- Instagram influencer Helen Lu tells her followers to focus on retirement accounts, not Robinhood.
- She touts the benefits of “boring” investing like index funds and 401(k)s.
- “Many people have become millionaires from index fund investing,” she said in an Aug. 5 post.
One millennial influencer who calls herself the “Money Minimalist” says her thousands of followers should delete Robinhood and focus on long-term investing like retirement accounts instead.
Helen Lu, the 27-year-old influencer, told Fortune in an interview that Robinhood has more people interested and curious about investing, “which is great.”
“But if someone would rather set up that app than their 401(k), I tell them to delete the app,” she said.
The problem with Robinhood, Lu told Insider in an Instagram message, is that it was “designed to make investing feel like gambling.”
With retail traders joining the markets in droves amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Robinhood has come under scrutiny for gamifying investing – a claim that the app’s chief Vlad Tenev has denied, saying instead that it’s made investing easier for everyday people.
In March, Robinhood removed its digital confetti feature – which popped once users made their first trade – after the company faced scrutiny for its game-like features during a congressional hearing following the GameStop saga.
“Robinhood was built for everyone. Our design makes the app easy-to-use and informative for a generation of new investors who grew up using their phones. It’s important not to conflate ‘gamification’ with simple, intuitive design,” the company said in a statement to Insider.
The craze around meme stocks like GameStop this year has pushed new, younger-skewing investors into the stock market, according to a previous report from Fidelity. Those investors are now turning to something familar to learn how to invest: social media.
Lu, who has 16,000 Instagram followers, takes a more traditional approach to investing, which is quite the opposite of many finance influencers who teach momentum trading and speculative investing.
For example, in one post she advises teens to open a roth IRA, research index funds, and hold investments long term. “Many people have become millionaires from index fund investing,” she said in the Aug. 5 post.
“Buy and hold. Long-term investing. I like telling people that boring growth is better than exciting loss,” she told Fortune.
In messages to Insider, she said she uses Vanguard for index funds and recommends the book “The Simple Path to Wealth” by J L Collins for anyone looking to start investing. She also touted the benefits of retirement accounts like a 401(k).
“You can lower your taxable income, pay less in taxes, AND get an employer sponsored benefit,” she said. “That doesn’t happen when you invest with Robinhood.”