Money hacks to save $100k: Wealth experts explain how to save $100,000 – and which viral TikTok money trends you need to ignore

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Young people are heading to “FinTok” – the financial side of TikTok – to boost their financial literacy and start saving money, as ASIC cracks down on misleading content from “finfluencers”.

We put viral TikToks under a magnifying glass with financial influencer Queenie Tan and 7NEWS Australia finance editor Gemma Acton to separate the sound advice from the dodgy.

Watch the video above for more about the ASIC crackdown on ‘finfluencers’

For more Personal Finance related news and videos check out Personal Finance >>

Tan, 25, has been sharing finance content with young people online for the past two years, after quitting her job to become a full-time content creator and building a net worth of $500,000.

Now she uses her experience to share tips with young people experiencing a disconnect from traditional financial advice services.

“I just think that there’s a bit of a disconnect between the way that the older generations see younger people. They don’t think that young people care about money,” Tan said.

An ASIC survey of more than 1500 Australians aged 15 to 21 found that more than half of young people often worried about money.

More than half of the respondents claimed they were actively trying to learn about how to better manage their money.

Their goals ranged from wanting to learn how taxes work, to saving and investment, achieving financial goals, and living independently.

But as more people flock to TikTok to build their financial literacy and get tips, ASIC has taken action to prohibit misleading or deceptive conduct online.

7News Finance Editor Gemma Acton (left) and ‘finfluencer’ Queenie Tan share their insights. Credit: Supplied

ASIC regulations impose penalties for offenders including up to five years’ jail for an individual and millions of dollars in fines for a corporation.

The ASIC regulations apply to an influencer whether they are a registered financial service provider or not, and break down the type of advice users can get from these videos into “general advice” and “personal advice”.

Recommendations that would need a comprehensive understanding of your personal situation to be substantiated fall into the “personal advice” category.

Influencers also need to be licensed to “deal by arranging” or offer a service or product directly. If the person posting the video stands to personally gain from your click, consider it similar to an advertisement.

“If (consumers) are following financial influencers they need to also understand what is motivating (the content creators) to do that. Are they being paid to promote a financial service or product?” ASIC consumer insights and communications lead Laura Higgins told 7NEWS.

However, Tan says the ASIC warnings to stay within the rules are being heeded.

“From what I’ve seen, Australian finance content creators are listening to ASIC and the regulations, and they are trying to adapt their content to make it fit within those guidelines,” Tan said.

An expert’s take on TikTok trends

General advice on TikTok that’s safe to consume usually includes content such as video explainers for difficult-to-understand concepts, discount locators, and details on government schemes.

7NEWS finance editor Gemma Acton assessed some viral TikToks to work out whether or not the advice stacked up.

explainers

Breaking down everything from mortgage insurance to pooled investments, tax offsets, and superannuation, these types of videos explain dull or complex ideas.

In the example below, a TikTok ‘finfluencer’ gives some advice on ETFs (exchange traded funds).

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Acton says: “You can waste a lot of money on unnecessary fees so he’s identified the most common ones to look out for and compare.“

“Just remember that funds can add all sorts of other fees in – and sometimes disguise them under innocuous names.

“Also while 1 per cent is a good guide for now, fees have been trending lower in recent years so this rough average could likely fall over time.”

government schemes Whether you’re looking to shave some money off your first home loan, or reduce your HECS debt, these types of videos share details about government schemes available to make this possible.

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Acton says: “Good place to find out about schemes like this but you’ll need to read all of the detailed terms on the government’s own website – or a consumer advocacy site – to see if you’re eligible.

“Or, whether it would impact any other support you’re receiving or your tax profile.”

Trading strategies

For those considering investing in the stock market, there is much to know. Opt for general advice and strategies rather than get-rich-quick claims that can’t be substantiated and don’t take your personal situation into account.

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Acton says: “Following this strategy is far from a safe bet. Feel free to try your luck with a little side money you can afford to lose if you’re particularly curious – but don’t put down any more than that.

“You can also just watch along – and follow the day-trading pattern of stocks for free – without putting your money at risk – if you’re curious to see how often it works in practice.

“Timing stock movements is considered to be extremely difficult whether over a day or a much longer period.”

money hack From how to get discounts at your favorite stores, to the rare coins that you can cash in for hundreds, money-hack videos share tips to keep in your back pocket, that could make you easy money.

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Acton says: “Always worth a try! Unless you’re being asked to pay something for access to the ‘unclaimed money’ or ‘discounts’”.

“The government runs the unclaimed money pots and will not ask you to pay anything to retrieve anything owing to you.”

Buying a home Breaking into the housing market can be a long and difficult journey. From saving for a deposit to getting a loan, these videos share information and steps you can take to get there quicker.

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Acton says: “All accurate but these things can change over time. The mortgage rate environment is changing very quickly at the moment in particular.

“Good advice at the end to get help from a mortgage broker … they don’t charge and should offer impartial advice tailored to your own personal situation.”

‘Take it with a grain of salt’

Fact-checking a claim mid-scroll is a task in itself, but verifying information before you commit it to memory is just one of the few things you should be doing on FinTok.

So shared some advice with 7NEWS.com.au on the things to keep in mind when you’re looking for financial advice on the platform.

Keep an eye out for guarantees – There is always risk in the investment game, and while those risks may be small and reduced over time, be wary of anyone making claims that seem too good to be true.

Claims of a “significant return” on a specific stock or service is impossible to substantiate.

Check the comments section – If information within a post is illegitimate, there is likely a virtual mob disputing the claims.

Check for disclaimers and verifications – A content creator may specify within the bio on their profile that their videos share personal advice rather than general advice.

Stick to your local “finfluencers” – Information on home loans, government schemes and taxes, are country-specific and regulations on Australian TikTok users are stricter than in countries like the US.

be aware – Directly promoting a specific financial service is against the law if you’re not a licensed provider, so make sure you’re aware of this when reading advertisements.

Scratch beneath the surface. TikTok is a great way to wrap your head around the financial lingo necessary to do further research.

Save the videos that spark interest and excitement, and use them as a springboard to learn more about the concepts and ideas within.

Money hacks to save $100k

So it took 33 months to save her first $100,000, which she claims was the hardest landmark to reach, after which she took her foot off the gas.

In the 30 months that followed, Tan and her partner increased that number by fivefold, her net worth reaching $500,000.

Here are the money hacks that helped her get there:

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Set the goal. Making the decision to begin the saving-journey, with all the sacrifices and energy that it involves, is the first step. Tan’s first 100k was saving towards a house deposit.

Monthly review. Reviewing your monthly expenses can help to quickly flag when you’re going off track, and the areas where you can save moving forward. “It was very daunting initially looking at those statements, however it got easier to look at over time!” she said.

Packed lunch. Setting herself up with a preparation routine to bring home-cooked meals to work to avoid spending money on lunches.

Side Hustle. While a side hustle might not be sustainable over a long period of time, a second job or income-earning hobby helped Tan to earn extra money that she put towards her goal.

Ask for a pay rise. If you don’t ask, you don’t receive. There’s a large chance you’ve been upskilled since you were hired. Take a look at what you bring to your role and the salary standard within your industry and see if it’s appropriate to ask.

Re-focus on value. Often we spend money to make ourselves seem impressive, or in reaction to subtle peer pressures. Take some time to evaluate the things that bring you true enjoyment and value, so you can identify the spending habits that don’t serve you.

The 25-year-old shared a graph showing exactly where you can make small changes without sacrificing your lifestyle.
The 25-year-old shared a graph showing exactly where you can make small changes without sacrificing your lifestyle. Credit: Queenie Tan

Tan says her income is sourced from five different streams: YouTube advertisements, dividends, affiliates, sponsorships, and from e-commerce stores.

She notes that the same goal would have been much harder to reach if she was not saving with her partner.

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