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Be Cautious of Finance Tips on Social Media

The internet and the evolution of social media platforms makes it easy to find information — and misinformation — on almost any topic, including financial planning.Approximately 3.6 billion people worldwide access a growing array of social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.Although social media platforms can be sources of legitimate and useful financial tips and advice, they are also home to fake news and influencers of dubious credibility who offer financial advice based on nothing but their own point of view in order to gain followers.”People often accept information from social media influencers and assume it to be true without looking into their professional background and verifying their credibility,” according to CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals Shannah Compton Game, CFP® and Akeiva Ellis, CFP®.They recommend asking yourself these questions when considering advice from social media experts:

  • Is their professional experience directly related to finance?
  • Do they have education or certification in personal finance?
  • If they themselves have no financial background, are they partnering with legitimate financial experts?

Unfortunately, many of the viral influencers on social media who share financial information have not undergone any sort of formal financial training. So you should be aware of other red flags from their advice, including:Touting their solution as the only solution. There is often no one “right” answer to every financial decision, so be alert if the influencer provides only one solution without considering alternatives.Looking at the small picture. Much of social media content is brief, aimed at short-attention spans. Influencers may not take the time to explain the context behind a tip or recommendation and how it might affect your larger financial planning goals.Seeking likes and shares. Just because someone has a large following on social media doesn’t mean they are experts. Many popular social media “gurus” are working with advertisers to create content that may not be relevant, accurate, or helpful.Just as you should be wary of medical advice from someone who is not a doctor, be wary of financial advice from someone without expertise in financial planning. Working with a CFP® professional ensures that you are getting the accurate and up-to-date information you need to plan for your financial well-being at any stage of life. Also, a CFP® professional is trained to offer advice tailored to your unique financial needs and goals.Be discerning when you see financial advice on social media and use it as a starting point for discussions with a financial advisor to make the right decisions for your financial future. Find your CFP® professional today using the “Find a CFP® professional” tool at LetsMakeAPlan.org

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Toys for Tots Delivers Hope to Nearly 8.8 Million Children in 2021

Last year was challenging for so many people, but thanks to the generosity of the American public, life was a lot brighter for millions of less fortunate children. Struggling families who were already contending with stressful circumstances also had to cope with a turbulent economy and the ongoing impact of the pandemic.”On behalf of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, the United States Marine Corps, and the millions of less fortunate children who experienced the joy of Christmas, I extend my heartfelt appreciation to each and every one of you,” said Lieutenant General Jim Laster, USMC (Retired), President and CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in a general statement thanking the public.”The tremendous support we received from the American public and our Corporate Sponsors enabled us to distribute an unprecedented 22.4 million toys, books, and games to nearly 8.8 million children in need. But you did more than provide gifts, you also sent messages of hope and restored self-worth to those less fortunate,” adds LtGen Laster.Toys for Tots’ initiatives in 2021 included not only continuing to be the flagship children’s Christmastime charity, but also seizing opportunities to provide comfort and relief to families in need during uncertain and unstable times outside of the holiday season.The Program even provided toys, books and other gifts to nearly 18,000 children of the Afghanistan refugee families who have been granted asylum in the United States. As these families began adjusting to their new lives in America, Toys for Tots provided hope and joy during unsettling and scary times.As a way to expand Toys for Tots’ reach and support for underserved areas, the Program also stood ready to respond in emergency situations.Toys for Tots provided support to the people of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee who were impacted by devasting tornados in 2021. Many of the affected families lack the resources to recover, and the financial and emotional impact will be long-lasting, especially with the ongoing challenges of scarce resources and COVID-19 concerns. Toys for Tots was able to provide compassionate support and hope to these families with distribution of toys, books and other gifts to their children.These and other activities are just part of the Marine Toys for Tots efforts to provide year-round hope to families in need.The Toys for Tots Literacy Program delivered 3.1 million books to Title 1 schools and children in need, and the Native American Program supported 186,000 children on remote Reservations.Toys for Tots could not have reached these tremendous milestones without the support of the American public, the Marines and volunteers who led 832 local campaigns, and their National Corporate Partners. The generosity of the Program’s supporters made an incredible difference to struggling families and their children — when they needed joy and hope the most.Toys for Tots still needs your help to deliver joy and support to millions of less fortunate children.Please donate today by visiting toysfortots.org.