While TikTok is certainly chock-full of entertaining, albeit sometimes strange videos, there are also a number of content creators using the platform to drop some seriously helpful advice.
One financial advisor has taken center stage in this turbulent economy after revealing the top 10 things he never does when it comes to wealth.
Russell Maltes has been a Certified Financial Planner and an investment advisor representative for 19 years. He also provides financial literacy tips through his TikTok videos, including this two-part series listing the ten things he would never do.
- Use debit cards for online purchases.
- Buy a car for the next 6-12 months.
- Pay credit card interest—don’t live beyond your means.
- Miss out on your employer’s 401K match (it’s free money!).
- Borrow money to buy depreciating assets (like cars and vacations).
6. Buy more life insurance than you need.
7. Celebrate big tax returns (plan better instead).
8. Take student loans for undergrad or go out of state (starting life with debt is hard).
9. Wait to buy a home until you have a 20% down payment (don’t fear PMIs).
10. Go another day without a financial plan, retirement plan, and estate plan.
His Advice Received Mixed Reactions
It stands to reason that financial advisors, by definition, are pretty good at managing money. Still, TikTokers are nothing if not opinionated, and his followers had an array of differing responses.
Many items on the list received positive feedback. While it may seem like young people have no choice but to take out loans for college, Maltes received resounding support for his recommendation to take on as little debt as possible or consider taking up a trade instead.
One user noted: “To #8 I think vocation, trade & blue collar jobs are severely underrated and passed up on too much these days.” The financial advisor confirmed the sentiment, “I know several ‘Blue Collar’ guys earning $100k+. You are absolutely right.”
When it came to paying credit card interest, commenters were less agreeable. “You don’t use credit cards? What if your roof needs replacing or your AC goes out? Or you have big medical bills that you have to pay?” one user said. To which he replied, “Part of having a good financial plan is having an emergency fund for the unexpected. When something bad happens like what you’re talking about, I don’t want to compound the problem by paying interest on those unexpected expenses.
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A point about PMI (private mortgage insurance) was also well received and seemed insightful to many home buyers and homeowners. “Wait wait wait. I can just call my lender and ask for PMI to be removed if I have enough equity?? Tell me more!” one user commented in disbelief. Maltes was delighted to oblige, saying, “In some instances yes based on equity. It can’t hurt to ask.”
Other commenters highlighted pain points about having enough cash to buy a car outright. One user even said Maltes could operate according to his own rules because he’s rich. He then quickly clarified: “Trust me, I’m not rich. Please watch my video paying cash is a worthy goal. I pay cash because I don’t buy fancy things.”
One comment was so challenging and spicy that it got a video reply. “Stupid advice really. Like most people can buy vehicles [with] cash. You’re only talking to people with hundreds of thousands of dollars in their checking account.”
Maltes laments our consumerist society. People showing off their fancy purchases on social media is not real life, he says, but a highlights reel. That “keeping up with the Joneses” mind frame will keep you in debt when you could be building wealth.
It’s tough to digest this advice when you feel you can’t make ends meet—especially if you’re already breaking some of these 10 tips. But it’s important to evaluate your budget, see where you can chip away at debt or other financial burdens, and start paying in cash more often, even if it seems impossible now.
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