Nearly 80 percent of Millennials do not invest at all. Less than 30 percent invest in stocks, arguably the most important path to retirement and financial security.
Unlike Millennials, baby boomers are the wealthiest generation in history — and will remain that way until 2030 according to a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Over the next 30 to 40 years, $30 trillion in financial and non-financial assets will pass from baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, to their heirs, Generation X, in the US. Though millennials expect to receive a sizable chunk, surpassing baby boomers as the largest living generation in recent years, they still fall behind their parents and grandparents when it comes to building wealth. The graph below compares the ratio of income to wealth for late baby boomers, Gen — Xers, and Millennials at the same ages.
So who are the 20 percent that invest? Well, we probably know them. We all have a friend that studied finance in school and very disciplined with how they manage their money. They showcase their skills through investment apps like Robinhood or E-Trade, constantly checking stock prices, business news and brokerage accounts on their mobile phones. You might have even asked them for stock tips or where to invest, but too afraid to take the first step or just don’t know where or how to start. Let’s begin here.
Who cares about the next generation of investors? The rise of robots managing money, so-called “robo-advisors” (i.e. Betterment, Wealthfront) was supposed to solve this problem by making investing accessible to everyone. These companies leverage technology to reduce barriers to investing, lowering investment minimums and driving down fees to unprecedented levels. The rationale being that human financial advisers only value high net worth clients since their assets justify high fees. But most of these companies entered the market over 10 years ago and the problem has gotten worse. Millennials are overwhelmed and just want to get invested and get on with their lives. The rise of robo-advisor apps has lead many apps deploying Richard Thaler’s Nobel Prize-winning “nudge theory” to round up the digital spare change from purchases and investing the difference in a portfolio of eye-catching stocks including Apple and Disney. Some of these services offer free investing and minimums reduces to fractions of fractions. But millennials still aren’t investing?
Many millennials grew up watching their parents’ and relatives’ fortunes wiped away after the Global Financial Crisis with no recourse causing a mistrust trust in financial institutions — banks and brokerages alike. Unlike their elders, millennials naturally have different habits, economic priorities, experiences, and expectations which shape how they invest. Though they are the least invested generation of today, they are the world’s principal consumer generation.
For this mysterious group, it’s about ‘living in the moment’. This is not surprising, considering how they are constantly confronted by brands who spend hundreds of billions of dollars every year, leveraging social media to feed their hunger for instant gratification.
So what has the industry missed? If investing is meant to improve people’s future — how then, do we push this notion onto a generation obsessed with improving their present? We’ve navigated the millennial psyche and came to one interesting realization: It’s better to nurture the good habit of investing, on top of pre-existing habits. By seamlessly integrating good investing habits with their desire for instant gratification, we help millennials effortlessly achieve financial well-being. We are a brand loyalty and investment app creating a new currency for reward programs — fractional shares of stock.
Bits is a #madebymillennials solution. We shouldn’t choose between living in the moment and achieving financial freedom. Bits partner with global brands to build instant, gratifying financial habits on top of existing behaviors to help millennials build wealth, save comfortably and live in the moment.