The 5 Real Reasons Millennials Don’t Invest
There’s been a lot of talk lately about millennials and money. The biggest generation, over 75 million strong, is missing the boat on investing — the best way to put money to work historically.* What exactly is going on here, and why? To learn more, Stash partnered with Harris Poll and conducted a survey of Americans age 18–34.** Here’s what we found:
It’s worse than we thought. Nearly 4 in 5 millennials surveyed — 79 percent — say they don’t invest. If that holds true on a larger scale, it means 60 million people are sitting on the financial sidelines. What’s worse is that 85% of millennial women said they don’t invest. Big, big problem. But also big opportunity.
It’s different than we expected. Despite being saddled with student loan debt, only 13 percent of respondents said they don’t invest because they’re still paying it off. Here are the real reasons millennials don’t invest:
1. They find it confusing. 69% of millennials surveyed, and 76% of women millennials surveyed, find investing confusing. Fancy jargon and overly complex charts are a major turn-off — 40% of millennials surveyed would rather help an elderly person set up a social media profile.
2. They just can’t relate. If millennials aren’t investing, who is? Just 10% of Americans own 94% of securities. Remember the “1%” rally cry of the Occupy Wall Street movement? We’re not that far off. Our Harris Poll revealed that 60 percent of millennial women equate a typical investor to an old, white man.
3. They think it takes a lot of cash. 41 percent of millennials feel they don’t have enough money to invest in the stock market at this time. 70 percent of millennials think they need at least $100 to start investing, while 38 percent think they need at least $1,000.
4. They trust tech over ties. Millennials have been alienated by Wall Street practices, like complicating fee structures, pushing their own products, and turning a blind eye to everyday, non-wealthy people. Over one-third of millennials (37 percent) say they would trust a payment app more than a traditional investment firm with their money.
5. They want choice, but not too much. 93 percent of millennials say if they were to invest in the stock market, it would be important or very important for them to decide which companies or funds to invest their money in. But too much choice can be overwhelming. There are thousands of stocks and funds to choose from. There needs to be a balance.
There’s a silver lining. Millennials can knock-down all of these barriers. Today, it’s easier than ever for them to choose where to invest, start with just a few bucks, and learn as they go. And the timing is perfect. By getting the hang of investing now, Millennials will be up-to-speed by the time they start earning more — and benefit from the largest transfer of wealth in human history.
* Past performance does not predict future results. See our disclosures.
** This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Stash from March 15–17, 2016 among 2,093 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 489 were Millennials (ages 18–34). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.