A millennial is anyone born between the early 1980s and 2000, give or take a few years. The group before them is known as Generation X. And recently, a small slice in-between (1977-1983) was defined as xennials. Millennials are the largest group in history — bigger even than baby boomers. The group includes more women, and is more racially and ethnically diverse than any group before, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (which counts millennials as 1982-2000). This gives millennials a lot of financial power, but they aren’t wielding it yet.
But one place millennials shine financially is savings. Three-quarters of millennials have savings, and they started earlier than previous generations. But when it comes to investing that money in a way that could create greater returns, the opportunity is getting lost. Nearly 80 percent of millennials are not investing, especially women. There are several best practices to get this generation on track.
But first, what’s holding millennials back? Many people cite that this group has struggled with fewer jobs and higher debt. Moreover, they’ve been victims to some unfavorable imagery, such as when Time magazine called them the “me me me” generation. Some of this misunderstanding is also due to their position as digital natives, using technology that confuses older generations with an ease and frequency.
There’s one last thing that we’re forgetting. Think about how many films and TV shows depict the trading floor as it was in the 1990s boom era or the 2000 crisis with people in suits answering phones, throwing stacks of paper into the air and staring at large computer monitors. The recession was part of their formative years. Is it any wonder that many young people associate investing with their parents and other products of the ’90s? Until we update the image of the financial markets, millennials may continue to associate stocks with other ’90s icons such as the Game Boy (1989) and Tamagotchi digital pet (1997).