Haley Sacks' Mrs Dow Jones website, where she dishes out financial tips

San Francisco (AFP) - Haley Sacks, the self-described “financial pop star” who dishes out savvy tips to a younger generation of investors, was among those following Thursday’s hearings in Washington on the Gamestop trading saga.

Also known as Mrs Dow Jones, the 29-year-old Sacks has gathered tens of thousands of followers on YouTube, Twitter and Tiktok, where she gives upbeat and snappy lessons on all things finance, including budgeting, saving, cryptocurrencies and the markets.

“GameStop was an incredibly exciting moment,” Sacks told AFP.

“It’s amazing that they took on the financial elite. … We need to disrupt the traditional financial establishment and make room for this new wave.”

The House Financial Services Committee was holding a hearing Thursday seeking answers on the recent stock market frenzy that caused dizzying moves in the value of little-known shares and prompted calls for tougher Wall Street regulations.

Central to the story has been videogame retailer GameStop, whose value soared as people driven by a Reddit chatroom swarmed to buy its shares – only for the stock’s value to crash soon after, leaving many inexperienced and first-time investors burned.

New York-based Sacks combines sass, humor and sharp insights to provide entertaining financial guidance in an otherwise jargon-laden and frequently male-dominated field that can often seem dull to the newcomer.

One of her recent Instagram posts, for instance, compares characters in Netflix’s “Bridgerton” show to various investment types.

According to Sacks, the marriage-resistant duke, Simon Basset, would be the equivalent of a bond, which “takes forever to mature.”

Sacks’s views on Wall Street’s latest speculative fever have been closely followed by her largely 18-34 year-old audience.

- ‘Shift of power’ -

The recent volatility – with moves of up to 400 percent in one week for GameStop – prompted calls for regulators to review the role of social media, hedge funds and trading platforms which may manipulate the market.

GameStop stock rocketed in value amid a Reddit-driven buying frenzy, only to crash soon after

Vladimir Tenev, CEO of trading app Robinhood, will be among those giving testimony.

Thousands of users complained when the platform suddenly blocked trades in GameStop and other “meme” stocks, leading to allegations the company was protecting short-selling hedgefunders who lost money as stock values rose.

Robinhood denies such claims as “absolutely false.”

“This is the same Robinhood who told us they democratize finance for all,” Sacks said on TikTok.

“At its core, what all this is about is a shift of power. Away from the establishment and into the individual.”

Sacks has always been interested in finance, and her curiosity was further fueled when she was hired as a content creator at a production company and was enrolled in a market-tied American 401(k) retirement plan.

- ‘Accessible for all’ -

“I was faced with like, the financial decisions of a full-time employee,” she said.

“So I went home and did what any self-respecting millennial does and I tried to learn on YouTube. And the only videos that were available to me, were really by these, like, men with really no charisma. It was so boring.”

“The women were really just giving personal finance advice, whereas like the Wall Street lingo was left to the guys,” she added.

So three years ago, armed with her new knowledge and having lost her job after her employer went bankrupt, Sacks launched Mrs Dow Jones.

She now employs six people and generated “over six-figures of revenues” in 2020 through advertising partnerships, merchandise and speaking events.

Among the many items for sale on her website: velour lounge pants with the word “assets” emblazoned in rhinestones across the butt.

This year, she will market direct-to-consumer courses and resume her studies to become a qualified financial planner for firms and individuals.

But her main motivation remains unchanged.

“Wall Street likes the idea of being exclusive and being insider,” she said.

“I want to make investing and finance accessible for all.”