Gamestop – Gen Z Money Sense: Young Investors Are About More Than GameStop and Meme Stocks
About the author: Ella Gupta is a high school student in North Carolina and the author of Gen Z Money $ense: A Personal Finance and Investing Guide.
When I was 10 years old, I began my first business selling Rainbow Loom bracelets. I made around $500 in profit. I donated half to a pet charity, and, with the help of my parents, I invested the other half in the stock market. This may surprise some, given my age. But the idea that financial success and investing is out of reach for members of my generation, Generation Z, is a misconception. Independent and self-sufficient, Gen Zers like me are taking control of our financial futures.
Some have dubbed my cohort the “Robinhood generation” with the underlying assumption that the typical Zoomer investor lounges on the couch in a hoodie trading meme stocks, taking excessive risks with hopes of making a quick buck. However, this stereotype misrepresents the vast majority of Gen Z. With our minds on the future, and having been shaped by hardships of the past and present, many members of Gen Z are highly analytical and focused on the potential risks and rewards of our decisions. To be sure, many of us don’t have the resources to make financial investments. But there’s good reason to believe we’re not as care-free with money as you may have been led to believe. In fact, 93% of Gen Z take the degree of risk associated with an investment into consideration before investing, according to a survey of young investors.
The Great Recession first exposed me and many of my peers to the world of money. Although I was too young to fully comprehend the gravity at the time, I vividly remember the emotions and financial stress that my parents experienced. Conversations at the dinner table revolved around financial uncertainty. Those experiences had a profound impact on me and shaped my money mindset. Soon after I turned 14, I began my first job cleaning dental instruments and subsequently opened a Roth IRA.
While I experienced the Great Recession secondhand through my family, the Covid-19 pandemic reinforced my pragmatic relationship with money firsthand. As the pandemic swept the world and led to lockdowns, young workers who recently joined the workforce were furloughed or laid off. Many of my friends who left for college moved back in with their parents.
The oldest members of our generation entered a brutal job market ravaged by the pandemic. Research reflects that graduating into a recession may lower earnings for over a decade. The fate of the world seemed to hang in the balance before vaccines were developed. The lesson I’ve learned about money is that circumstances can change in the blink of an eye. That’s made me and many of my peers predisposed to frugality and prudence.
Current events have brought investing to the forefront of Zoomers’ minds. The unprecedented
frenzy sparked many of my peers’ interest in the stock market and awakened them to the possibility of growing a nest egg through investing. Buzz filled the hallways at my school as my classmates tried to make sense of the craze and educate themselves. Nearly half of teens say that GameStop increased their interest in investing. I want my peers to understand that our generation has the greatest edge when it comes to building wealth: time. Learning about the time value of money is the cornerstone of wealth creation and will set us up for prosperous futures.
We have been shaped by the financial conditions we were born into. The massive $1.6 trillion pool of national student debt has not gone unnoticed by my generation. The rising cost of college is scary. For many of my college-bound friends, tuition is a primary factor in their decision-making process. In a TD Ameritrade survey, 73% of my peers indicated that they chose or would choose a less expensive college to avoid debt. Some are pursuing unconventional educational paths. Our efforts are paying off: Zoomers are on the path to less student debt than our older millennial counterparts. Zoomers seek financial flexibility and mobility, especially because we recognize that the future is uncertain. We want to have the ability to design our own futures without worrying about money.
When I think of Gen Z, I think of transformation. My generation is driving change across all spectrums, reshaping the way things have traditionally been done and disrupting established paradigms.
Bank of America
has predicted that Gen Z “will be the most disruptive generation ever.” Despite earnings lost from the pandemic, our collective income is expected to reach $33 trillion and eclipse that of millennials by 2031. I am bullish on the future of Gen Z, and I am confident that we will be the most financially successful generation ever.
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