FinTok: How the cost of living crisis helped turn TikTok into a hub of financial advice | Science & Tech News

With rising costs comes the rise of FinTok, an online world of personal financial guidance.

From breaking down a (previously) small budget to navigating the murky world of crypto, and even the best apps to invest in, Financial TikTok is filled with content creators offering their advice about how to survive the cost of living.

It’s not the first time people have turned to the platform for help, with budget recipes and energy saving hacks (including gym showers) have become widespread in recent months.

But as costs increase, so does this new aspect of the app.

Beyond the viral dance moves, cat videos and feta pasta recipes that have made it viral, Ofcom’s research shows that TikTok is one of the three biggest sources of information for teenagers – next to Instagram and YouTube.

From school candy to four figures a month

Poku Banks started out as a school candy vendor but turned his personal finance degree from Nottingham University into a source of income, sharing guidance with his followers 341,100 TikTok.

Now, he said, he can earn four points a month from the platform, sharing tips in it; the best way to finance a holiday using investments, advice on car finance or how to use a new week as an entrepreneur.

With 41% of users between the ages of 18 and 24, TikTok is especially popular with Gen Z.

“Gen Z is growing up, our attention spans are short and that’s life,” he explains why he prefers to combine complex topics into short videos.

One Poll’s October 2022 research of 1,046 teenagers and 2,050 adults found that 60% of people now choose social media as the best place to get financial advice in cost of living.

12- to 17-year-olds say they get their best money-saving advice from TikTok and say they value this type of advice more than they get from their parents or school.

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As a result, more than a third of the age group say they have spent between £100 and £500 in their personal savings account because of advice.

A TikTok spokesperson said: “TikTok is a place where millions of people can have fun, but also learn. As more and more people search for financial information online, it’s important to us to help the community.” -our community to access proper support and advice on TikTok, especially if they are having trouble logging in elsewhere.

“We’ve been working with Citizen’s Advice for a long time to produce informative videos and the #FactCheckYourFeed campaign. Most recently, we’ve launched a new Cost of Living Hub – to bring together the best advice from the community our community and to help people make the right financial decisions. them.”

‘Brother Treasure’

A quick search under the hashtag #stocktok reveals videos of developers making “thousands in seconds” and promising “stocks that will make me rich by 2023”.

Laura Pomfret, from Financielle, said: “If people in our community ask us, should I invest in cryptocurrency, I say, it’s entirely up to you but let me say to you what cryptocurrency is, I will tell you some. the risk is so that you can make your own decisions.”

But with anyone able to create an account and upload a video – and there’s no real formula for what gets attention and goes viral – there are concerns about navigating the platform and the potential safety of following some of the the instructions.

“I’m worried. On my page for you [TikTok’s personalised homepage] yesterday it was a ‘wealth brother’ from America saying you should finance a car and use that money,” said Laura.

“[He was] promises of returns that won’t happen, and when I see something like that, it makes me nervous.”

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Searching for financial hashtags brings a disclaimer from TikTok, reminding users that “all investments carry risk” and never revealing personal information on the app.

Advice on how to spot a scam, with TikTok from Citizen’s Advice.

“I mean, we all don’t give financial advice,” Ellie Austin-Williams from This Girl Talks Money told Sky News.

“And for a lot of people, it’s really a misconception. A lot of people are like, ‘Oh, I need a financial advisor on TikTok, to tell me what to do.’

“Financial advisors, even if they’re qualified on TikTok, they can’t tell you what to do.

“It’s impossible.”

‘I will never sell you anything’

Like all social media platforms, Ellie said there is a “spread of scammers” out there who impersonate her accounts.

“It’s the worst in finance,” he said.

“I will not sell you anything, I will never encourage you to do business.

“It’s just a case of having a little caution in your mind that if something seems too good to be true, it is.”

Poku added that all the advice is based on his own experience, and although they “may push you in a certain way, or a direction that we believe is best”, both use disclaimers in their content, warning users just to use money. can, or remind them that no investment guarantees a return.

Too many women

Less than 50 years ago, a woman could not open a bank account in her own name. Now, female entrepreneurs are using the TikTok platform to try to close this gender gap.

Laura Pomfret, and her sister Holly Holland, started Financielle in 2016 when Laura was on holiday.

From a working-class northern background, the former lawyer says he was “just a waste of money as a graduate living in the city, spending everything I got” because he “never got a financial education “.

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“It’s kind of the concept of too many women whether you’re a mother or a daughter or what kind of people you let go of or these conversations, money feels overwhelming,” said the mother of three.

TikTok, he says, appeals as a platform because you have to combine topics into short 60-second videos (although the app is experimenting with longer content, shorter videos remain the most popular).

“We’re looking for something short and quick, that can cut through the noise and say it’s real,” he said.

Amidst the turmoil of the past few months – with a small budget announced then withdrawn, two new Prime Ministers and multiple Chancellors – Laura said: “There’s been a lot of economic buzzwords around, and people said ‘I’m trying to make sure I can pay the bills and trying to figure out what the quantitative easing is whether interest rates will affect me or not.”

‘Everything is for my parents’

Ellie, 35, says This Girl Talks Money’s target audience is 91% female and mostly Gen Z.

When he first started researching personal finance, he was disillusioned with the way everything was aimed at “my parents’ age, not me” and realized that if the skills were taught in school read and write more, it may not be necessary for these online developers. fill in the blanks.

“What we need is a mandatory meeting,” Poku added, though he was quick to point out that he doesn’t blame individual teachers.

“All adults are looking to invest, whether it’s retirement or themselves, we know we’ll get a credit card one day but we don’t talk about credit scores.

“So, we’re thrown into the world and we don’t know anything.”


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