Posting your investment earnings online
We’ve all seen how people in the personal finance community share screenshots of their investments. It’s encouraging to see that other people are starting to invest and make money.
Even though there are no police on social media that stops you from posting your personal financial information, every now and again someone posts a comment about the practice, and emotions flare up.
We need to be aware that there are risks involved in sharing any personal information online – including investment details.
To protect the identity of the people sharing their investments, I have modified some of the screenshots below so that the source of the screenshots is not revealed.
Let’s dig into the practice, look into the risks involved and how to protect yourself from issues arising from posting your investments on social media. This article will look at cryptocurrencies and stock market investments. Note that It’s not directly aimed at any provider, but we tend to see more screenshots of EasyEquities investments doing the rounds.
Growing your investments knowledge
In a world where expenses eat into our capital and few invest for the long term, the Twitter personal finance community with EasyEquities advocate financial health and investing for the long run.
It’s amazing to see how people are willing to help others to start investing. I love people like Ess who really has a heart for people.
I really believe it’s a good thing to help people move their finances forward.
Content creators and influencers tweet, post and write articles about money and investments. Many people however misinterpret social media content and look for advice on what to invest in. When they see what someone with a large following is investing in, they do the same. In the ecstasy of making a profit, we find many people posting screenshots.
Is this a bad thing?
Why do we post our investments online?
Screenshots of earnings and social proof
I was watching a YouTube video the other day with great tips on becoming a code content creator. One thing stuck – you don’t need to be an expert to start. But you also need some form of credibility, if you’re looking to grow your online persona.
When building this social media persona, you need to look credible – you need proof that we know what you’re doing. The easiest way to do this is by posting investments and other information of a personal nature.
Screenshots encourage us
Imagine Mrs Latte on Twitter. on her feed, she sees a screenshot of how much money Mr Espresso has made through cryptocurrencies. Not only does the ‘s and comments flow, but Mrs Latte is encouraged to invest some money in there as well. when she makes money, she also posts screenshots.
Which in turn encourages the community to learn and invest.
And this is amazing.
We trust people, not companies
My parents retired last year. They invested in pension funds and other financial products to secure a good retirement. Sadly, the financial advice came at exorbitant fees and low returns. Many people in their 20s and 30s look at the pensioners of today and realise that they received terrible advice.
The natural option is a healthy distrust of salespeople in the financial industry and opting for getting financial advice off social media.
The risks of sharing (financial) information
Personal information is not only tracked by hackers, but also by services that you use such as Google, Facebook and Twitter to give you relevant ads.
Though I don’t have a problem with this, it does mean that big companies have scope of what you have and what you’re doing.
And they can share it with governments or other organizations. Though we want to do everything above board, we know that authorities want to have a scope of everything.
Tax and auditing
Most of us, try and be as honest as we can. We declare everything to SARS. But what would happen if you don’t know that something is taxable? For example, the interpretation of taxable events of buying/selling cryptocurrencies has been refined and defined like the thread by Andre Bothma. This opens doors for audits and investigations, as with the recent case of DJ Sbu who was hit with a R 15mil tax bill (article here).
We’re already seeing SARS requesting financial details of people from crypto exchanges. I believe that this is only the beginning of investigations into investments of the middle class.
5. There seems to be this notion that a taxable event only occurs when a crypto is cashed out to a— Andre Bothma (@AndreBothmaTax) May 10, 2021
fiat currency (ZAR/USD etc), but this is not the case. South Africa, along with many other countries consider most movements of crypto as "taxable events"
Hacking and identity theft
According to a SABRICS report, In 2017, the banking sector had R250 000 000 in gross losses due to cyber crime
Kevin Mitnick, a well-known hacker wrote in his book The Art of Invisibility that hackers are constantly on the lookout for personal information. It’s like pieces of a puzzle that they collect – and they’re patient. They keep on scraping social media for clues.
Furthermore, with the number of hacked websites, they run queries to see if they can find passwords and other information about us.
I know – you’re thinking that this is a bit extreme – but believe me, it’s not. The issue is that you might think it’s just a screenshot. True, but it’s one piece of the puzzle. And when someone has enough pieces, they can do dangerous things that you might not trace back to that screenshot.
Hackers use your personal information for things like online fraud, identity theft, opening loans in your name, hacking your PC to get access to your investment accounts, or even taking out credit cards in your name.
In this screenshot, I removed the name. We have quite a lot of information that people can use to identify you – this includes account numbers and your name and social media profile.
What about other people taking this as financial advice?
Though an ethical dilemma, your screenshots do affect other people – and is worth a mention here. With the justified distrust for financial advice, people could easily look at what you’re buying and buy the same at the peak – without doing their own research.
I find that many people on Twitter tend to post screenshots of individual stocks. Though the risk/reward might qualify the investment, we need to remember this is undiversified and risky for those without knowledge.
How do I safely share my progress?
I am not against encouraging others to invest – on the contrary – we need to invest! We need to decide on a strategy about what we’re comfortable sharing and what not to.
I tend to be on the far end of the scale – I don’t share anything, except in what asset classes I invest – which are property, stocks, gold and crypto.
If you’re comfortable with sharing your investments online, I recommend DELETING the following from your screenshots:
- Investment account details
- Anything that could identify you as a person
It is preferred that no information should be traceable back to you, and thus using anonymous posting whenever possible is a good idea.
I personally am not comfortable including If you’re comfortable with posting the % gain and company that you’re investing in, that’s up to you. Just note the ethical dilemma above.
I know it’s amazing to get positive feedback from other people about investments. We need positive reinforcement to keep us strong on our journey.
Please be careful when posting screenshots of your investments. Know that there are risks involved such as:
- Giving away pieces of the puzzle to hackers
- Giving SARS and other agencies personal details that might incriminate you.
- Indirectly encouraging other people to buy shares or cryptocurrencies that might not be in their best interest
Please keep on encouraging people to invest.
And please keep on investing.
Frugal Local runs his own company (Effectify). He does software development and helps small businesses and startups with digital solutions. He enjoys writing articles and simplifying complex things – such as the article you’re reading!