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How TikTok is revolutionising personal finance

Posted 24.03.2021
How TikTok is revolutionising personal finance

TikTok is one popular and engaging social media app that’s attracting users left, right, and centre. Although the platform’s large audience consists mainly of teenagers and young adults, there are also users from all walks of generations.

That may be because TikTok isn’t just about viral dance videos anymore. Instead, there’s something for everyone to watch, including personal finance snippets.

Yes, that’s right. Personal finance influencers are now bringing their content to the platform. They then squeeze it into the 15-60 second clips that embody Tik-Tok’s style. That means South Africans – who are also part of TikTok’s mix of users – can now improve their financial literacy via their favourite app.

They have even coined a name for this trend – #FinTok or #StockTok. You’ll also find it under other hashtags, including #entrepreneur and #personal finance. With the way the trend is catching on, TikTok is poised to change the rules of the game when it comes to personal finance.

Let’s look at the reasons why and how you can make the most of this new financial education resource.

TikTok brings financial literacy to your doorstep

TikTok is a fun place to hang out. If you’re a young South African you probably log in some decent hours on the platform. It’s one of the big reasons why TikTok personal finance influencers have had so much success in attracting followers.

They simply set up shop, and because of how trendy TikTok is, you’ll end up rubbing shoulders with them. So in the middle of all the laughs, likes, and shares, you get to learn a thing or two about money management without feeling like you’re in an accounting lecture.

Here’s a quicker way to look at it: Chances are you have your phone with you most times. Chances are, you also tune into TikTok regularly. Coming across money advice clips is only a small step from there, so you literally have personal finance tips and tricks waiting on your doorstep, albeit an internet doorstep.

TikTok offers the type of content young people are happy to consume

Let’s face it, there are more social media addicts than ever, whether it’s because of Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok. However, TikTok seems to have hit the nail right on the head in terms of entertaining young adults.

Financial experts have realized that TikTok has become a valuable vehicle that can be used to deliver personal finance nuggets in a way young people can accept. 

Because of the short-form nature of TikTok’s videos, creators are forced to come up with creative and easy-to-understand content. It works because money problems are something everyone can relate to, even the young ones. 

With the current economic downturn in South Africa, more and more people are looking for side hustles and gigs as well as other tips that allow them to stay afloat financially. Now they no longer have to read a boring book – the money advice they need is right there on TikTok, and it comes in the right package.

TikTok has the power of social media on its side

You’re probably aware of the power of social media. Once something goes viral or “breaks the internet” dramatic results can follow. Social media trends have built up celebrities, toppled some, and changed many lives for the better.

And with an army of financial experts on its platform, TikTok is revolutionising personal finance. From how to build wealth and invest in shares to promoting black-owned businesses and personal finance success stories, the topic of money is out in the open and up for discussion. In a nutshell, TikTok helps people gain financial knowledge in a way they never did at school.

Should you get money advice on TikTok?

While TikTok’s short videos can be highly educational, Finance TikTok is also populated with untruths, scams, and straight-up financially damaging advice. We’re not saying avoid all mention of #FinTok, but if you’re looking for genuine and helpful financial advice, be sure to keep the following in mind:

Anyone can create a TikTok profile

Just because someone is talking about personal finance issues doesn’t mean they’re qualified to do so. Make sure you’re getting your money management lessons from trusted sources. Do your research, and don’t be too impressionable, even if the creator seems confident and authoritative.

Short clips can also be a problem

Learning something under 60 seconds can be fun. However, this is also one of TikTok’s major limitations. The creator simply can’t give you the entire context of a particular piece of personal finance advice. It’s up to you to follow up and fill in the gaps.

If you have to pay, it’s probably a scam

The promise of becoming a millionaire is no doubt attractive, especially if your bank balance is on the wrong side of zero. But never send anyone money or fall for “get rich quick” promises. If it sounds too good to be true, then yes, it’s a scam.

Financial situations are different

A TikTok personal finance influencer in the U.S. probably can’t fully identify with your South African reality. So pick what applies and ignore what doesn’t serve you. Even if a creator is a South African, like Vusi Thembekwayo, keep in mind your situation is unique, and money advice doesn’t always fall into the one-size-fits-all category.

The bottom line

While TikTok is pushing personal finance issues to the forefront among South African youths, not all financial personalities on the app should be trusted. Ultimately, if you have a lot of free time to spend on TikTok you might as well spend some of it learning how to manage your finances responsibly.

In a nutshell, here’s how to ride this TikTok trend and still come up on top money-wise:

  • Carry out some background checks on any financial experts you follow. Do they have the right credentials? Are they an authority on the subject? Do they have a reputable history of offering solid financial advice? Make sure the answer to all these questions is yes.
  • Learn to trust your judgement. If specific advice seems “off” or doesn’t apply to you, give it a pass and move on to something that offers value.
  • Make sure the creator’s approach matches your financial values and goals. Don’t be bullied into taking financial advice you’re not happy with.