Many millennials are delaying entering into the world of finance and investment far longer than previous generations.

This is understandable. For one thing, wages are lower for the average millennial than they were for their parents, and the ability to rise up the ranks is slower since their parents are retiring later than people used to. At the same time, they have bigger debts starting out because college cost significantly more for them than for those who came before. So, in this sense, the money just hasn’t been there to invest.

But millennials are hesitant for another reason, even when they have the money: millennials don’t trust the financial industry.

And who could blame them? They came of age during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and in some sense, they have lived their entire adult lives without seeing a strong economy. They have seen a growing economy, and they have seen the stock market boom, but they do not have the cherished memories of other generations of seeing a generally contented country with a good economy.

So, their distrust is certainly understandable, but it is also misplaced. Millennials are now entering into their best years to start saving. Most of them are in their late twenties or early thirties, and they now have some level of financial stability. This is the ideal time to begin saving for a downpayment on a house or starting a retirement fund. It’s also a good time to start a college fund for the little kiddies (or the soon to be little kiddies). Millennials are missing out on all these opportunities because of their skepticism.

What they need is more assurance that the playing field will be fair for them in the world of investment. There is a general sense among that generation that though their parents may have down well by the market, the market is sure to be rigged to cost them more than it pays them, just as other areas seem to be.

To reassure them otherwise, it’s worthwhile to point out that the same opportunities that were there for their parents are still there for them. Though that may not have been true in many parts of life, in finance, that rule is likely to remain true for a long while to come. Just as their parents could get good rates on annuities and mutual funds, so too can they.

At the same time, there are more protections against the sorts of practices that brought the market to its knees a decade ago than there were before. There are more ways to sue a broker if he or she misuses funds. There is more oversight.

If millennials can be induced to listen to such arguments, they may find more opportunity than they have come to expect so far in their adult lives. Finance may be the world they first came to distrust, but it may also be the best way for them to reach the level of affluence they were brought up to dream of.


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