With young people in the market for financial education, the instinct is to turn to social media. On TikTok, tens of millions of posts have gathered under hashtags like #PersonalFinance, #MoneyTok or #HowToInvest. It’s so easy to find digestible one-minute videos of people quickly spouting advice on investing, saving, and other personal finances.
However, as with anything from the internet, viewers would be myopic to completely trust anything presented to them. So how much of the financial advice on social media is legit?
To answer this question and discuss youth financial literacy in more detail, YR Media spoke with Youth Leadership Manager Angelie Miranda and Youth Leader Daniela Manzanares of MyPath, an organization providing quality financial education. low-income youth.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Michelle Hwang: What are the biggest financial myths you see circulating on social media?
Daniela Manzanares: Sometimes you’ll have to rely on loans to pay for your college education, and that’s perfectly normal. But you just have to be smart about it. You need to plan how you are going to start paying it back. I feel like a lot of the content has been posted [on social media] really doesn’t imply any of that. And it should be, because at the end of the day, content creators are playing – in a sense – with the future of our generation.
Angelie Miranda: I think for me, content creators only tell half the story. They will talk about the benefits of getting a credit card, but they won’t really talk about what to watch out for. What happens if you don’t pay? There are consequences to this.
So I think if social media is to be used as a platform, creators need to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to financial products. We want to be able to give everyone the whole story, not just the good side.
MH: In what ways can young people check the credibility of educators on TikTok as well as other social media platforms?
PM: Some content creators specifically tag the articles or resources they get their information from. If it’s a reliable place, you can go do your own research. Personally, whenever I see stuff about financial aid or money hacks or anything like that, I like to go do my own research. Even if they don’t have specific reliable companies or resources, you can easily find your own information on the internet.
A M: I think people who use social media as a platform for anything should also be held accountable for any misinformation they leak, regardless of their intent. You need to be careful what you post because it might be something that is unreliable. So it’s really about holding people accountable for the information they put out. Or at least a little notice that says, “Hey! That may not be true.
MH: What are some of the barriers that young people face when pursuing their education in financial matters and how can we overcome them?
PM: Many young people are afraid to learn finance and money. I think for me, being surrounded by people who want to know more and who are in the same situation as you, comforts me a little. When I started going to MyPath meetings, that’s one thing that really helped me talk a lot and ask questions. Everyone had the same questions. Everyone had the same worries. What is credit? How to start it? Where are we going to start?
I think it’s just about questioning everything, asking people around you for help, and using the online resources you have.
MH: Do you see any barriers targeting marginalized communities, such as race, gender, or socioeconomic status?
A M: There are all these barriers that exist for young people. When a young person opens a bank account or a savings account, they must have an identity document. They are required to prove where they live, to show proof of residency. And do they pay rent? Are they paying a utility bill to prove it?
And there are always red lines with financial institutions – meaning you’ll find plenty of banks and credit unions in wealthy neighborhoods, and you’ll find check-cashing locations in poor neighborhoods.
MH: What is still missing in conversations about financial well-being?
PM: I have noticed that many young people unfortunately do not have access to financial knowledge, so sometimes they do not know anything better. And they’re on social media like, ‘Oh look, there’s all this good stuff that can help me pay for anything.’ But little did they know, there may be consequences later. It is really crucial that information on social networks, especially about money, is accurate.
I believe once you grow up, it’s all about the money. Whether you rent a house or an apartment, whether you want to buy a car, everything revolves around money. To succeed financially, you must also be confident with [factual] financial information.
A M: And I think what’s missing in our education system is that access to quality financial education — not just financial literacy. It is not only reading and knowing, but also being able to practice. At MyPath, we call this financial capability.
And once young people have that and practice sound financial habits, they can actually build themselves towards financial wealth. So they bring their families with them. They no longer live just paycheck to paycheque. All of this can potentially be opened up if we can provide quality financial education to everyone.
Additional Finance Resources
To create a student loan repayment strategy
Simple student loan calculator
Agreement compound interest
Credit card debt repayment calculator
New or used car loan calculator