Indians turn to for financial advice

© BBC On YouTube, Rachana Ranade has 3.5 million subscribers.

One of the fastest expanding genres in the digital realm is easy-to-understand financial material, which is in high demand among young, tech-savvy investors in India.

Shivam Khatri, a 23-year-old director, made the decision to teach himself a skill he hadn’t learned in school or college: managing money, when the epidemic struck two years ago and Mumbai’s film companies shut their doors permanently.

He looked through books and tutorials, but soon realized that the young YouTubers who created financial content were the ones that understood him.

“Their videos are straightforward and simple to follow. They also cover a wide range of subjects, “Says Mr. Khatri.

Rachana Ranade was one of the people he followed religiously. Her cheeky, easy, breezy way of distilling complicated financial jargon into understandable content has garnered her 3.5 million YouTube viewers.

Ms. Ranade showed us a wall-to-wall graphic that depicted her growth as a YouTuber in her posh new office in the western city of Pune.

In just five short months after publishing her first video in February 2019, she has amassed 100,000 members. Since then, she has grown in nothing short of a meteoric manner.

Ms. Ranade frequently experiences the kind of fanfare that is typically reserved for Bollywood stars or cricketing legends in exchange for autographs and selfies.

She is an outspoken movie enthusiast, and her office cabin includes lines from Shah Rukh Khan productions on one wall. She uses these quotations to teach difficult-to-understand financial concepts. There is one from the popular movie Kal Ho Na Ho to emphasize the importance of purchasing life insurance.

Ms Ranade thinks it all comes down to one mantra: “simple finance.”

Getty Pictures During the outbreak, countless young Indians opened trading accounts.

Young, tech-savvy investors in India are pursuing it precisely. With the help of investing services provided by internet brokerages at the press of a button, millions of them opened trading accounts during the pandemic to take part in the market bull run.

However, according to official polls, just 3 out of 10 Indians are financially literate. And in the midst of a unicorn boom that has created overnight billionaires, they are eager to learn how to make a quick profit on the stock market or how to run their own business.

This sweet spot is what has made financial content one of the digital space’s fastest-growing genres.

Ankur Warikoo, an entrepreneur-turned-‘fin-fluencer’ whose videos focus on personal finance, business, and productivity hacks, claims that YouTube is becoming a university for Gen-Z and millennials in India.

His debut book, Do Epic Shit, quickly became a bestseller, and last year, his enormous popularity even landed him a publishing deal.

BBC Ankur Warikoo has become well-known among young Indians thanks to his videos.

Although it seems like he rose to fame virtually overnight, Mr. Warikoo claims his career as a video creator began almost ten years ago. But for him and the entire ecosystem of financial content producers, the pandemic turned out to be a real turning point.

“There was a sudden increase in the amount of top-notch content being provided by many different artists. There was a market that was very supportive, an audience with time and money to spare, “Mr. Warikoo explains. “You would have trouble making your case if this were a bear run.”

This accomplishment, according to Mr. Warikoo, was made possible by “a potent mix” of enabling variables, including affordable data, rising internet usage, and the Gen-Z and millennial population’s switch from TV and print to digital video in India. Particularly with a subject like money, which is something that we all aspire to comprehend but are only seldom given the chance to, he adds.

It’s not a wholly inaccurate assumption.

For years, there hasn’t been enough demand in India for the number of business channels carrying real-time financial market content. But instead of tiny, inexperienced market participants attempting to grasp the fundamentals, they have all generally catered to a select group of traders and institutional investors.

But several YouTubers have been able to successfully close this market gap. And through partnerships and placements, companies are being courted by advertisers and brand managers with large sums of money.

BBC Rachana Ranade explains difficult-to-understand financial concepts using dialogue from movies.

Top influencers can make up to $20,000 for a single branded video, claims Forbes.

Although experts applaud this trend for democratizing financial education, they caution consumers to exercise cautious.

While most digital content producers operate in a regulatory gray area, business TV anchors are subject to tight regulations. While Ms. Ranade and Mr. Warikoo don’t offer direct stock recommendations or tips, many others do, frequently without the required qualifications or experience.

“I would believe folks who have experienced several market cycles when it comes to slightly more intricate aspects of long-term investing. Currently, everything has just increased since this digital phenomena has engulfed us “says Govindraj Ethiraj, a former business channel editor who now runs a website for fact-checking.

Indian equity markets are experiencing severe volatility following a two-year bull run as billions of dollars in foreign capital are being expelled from the nation. According to Mr. Ethiraj, it will be the first true measure of how durable or fleeting the success of India’s financial influencers is.