It feels like every other Gen Z 'finfluencer' on TikTok wants to help me get rich. But who can I trust?

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Zachary Kitz

Financial Advisor
Hilltop Securities Inc.
Office : 6196183617
Mobile : 6193456756
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Every night, before going to bed, I spend 30 minutes scrolling on TikTok. I watch hundreds of videos about all different topics, from how to apply highlighter on my cheeks to how to make banana bread using just three ingredients.

Without realizing it, I'm heavily influenced by the content that I watch. For the most part, the takeaways from my nightly scrolls impact unimportant things, like my style or beauty routine. But occasionally, I'll stumble upon a Gen Z financial influencer serving up advice on what I should do with money.

As a 35-year-old who made a handful of financial mistakes in my 20s and has since rebounded from many of those, I find myself watching these Gen Z "finfluencers" wondering how much damage some of them might cause on the wallets of people who trust every word that they are saying.

Certified financial planner Hazel Secco says that an abundance of influencers in the financial space are popping up on TikTok and Instagram.

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Triple-check any financial advice you get from an influencer with reputable sources. Ezra Bailey/Getty Images

"Now more than ever, it's crucial to be diligent in filtering out noise and thoroughly vetting your sources," she said. "This can significantly impact your financial decisions."

To make sure I don't get influenced by someone sharing faulty financial advice, I asked Secco to share how a person can vet a financial influencer.

1. Look for potential conflicts or sponsorships

One of the first techniques Secco advised me on was to examine the influencer's content to see if they are sponsored by a specific institution or financial services company. Often, influencers promote an investing platform or budgeting app, and deep down in the caption, they'll share a hashtag that shows they were paid to post this.

"Be cautious of advice from financial influencers who are posting sponsored content," Secco shared. "Especially if they don't disclose the conflict of interest transparently."

In addition to looking closely at content for labels that indicate it's sponsored content, if an influencer shares a recommendation, whether it's a platform to use or a piece of advice, reach out to them directly and ask if they are being paid to share this with their audience.

"There's nothing wrong with sending them a message and inquiring if their post was sponsored," she said. "If it's not, you can ask more about how they came up with this financial advice, sources they used, and more before deciding whether or not to follow what you see."

2. Triple-check the advice that you see on social media

If a financial influencer shares advice that grabs your attention, Secco recommends triple-checking out with other sources before making a big money move.

"Before placing full trust in their recommendations shared on social media, it's crucial to verify their sources and advice by consulting a trusted professional," Secco said.

She recommended finding three different qualified financial sources that verify the advice or share more details on a topic before making a financial decision.

If it's possible, she suggested contacting a certified financial planner and getting their advice. But if it's not in your budget to work with one directly, she said that often these professionals have blogs on their website with advice and information backed by their expertise.

She also recommended validating the information using credible websites.

"For example, if a financial influencer shares why you should empty your emergency fund and put the cash into real estate investment trusts, double check the logic behind that decision before making it by consulting with a CFP or learning more about benefits and risks through a trusted financial website," Secco said.

3. Remember that financial advice is not one-size-fits-all

I often find myself fixated on a financial influencer's content, especially when it's about how to invest my cash to double my money. Still, Secco reminded me that money advice is unique to each individual.

"It's important to make sure the advice you see on social media aligns with your specifical financial circumstances," she said.

If a financial influencer is sharing a tip that seems interesting, Secco recommended first taking a step back and questioning whether it fits in with the current state of your finances.

"Assess your values and goals first so you can better understand if the advice of the influencer is beneficial to you at this moment," she said.

If you aren't sure or find yourself eager to make bold financial moves based on inspirational content you see, Secco advised doing independent research first or working with a financial advisor who can help you make more informed decisions after reviewing your personal portfolio.

4. Check the person's background to learn more about them

Before seriously considering taking financial advice from an influencer's content, Secco recommended vetting them to understand their credentials.

"I don't recommend taking advice from a financial influencer who doesn't have any certifications or designations," she said. "Look for content creators who have a background as a financial advisor or certified financial planner."

Influencers with those credentials have to adhere to rigorous educational and ethical standards in the field of financial planning. 

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Zachary Kitz profile photo

Zachary Kitz

Financial Advisor
Hilltop Securities Inc.
Office : 6196183617
Mobile : 6193456756
Schedule a meeting