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Why (Almost) Everything You Thought About Young Investors is Wrong

Written by The Inspired Investor Team | Published on March 3, 2022

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Thanks to Hollywood and social media, the young investor's reputation varies from math whiz to wunderkind to Wolf of Wall Street. But what are today's young investors really like?

To set the record straight about this ever-fascinating, often-misunderstood group, we did the best thing we could think of to learn more: We asked them. Here's what the 2022 RBC Direct Investing Young Investor Insights Poll* found.

There are a whole lot more young investors than you might think

Maybe it was an increase in free time or fewer places to spend money, but whatever the reason, a surge of young people aged 18 to 34 decided it was a good time to start investing during the pandemic. Nearly half (48 per cent) of those polled within that age group began investing after March 2020.

We know from speaking with other young investors that getting started can be intimidating. For the now-30-year-old TV personality Frankie, one of his first steps was to explore a practice account. Alexandra, a 20-year-old actor, dancer and student, gained confidence with what she felt is important to her generation: “reliable, accurate information, where we can filter through and find what works for us."

This isn't the avocado-toast crowd

These young investors are proving that the instant-gratification-related stereotypes about avocado toast and other indulgences just aren't true. Of those individuals polled, 77 per cent said they take a lot of time before acting on their investing decisions, while 87 per cent described their self-directed investments as an important part of their long-term financial goals.

"Their responses to our poll show they aren't all jumping in and out of the market, looking for instant gains — they're investing for the long term," says Lori Darlington, President and CEO of RBC Direct Investing.

They know they don't know everything, so they do their homework

A vast majority (87 per cent) of young people polled reported actually liking the challenge of researching investments and acting accordingly. Remember, research can be done many ways, including turning to trusted contacts. One of the most valuable investing tools can be one's network, as 28-year-old software developer Tiffany explains.

Many didn't grow up in investing-savvy households

It would be easy to assume that today's younger Canadians are eagerly joining the ranks of online investors because they learned the basics from an early age. Not so, according to poll results. When asked what financial advice they wish they had received from their parents' generation, the top answer (57 per cent) was “how to invest." Following closely behind were “how to save," at 46 per cent, and “how to budget," at 44 per cent.

Christina, a 34 year old who started investing shortly after she graduated in 2014, can relate. “I didn't know anything about money at all. I still think that's so wild – to not have any financial skills when you get out of school as an adult, especially going into a professional career."

To hear more insights from investors directly, check out Investing Truths.

*The findings come from an online poll, conducted by Ipsos on behalf of RBC, of 1,530 investors between October and November 2021. The results referenced are based on 529 investors aged 18 to 34.

RBC Direct Investing Inc. and Royal Bank of Canada are separate corporate entities which are affiliated. RBC Direct Investing Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada and is a Member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Royal Bank of Canada and certain of its issuers are related to RBC Direct Investing Inc. RBC Direct Investing Inc. does not provide investment advice or recommendations regarding the purchase or sale of any securities. Investors are responsible for their own investment decisions. RBC Direct Investing is a business name used by RBC Direct Investing Inc. ® / ™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence.
© Royal Bank of Canada 2022.

Any information, opinions or views provided in this document, including hyperlinks to the RBC Direct Investing Inc. website or the websites of its affiliates or third parties, are for your general information only, and are not intended to provide legal, investment, financial, accounting, tax or other professional advice. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by RBC Direct Investing Inc. or its affiliates. You should consult with your advisor before taking any action based upon the information contained in this document.

Furthermore, the products, services and securities referred to in this publication are only available in Canada and other jurisdictions where they may be legally offered for sale. If you are not currently resident of Canada, you should not access the information available on the RBC Direct Investing Inc. website.

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