Millennials are crazy about cash. According to a Bankrate.com survey, 18- to 29-year-olds are more likely to choose cash as their favorite long-term investment than any other age group. Nearly 40 percent of those polled said cash is their preferred way to invest money they don't need for at least 10 years.
Millennials got spooked by their parents' huge losses during the tech crash and financial crisis. "They don't trust the market," says Josh Fatoullah, founder of Great Neck's JR Wealth Advisors, who works with millennials. "They prefer to keep most of their money in cash, despite the inflation risk, and wait until they can afford to put money into real estate."
While cash is king for short-term needs, experts say it's not ideal as a long-term investment.
Beware of inflation: "For periods beyond 10 years, investors' greatest risk isn't day-to-day volatility in financial markets, but the risk that inflation erodes their buying power. This is just as damaging as any loss of principal. Cash is not a safe haven over the long term," explains Greg McBride, Bankrate.com's chief financial analyst.
Time is on your side: The true value of investing is the ability of money to compound over time. The calendar favors millennials. "Invest early in a diversified global portfolio of stocks, bonds and commodities," says Elle Kaplan, CEO of Lexion Capital Management.
Fear not: Investing isn't complicated. "Nearly all my retirement money is in equities," says Michael Cavacini, 29, a Philadelphia writer. He's seen gains of nearly 70 percent in seven years.