How to check if a personal finance influencer on TikTok is legit
- Many people turn to TikTok and Instagram Reels for their financial literacy content.
- It’s hard to know who to trust on the internet, so we asked a former financial advisor how to spot the real experts.
- Humphrey Yang says there are three green flags to look out for.
Many Zers and Millennials first turn to TikTok and Instagram Reels for financial education before contacting a professional, such as a financial advisor or financial planner. On TikTok alone, videos using the hashtag #MoneyTok have a combined 12.7 billion views (and more).
There are usually two groups of influencers in personal finance: First, there are financial professionals who have left the field to make a greater impact on the Internet. Next, there are people who have made great financial achievements, such as paying off all student loans or building a six-figure investment portfolio in a short period of time.
Personal financial influencer, former financial advisor, and TurboTax investment expert Humphrey Yang belongs to the first group. After building 3.3 million followers on TikTok and 508,000 on Instagram, Yang knows how to spot an influencer who already knows what they’re talking about.
Yang told Insider that there are three green flags to look for when assessing whether a personal financial influencer is legitimate.
1. They respond to feedback from their community
“The green flag is truly Listen to their audience and understand their problems,” says Yang. On TikTok, it is relatively easy to see if influencers are creating new videos to answer common questions in comments. On TikTok and Instagram, you can simply scroll down to see if the influencer has responded to some or most Comments.
However, Yang warns, “There are some financial creators who have hired an agency to post a bunch of content for them. They are going to cut the content and this creator won’t even respond to comments.”
2. They have a long-term mindset
Yang says that an influencer who claims they know how to get rich quickly is a big red flag. And he adds, “Make sure they’re not trying to sell you a product, like, ‘Check out my sales funnel, my course, my one-on-one advice! There are also people who claim, “This is how you will make 10x your money today!”
Long-term mindset influencers are more likely to explain larger financial concepts, such as Roth IRAs or 401(k)s, or daily habits that can help you become better with money.
3. Their past experiences match theirs
Yang encourages people to use Google personal finance influencers and learn about their past experiences. He says, “The first thing I would probably do is look at their work history on LinkedIn.”
For financial planners or financial advisors who have left the industry to serve a larger audience, it should be relatively easy to tell whether or not they are lying about their experience and credentials. On the other hand, influencers who have paid off large amounts of debt or high-income and self-educated investors usually post screenshots of their achievements to prove their legitimacy.