Your financial goals can be negatively influenced if you spend a lot of time on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook.  According to Schwab’s 2019 Modern Wealth survey, about half of millennials say they are more likely to spend on experiences after seeing something on social media. If you are trying to save money, pay off debt, or repair your credit, you may want to sign out of your social media accounts and take a digital cleanse.

In this article, we explain how social media is standing between you and financial freedom in some surprising ways.

Social Media Advertising

When you spend time surfing your favorite social media platforms, you will see many advertisements. The problem is that Facebook and Instagram have become adept at delivering the most relevant ads to you.  Here is where your financial goals start getting off track.  By browsing social media, you may end up wanting to buy things you’ve never considered purchasing before. Soon, you’ll be spending your money on unnecessary items simply because you saw an ad that tempted you.


One of the worst things about social media is that it can inspire a fear of missing out, or FOMO. You may always be worried that your friends are having more fun than you, so you feel like you have to try harder than usual to prove that you also lead an exciting life. As a result, you may spend more money on photo-worthy experiences like expensive dinners and luxury trips. Remember that social media is all about keeping up appearances.  A cool picture doesn’t equal happiness or financial security. 

Unrealistic Standards

Influencers make it seem like it’s easy to wear a brand new outfit everyday or decorate your home with all the latest trends. Their job is to make you want to buy things, and they don’t necessarily have attainable lifestyles. Remember that many of these influencers aren’t buying all their own things.  Many of them receive free clothing and other items from paid sponsorships. You’ll never know the individual financial situation of anyone on social media, and just because someone looks rich doesn’t mean he or she is rich. Don’t feel bad because your life doesn’t look like an influencer’s life.  Your personal financial goals are too important for that.

Waste of Time

Every minute you spend on social media is one less minute you can spend working on achieving your financial goals. What if you commit to taking a few days off from social media and using that time to create a plan or budget for your finances? You could always be using this time more wisely. 

Use social media to your advantage

Social media is not entirely bad.  It is all in how you use it.  There are ways it can benefit your financial goals.

Show what you know

Social media can be a great way to make connections within your industry.  You have an opportunity to post great articles and show off your industry expertise as a thought leader. Twitter and LinkedIn are both great platforms for sharing industry knowledge. Industry related Facebook groups are another way to engage with other professionals and build up your professional network.

Look for inspiration

Not all influencers are getting you to buy stuff.  You just need to follow the right ones.  Following financially-savvy influencers can help you reach your financial goals. These are people who can help you get those student loans paid off, pay down your debt, save for retirement etc.  Filling up your feed with helpful and inspirational content will make scrolling beneficial to your finances instead of detrimental.

Your financial goals come first

As you engage with your social media feeds, you may come across friends that seem to be doing it all and have it all. This may make you feel like you need to keep up but remember that all of social media is a snapshot in time and not indicative of everyday life.  Keeping your finances in check and living within your means is what you want to strive for.