A Fresh Take on the Stock Market

by Emma Baumgartel

When people think about the stock market, they often picture the crooked brokers from The Wolf of Wall Street while the song “Jordan Belfort” starts playing in their head. The stereotype of a stockbroker generally does not conjure images of anyone less than 20 years old, and definitely not an 18-year-old in their childhood bedroom. And yet, in today’s digital society, buying and selling stock is incredibly accessible to young people. With online brokers such as Robinhood and Charles Schwab, a user can sign up and buy multiple shares in a single day. With the lockdowns last summer and the boredom that came with them, more young people decided to turn to retail investing, or non-professional trading of stock or bonds, to try to earn money—and, often, for entertainment.

Many professional investors would consider these young investors (Gen-Z and younger Millennials) to be amateurs. However, with access to investment education through websites like investopedia.com, online courses, and TikToks made by investing enthusiasts, younger people have started teaching themselves about the stock market. At the same time, they are learning the importance of generating long-term wealth. Unlike previous generations, many students are pushing past the intimidation of investing and are ignoring the false idea that investing is only for those who are well-established in their careers.

With the constant problem of mounting student debt, it is easy to see why students are wanting to become more financially literate. Many students understand that it is not easy to be saddled with debt once they graduate. College graduates are also heading into a workforce that looks much different from what their parents faced, and value work-life balance. According to a survey by Dynamic Signal, 39% of Gen-Z workers surveyed say they prioritize a work-life balance over any other job factor. As a result, young investors are turning to stocks as a passive income approach.

What’s more, there has been an increase in young women investors. In the past, the stock market was viewed by some women as male dominated—especially older, white males. Now, with the ease of investing as well as the wealth of information available on the topic, young women are becoming more comfortable with it. There has been an increase of Facebook groups for women investors, as well as financial companies geared toward helping women, such as Ellevest. On social channels like TikTok, women investors are able to learn from more experienced women and men who create oneminute educational videos.

With the digitization of the stock market, as well as social channels, young people are starting to view investing in stocks differently. It is becoming less scary and intimidating and, for many, a real possibility to start growing wealth. If you are a young person who feels intimidated by the stock market, don’t be—it is not only for business moguls. Like anything in life, it can be learned, no matter your age or gender.

About Emma Baumgartel

Emma Baumgartel is an incoming senior at Lake Forest College in Illinois, majoring in Psychology with a minor in English Writing. Baumgartel previously attended Richwoods High School. She has always enjoyed writing—especially about current events and psychology—and believes in advocating for the truth. At Lake Forest, Emma was a writing tutor as well as an editor for Inter-text, LF’s social science journal. Next semester, Baumgartel plans on joining the college newspaper to gain more writing experience. After graduation, Emma is planning on continuing to submit articles to online publications, as well as a blog on Medium.com. She also hopes to land a professional content writing or marketing role.

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