Teenagers have a reputation for firmly believing they know way more than their parents. In the case of cryptocurrencies, almost half of them say they know more about these digital assets than Mom and Dad, and any interest they have in finance has been thanks to social media, a Wells Fargo survey published earlier this week found.
Traditionally, parents have usually passed on financial knowledge and expertise about money and investing to their children. The survey showed almost two out of three kids, or 57% of those polled, still agree this is the case, although this dynamic is shifting when it comes to cryptocurrency.
The Wells Fargo Parent-Teen Study on investing included 318 teens between the ages of 13 and 17, and 304 parents of teens who are 13 to 17.
The survey showed 50% of parents said their teen knew more about bitcoin than they did, while a similar percentage – 45% – of teenagers felt their knowledge of crypto topped that of their parents. The survey also found teen boys were more likely to say they know more than their parents about bitcoin than girls. 58% of boys polled said this was the case, while only 33% of girls surveyed agreed, Wells Fargo said.
In some cases this has even led to parents taking investment advice from their children – 19 year old Adam Mlamali, who has invested in stocks and has crypto holdings, for example regularly gives his mother financial advice – including telling her when to sell her bitcoin.
He believes that his mom seeing him take risks and reap profits as a result made her want to get involved, he told Insider. “She likes it when I explain my analysis to her and will then consider if she would like to invest and how much.” Adam told Insider.
Cryptocurrencies are especially popular topics on social media – where 35% of teens say they get at least some of their financial education. Parents seem to be unaware of this – only 12% said their children learnt about finance online in the Wells Fargo study.
TikToks that are tagged with #bitcoin have 3.6 billion views on the social media platform and #crypto renders 3.4 billion views. On a broader scale, #fintok, which is the financial niche on TikTok, boasts 357.3 million clicks and #stocktok, where TikTokers talk about their top stock picks and investments, has 1.2 billion hits.
So-called ‘finfluencers’, many of whom have over 100,000 followers, use social media platforms like TikTok to talk about their own investment strategies and journeys, share their top stock picks and provide financial education. Video titles range from “3 stocks that will double in 2021” over “How to turn $100 into $7,000 in crypto” to “3 steps to start investing” and “Taking out $ from a Roth IRA”. Not all ‘finfluencers’ are qualified financial professionals or have formal investment education.
Social media’s power to move markets also appears interesting to teens – 45% of those surveyed said the social media led GameStop saga that caused chaos on markets earlier in the year got them hooked on finance.
Reddit’s WallStreetBets page, where much of the GameStop short squeeze began, has over 10 million members. It also played a major role in the accelerate growth of dogecoin and is currently driving the AMC Entertainment craze – retail traders had organised themselves online, investing in the company’s stock and skyrocketing it’s stock price.
“Social media has a profound influence on our younger generations. Those generations grew up with social media and often trust many of the platforms more than their parents do,” Mariana Martinez, a family dynamics consultant with Wells Fargo’s Wealth & Investment Management group, said.