In the era of information at our fingertips, TikTok has become more than just a platform for entertainment; it’s now a hub for financial advice. With 76% of Gen Zers turning to TikTok and YouTube for financial insights, the rise of #FinTok, or personal finance TikTok, has been exponential. However, as the popularity of financial content grows, so does the risk of encountering misleading information that could lead to serious financial repercussions.
The Rise of #FinTok
With over 4.5 billion views on TikTok, #FinTok has emerged as a space where content creators delve into topics ranging from credit card debt and Roth IRAs to the trending concepts of “loud budgeting” and “soft saving.” The allure of quick and actionable financial advice has captivated a vast audience, but amidst the gems lie potential pitfalls.
Spotting Bad Financial Advice
As the dark side of TikTok reveals, not all financial advice is created equal. Here are some warning signs to help users distinguish between credible guidance and potential misinformation:
1. Anyone Can Be an ‘Expert’ – Seek Credentials
One of the challenges in the online financial space is the lack of transparent disclosures. With only 20% of financial advice on social media providing any disclosure, it becomes crucial to scrutinize the background and qualifications of TikTok creators. Look for credentials to ensure expertise in the field, as some “finfluencers” may profit more from courses they sell than from their actual financial experiences.
2. If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
Sustainable financial success requires careful planning and time. Beware of advice promising unrealistic returns or advocating get-rich-quick schemes. Genuine financial advice is based on facts and education, not sensational promises.
3. Don’t Rely on a Single Source – Trust but Verify
While social media platforms offer quick and accessible information, don’t make them your sole source. Follow the adage “trust but verify.” Research and cross-reference money tips or tricks from TikTok with insights from credentialed financial professionals. Diversifying your information sources enhances your understanding and protects you from potential biases.
4. Avoid Scare Tactics – Act Fast Is a Red Flag
Sound financial advice is based on facts and education, not fear tactics. Be cautious of statements creating a false sense of urgency, such as “act fast” to avoid missing out on an opportunity. Genuine advice focuses on informed decision-making rather than inducing panic.
5. Personal Finance Is Personal – Beware of One-Size-Fits-All
Recognize that personal finance is nuanced and varies for everyone. Be skeptical of one-size-fits-all recommendations, especially in investing. Tailor financial advice to your individual circumstances and financial goals.
Safeguarding Financial Well-being
While TikTok and YouTube offer valuable insights, it’s essential to approach financial advice with a critical mindset. Use these steps to safeguard your financial well-being:
– Improve Financial Literacy
Subscribe to reputable financial newsletters, listen to podcasts, or consult licensed financial professionals to enhance your money knowledge.
– Set Realistic Money Goals
Establish achievable financial goals, whether it’s paying down debt, building an emergency fund, or investing, and create a long-term plan.
– Set Social Media Boundaries
Limit your time on social media if comparisons are affecting your financial well-being. Set boundaries to ensure a healthy relationship with online financial content.