We have all found ourselves there. We have just gotten comfy on the couch or settled in our beds, with the pillows just how we like them, ice water in hand. Whether you are waiting around or it is just before bed, you start scrolling on Tiktok and a video pops up of someone giving financial advice. Maybe it is about how to budget and buy groceries for mouth-watering meals, how to make a vacation more affordable, or tips for first-time investors. Content creation related to finances is rapidly growing on the already popular media platform.
First, how do you know if you can trust that the information given is accurate? Personal finance experts, including many who create the content themselves, say that Tiktok and other media platforms should only serve as a “jumping-off” point for the exploration of different practices. While there are many content creators that spread knowledge about interesting ways to budget or great beginner credit cards to get, it is important to remember that some of them also have contracts or promotional deals with the companies they reference. However, that is not to say that all the information is inaccurate or wrong. It is critically important to note that the very nature of Tiktok is that you get short clips. It can be very dangerous to follow financial advice that you do not fully understand. While it is great that social media can get people motivated to learn about how to be smarter with their finances, these content creators do not have enough time to go in depth.
All of this to say, people are creating this content and sharing it on various media platforms because there is a large knowledge gap in this information. Most people do not know much about personal finance and want to feel more empowered to make responsible decisions. So these clips are often very popular, which can be great! The spread of financial literacy knowledge is incredibly important, as traditionally those with privilege were the ones in society that would know the ins and outs of investing and saving, leaving underprivileged, predominantly people of color, out.
Tiktok and other media platforms are great places to learn about new, creative techniques or to get inspired to learn more about personal finance. But be wary of the information overload you receive. Lots of complicated information is crammed into short videos, so before you follow advice you have heard, be sure to do your own research from credible sources so that you understand the process behind what you are doing with your money.
Ultimately, the best advice is to find the budgeting method/investing strategy/saving practice that works best for you. The methods that you can stick to and work for you and where you find success. Maybe that is the 50/30/20 rule, maybe you like the $5 challenge? If you want to bounce around ideas you learn from social media, here’s a hack! Reach out to Emory Financial Literacy!