Alicia*, an art student in her teens, started earning money through her blog late last year. The only problem? She didn’t know what to do with it.
She’s Not Alone A growing number of teens and young adults have started making money online. That’s where TikTok came in, the free-to-access micro-video sharing platform.
Some began learning about their finances on TikTok by accessing a highly personalized and seemingly endless feed. This sounds great in theory, but problems arise when they don’t know how to spend, save, or invest that money correctly.
“Should I use it all for college expenses? Should I invest a part of it? If so, where? Was the few hundred dollars I earned taxable? My school never formally taught us about taxes, investing, or budgeting, so I felt lost,” Alicia told YR Media.
Using hashtags like #FinTok and #StockTok, the TikTok personal finance community has millions of users and has become an important resource for students like Alicia.
“I accidentally found an ‘Investing 101’ style post in my feed and it hit me: I need to learn how to manage my money. If schools don’t teach it, TikTok will,” he said.
Experts believe that TikTok’s format may also have a role to play.
“Due to the popularity of short-form video first through YouTube, then Instagram, and now TikTok, Gen Z is used to consuming content in small chunks, rather than long ones,” said Robb Hecht, professor of marketing and social media. at Baruch College. . “We are in a situation where many creators are making money and they want to learn how to invest, but not from an old school financial analyst, but from someone who knows current trends, teaches fast and gets straight to the point. ”
There is also the inherent risk factor in teaching inversions to young children. They can make mistakes and lose money. Who is responsible for that loss then? Schools and universities don’t want to take that risk, according to Hecht.
Andrew Selepak, a professor of social media at the University of Florida, weighed in on the knowledge that is trickling down to future generations.
“Colleges and K-12 education often don’t teach life skills, so students don’t learn how to do their taxes, invest or balance a checkbook,” Selepak said. “Schools have traditionally viewed these life skills as things that students would learn naturally over time. But with each new generation, people don’t learn these skills and don’t pass them on to their children.”
Like any other social media trend, “FinTok” comes with its own set of risks, according to Dr. Natalie Pennington, a professor of communication studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
“When it comes to money and investment, risk and reward go hand in hand; And if you don’t have that set of skills or knowledge to balance the two, you could trust a recommendation and lose everything. If a CPA or financial planner (with credentials!) is sharing content and advice, this could be an account worth following,” said Pennington.
*Name changed to protect privacy.