Millennials and Gen Zers Are More Invested in the Stock Market Than Other Financial Assets, Including Crypto

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Despite all the hype around cryptos and around the ease of investing via new trading apps, younger Americans have an appetite for stocks. A new survey finds that millennials and members of Generation Z are more invested in the stock market than other financial assets, including cryptocurrency.

See: The Top Stocks Millennials and Gen Z Are Invested In
Find: How to Refinance a Mortgage

The new Motley Fool survey finds that while millennials have seen slower growth in stock ownership, the pace has started to pick up somewhat over the past year. In the first quarter of 2020, millennials owned 1.8% of stocks. By the second quarter of 2021, they owned 2.5%, hitting the $1 trillion mark in value.

In addition, the survey notes that 25% of millennials are invested in 5-10 stocks and a majority believe that a strong portfolio should include 10 or more stocks.

Jack Caporal, research analyst at The Motley Fool, told GOBankingRates that while millennials own much less stock than baby boomers and Gen X, there are a few reasons to be bullish on the outlook for younger investors.

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“Older millennials are nearing their peak earning years, which should provide them extra cash to invest,” Caporal said.

Building Wealth

On the other hand, millennials and Gen Z face unique challenges that could hinder their ability to invest, Caporal noted.

“Millennials are entering prime home buying years in a red-hot market. More millennials have student loan debt than any other generation, and Gen Z are racking up student loan debt of their own. Millennials also faced larger employment setbacks during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic than other generations,” he said.

Related: Gen Z and Millennials Bridge Investment Strategies, Think a Lot About Risk

A previous Motley Fool survey noted that stocks “are king” for members of both generations, with 73% of Gen Z investors, 66% of millennial investors and 67% of investors ages 18 to 40 overall owning stocks, making them the most common type of investment in this age group. Another key finding of that June survey was that Gen Z and millennials are betting on tech, as respondents were most likely to hold stocks in the financial sector, with 42%; information technology sector, with 40%; and high-tech/emerging technology sector, with 38%.

Mutual funds were the second most common type of investment among investors ages 18 to 40, with 45% of respondents invested in them.

Another finding of the new research is that while about 145 million Americans — 56% of American adults — own stock, stock ownership hasn’t fully risen to levels seen prior to the 2008 recession. In addition, American families hold an average of $40,000 worth of stocks, lower than levels prior to the 2008 recession.

Building Wealth

See: Why Investing Is the Wave of the Future for Gen Z
Find: 15 Most Important Assets That Will Increase Your Net Worth

Finally, the research underscores that the wealthiest 10% of Americans hold 89% of stocks, worth $35.87 trillion, and white Americans own 90% of stocks, worth $36.15 trillion.

The top 1% of Americans in terms of net worth grew their ownership of stocks by 2% during the pandemic. The value of their stock holdings grew by $10 trillion.

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Last updated: November 4, 2021

About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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