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Never Too Young To Start Investing

Never too young to invest

Last Updated on November 2, 2020 by Mr. FightToFIRE

I received an interesting newsletter recently from a(n) (online) bank I’m a customer with. According to a Febelfin survey of 1000 young people between 16 and 30 years old, it appears that over 1/5th of them started investing, including a quarter of them during the corona crisis.

Research by the FSMA has shown that all 18 to 35-year-olds together own 21 million euros in shares.

More and more young people are investing

It caught my attention cause this meant that until now, the average investor was older? But above all, how did these young people get into investing, and why exactly during the coronacrisis? But what about the other young people, the rest? I looked up the research and found some interesting facts about the Belgian (investing) youth.

The Belgian investor is older

It looks like the average investor is on the older side. Although the tide seems to be turning, the numbers are still high. The average age of the Belgian investor is 54 years. This is unfortunate because young people have something nobody can buy or make more of: time. Thanks to the power of compounding interest, they can accumulate a lot more wealth during their lifetime with limited effort.

Never too young to start investing

So, the average is still very high in Belgium; compared to the US for example where there is a clear investment culture also among the general populace. Thus is changing in part thanks to the Coronacrisis. Even though it had a major impact on 15% of youth in Belgium, 85% could still put aside a nest egg. 52% of them think they can save enough and 36% even save more than before the crisis.

The most surprising thing this study shows is that 5.75% of young adults started investing during this crisis. This is supported by a recent survey by another bank, Keytrade, that states 8.1% of people younger than 35 started investing since the start of the crisis. The difference is most likely due to the slightly different age group both surveys targeted. Febelfin, the Federation of Belgian Financial institutions,  surveyed 16 to 30-year-olds, while the survey commissioned by Keytrade Bank was amongst a representative sample of 1,000 Belgians.

Their reasons differ from older investors. Young investors see the crisis as a healthy investment environment. They follow the well-known investor’s mantra: “Buy low, sell high”. Which kinds of stocks do they buy low? Nothing exotic it seems. AB Inbev, ING en Ageas are the three most popular stocks amongst the 35 and below at Keytrade Bank.

The rest? They have other things on their mind

About 45% of Belgian young people have financial problems due to the corona crisis. For 13% these are even serious financial problems. There are various reasons for this (depending on the age of the interviewed young people), such as:

  • 41% saw their student job canceled
  • 6% is temporarily unemployed
  • 16% receive less pocket money (about 50 euros) from the parents
  • 12% must support his or her own parents financially

Sources:

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Mr. FightToFIRE

I'm the owner and the main writer of FightToFIRE, a personal finance blog focussing on Financial Independence and Retiring Early. During the regular working hours, I'm a developer for a major financial institution in Belgium. During my off-hours, I write. do some weight lifting and other stuff to keep me healthy and fit.

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