Social media has an abundance of captivating videos and seemingly reliable advice. But it’s important to exercise caution when applying advice from social platforms. This is especially true with financial content, like GirlMath or cryptocurrency investment hacks, as they can be misleading.

According to a recent survey, 79% of millennial and Gen Z Americans have used social media to seek out financial advice. Meanwhile, another survey finds 46% of Gen Zers admitted to posting content in an effort to appear more successful, which means some people may be presenting a less-than-accurate picture of themselves or lack the proper credentials to give accurate financial advice.  

Here are some ways to evaluate information on social media to differentiate between reliable and deceptive financial guidance.

Credentials Are Important for Giving Sound Financial Advice

Anyone can offer advice on financial well-being and money management, but what are their qualifications and why should you listen to them? Legitimate financial advisors have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, and they are required to have the General Securities Representative license, also known as the Series 7. They take rigorous exams to prove they have the expertise to provide you with helpful financial guidance. You should be wary of taking financial advice from people who don’t have these types of credentials as their advice may come down to nothing more than personal experiences or social media trends.

Recognizing Valuable Versus Trendy Content

Sometimes influencers are focused on creating content that aligns with current trends or getting more views. Before accepting any advice, assess who is sharing the information and the validity of their claims. For example, a current trend on TikTok called GirlMath is in fact satirical content that may look like genuine financial advice. One joke is that when you return a purchase, you have actually saved money and so you can spend it on another item. Using the so-called ‘Girl Math’ model, individuals might find themselves making decisions that jeopardize their financial security or long-term budgeting and saving goals.

If It Seems Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is

Always be careful with “side gig” or investment offers. Some scammers on social media will promise high returns on investments in a short period of time and with little effort involved. They may use fake testimonials and doctored screenshots of bank statements or trading accounts to add credibility. “Get rich quick” scams like these prey on people’s financial insecurities. Scammers may also try to steal your banking information by encouraging you to click on a random link or asking you to provide personal information. Also known as phishing, these scams can be embedded into job applications or other “side gig” links. To learn more about investment scams, read 4 Investment Scams to Watch Out For.

Additionally, some influencers make online side gig and job opportunities look easier than they are. Social media marketing and management jobs are often promoted on social media outlets as easy positions that allow you to make money fast. Remember to do your own research to see if these offers are legitimate. To learn more about various employment scams, read 5 Online Scams Targeting Your Wallet and How to Avoid Them.

Everybody Has a Different Financial Situation

There is no one-size-fits-all solution that will solve all your money problems. However, if you are looking on social media for ways to save money, popular budgeting hacks such as cash stuffing or the 50/30/20 rule could be helpful. Cash stuffing is when you set aside cash for expenses like rent or groceries and place it inside a labeled envelope, binder, or set up virtual envelopes (separate online bank accounts for each “expense”) to ensure your money is safe and federally insured. This method is designed to help people save money, build savings and pay down debt.

The 50/30/20 rule recommends people spend 50% of their after-tax dollars on necessities, no more than 30% on wants, and at least 20% on savings and debt repayment. If you’re unsure of what saving or budgeting style works best for you, seeking advice from a credited financial advisor can be helpful.

Always Consult with Your Bank or a Financial Advisor

Financial advice offered by influencers may be free, but it may cost you a lot in the long run. Before you turn to an online stranger for financial guidance, consult with your bank or investment advisor. At the end of the day, your finances impact your entire life, which is why it’s important to find a professional with the proper credentials.

Ultimately, if you choose to follow advice on social media, do your research first and make sure you fully understand it. If you are interested in learning more about saving or managing money, check out our Financial Health page at  

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