Richard Coffin runs The Plain Bagel YouTube channel, which boasts 736,000 subscribers. A CFP and CFA by trade, Coffin uses his social media channel to educate his viewers about personal finance and economics.
Recognized by GOBankingRates as a Top Money Expert, here he shares the key lesson he wishes all his viewers would learn and how to avoid bad financial advice on social media.
To vote for Coffin as your favorite money expert, please visit his page.
What financial topic do you wish people were more informed about?
The importance of saving — and investing — for retirement early. Most people wait until later on in their career to start planning, with some unfortunately realizing too late that they won’t be able to fund the retirement they were hoping for. Starting early is not only a great way to establish a productive habit, but it gives you a longer time horizon over which you can compound your savings for building that nest egg. This greatly reduces the overall burden of saving for retirement. For a given savings goal, regularly contributing to a 6% returning investment over a 40-year period, compared to 20 years, cuts the total amount of money you’ll need to put aside by more than half.
There’s a lot of great financial advice on YouTube — but also a lot of not-so-great advice. How can viewers determine what advice they should and shouldn’t follow?
YouTube is a great resource for learning finance basics, but I’d caution anyone from using it to inform specific financial decisions since financial advice should be tailored to an individual’s unique situation. You should also take everything you hear online with a grain of salt, with consideration for the poster’s qualifications, conflicts of interest and the reasonableness of their advice. The adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” goes a long way here. Finally, if you aren’t sure what to make of something you’ve heard online, reach out to a trusted, registered professional — there’s a reason financial advice is such a heavily regulated field!
What’s the worst financial advice you’ve seen being given, on YouTube or elsewhere?
TikTok is full of pretty bad stock pick and day trading videos, where the poster claims a stock is about to take off using a singular trading pattern or indicator as their evidence. Better yet is when they don’t provide any justification and just start listing stocks that will blow up next year. … Many of the ones I’ve seen end up plummeting.
Short-term trading is a questionable practice to begin with; but, if there were a winning strategy, you wouldn’t see it summed up in a 15-second TikTok video. Stock analysis isn’t that simple, and there’s no single indicator for predicting a stock’s movement. If there were, institutions would have already found and exploited the relationship, thereby taking the opportunity away from others.
Jaime Catmull contributed to the reporting for this article.
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