vTAGGED IDEAS #moneytok has had 10.6 billion views on TikTok, more than #tacotuesday, #gossip and #cookingtiktok. Creators can use the tag to signal that their posts are part of a genre on the platform of short videos that offer financial advice. In posts that are less than a minute long, Mandi Woodruff-Santos posts career and investment advice for her 27,500 followers. Ms. Woodruff-Santos, who was born in Atlanta, Georgia, says her working-class parents didn’t discuss investing at the table and her upbringing left her with little knowledge of how to manage a credit card or negotiate a increase. Now she and other influencers help her followers with her money problems.
It hasn’t gained the notoriety that Reddit, an online forum frequented by many retail gamblers, did during GameStop’s stock surge last year. But TikTok, which has a billion users worldwide, is introducing many young Americans to the world of saving and investing. Nearly a quarter of investors ages 18 to 40, and 41% of those ages 18 to 24, have sought financial advice on the platform, according to a survey last year by website Magnify Money.
Videos can be mostly text-based (“HOW TO BEAT CREDIT CARDS” or “Adulting 101”), or they can feature cute kids or dancing. Some creators use their experience to explain financial concepts. Mark Tilbury, the head of a retail company, has amassed 7 million followers with his explanations of the strategies of Fortune 500 companies. Other creators draw from personal experience. Tori Dunlap, who founded Her First 100k, which offers money advice and paid financial courses for women, says she grew up in a family that often talked about finances. “I became the go-to friend for money questions,” says Ms. Dunlap, now a money friend to some 2 million followers. Others tout the earnings potential of stocks, such as videos of California day traders posing with their sports cars after striking gold in the markets.
As with social media in general, the problem is that posts can be misleading or inaccurate. TikTok has some rules for monitoring content: Users can flag posts, and creators must tag branded content that they will benefit from. Those who click on #moneytok are warned that investing carries risks. But some videos are as short as 15 seconds, leaving little time for nuanced discussions of those risks. Only around 10% of top influencers mention financial qualifications in their TikTok bios or on their personal websites, according to a study by Paxful, a cryptocurrency trading platform. Day traders posting on TikTok flaunt big gains, but few can admit to careful losses, as they may be doing after the market turmoil of the past few days. The popularity of #moneytok certainly speaks to the enthusiasm of users for finances and investments. The hope is that social media will foster, rather than destroy, that interest.
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