I’m A Working Millennial And I have Never Invested A Dime. It’s Time For A Change.

I spent 40 bucks for two tickets to see our favorite forgetful fish on the big screen: Finding Dory, the most recent purchase in a string of indulgences. Then there were the Southwest tickets to visit my high school buddies. And the trendy, salmon-colored short-shorts that I will never actually wear. I even found myself saying, “yes” to extra Chipotle guac.

You might not believe me, but I do consider myself a frugal person. I eat in more often than not. I don’t particularly like to shop. I consistently try to split Uber fares with my brothers, who live across the world, hoping they will be confused and accept the charge.

In May, however, I entered uncharted territory: I started my first job — like 2.8 million other recent graduates. This means, for the first time in my life, I have (a bit) disposable income.

Apparently, there are 70 million of us millenials. For better or for worse, we represent a tremendously influential population segment. Why else would then presidential hopeful Ben Carson release this (painful) ‘rap ad’ and General Motors an ‘Emoji’ press release’?

With the taps of our index fingers, we influence what media conglomerates cover, and breed “Unicorns” with selfies. Yet, even with billions of GBs of information at our fingertips, and the Herculean ability to tweet 500 million times in a day, we are missing out on an opportunity perfectly suited for us: Online Public Offerings (OPOs).

With OPO’s, we could be harnessing the tireless power of our fingers to press and click to put our money to work, getting in early in products and companies that we truly believe in — all the while establishing long-term savings and investment habits.

“Millennials are simply not investing in the stock market”

Most of my friends have never invested before — heck, I’m in FinTech and I have never invested a dime. We are not alone. It turns out that millennials are simply not investing in the stock market: either we feel we do not have enough cash, we do not know how, or we are turned off by the upfront fees associated with traditional investments.

As a generation, we are investing as conservatively as retirees. I love my Grandma Sue dearly, but she picks up stock tips in the deli line. Experts blame our skepticism on our young and frequent exposure to financial recession, our inability to commit, and a cultural preference for frugality. Whatever the reason, we are missing out on a significant opportunity.

What the heck is an OPO?

Okay, I will cut my fellow youngin’s some slack. This stuff is new. A recent change in legislation — called the JOBS Act — allows everyone the opportunity to invest in private companies. Now, you do not have to be what’s called an “accredited investor” (read: mostly rich folks) to invest in early stage companies, instead you can use funding portals like StartEngine.

This is big.

Now we can purchase stock in private companies before they are publicly traded on a stock exchange. This matters because the people who made the most money from companies like Facebook, Uber, or AirBnb are those who invested early. Until recently, the only people who could do so were wealthy investors, venture capitalists, and angel investors.

OPOs are made for millennials. An Online Public Offering is… well, completely online. There are no startup fees, no large investment requirements. They allow opportunities for individuals to invest in something as a way to help build it. At StartEngine, we have made it really simple to do.

Our mission is to help entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. In doing so, we strive to create millions of jobs for everyone, including recent graduates like myself. We lead the OPO space — heck, we came up with the term OPO. And we are democratizing access to capital. To date, we have already helped thousands of first time investors, including the largest number of unaccredited investors in an offering ever.

As tempting as those Pixar tickets or late-night shawarma may be, I am now looking at OPOs. It is about time to consider the risks and upsides, and join the movement.

Fellow millennials — now that we have the tools, now that we’re working, let’s put our money to work.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of author Teddy Rounds. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to:http://startenginebetadev.s3.amazonaws.com/production/pdfs/Disclaimer.pdf