Only six states require that high school students take a stand-alone personal finance course. And that's a potential problem: There's a clear link between financial knowledge and financial well-being, according to experts.
In fact, only 34% of American adults correctly answered four or more of the six personal finance questions on FINRA's 2018 National Financial Capability Study.
Some personal finance experts are responding to the lack of financial education via TikTok, a video-sharing social networking service that initially gained popularity as a hub for 15-second dance videos.
Entertainment value aside, the app is now also a tool to share valuable financial advice with teens quickly and at no cost.
Psychologist and certified financial planner Brad Klontz started a TikTok account because he recognized a need for financial experts in this social media space. He specifically cites "misinformation" as his motivation. "There's atrocious information that's being fed to an entire generation of young people," he says. "And this is where they're learning. This is where they're getting their education about how the world works, and how money works."
His approach makes sense: Most of TikTok's users are young, with 41% between the ages of 16 and 24, according to Influencer Marketing Hub.
Klontz is just one of a few notable personal finance whizzes on TikTok who have managed to take complex money topics and break them down in just 15 seconds — sometimes even throwing in a dance move or two. Here are a few TikTok accounts to follow if you want to improve your financial knowledge in seconds with short, entertaining video clips.
Klontz has over 37,000 followers on his TikTok account, and he says the reaction has been mostly positive. The platform allows him to interact with his followers, answer their questions, and dispel any money myths they may have.
"I get people on there leaving a bunch of negative comments," he says, "but I also get a lot of really, really important questions like, 'I'm 14, how do I start investing?'"
With over a million followers and close to 30 million likes on her videos, "coupon_katie" shares tips for saving money on groceries, cosmetics, and more.
Her videos make viewers feel like they're along for the ride on her shopping trips. She offers an in-depth look at how she saves at her favorite stores and manages to spend less than $200 each month on groceries to feed her family of four.
Viewers on the hunt for useful content that pertains to the stock market, managing credit, and building wealth may enjoy @logicalfinance (136,000 followers), which shares investing tips and helps break down credit, 529 plans, net worth, and more.
Cole Kelley, a former financial planner, is now a teacher. He gives his almost 20,000 followers 60-second lectures on everything from Ponzi schemes to getting better interest rates on personal loans, and how to pay for college.
One user commented on the "paying for college" video, "Tell me why this TikTok taught me more about student loans than my school did before we graduated."
TikTok influencer @humphreytalks (over 188,000 followers) posts a daily personal finance video sharing tips on the best side hustles you can do from home, how to become financially independent, and how he sets up his budgeting spreadsheet.
Klontz says this kind of content can give users important new insights. "I get comments saying, 'You changed my whole perspective on life.' You get that and then you're like 'OK, I think I'll make another TikTok today.'"
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