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Behind the Screen: An Interview with Palestrina – Reddit Personal Finance Canada Moderator

The Tribe is Right

The tribe of DIY investors that frequent and contribute to forums all understand what it’s like to wade into the water for the first time or even what it’s like to get tossed around by the market waves. That empathy, especially in the world of DIY finance, goes a long way and is a stark contrast to the unwieldy search engine results, excess marketing, and a generally confusing subject matter.

As a result, online investing forums provide respite and a sense of community in an otherwise lonely journey.

Reddit: The Front Page of the Internet

When it comes to forums, the Canadian DIY investor has a several solid choices. Despite its status as the new kid on the block, Reddit’s Personal Finance Canada thread has quickly become a touch point of choice for many.

As a product, Reddit is a fascinating phenomenon. It’s as Spartan as it comes and although it proclaims to be the ‘front page of the internet’ it looks and feels like the frontier of the internet. In one of the many corners or ‘subreddits’ of Reddit, is a place called PersonalFinanceCanada (PFC) where all things personal finance get discussed.

So, why would individuals seek out financial advice, let alone trust it,  from the same website where cat videos, photogenic goats and quirky .gifs abound?

It’s difficult to say for sure, however the strength of the community and an overall ethos of self-regulation helps to keep the system remarkably functional.

Perhaps the convenience of being able to access the diversity of information on Reddit keeps users coming back. Readers of this particular subreddit, and of Reddit in general, seem to be ok with accepting who is behind the keyboard and voting features help serve as an information filter on what will or won’t fly with the community of users.

As with all sources on the internet, especially large and amorphous communities, however, it is still crucial to ask questions about the motives and credentials behind the answers offered.

By the Numbers

/r/PersonalFinanceCanada growth milestones
/r/PersonalFinanceCanada growth milestones (source:

The stats on the Reddit Personal Finance Canada subreddit are impressive and definitely lend credence to its usage.

From its inception in January of 2012 to its most recent milestone of over 11,000 readers, the explosive growth in readership speaks to the curiosity Redditors have about managing their financial well being.  (source:

That elusive yet increasingly important demographic of “millennials” is on Reddit. There they are actively looking for information and contributing their thoughts on personal finance, for many at a time of important life transitions.