Millennials know a lot about investing, but the majority don’t think they have enough to get started.
We’re constantly being told how important it is to save for retirement, which is probably why most of us know to invest in a 401(k) — but what about investing for life before retirement? Despite having solid investing knowledge, most of us are still struggling with how to actually start.
To get a better understanding of investing knowledge and behavior among millennials, we partnered with Equation Research to ask what people know about investing, and how they put that knowledge to practice, or don’t.
Turns out, millennials know a fair amount about investing topics and chat money with their friends, but are still holding back from reaching their full financial potential.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing a series of posts highlighting the results of the study.
Here are the top themes:
Investing IQ is encouraging
Millennials have a solid understanding of investing, yet only half are investing outside of their 401(k).
We’re capable of making informed investment decisions, now we just need the confidence and motivation to make the jump and take action.
We’re setting the bar too high
When thinking about where to start investing, 56 percent of millennials don’t believe they have enough money to invest, with most assuming they need at least $1,000 to get started.
This assumption creates a false sense of intimidation for first-time investors. Even $10 or $20 can get you going.
Save more by doing less
While many of us are motivated to achieve financial goals, we’re easily distracted by shorter-term, “non-essential” spending, like that trip to Cabo next month and the 3 Amazon deliveries you got today.
Rather than investing, millennials turn to quick fixes, like working overtime or a side hustle, to ramp up cash flow. Don’t let FOMO take over — making your money work for you can help you invest toward the things that matter most.
Talk about what’s in the bank
The majority of people who talk about their finances with others are more likely to also be investing themselves, and this is particularly true for millennials.
In fact, millennials are the most likely generation to use the friend group chat for financial advice before seeking formal avenues. Net-net, maybe chatting ETFs over cocktails will make you a better investor?
Technology can help, if you let it
Despite the ample technology out there – like Twine – to help you save and invest, people appear reluctant to trust digital tools.
For instance, more millennials turn to Google for financial information before friends/family or a financial app, and only a fraction are actually using a robo-advisor to invest.
Investing hacks for first-timers
Ready to get started? Here are some tips from our consulting financial advisor, Misty Lynch:
Just get started.
It’s easy to put off investing if it’s something you’ve never done before or you’re nervous about, but “later” rarely comes. Rather than making excuses or waiting for the “perfect” time just jump in.
You don’t need a lot of money to be an investor. $10 or $20 may not sound like a lot, but it can add up quickly. Watch out for fees, though.
If you’re starting small, low-cost options will ensure you make the most of your investments.
Automate your contributions.
Just like your paycheck automatically deducts money into your 401(k), set up monthly or weekly automatic transfers into your investment accounts and let it work for you.
When you first start investing, you may be eager to see how much your account is growing but checking your balance every day can be discouraging because investing takes time.
Take a breath, and give your accounts time to grow.
Ask for help.
Like any new skill, it’s worth taking a little time to research anything you don’t understand. Take advantage of any education available to you through your employer or seek out a financial advisor.
And remember technology is your friend — apps like Twine are here to help you reach your goals in a way that’s best for you.
This report was commissioned by John Hancock and fielded by independent research firm Equation Research in July 2018. The responses were generated from a survey 1,013 people ages 18-55 who reside in the United States