This article presents a postcolonial analysis of financial citizenship (FC) programmes in Malaysia. Drawing on secondary data and on interviews with elites and citizen investors, the paper explores the spatial and historically specific nature of financialisation in a postcolonial context. Specifically, the paper draws out the significance of FC as part of broader nation building objectives in Malaysia from an elite perspective, while also observing the reluctance of citizen investors who are engaging with the equity market to support the formal objectives of the policy. In doing so, it provides an example of the financialisation of everyday life in a distinctive and complex emerging economy context. Moreover, the paper explores these processes from both elite and citizen perspectives, allowing these layered relations within FC to be analysed. The article, therefore, contributes to the financialisation literature by bringing new understandings of elite–citizen relations in postcolonial nation-building strategies.