Many millennials are just saying no to the stock market. According to a Bankrate.com report, just 33 percent of millennials polled said they owned stock, compared to 51 percent of Gen Xers, and 48 percent of Baby Boomers.
What’s got them spooked?
“Some are still afraid of the market because of what happened to their parents in the 2008 crisis,” says Kevin Matthews II, author of “Starting Point: How to Create Wealth That Lasts.”
Fear is expensive. “There is a severe cost when you delay investing; waiting means you are not taking advantage of compound interest, making it extremely tough to catch up to what you could have had if you started earlier,” says Matthews.
Longer life expectancies directly translate to longer investment horizons. “Since the stock market is cyclical, you should be able to ride out most downturns you experience during your lifetime,” says Laurie Samay, a certified financial planner with Palisades Hudson Financial Group in Scarsdale.
Think long term. “Many millennials prioritize their student loan debt over their investing goals because the debt burden feels more immediate than the benefits of investing,” says Matthews.
While being conservative can be safer in the shorter term, in the long term, being too defensive can be just as risky as being overly aggressive due to the effects of inflation, points out Samay.
Take initiative. Many millennials may be working part time or in the start-up economy, rather than established companies, and may not be offered benefits like a 401k. “It’s no easy task, but go open an IRA; get educated about how to plan for your future,” says Peter Borish, chief strategist for Quad Capital in Manhattan.