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The sharp rise of the Gen Y shareholder

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It's not all scrimping, saving and living out of a backpack for gen Y, with new research showing that young adults are quickly becoming keen shareholders.

A study from CommSec shows that the level of sharemarket participation for people under 35 has more than doubled in the past 20 years.

Thanks to the rise of mobile technology, it is now easier than ever to manage your savings and access the mass of financial information available online. Commsec reports that 25% of its logins and 13% of its daily trades are performed via a mobile device, so it's no wonder that just over a quarter of our 25- to 34-year-olds are direct owners of shares.

Gen Y money

If you're a sharemarket newbie, there are plenty of helpful apps and websites to guide you through your first purchase.

Acorns, an American investing app, plans to launch in Australia. It will allow you to invest small increments of "pocket money" in a long-term scheme with an exchange traded fund (ETF), giving small investors the chance to profit from a diversified portfolio.

Unlike most investment schemes, Acorns promises no minimums and no commissions, which would make it a very cost-effective trading app for everyday investors.

Acorns isn't expected to be fully functional until early 2016, so if you'd like to try your hand at trading before then the ASX has a few tips to get you started:

Consider your goals

Make sure that what you're hoping to gain from trading is realistic. Starting out too aggressively could be very damaging, so it's best to open with an amount of money that you can potentially afford to lose.

Research

Think about what companies you'd like to invest in, and do some research on their investment history. The ASX website, for example, can show you how the company's shares have traded in the past - if they're at an all-time high you may want to wait for the price to ease. In an initial public offering, always study the prospectus before you buy.

Consult a broker

To be able to buy and trade a stock, you will need the services of a stockbroker. If you'd like some financial advice before you take the plunge, contact a licensed advisory broker. Alternatively, there are inexpensive online brokers. Depending on how much help you need, brokerage fees can cost from $20 to $120-plus, so be sure to factor that in when you're planning your investment strategy.

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Steph Nash was a staff writer at Money until 2017.
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