MoneyTok, Money Influencers: What Advice Is Good Advice?

By Jackie Lam, AFC®
Published on: 09/11/2023

Infinite money glitches. Investing advice. Budgeting hacks and grocery-saving tricks. How to make $30,000 in a month. Do a quick search on TikTok for "fintok," "moneytok," "financetok," or "howtoinvest," or your social media feeds for personal finance advice, and your feed will be flooded with what feels like millions of bite-sized videos and posts.

While TikTok is filled with financial advice, how can we wade through the muck, and figure out what tips are treasures, and which ones are not-so-great?

We'll walk you through how to filter through all the personal finance tips on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, what tips are generally solid, and which ones to avoid.

How to vet financial advice

First things first. It's important to put on your critical thinking cap when poring through all the personal finance videos on TikTok.

As they say, nobody cares more about your money than you. By doing your part in vetting financial advice, you'll end up doing what's best for your finances. Otherwise, you might make a blunder that could cost you down the line.

Look at credentials. Sure, they're influencers after all. They have hundreds of thousands of followers. Shouldn't that be enough credibility to do what they say? Not quite.

Do the research to look to see if they have any letters after their name that shows they have the educational background and professional experience to back up their recommendations.

And just because someone has a verified account doesn't mean they are a legit source for financial advice. (It actually means the account is owned by the actual person they represent.) So you'll need to look beyond the blue check mark next to their name and at actual professional credentials.

For example: if they're giving you tax tips, are they an accountant, CPA or CFA? Are they offering you retirement strategies? If so, then look to see if they're a certified financial planner (CFP®) or financial adviser.

Do your own homework. To make sure exactly how legit some financial advice might be on MoneyTok, do research on your end. Is that strategy something that's widely regarded in the realm of personal finance? Or does it seem entirely made up and designed to be click-baity?

Financial advice red flags to look out for

1. Infinite money glitches

These typically propose some clever scheme that supposedly very few people are clued into. But wait: this TikToker is doing you a big favor by letting you in on this amazing money hack that will supposedly net you cash forever. The reality? The hack might be confusing, require a lot of strategizing, not work, or it might work in very rare instances — or worse, it's not legal.

Infinite money glitches fall into two camps: IRL or in-real-life infinite money glitches, or ones that involve video games. For example, an infinite money glitch that was floating on TikTok is opening thousands of bank accounts, which means receiving multiple microdeposits to verify your account. Then, transferring all those microdeposits into a prepaid debit card, and cashing in the funds.

The good news is that popular infinite money glitches get "patched," or the loophole gets discovered, cracked down on, and measures are taken to prevent people from successfully attempting them. In a lot of cases, it is also illegal. So you'll want to steer clear from these "tips" altogether. There are better, more sustainable ways to make a buck.

2. "I can do this amazing thing. And so can you — it's so easy!"

If it's too good to be true, meaning it seems like something anyone can do, and will net huge results, it's probably bad advice.

There's no shortcuts to growing your money, getting out of debt, and building your wealth. It requires playing around with tried-and-true strategies to see what works for you, developing good habits and making small, smart moves that slowly put you on the right path.

3. Specific real estate or investing tips

If someone is making recommendations on specific stocks, or strategies, it's probably a good idea to avoid these entirely. This may especially ring true if they're only showing you a positive return.

Buying real estate and investing in the stock market are big money moves that involve risk, money upfront, and fees. Plus, what you invest in depends largely on your unique set of circumstances and situation. It's best to work with an investing professional to get their well-researched advice.

What’s considered “good” financial advice?

1. Ideas on setting cash aside

You've probably run across those sharing tips on how they've stashed away cash. For instance, using an "envelope system" to tuck away funds for a rainy day, or hiding cash in a jar so it's out of clear view.

These ideas are simple, and they're rooted in the reality of saving money: it's best done at a steady clip. Plus, it requires planning and discipline. Watching TikTokers share their favorite cash-saving tactics can open you up to new ideas.

2. How-to use money apps

Generally, these are pretty solid and do offer easy-to-follow instructions on how to use different features on popular budgeting and payment apps.

3. Side hustle ideas

If the side hustle seems realistic and isn't trying to sell you on a get-quick-overnight scheme, you can look at how other people are moonlighting and raking in extra cash for inspiration.

Remember: everyone's experience with side hustling is different. And what works for one person in one life situation, goals, and preferences might not work for you.

Final thoughts

Just because someone is a well-known social media influencer doesn't mean their financial advice is credible. Advice floating around on TikTok might not make sense for your unique set of circumstances.

Verify how legit information is by checking credible sources—think the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). By doing your own homework and spotting red flags on TikTok, you can see the good from the bad.

About the author

A personal finance writer for over 8 years, Jackie Lam covers money management, lending, insurance, investing, and banking, and personal stories. An AFC® accredited financial coach, she is passionate about helping freelance creatives design money systems on irregular income, gain greater awareness of their money narratives, and overcome mental and emotional blocks.

Her work has appeared in publications such as Bankrate, Time's NextAdvisor, CNET, Forbes,, and BuzzFeed. She is the 2022 recipient of Money Management International's Financial Literacy and Education in Communities (FLEC) Award, and a two-time Plutus Awards nominee for Best Freelancer in Personal Finance Media. She lives in Los Angeles where she spends her free time swimming, drumming, and daydreaming about stickers.

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Written on September 11, 2023
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