Is the financial advice on YouTube and TikTok safe?

Phone with YouTube on $100 bills

For decades, people traditionally went to a financial advisor’s office for money advice.

But now more and more younger people are turning to social media, and getting their financial advice from Reddit, YouTube and TikTok.

Can you really get good money advice while scrolling social media?

Justine Nelson says yes. She managed to pay off more than $35,000 of student loans in just two-and-a-half years, on a $37,000 salary. When friends asked her to share her secret, she launched Debt Free Millennials, a YouTube channel for easy-to-execute personal finance advice.

“We need to equip younger generations with the tools to better manage their money,” Nelson said. “In my mind, personal finance is more important than advanced calculus.”

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When it comes to their money, a lot of people are looking for help, and finding it online.

Forbes Advisor and research firm Prolific found nearly 80% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 41 have used financial advice they saw on social media.

“Our generation definitely has a different state of mind, especially because we were coming into adulthood and graduating from college during a really difficult time in our economy,” Nelson said.

Nelson said many of her subscribers like being part of an anonymous community that’s focused on making good financial choices.

“It allows them to be vulnerable in ways that they haven’t been with their immediate friends and family,” she said.

How Safe Is It?

But is it safe to get advice this way? We turned to Roy Mitchell, an old school CPA, to see his take on TikTok or YouTube advice.

“It’s quick, to the point, and easy to follow,” he said. “The disadvantage is that oftentimes it is typically not very comprehensive.”

Mitchell said he worries that it is often too narrow.

“They may talk about what you can do as far as debt management, but they may not talk about investments,” he said. “Or just the opposite.”

He said a TikTok-er’s personal situation may be very different from yours, so he suggests you use caution. Mitchell said things like budgeting advice and tips to pay down debt can encourage healthy financial habits.

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But watch out for anyone trying to sell you a get rich quick scheme, so that you don’t waste your money.

John Matarese, WCPO

About the Author

John Matarese

John's goal is to help as many TV viewers as possible save money, avoid bad deals, know a rip-off when one comes their way, and be educated consumers. His informative weekly consumer segment "Don't Waste Your Money" now airs on 45 TV stations from San Diego to Tampa to Houston and Cincinnati. More.

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