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The youngsters bucking up the stock markets (that’s bucking with a ‘b’)

I was pretty surprised to find that many of Robinhood’s account holders are very young, with an average age of 31. It is probably why they pile into anti-Wall Street stock movements and they are not the only ones. See this from Reuters:

Apex Clearing, which helps facilitate trades for brokerages, said the nearly 6 million accounts it opened in 2020 represented a 137% increase from the year before. About 1 million of those belonged to Gen Z investors born in the late-1990s or younger, with an average age of 19.

19 years old?

When I was 19, I was lucky. I was playing Space Invaders and slot machines. I was lucky because I wasn’t in a war.

And I was lucky as I wasn’t playing stock markets that I don’t understand and, in the case of one young Robinhood user, led to suicide.

Nineteen.

At nineteen, I thought I was indestructible. Nothing would stop me. Nothing. And I knew everything. Everything. Even things I didn’t know about, I knew about, just like this young lady here:

At nineteen, I was an expert on everything and nothing. I knew the world and more, and knew that it was all mine. Just mine. The future didn’t matter, just the now.

In hindsight, I think it’s a very vulnerable age, and not the best time to be playing games with money that you don’t have. But maybe that’s just me. I didn’t know much at all and I wasn’t indestructible. I mean I remember being nineteen well, apart from all the drunken nights, which means that I don’t remember being nineteen at all.

Nineteen.

It makes me wonder how we should regulate markets. Should there be a stipulation that you need to be of a certain age, like with alcohol? Only 21-year-olds upwards can invest here?

And what about financial literacy? Are these youngsters taught what it means to have money and invest, or do they just treat it like gaming? It’s fun. Mess the system, buck the man, screw Wall Street and the money don’t matter if the chicks are free.

In fact, talking of financial literacy, I’m intrigued by an experiment in a country that believes this is critical to its future. The country is Finland, and their strategy is based upon more and more of its citizens messing up with money. Oh, and Finland is the same country that has experimented in depth with the concept of a universal basic income

It’s one of the Nordic countries that is covered with my NFI Group, and all Nordic countries are exemplary in healthcare, education, social security and more. Not that I’m jealous.

So, who are these nineteen-year-olds messing up their money in stocks and shares?

Americans.

Nearly all of the Gamestop and Robinhood fiasco is actually about kids playing with investments they don’t understand and shouldn’t be dealing with, but then investing is The American Dream.

For the Gamestop generation, investing is a game. It should stop. Investing should be boring and the key lesson? Buy when everyone is selling; sell when everyone is buying [Warren Buffet].

There’s a logic there. More than that, if you read Buffet’s life story: know your numbers, understand the accounts, read the market, study the management and know the company you’re buying. Some things never change, even if you’re nineteen and know everything.

 

 

 

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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