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How Millennials, Gen Z, and Gen X navigate investing

  • September 19, 2023
  • 7 min read

Overview

  • Address the specific investment challenges faced by Millennials, Gen Z, and Gen X.
  • Highlight the appeal of technology-driven platforms among younger investors.

Current investment services cater mainly to older generations with significant wealth, neglecting younger generations. They may offer tech solutions that claim to revolutionize finance but primarily benefit themselves. Younger individuals are often disregarded by these incumbents, who demand substantial assets for human advisory services. In essence, incumbents are signaling their preference for wealthy older generation clients. 
Naturally, this presents a challenge – not for financial firms, but for the investing Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z neglected by the dominant systems. 
The very reason for Eldad Tamir founding FINQ is to use science to eliminate the middleman, giving investors of all ages an objective and transparent investing solution, irrespective of their wealth.

Understanding generational investment trends

The younger generations were each born at a crux of financial and technological innovation. However, the tools built to power their investment success haven’t served their needs – nor were they designed to. As a result, these generations have swung from one inappropriate asset to the next, investing less professionally or more recklessly than their finances can tolerate.   

The underinvested Gen X (1965-1980)

As the oldest of Gen X approach retirement, the youngest are still raising families and navigating their careers. 
Their introduction to investing was undermined by the stock market turmoil of the 1980s. With no widespread internet and the financial system crumbling around them, most Gen Xers were too timid, ill-informed, and financially unstable to invest appropriately. They adhered to a “somewhat conservative” risk tolerance, investing in low-risk, ill-fitting “one-size-fits-all” assets. Making matters worse, the average Gen Xer didn’t start saving for retirement until age 30, if at all.

"The average Gen Xer didn’t start saving for retirement until age 30."

The problem is that not only has Gen X underinvested, but these “safe” low-risk funds have yielded low returns which are inadequate to fund their upcoming retirements.

The over-cautious Millennials (1980-1997)

Millennials began investing just as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression shattered markets: the Great Recession of the mid-2000s. Those who had already invested suffered massive losses. At the same time, the recession stole their jobs, retirement plans, and dreams of affordable homeownership. 
These early experiences – and years of rippling financial impacts – made Millennials even more cautious than their predecessors. As a result, they have generally followed “very conservative” strategies, characterized by ETF, mutual funds, and index funds that don’t fit their needs. Two-thirds of Millennials report having no retirement savings, and about a third seek short-term returns to avoid locking up their capital.

"Two-thirds of Millennials report having no retirement savings."

The problem is that the combination of not saving and wrongly investing too conservatively means that, as a generation, Millennials don’t have the funds - or capital gains potential - to see them through retirement. 

The risk-taking, market-betting Gen Z (1997-2012)

Gen Z was raised in the aftermath of the Great Recession, with the oldest graduating college into a post-Covid workforce. They were the first generation to grow up in a post-smartphone world, which has both informed and expanded their worldview. 
They lack solutions to handle or grow their wealth effectively, which becomes particularly concerning as life expectancy increases, extending their retirement years without matching financial support or investment performance.
Despite their relatively higher risk tolerance, Gen Zers have been largely neglected by financial establishments. Instead, they often seek financial advice from social media "financial gurus" or rely on misinformed friends, highlighting the need for accessible and accurate financial guidance. For example, in 2022, 57% of Zers regretted their investing decisions over the last 12 months.

"In 2022, 57% of Zers regretted their investing decisions over the last 12 months."

The problem is that their financial forecast is already stunted, regardless that 70% already are saving. Their lack of solutions for wealth management combined with seeking advice from online sources has often resulted in misinformed investment decisions.

Current investment challenges

All three generations face economic challenges like:

  • Student loan debt - In America, there is a combined $1.8 trillion in student loan debt. With 30% of this debt owed by borrowers in their 30s, Millennials and Gen Z in particular will have to choose between investing for their futures or paying off their loan balances for decades to come.
  • High debt loans - Zers have taken on more credit card debt than any other generation post-Covid. As a result, these high debts only worsen their already-stunted financial forecast.
  • Lack of affordable housing - Skyrocketing home values and soaring rent prices along with stagnant wages, have resulted in younger generations being forced to use their income for their day-to-day. This leaves less capital to meet other financial needs and goals.
  • Reduction in pension funding - The decline of funding pensions, coupled with four decades of wage stagnation and longer lifespans, paints a grim picture. In the absence of substantial income growth or robust retirement support from both government and employers, tens of millions are on the brink of entering retirement with the specter of poverty looming over them.
  • Increased life expectancy - Younger generations face the likelihood of outliving their savings. “Life expectancy is growing,” Tamir says. “These people…they’re going to live much longer than previous generations, and they must build wealth on their own because the ‘country’ is not going to pay them. So, they have a choice to make - start investing early, or face being very poor when you retire.”

"Start investing early, or face being very poor when you retire."

Evolving tech promised solutions – and delivered business as usual

While the younger generations struggled, the financial establishment was busy building tools they claimed would solve the world’s financial problems. Their evolving tech promised solutions like “digitalization” to improve personalization, financial literacy, and access to information. 
But that’s not what they delivered. 
In reality, the establishment slapped new, digital faces onto old business models. They automated data collection, asset selection, and customer interaction, simplifying their backend processes and increasing their bottom lines - not client outcomes.  
Instead of providing accessible, in-depth financial advice, they pushed “financial blogs” built around biased human perspectives. The end result is a complete lack of solutions providing quality, scientifically-backed data and actionable opportunities for the everyday investor. 

Technology’s influence on investment choices

Algorithms process and act on enormous piles of data, eliminating reliance on the computing and cognitive biases that cloud human judgment. Already, industries like air traffic control, inventory management, and online shopping use AI to boost their outcomes while outsourcing tedious, costly manual processes. 

But these algorithms are still in their infancy when it comes to actually making decisions. And in the case of the financial industry, their presence - and potential - are nearly nonexistent. 

Instead of building a new generation of AI to boost financial outcomes and personalize investing at scale, robo-advisors simply slapped a digital face on a limited investment landscape. 

Instead of eliminating human errors to enhance performance, they've automated customer onboarding and stock selection to uphold their long-standing standards and performance goals. It's crucial to differentiate between robo-advisors analyzing market data and making intelligent decisions that benefit investors. In truth, each update and iteration primarily serves to cut costs and boost profit margins for incumbents.

The fact is, the average investor’s dominant reality remains the same: they’re unable to access high-quality, high-value investments at an affordable price.

The appeal of FINQ for investors

The last 20 years of Fintech evolution have focused on profits, and ease of use over people, simplifying transactions and customer interaction without providing long-term value to end users. 
However, Tamir believes that FINQ is uniquely poised to capitalize on the intersection of technological dominion and underserved investors’ needs.   
“Each year, investment firms raise the advisory bar because they want to make more profits,” he says. “So all these younger generations have absolutely nothing. They have no access to any real solutions for their money. I think that’s where FINQ comes in because the younger generations are digital, they like to compare data and FINQ strives to become the number one solution for any digital client.” 
FINQ’s smart investment platform is designed to utilize the full force of cutting-edge science and big data. Using AI, FINQ continuously collects data from every possible source and breaks down the financial products into their most basic assets. It then analyzes these assets and offers objective, investment solutions for different financial product risk levels. 

Empowering younger generations: FINQ's data-driven approach

Younger generations frequently engage in inappropriate strategies with little – if any – professional guidance. At the same time, each generation cites a distressingly high level of discomfort and financial illiteracy around investing.  
“[Younger generations] have no access to any real solutions…that is why you get the Meme kind of phenomena, the crazy games with penny stocks,” says Tamir. “I think in terms of education…they’re more interested. They’re more curious because they understand the need to invest.” 
FINQ hopes to help these generations overcome their challenges with practical, data-backed, real-time investment solutions. 
We collect tons of financial data from every possible source - social media, professional analysts, crowd trends, and company fundamentals. Then, we boil it all down to assess each asset’s true value and risk. After pooling this data, we use the power of AI to find hidden patterns and scientific insights about different assets and strategies to fit every financial product’s risk level. 
And since our AI continuously learns and grows, FINQERS can quickly access information and respond promptly to market changes.

Transforming investing for the next generation

The future of investing must appeal to younger generations with new tastes and needs, both for the entire investment industry’s sake – and their own. 
How?
Utilizing technology, like FINQ which focuses on the end user. 
The advent and advance of AI increasingly empower modern tools with the ability to help “future-proof” investment strategies.
Adding science, big data, and AI, and removing human bias make machine learning smarter and faster, benefiting investors of every generation and at every level. Soon enough, even the most hands-off investors will be able to secure their finances – and their futures. 
These younger generations still have many investing years to capitalize on modern markets.

Bianca Belman-Adams is a seasoned marketing professional with 15+ years of expertise encompassing B2B and B2C domains. Her extensive background spans research, content marketing, operations, branding, design, and strategic planning. Hailing from South Africa, she presently resides in Israel, where she has contributed her skills across diverse industries including hightech, fintech, automation, television and entertainment, branding, social media technology, advertising, fashion, web development.