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Millennials seem to be hated by every other demographic out there—often, unfairly so. We're called lazy. We're called whiny. We're called the "Me Generation," and are often told that we lack the life skills we need to survive.
Among other things, we're pretty notorious for being terrible at investing. To a point, it makes sense. Most Millennials have lived through the Great Recession and watched as millions of families lost their fortune due to an economic downturn that was totally out of their control.
But, as years passed, Millennials realized the importance of investing—or did they? Studies seem to be pretty mixed about the stock market and Millennials. So, how much do Millennials invest in the stock market, anyway?
Let's start off with some good news about Millennial financial health.
Despite being handed an awful world with terrible problems involving stagnating wages, restrictive business laws, and high costs of living, Millennials are pretty good when it comes to saving money and building credit.
Around 71 percent of all Millennials are saving money in cash, with around 39 percent of all Millennials being "super savers." Super savers, for the record, are people who save more than 10 percent of their spending income.
So how many Millennials invest in the stock market with that saved money? That's where the rosiness tends to stop.
Retirement investments and retirement savings aren't popular among this generation.
Perhaps one of the most worrisome indicators when it comes to seeing Millennials invest in the stock market is their lack of retirement plans. In one survey, around 41 percent of Millennials have no money set aside from retirement whatsoever. CNN put the number higher, at 66 percent.
That's right—zero dollars. As in, they have no Roth IRA and no retirement stocks. Most Millennials, at least according to one study performed in 2017, believe that their savings will be enough for retirement. (Hint: IT'S NOT!)
Another study seems to be a bit rosier. Forbes recently noted that 71 percent of all Millennials save for retirement, either through a 401k plan or through savings accounts.
Of the Millennials who have been investing for retirement, not much is saved.
Did we mention that Millennials don't really have much invested for retirement? It's true. Of the 33 percent of Millennials who save for retirement, most have under $20,000 socked away.
That being said, the average retirement account of a Millennial remains a very respectable $67,000. So, it's safe to say that there are some who really made a point of saving for retirement.
Much of the funds that Millennials save, it seems, deals with the money they are getting from 401k investments. Around 94 percent of Millennials who work in companies that offer a 401k will take up that offer.
If you were wondering, Millennials hate the stock market.
It's sad to say, but one of the reasons it's hard seeing Millennials invest in the stock market is because most of them really don't like stocks. Only 23 percent of all Millennials prefer investing in stocks to all other investments.
Among this generation, cash is king. 30 percent of all Millennials prefer to keep their investments in cash. This isn't that good, considering that inflation eats away the value of cash by about 2 to 3 percent per year.
It's often thought that Millennials avoid stocks because they simply prioritize their need to pay off student loans and actually make ends meet.
One of the biggest issues that Millennials face is the desire to stick to hyper-conservative investments.
Around 42 percent of all investing Millennials invest in the stock market conservatively. This makes them the most risk-averse demographic of all. For comparison, only 33 percent of Gen X invests conservatively and even few Boomers do at a mere 23 percent.
Transamerica reported that the average Millennial holds 25 percent of their investment in cash. An additional 20 percent is held in bonds, money market funds, and other, similar, highly stable funds.
This is actually pretty bad, since highly conservative investments often can't keep up with inflation. So, of those who stay conservative, it's very probable that they'll lose out money.
Many Millennials also seem to be fairly uneducated about investing.
It's hard to see why Millennials would invest in the stock market when they're terrified of stocks. Around 66 percent of Millennials claimed that the stock market was intimidating and expressed concern about their ability to understand how to invest.
Evidence suggests that Millennials know about stocks as much as most people would know about Information Technology (IT). 53 percent of Millennials state that they don't have enough money to invest, with another 21 percent openly admitting that they don't have enough knowledge to do much of anything in the market.
This might explain why most Millennials make many of the financial mistakes people do in their 20s.
Don't be fooled by our reputation; not all of us are broke.
Approximately 1 in every 6 Millennials has over $100,000 in savings, investments, and bank accounts. Recently, it was also revealed that 47 percent of Millennials also have at least $15,000 in their bank accounts.
So, while the situation may be a bit more dismal than what other generations experienced, we still have some hope.
Part of the reason why Millennials rarely invest is because many Millennials aren't paid much.
Millennials have the lowest wages of all generations, which means that their money tends to be tight in an already tight economy. Pair that with the skyrocketing costs of a college education, and it's easy to see why it's hard for Millennials to save and invest.
Many Millennials are doing whatever they can to gain more financial stability. Many Millennials invest in the stock market only after they pad their emergency savings fund.
Believe it or not, startup culture has helped plenty of Millennials invest in the stock market.
The biggest barrier for Millennials who wanted to invest used to be money and the difficulty of understanding the terms being used by stockbrokers. It once used to cost thousands of dollars to invest.
Startups like Acorns and Stash have allowed people to invest pennies at a time. This opened up the ability to save money in a more fluid, seamless way—not to mention invest their money without having prohibitively high fees barring them from doing it.
For real, investing apps made a huge difference in how well Millennials can fend for themselves.
What we are most likely seeing is a generation of people who are just beginning to enjoy having a little stability in their lives.
The Millennial generation was a group born at the most tumultuous of times. They just got into the job market during the Great Recession. They had to survive that, only to find that the cost of living skyrocketed while bosses refused to give them raises.
It's very likely that many Millennials who didn't invest just didn't have the opportunities to allow them to do so! This means that we will see more Millennials investing as the economy starts to adjust to them.
Overall, the results seem to be mixed and confusing.
It seems like we can't really figure out exactly how many Millennials invest in the stock market. It seems to be a minority of Millennials, with most choosing to save rather than invest.
If you're a Millennial and you have any investments, congratulations. You are doing better than a lot of your comrades. So, pat yourself on the back. You deserve it.