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Published: Dec 15, 2021 4 min read
Young woman does a dance move in front of some stock market graphs
Money; Getty Images

Sick of the taboo around talking about money? Meet up with some Gen Z-ers.

Only 6% of Gen Z investors say they don’t openly discuss their finances and investment gains and losses, compared to 14% of millennials, 31% of Gen X investors and 42% of baby boomers, according to a new survey from the trading app Robinhood and Morning Consult. The survey took place in August and included 2,200 investors who trade at least one stock, fund, option, bond or cryptocurrency.

While older generations may remember chatting about money being a bit of a no-no at the dinner table, Gen Z — generally regarded as those in their early 20s and younger — are talking stocks in the school cafeteria and comparing notes on crypto after school. They're certainly not shy about their money on the internet, where they've taken to TikTok to brag about their wins and YouTube to share their knowledge. In fact, the way that young people chat openly about investing online has helped rewrite a whole new language for talking about investing, chock-full of emojis and abbreviations.

Social media is also a popular way for them to get their investing advice: 42% of Gen Z-ers and 43% of millennials (ages 25 to 40) said they use finance experts on social media to help make investment decisions, compared to only 27% of all investors, the survey found.

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How Gen Z investors are different

There's a good argument that Gen Z has completely re-written the rules of personal finance — which makes sense, seeing as they grew up in the shadow of the 2007 financial crisis, survived the COVID-19 recession and have very different values than the generations before them regarding where their money should go.

They're turning strangers online into their mentors, creating their own gigs and — as Delyanne Barros, an attorney and money coach, previously told Money — "not buying into a lot of the capitalist hype that millennials bought into."

They're also investing their own way. Of Gen Z investors in the Robinhood survey, 16% say they hold individual stocks they own for a day or less on average, a stark difference from just 1% of millennials and Gen X who are into day trading. And only 19% of Gen Z said they hold their stock for a year or longer on average, while 60% of Gen X and a third of millennials said the same.

Their obsession with fast-paced trading may stem from them getting into investing during the pandemic, when buying and selling stocks and crypto was a fun replacement for their other hobbies. A Charles Schwab study found that 15% of U.S. stock market investors got their start in 2020, and their median age was 35 (compared to the median age of 48 of those who began investing before 2020).

But the interests of many young investors are not limited just to meme stocks or risky crypto trading; they also want to build wealth for the long-term.

One high schooler, who co-founded an investment club where his friends can talk about stocks and funds after school, recently told Money he wants his investments to set him up for success for years to come, not just to gain a quick buck tomorrow.

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