A look at the world of ‘FinTok’
Monday 11 April 2022
Three things you should know about the growing trend of people offering money advice on TikTok.
TikTok is a video-based app that is starting to rival YouTube in popularity. It allows its more than a billion users to publish and watch creative, short videos. As Wired notes in its beginner’s guide to TikTok, the platform was first adopted by teenagers lip-syncing to music, but its popularity has grown beyond Generation Z. It has also gradually extended its maximum video length from 15 seconds to 10 minutes, and its increased usership has given rise to more varied content such as financial advice – dubbed ‘FinTok’. Videos tagged #personalfinance have attracted a total of 5.7 billion views.
As a free platform for reaching a large and relatively financially unsophisticated audience, TikTok has been a largely unregulated environment when it comes to money messages. According to Forbes, there are self-proclaimed “financial experts” who advise users to get into day-trading shares and avoid pension plans, but there are also those who responsibly educate others about money. One of the American personal finance influencers Forbes mentions, Carmen Perez, says: “Social media makes it easier to normalise a relatively taboo topic, money.”
The FinTok trend is having an impact in other countries too, with the financial establishment taking note. UK retail investment company Hargreaves Lansdown found that half of 18- to 34-year-olds in the country have become more interested in investing, and one in five as a result of TikTok. The Guardian newspaper has highlighted the work of several British FinTok influencers, such as Financielle, but also noted finance professionals’ general concerns about lack of regulation. Against that, it reported that TikTok has acted to crack down on how financial services are promoted and to remind users that investments involve risks.