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A Millennial’s Reflection on the Stock Market

Millennials, one of the largest generations in history, is in the middle of its prime spending years.

As millennials, we have a very different world. We are a generation that grew up with internet and smartphones. Social media has given us a platform to reach out to the world with more ease than ever. One click and we have all we need. Be it medicine or our favorite dress design, there is nothing that’s not accessible online. Hence the sharp contrast in our views, priorities and expectations compared to other generations.

We are ready to reshape the economy. Our experiences have started to change the ways of purchasing and selling, driving organizations to examine how they plan their business for the next few decades. A growing percentage of our generation is choosing to rent, and not buy, making us the “Renter Generation”. We seem to have an aversion towards making purchases that require huge amounts of money and are rather inclined towards the arrangement of renting. This gives us complete access to items without the weight (burden?) of ownership. This has given rise to what’s known as a “sharing economy.” We can infer from this, that access is crucial to our decision making process, and more important than ownership.

“25 Years from now, car sharing will be the norm, and car ownership an anomaly.” – Jeremy Rifkin, Author and Economist.

We favor experiences over saving and investing and this mindset is being reflected on the economy. The stock market is starting to reflect the priorities of our generation. Leisure and travel-related stocks, including, airlines and restaurants, have outperformed retailers since consumer confidence picked up following the financial crisis.

Chart from Bloomberg

This is largely because of shift in interests. What we experience, or what we get to learn from others’ experiences is what we believe in. This explains about our lifestyle preferences and how we love living in the present. We choose to spend our money on making memories — such as traveling, concerts and eating out—unlike the previous generations, which preferred to save most of what they earned for a rainy day.

We are still facing the aftermath of the Great Recession and are doubtful about investing in markets. With millennial interests reflecting on the stock market, and the continued 8 year long haul of the bull market, this is the best time for us to get over the fears and embrace the stock market – and do it quickly. It may prove costly for us not to invest since the other half of the population is aging and government spending on the federal protections such as social security and healthcare may quickly run out.

What we invest in is a matter of choice, perspective, and risk profile. We always know about clothes we buy or shoes we wear. We know which holiday destination we like, or what kind of weekend we need. Similarly, we can invest in any area of interest. We need to research about the stock we are interested to invest in, keeping in mind our financial goals and risk profile. Today, we can invest in stock market with as much ease as buying a dress at our favorite online shopping store. There are many online and mobile investing platforms available that are easy to use, and we get to make our own investment decisions. While there is no perfect portfolio for everybody, there is always a suitable portfolio for each one of us, based on our goals and risk profile.

“Time changes all things, and there is no reason why investment should escape this universal law.”

This is a millennial post – an effort to give our younger audience a chance to express themselves on the Stockal Blog.

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