The one bit of TikTok 'fin-fluencer' money advice you should never follow

We go to the internet for advice on everything.  Our heath, dating, how to fold shirts properly - and recently we've seen the rise of the so-called "fin-fluencer."

They are TikTok's financial influencers. They're like regular financial advisors but with a much bigger platform and, often, none of that mucking about with things like fiscal accreditation.

It turns out, that a lot of us trust them.

A recent survey from Finder discovered social media is the number one source of investing advice among young Kiwis. However, some of that "advice" is just the fin-fluencer shilling some product they want you to buy. 

"There have always been people promising 'Get rich quick' schemes and now they just use TikTok and Instagram to market it," BusinessDesk NZ's Frances Cook told The Project. "But there's some great stuff out there. There are legitimate mortgage advisors and financial advisors giving you heaps of great information for free. The trick is finding the good ones and ignoring the bad ones."

Despite that minefield of dodgy financial advice, Cook is happy for younger Kiwis to get involved in discussions like these.

"I love that people are talking more about money now. That's fantastic."  

She does have some advice for parents worried their kids are watching these clips online, eager to plunge all that lemonade stand money into crypto.

"There's no problem with them seeing these videos, usually... just use that as a starting point for a conversation and then maybe direct them to a few more legitimate sources of information."

Cook also recommends keeping an eye on where the advice may come from. Last year, New Zealand enacted a law that stated anyone who advises clients must hold a Financial Advice Provider licence. Overseas, they may not be subject to the same constraints.

However, there is one type of advice, no matter where it comes from, that should always set off alarm bells.

"Anything where they're claiming it's super-easy and there's no downside risk," Cook told The Project. "Just be really of anyone saying 'This is easy and you're going to get rich.' That's a huge red flag."

Finally, she said the secret to building wealth may just be about doing very little.

"People are so used to the idea that if you work hard and put in a lot of extra effort that will get your further. With money, it's actually very much the opposite. The less you do, the more you stick to doing one thing over and over... that's what usually makes you the most money. Resist that urge to look for the flashy, sparkly things."