In a Harris poll commissioned by the investing app Stash, nearly eighty percent of millennials are not invested in the stock market. There are a multitude of reasons as to why millennials are choosing not to invest their money. For instance, forty percent from that poll said that they felt they did not have enough money to invest. Thirty-four percent said they did not know how to invest and thirteen percent claimed that student debt was a driving factor for them. The survey also reported that female millennials were the most turned off by investing with seventy-five percent claiming it was too confusing as compared to the sixty percent of young men who said the same.
Recent data from a Merrill Edge Report states that in response to what they would be able to rely on 20 years from now, most millennials (66% percent) responded with their cash savings account. Merrill Edge asked the same question to older generations, and 71% of Gen-Xers said they would be able to rely on their 401(k) and 54% of baby boomers responded with their pension. We can see with this data that millennials are seeking their self-created savings down the line as opposed to older generations.
Trust is a big factor in why millennials would rather keep their money in cash than invest. One of the biggest reasons for this shift in trust is due to the climate in which many millennials grew up in, specifically with the most recent financial crisis of 2008. They witnessed their parents struggle through the tough times of the recession, and losing a huge portion of their savings which was invested in the market. Due to those events, millennials have developed the mindset that they should rely on themselves and their ability to save. In 2013, Wells Fargo did a study surveying over 1,400 millennials; they found that more than half of them were either “not very confident” or “not confident at all” in the stock market.
Most millennials who do invest, do not do so with big risks. 85% of millennials claim to “play it safe” with daily investments. Almost fifty percent of them also say they are more fiscally conservative than their parents. Student loans were one of the reasons that millennials stated as to why they don’t look to invest. As they face these large sums of student loan debt, they tend to be more risk averse due to the feeling of already being behind.
There is also a lack of relatable experts in the field to offer to these millennials. The average age of a financial advisor is 55, and there are more advisors over the age of 70 than there are who are under 30. There are other ways for millennials to get involved simply. The previously mentioned investing app, Stash is a great startup that views itself as an easy solution for those new to investing. They allow users to invest as little as five dollars in fractions of exchange-traded fund shares. They charge one dollar a month, or twenty-five percent on balances that are higher than $5,000 which is on top of the expense ratios of the underlying funds. Another app, Robinhood may not allow for small investments, but they are fee and commission free. These are some technologies that can appeal to the younger generation of investors, especially those who are conscious of their expenses and with transparency.