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Are millennials not taking stock in the stock market?

Posted July 13

Many millennials aren't investing in the stock market, mainly out of a lack or funds or understanding of how it works. (Deseret Photo)

Perhaps it's not surprising that a generation that came of age during the recession isn't investing in the stock market, although those that are show a willingness to take risks.

A Bankrate survey found that only a third of millennials own stock, compared to more than half of Generation X investing in the market and slightly less than half of Baby Boomers, according to Bankrate.com. Within the demographic, older millennials close in on the previous generations with about 44 percent of those ages 26 to 35 investing, while only 18 percent of those ages 18 to 25 do.

When asked why they don’t invest, Bankrate.com reported 46 percent of all millennials surveyed said they don't have enough money. When the generation was broken down into the older and younger sets, a lack of money was also the most popular answer for the older crowd at 57 percent.

For the younger subset of millennials, the most popular reason given was that they didn’t understand the stock market enough to invest, Bankrate.com stated.

“The younger you are, the more you should rely on stocks, stock mutual funds and stock ETFs to fuel your retirement portfolio,” writes Paul Katzeff for Investors.com. “The younger you are, the more time your portfolio has to rebound from periodic setbacks. Which it will."

Millennials that do invest, however, aren't necesarilly risk-averse, as CNN.com noted. In the wake of Brexit and the Dow’s plunge of 600 points, there's evidence that millennials invested more in the stock market than any other generation.

Millennials who traded the day after the Brexit decision on the retail brokerage platform of Fidelity, a multinational financial service corporation, made 2.7 buys for every sale, according to CNN.com. Amongst Fidelity's more than four million customers, millennials were the ones who took the most risks with their high numbers of stock purchases that day, it added.

Ben Steverman at Bloomberg even called the behavior of millennial stock investors “cocky” in an article, citing a survey that suggests millennial investors are more likely to be active in a crisis than Baby Boomer, whether it means buying or selling.

It's behavior drastically different from what was seen in millennials a few years ago, CNN.com states. When the U.S. credit rating was downgraded in August 2011 and the Dow consequently plunged 635 points, millennial stock purchases were outnumbered by those from Generation X and on par with the risk-averse Baby Boomers, CNN.com cites as an example.

Part of it is that today, with the economy recovering, millennials have more fulltime employment and are better paid, John Sweeney, executive vice president for retirement and investing strategies at Fidelity, told CNN.com.

“It's also a recognition about the need to take more control over their retirement,” he said to CNN.com.

Contact the reporter at smanderson@deseretnews.com; Or follow her on Twitter at @Sarahsonofander.

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