Gen Y: Investing Is Fun, Not Scary

A new survey finds that the financial crisis inspired more investing, not less.

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Online brokerage company Scottrade is out with some surprising findings about 20-something investors: It turns out they consider investing an enjoyable activity. Unlike older generations, they're more likely to manage their money on their own and to feel confident that they will recover their losses from the recession. In fact, one in three of those surveyed said they invest because it's fun, an increase from about one in four last year.

"Older generations see investing as more of an obligation or necessity, but Gen Y truly finds it fun," says Scottrade chief marketing officer Chris Moloney.

So, why am I surprised by that? Other experts and surveys have suggested that the financial crisis has left Generation Y permanently scarred—untrusting of banks and financial institutions, and less likely to invest in the stock market as a result. But this survey suggests 20-somethings aren't all retreating to their apartments to stuff bills in dark places. At least a significant portion of them are jumping into the stock market, which, given historical patterns about returns following market dips, is probably a good idea. Six in ten 18-to-26-year-olds said they planned to invest additional money in the stock market in the next year, compared to just 43 percent of those between the ages of 27 and 42.

The survey also suggests that the recession has served to educate 20-somethings about money. One in three said they've learned more about how the economy works and a similar percentage said they've become more familiar with their own personal finance situation. Those are higher percentages than any other generation.

So perhaps Gen Y is more resilient than other experts have suggested. Instead of interpreting the financial crisis as a warning to stay away from the capital markets, they seem to be jumping in with both feet—and that's probably the most lucrative move.

If you're a member of Gen Y, how has the financial crisis influenced your own investing habits? Are you more or less likely to put money into the stock market?