What is FinTok? TikTok influencers offer financial advice to Gen Z – but is it a useful financial tool?

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We spoke to InvestwithRuss and TikTokInvestors to find out if Tik Tok is a useful tool for financial literacy.

Launched in 2016, TikTok is undoubtedly the quintessence of Generation Z which adapts to the changing society that is emerging around us.

With one billion active users in 2021, TikTok and other visual social media – like Instagram, which has 1.386 billion active users according to BackLinko – provide the means to educate, entertain and inform.

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TikTok is infamous for its niches, and FinTok is one that is gaining traction.

But what exactly is FinTok and is it redefining financial literacy?

What is FinTok?

FinTok is a subsection dedicated to providing financial advice and money management tips with content creators who bundle hard-to-grasp concepts into informative but short clips.

The short clips cover the basics of basic financial literacy, from what investing in stocks is to generating multiple side income, also known as side activities.

What is FinTok? TikTok influencers offer financial advice to Gen Z – but is it a useful financial tool?

Ali Bukhari, a 19-year-old student in London, said: “Along with authentic videos, like how to save money as a student, they can be incredibly useful.”

This idea of ​​informing and educating people to be more aware of financial matters seems to be the brand’s own method for Gen Z to bring up the topic of discussions about money – something generally considered too private to be disclosed.

InvestwithRuss is led by Russell Faigen and his team, who started creating TikTok videos in September 2020 after working for a fintech startup.

He started his account “as a way for me to interact, learn and teach myself every day.

“I started pushing myself to get into the news and create a story to share with everyone. It really started out as something fun that got bigger. Then I was able to make it a career.

He added, “A very big part of Fintok is history visually. It makes the content enjoyable.

“The general consensus is how can we help young people? How can we help them become an upper class of financial educators with financial literacy and financial intelligence? “

The different facets of FinTok

FinTok may tout itself as a way to improve financial literacy, but there are also concerns about videos promoting wealth and a materialistic lifestyle.

Of the driving force behind FinTok, Bukhari said, “It can be quite overwhelming…

“I feel like the videos promote a hyper-material lifestyle where people try to sell you their lessons – it’s pretty crazy.

“It’s like it’s all about money.

“The line is fine, social media has allowed a lot of good stuff to spread as well as a lot of toxic and hyper-social stuff because I think this generation is a lot more understanding and compassionate.

“But there is another wave of people in Gen Z who are only motivated by money and they are really motivated by purely material things.

“It balances out. There are some “helping students” videos, but you also see this hyper-capital dynamic among the age groups. “

This side, Bukhari thinks, has evolved as a rebellion against the current working lifestyle we see today: nine to five way of life. So earning their own money and being financially independent is the very first thing they talk about.

The two sides of social media

There have always been two sides to social media.

On the one hand, there is now a widely accessible platform to help spread ideas and connect with other people.

On the other hand, there is an alternative and accessible method of earning large sums of money without working a 9 to 5 – but with that follows some potentially dangerous advice.

TikTokInvestors is a FinTok parody account that started up last summer during the pandemic.

Having a background in public and private finance, they decided to post content of “anything that makes me laugh or makes me react … makes me say” that doesn’t make sense “.

“There was a guy recently who said that if you have student loans, instead of paying off your student loans, you should actually take those loans and buy real estate to fix. Then sell that and on the profits and pay off the loans. So it’s almost like leverage over leverage.

“For the 1% of people who understand the real estate market and understand the cost of repairing a property, this might make sense.

“But for 99% of impressionable listeners, that is absolutely terrible advice. Take all the money you have, pay off your student debt as fast as you can, be debt free, and then you can think of others. things. “

However, regarding some content creators, TikTokInvestors, said, “They are clearly making these videos because they are marketing themselves so people can access their discord (instant messaging platform) and pay. their annual fees. I don’t. know what’s going on in these discords, but it’s obviously a marketing ploy.

However, they point out that FinTok isn’t all bad: “FinTok is likely to be good for financial education in the long run. If you have someone who is trustworthy and offers true financial literacy, social media is a wonderful platform to promote that. “

Faigen agrees and said, “I am not here to influence my viewers in a negative way. I am here to teach.

“However, there were some chatterboxes who would create discord and use this community to increase shares and then make a video about how they had just experienced the most miraculous week of their trading lives.

“I can’t see FinTok taking the path it once took. I really think the law is cleaned up. We really appreciate our viewers, there really is no negative motive at all.

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