receives “every day”. “I got a message from a person who works for minimum salary and had no money for anything. She was able to save 100 reais for the first time and also leave get her name clean,” reports Nathália.
The age range of audience that tuning in for the advice varies, but generally attracts people between the ages of 18 to 35, but having similar income. “They are interns, scholars, students who earn a little money here and there, unemployed, people who earn a minimum wage.”
Before recording her videos, she submits her explanation to a simple “test”. “I start by explaining the matter to my father. If my dad gets it, I know everyone will understand.”
Below are some financial education basics with tips from Nathália Rodrigues.
1) Why should people save?
“The first step is to think about what you want to do with the money,” says Nathália Rodrigues. For example, saving an emergency reserve that can help with unforeseen events, or even the money needed to fund a course. The motivator serves as an extra stimulus to consolidate the new habit of saving.
2) How should people plan?
Without having an idea of how much Money is coming in and how much is going out, this becomes a difficult task. “I suggest writing down all the expenses so you know where you are spending too much or too little,” says Nathália. “It could be on a notebook sheet, a WhatsApp group with yourself, a spreadsheet, an application.”
Financial analyst Mariana Ribeiro of the Finanças Femininas website makes the same suggestion. Control of cash flow should be done everyday and not just at the end of the month.
“We earn the salary once a month, and the feeling is that only then I need to sit down and close the bills,” explains Mariana. “If the person has no control of the daily and monthly expenses, they can’t solve it.”
The reason for this is because not having a clue of what’s coming and what’s going isn’t always about making those high-priced purchases such as an appliance or computer, but in the little things that are bought on a regular basis. Pricier items can be purchased in installments, which works best for financial planning or creating a budget. “The difficulty is the small costs, the silly little thing you don’t think about. There are three reais here, plus five there and, when you will see it, this is what spoils the budget,” says Mariana.
3) Where can you cut expenses?
With a better idea of Money where the Money is going, it becomes easier re-think where you can make reductions or cut off certain purchases altogether. This can obviously be a biggier problem for people working with less income, so Nathália suggests alternative methods.
“If you live in a place where the internet and light always fall, you can call a customer center and lower your bill,” she says. Another trick is developing the habit of taking lunches and home-prepared snacks to work instead of always buying in stores and restaurants. Another thing to remember is that there are sometimes possibilities of renegotiating debt, such as the so-called “feiras de limpa nome”, or “clean name fairs” in which various companies and financial institutions come together in one event to renegotiate the payments of debts owed by customers.
4) What’s the best way to save?
The time between receiving your salary and making any sort of transaction is the key here. Develop a habit of making investments as soon as your receive your salary and do this every month. In this way, when the money is invested first over the course of time, after a while, you won’t even miss it. “You can’t expect that about money, there’s always an emergency,” opines Nathalia. “You can think of it as if it were a fee you have to pay, and then you’ll be saving BRL 20 or BRL 30.”
Both Nathália and Mariana indicate that saving is a habit. Think of it as a way of taking care of or investing in yourself.
“Taking care of money is taking care of yourself. If it’s missing, it has an impact that we sometimes don’t even measure,” says Mariana Ribeiro, from Finanças Femininas (Women’s Finances).
5) What do you do with the money that you save?
Nathália’s goal, – as well as thayt of other professionals focused on financial education – is to demonstrate that saving and investing are not “seven-headed animals”, but the question is: where do you save money and invest your money?
“I recommend saving money even if it is in savings, at the beginning, and then looking for something at Tesouro Direto*,” she says. This program allows the purchase of federal government bonds at modest amounts (at least 30 reais) by individuals, but with a better yield than savings accounts. “It’s a safe method in which you won’t lose money”, summarizes the native of Rio state.
In an interview with O Povo, Nath talked more in-depth about the responsibilities and pleasures of discussing financial education.
O Povo – How are the themes of videos and posts on Twitter defined?
Nathália Rodrigues – It depends a lot, the themes are defined according to the news I see, the questions I get on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and email and also the research I do, experiences that I or family and close friends had. I can always identify an opportunity to bring new guidelines to create conversations with my community on the internet.
OP – You say your audience is interns, quota students, students, the unemployed, people who earn a minimum wage. What do you need to be more careful about when discussing financial education and economics with and for this audience?
NR – There’s no magic formula. My job is not about making BRL 1 million (reais), it’s about showing that you can be financially healthy when you earn a minimum wage. It’s not easy, I know. But we need to help people change their relationship with money.
OP – What do you consider the most essential points in the production of accessible content, especially about economics?
NR – Talking about finance has always been a very elite subject, right? Bringing in the perspective of a low-income person who is studying personal finance and home economics fosters a much greater connection with people in this same reality. For me, to produce accessible content, in terms of language and sharing of knowledge, it is essential to be aware of the responsibility it carries, commitment to your community and connection with your reality.
OP – A very recurring subject in your Twitter posts and column in the Voz da Comunidade (Voice of the Community) vehicle is the lack of financial education in the schools. How can people who have no access to financial education access quality content?
NR – Education is everything. Education changes realities, that is a fact. Financial education plays a key role in building a more conscientious and just society. Today we have the opportunity to have access to a lot of information through the internet – although we know that this is not a reality for all Brazilians, unfortunately. But undoubtedly the internet is a great ally in accessing information, not just about financial education.
OP – How do you recognize discourses of economics and/or investments that don’t fit the reality of the viewer?
NR – To recognize discourses that are not within the reality of the spectator, I believe that the person needs to know himself, to be aware of his reality.
OP – What does it mean to be a columnist in the Community Voice vehicle? What is the work experience like?
NR – I am a partner of Voz da Comunidade and have had some articles published on the portal, but currently I am dedicated to producing content for my channels. I hope to be able to write regularly again soon, but this year I’m finishing college – beyond the internship and content creation for my channels.
OP – Just by going quickly through the comments on the channel and Twitter posts, it’s already possible to check some reports of how the content produced helped many people. Is there any report that struck you the most?
NR – I am very emotional when I receive these messages, which is why I produce content: in order to help people seek financial health. I couldn’t tell you one in particular, because they all make me realize that I am on the right track, helping my community.
Five Nath tips for those who want to start tracking personal finances
- Understand your relationship with money: How you behave, especially in relation to emotions, and how it affects your financial life;
- Make your financial life a habit: Writing down your expenses, studying and understanding what’s necessary and what you want to consume. I recommend Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit;
- Be sure to note your weekly/daily spending: Choose a specific day to organize your finances (once a week or every day), it makes a difference;
- Control your money: With spreadsheets, apps or even notebook paper. I have videos on the channel about it!
- Save what you can: Don’t be sad if you can’t save 20% of your money to invest. The important thing is that you study and control your money. Keep what you can, don’t get frustrated.
Where do you start?
“Imagine you have bills to pay and don’t know what your balance is? How will you maintain your good financial health? Let’s put this habit into practice! You can record your expenses weekly or daily,” suggests the Administration student.
According to Nathália, the key is to write down your finances. Her tips are:
– Notebook: Separate expenses, if you have a fixed account every month, already write it down and leave it in the notebook
– Financial Spreadsheets: On my channel I have a spreadsheet and I teach how to use them
– WhatsApp group just with you: Don’t forget to write down the peanuts you spent on the train, right!
– Financial Control Apps: I have on my channel the 4 best apps