Why Young People Should Invest In Stocks

Young people think shares are devil’s stuff and want nothing to do with the stock market. Even newcomers to the profession can achieve decent returns with shares.

But you can’t blame my generation. After all, our parents and grandparents have shown us how to do it. In many families, shares are considered devilish stuff. Most parents have made bad experiences with the stock exchange, cling therefore to their savings and hoard it on passbooks and daily money accounts, which yield only miserable net yields.

Our parents, but also us millennials, can save better: Our generation reads five test reports online when it comes to concluding a new mobile phone contract. When it comes to an additional investment worth tens of thousands of euros, however, many simply rely on the bank advisor – or do nothing at all.

Shares are worthwhile also for humans with little money

It would be much better to take the issue into your own hands and focus consistently on equities from the outset. This is an example calculated by the consumer portal Finanztip: Fifteen years later, anyone who had invested 100 euros a month in a broadly diversified global equity savings plan in 2000 could have been happy about 32,220 euros – even though there were two severe stock market crashes during this period (dotcom bubble in 2000 and global economic crisis in 2008).

The stock market thus generated around 14,220 euros, for which the saver had to do absolutely nothing – except wait.

The example shows Stock investments are also worthwhile for people without the big money and without much knowledge of the stock market.

Another simple calculation example: Analysts at Credit Suisse, the major Swiss bank, forecast a stock market return of 5 percent per year (after inflation) for the coming decade – just like the long-term average of the past 100 (!) years. A 25-year-old today who invests 100 euros broadly in the stock market month after month and generates this return year after year can look forward to assets of 111,320 euros at the age of 55. (If he does not spend the money in between).

A justified question is of course why one should believe in this prognosis, because the development on the stock exchange is uncertain. Neither a star investment banker nor any TV stock market guru knows where the world’s stock markets will be in a few years’ time.

But there is a very simple reason why stocks will continue to rise in the long run: The global economy has been growing for centuries, and will continue to do so in the future. And as the economy grows, so do the profits of companies and thus the share prices. Mega-trends such as digitization, mobility and artificial intelligence will change our lives in the coming decades. Revolutionary products will come onto the market that we cannot even imagine yet. All these products and technologies will drive global economic growth. Humanity has no choice but to develop economically.

We have time to sit out major stock market crashes

Only crises that would threaten the entire civilization, such as a nuclear world war or the outbreak of an epidemic, speak against this development. Of course this can happen, then the money invested in shares would probably be lost. But if we were to take such a scenario seriously, we could stop working immediately.

Larry Fink, head of the world’s largest asset manager, Blackrock, put it this way in an interview with SPIEGEL: “If you believe that the world will be a better place in 30 years’ time, it makes sense to invest around half of your assets in equities.

Of course, share prices fluctuate very strongly in the short term – and that will remain so. The world’s stock markets can also collapse by 30, 40 or even 50 percent in the event of a crash. The probability of the next financial crisis is not low.

But we young people in particular have a great advantage: we have enough time to sit out such crises. We invest money that we may not need for 10, 15 or 20 years. And when the big crisis comes, we just wait until it’s over and don’t even look at the portfolio.

Stock exchange legend AndrĂ© Kostolany already said: “Buy shares, take sleeping pills and don’t look at the papers anymore. After many years you will see: You’re rich.” This statement makes it clear that owning shares is quite boring.

Are we too late to get in?

But at the moment the Dax is hurrying from record to record, US stocks are already quite expensive. Moreover, due to the unpredictable policies of the new US President Donald Trump, uncertain times are looming – is now the right time at all to invest your money in shares?

The simple answer is: it is always the right time to be invested in equities. When I bought my first DAX equity fund, the situation was similar. The Dax broke through the 10,000 mark for the first time in its history, and everyone warned me of a crash and advised me against investing. Two years later, the Dax stood at around 12,800 points.

The fact is: Nobody knows the right entry or exit time. If you think you can catch the right time at short notice, you might as well gamble your money away in a gaming house. It is important to stick with it for the long term, then in the past you will always get a decent return.

But many of my friends are not satisfied with all these arguments. Their manslaughter argument then reads: “Putting money into shares is evil because you give your money to companies that exploit their employees and pollute the environment. I don’t want that.”

Yes, admittedly, that’s true. But if we simply leave the money on the savings account, then the bank uses the money for its business and puts it into perhaps even worse companies. Then it’s better to decide for yourself what happens to our money and make the higher return. And you can do something good with this return, for example donate part of it or spend it on sustainable products. This is better for our society than simply leaving the money to the banks.

In addition, there are now countless possibilities to put money into funds that invest their money exclusively in sustainable companies. The Frisky explains money tips for millenials on how to manage your money completely ecologically.

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