No matter your hobbies or your interests, chances are there are content creators out there for you. You’ll find beauty gurus sharing product reviews, makeup tutorials, and unboxing videos; fashion vloggers taking us on tours of their wardrobes and sharing their latest hauls; even booktubers talking us through their favourite novels and new releases.
These are the influencers, the social media personalities setting trends and sharing their knowledge. From Instagram to TikTok to YouTube and beyond, you can connect with some truly amazing and engaging people who really know their stuff, whatever their niche might be.
Then there are the “finfluencers”, or finance influencers: self-proclaimed money gurus sharing financial advice with fans and followers, ranging from tips and tricks on how to save to recommending you invest in specific stocks or crypto and purchase particular financial products.
Learning more about money can only be a good thing, right? Well, the answer is that it depends on what you’re learning, and who you’re learning it from. Let’s approach with caution and take a closer look.
Stay on the lookout for scammers and scumbags
Here’s the thing — and you might want to sit down for this one — not everyone on the Internet has your best interests at heart. Shocking, we know, but there it is.
We all know there are outright scammers online, trying to get their hands on your hard earned money. Of course, they don’t all twirl their sinister moustaches and cackle maniacally. They can be hard to spot, doing their best to seem legitimate, gaining your trust through confidence and charisma. Check out the Scams pathway to ensure you know what to look out for.
When it comes to making money decisions, it pays to be cautious — so make sure you’re being careful and doing your research before taking anyone’s word for anything. That’s especially true when you follow someone who’s focused on financial content, which leads us right into our next point.
Make sure to take your circumstances into account
Even if an influencer means well — even if you’ve done your research, and you’re sure they’re not a scammer — the reality is that they don’t really know you, and you don’t really know them. You’re strangers to one other, and that can make it hard to get good advice.
How much do you earn? How much do you spend? What are your goals and your obligations?
Without taking your circumstances into account, it can be hard for anyone to provide relevant advice. So when you’re brushing up on your financial education, make sure you’re not misapplying advice that might not be what’s best for your own situation.
Be aware of who you’re listening to and learning from
It’s hard for someone to give you good advice when they don’t really know your circumstances — but what about them? Do you know whose advice you’re listening to?
When you’re watching an Instagram story or a YouTube video, ask yourself: who is this person, really? How are they making their money? Are they pushing a product because it’s right for you, or just because they’ve got a paid sponsorship?
Next up, be sure to ask how they know what they’re talking about. Where did they get their training — what makes them qualified to be giving out advice?
In the UK, financial advisors are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and they need to have a Certificate of Financial Planning — but there’s no oversight for influencers. Anyone can create an Instagram account or a YouTube channel and start saying whatever they like.
They might be friendly and engaging and sound pretty sure of themselves — but when it comes to your finances, you want to be sure you’re consulting an expert.
There’s nothing wrong with learning all you can and looking at different perspectives. In fact, that’s a great way to make sure you’re well informed. It always pays to educate yourself, as long as you’re learning from sources you know you can trust and rely on.
When it comes to your financial education, don’t just take anyone’s advice. That way, you can be sure you’re hearing advice that’s actually worth listening to.
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