In the digital age, where “influencer” is now a job title and financial advice can be found in 280 characters or less, it’s no surprise that young investors are turning to social media for financial information. A recent survey by Betterment revealed that more than half of Gen Z and Millennial investors in the study are receiving financial advice from social media.
And yet the survey also found that financial advisors are the most trusted source of advice, with 67 percent of respondents ranking them in the top three. Meanwhile, social media influencers lagged, with only 22 percent ranking them within their top three. Many investors consider the advice of influencers even if they’re already using a financial advisor. This intriguing data prompts a deeper exploration into the risks and rewards of sourcing financial advice from social media influencers versus financial advisors, particularly for younger generations.
Social media influencers, with their selfie skills and hashtag savvy, have emerged as a significant source of financial advice for young investors. But before you rely on influencers for all of your financial advice let’s consider the risks.
Influencers often share personal anecdotes, strategies that have worked for them, offering a relatable and easily accessible source of financial “wisdom.” But they often make their living by promoting certain financial products. So, despite their appeal, there are many caveats to consider with social media influencers:
1. Limited Accountability: Influencers may not face the regulatory scrutiny that financial advisors do. This absence of accountability can lead to the potential dissemination of questionable advice, without the usual legal repercussions.
2. Lack of Personalization: Financial advice is never “one-size-fits-all.” Everyone has unique financial circumstances and goals. Influencers provide generic advice that may not align with an individual investor’s particular financial situation or risk tolerance. The Barnum Effect is probably at play here, too, where investors might believe that generalized advice pertains specifically to them.
3. Potential Conflicts of Interest: Some influencers promote financial products or stocks because they’re paid to do so, creating a clear conflict of interest. (Side note, the type of financial advisors who are not fiduciaries may also push insurance products or other investments that are more in their interests than their clients’ interests. A fee-only advisor, however, will be motivated by increasing your wealth, as it’s what increases theirs.)
The Real Deal
Financial advisors have long been the go-to source for dependable, professional financial advice. They’re required to have extensive training and are heavily regulated. Many operate under a fiduciary standard, meaning that they are required to act in the best interest of their clients.
Key benefits of using a financial advisor include:
1. Personalized Advice: Financial advisors take into account your financial situation, goals, risk tolerance, and more, offering advice tailored specifically to you. Good financial advisors will take a comprehensive view of your financial plans, even including future generations in their thinking.
2. Expertise and Experience: Financial advisors are equipped with deep understanding of market dynamics, financial planning, risk management, and the effects of economic events on investments.
3. Regulated by Financial Authorities: They’re held accountable by regulatory bodies, ensuring that they operate within the bounds of financial laws and ethical standards.
4. Comprehensive Financial Planning: Advisors look at the bigger financial picture, assisting with tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning, which often aren’t covered by influencers.
Betterment’s survey highlighted that having a financial advisor did not dissuade younger investors from also considering the advice of social media influencers. This dynamic might be seen as a desire to diversify sources of advice, not unlike diversifying an investment portfolio. However, it seems that more experienced investors are less likely to be influence by “influencers.” For them, the choice between advice based on personal experience, trends, or even speculation is no match for the guidance of a client-focused financial advisor.
Social Media Influencers vs. Financial Advisors: One is based on personal experiences and the other is grounded in theories; Copyright © 2023 FMeX. All rights reserved. Distributed by Financial Media Exchange.
Disclosure: This information is for educational and informative purposes and shall not be considered a specific recommendation. Readers are advised to speak with their advisor at JL Bainbridge to determine their specific recommendations that meet their investment objectives and to review their portfolios. The material being provided is thought to be accurate. However, the information is compiled from multiple resources and may become outdated or otherwise rendered incorrect by new research or corrections without notice. J.L. Bainbridge & Co., Inc., is not a broker dealer and does not offer tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax or legal advisor for assistance regarding your individual situation. It should neither be assumed that future results will be as profitable or that a loss could not be incurred. For more information related to our firm, please see our disclosure brochures at jlbainbridge.com and https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/firm/summary/108058.
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