How Gen Zers can – and should – start investing their money

By Maia Odegaard, Marketing and Communications

Investing: It might seem like a topic off limits to the young – stock portfolios are seemingly synonymous with the wealthy and well established. But if you’re earning money, you should be saving and making sure you’re earning interest on that money. So, why aren’t young people investing?

“First things first, Generation Z is not saving enough money,” says Peter Goel, Contract Instructor – Accounting at Douglas College. “They’re spending too much on things they don’t need, like high-end electronics. Most of them are working, but they’re not saving. The mentality just isn’t there.”

This isn’t just true of the younger generations, Peter points out. People from all walks of life are living beyond their means. With a growing population and the rising cost of housing, education and everything else, we should all be putting our money to work.

“Money saved today and properly invested will allow you to buy the things you want, like houses and cars, in the future,” says Peter.

With so many options for investing, it can seem intimidating. So what should the novice investor consider?

“There are many ways of investing your money. You need to understand the type of return you’re getting. The dividends paid out on your investment are important, but you may also want to consider capital growth” i.e., the increase in the investment’s value, or the difference between its current worth and what you paid for it.

“One thing you should know when you’re researching what you want to invest in: Risk and return go hand in hand,” he cautions. “Consider what you’re willing to risk and how you can best achieve your investment goals.”

What’s step one?

“Start saving now,” says Peter. “Put aside 10-20 percent of every paycheque. Next, open a trading account at your financial institution, as well as a tax-free savings account. Then start researching a few simple investment options, like utilities or telecom companies.

There are ample online trading platforms available, TD for example, has a platform that’s incredibly user-friendly, and for a generation that came of age with smartphones and tablets, online trading was practically designed for Gen. Z.

“Learning the platform is a piece of cake,” says Peter. “It takes roughly 30 minutes to learn to use an online trading platform, and you don’t need to bank with the institution in order to use their platform. There’s so much flexibility with mobile apps, you can trade from anywhere, anytime.”

Peter recommends looking up tutorials on udemy.com and YouTube as an introduction to trading stocks and managing your own portfolio. And as for what shares to buy? “Look at the economic environment,” he says. “And pick a sector that interests you, such as technology, oil and gas, cannabis, or even food and beverage.

“Once you’ve got a nest egg, start trading and making money!”

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