How to tell if a personal finance influencer on TikTok is legit

  • Many people turn to TikTok and Instagram Reels for financial literacy content.
  • It’s hard to know who to trust online, so we asked a former financial advisor how to spot real experts.
  • Humphrey Yang says there are three green flags to watch out for.

Many Gen Zers and Millennials turn to TikTok and Instagram Reels first for financial literacy before reaching out to a professional, such as a financial advisor or financial planner. On TikTok alone, videos that use the #MoneyTok hashtag have collectively generated 12.7 billion views (and counting).

There are generally two groups of personal finance influencers: First, there are finance professionals who have left the field to make a bigger impact online. Then there are people who have hit big financial milestones, like paying off all of their student loans or building a six-figure investment portfolio in a short period of time.

Humphrey Yang, personal finance influencer, former financial advisor and TurboTax investment expert, belongs to the first group. Having built 3.3 million followers on TikTok and 508,000 on Instagram, Yang knows how to spot an influencer who really knows what he’s talking about.

Yang tells Insider that there are three green flags to look out for when assessing whether or not a personal finance influencer is legit.

1. They respond to comments from their community

“A green flag is really listen to their audience and understand their issues,” says Yang. On TikTok, it’s relatively easy to see if influencers are creating new videos to answer frequently asked questions in the comments. On TikTok and Instagram, you can simply scroll down to see if the influencer has replied to some or most of the comments.

However, Yang warns, “Some financial creators just hire an agency to post a bunch of content for them. They’ll cut out the content and that creator won’t even respond to comments.”

2. They have a long-term mentality

Yang says an influencer claiming to know how to get rich quick is a major red flag. 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 consultations!’ There are also people who claim, ‘C’ is how you’re going to make 10 times your money today!'”

Influencers with a long-term mindset are more likely to explain broader financial concepts, like Roth IRAs or 401(k), or everyday habits that can help you become better with money .

3. Their Past Experiences Match Their Expertise

Yang encourages people to check out Google’s personal finance influencers and find out what their past experiences are. He says, “The first thing I would probably do would be to look at their work history on LinkedIn.”

For financial planners or financial advisors who have left the industry to serve a wider audience, it should be relatively easy to know whether or not they are lying about their expertise and credentials. On the other hand, influencers who have paid off big debts or who are high earning self-made investors usually post screenshots of their accomplishments to prove they are legit.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.