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Millennials are entering their prime years to take advantage of substantial investment timelines and the magic of compounded returns – yet they might be too scared to seize their opportunity for long-term growth. They are intimidated by risky-sounding words like robo advisors and discount brokerages.  The alphabet soup of investing accounts can leave young people gasping for air as they try to keep things straight.  Questions like, “Ok, so when I’m comparing the TFSA and RRSP, which is pre-tax and which is taxed later?” are quite common – but no one wants to ask them for fear of looking dumb!

The oldest pioneers of the Millennial generation just celebrated their 35th birthday while the tail end recently received their high school diplomas. Millennials are gradually making their demographic presence known in the workplace and consumer markets, but one place where you aren’t as likely to find today’s young adults is taking their first steps in DIY investing.

A recent survey on Millennial self-directed investing commissioned by TD found that 40% of the generational cohort do not invest on their own because they feel they do not have the financial background or knowledge, and 37% said they have no investments at all.

Nothing to Fear but News Itself

It is difficult to blame young investors for feeling uneasy about navigating the sometimes choppy waters of the investment world when you consider that for many of them, the only financial information they’ve been provided with in their adult lives are sensationalistic newspaper headlines about “crashes” and “bubbles”. Consequently, TD’s survey states that 36% of responders question if this was the right time to invest, while 22% state that it was definitely not time.

If Millennials allow their fears to continue to influence their investing behaviour, they risk missing out on the returns of equity markets – perhaps the most consistent driver of wealth over the past several generations. With growth rates levelling off in much of the world, it may be nearly impossible to build a retirement nest egg anywhere near as large as prior generations without exposure to global stock markets. When you are just starting your career and retirement is distant.

Leveraging Technology

One area that Millennials should naturally gravitate to when it comes to self-directed investing is the use of technological platforms that make it easier and cheaper to invest on your own than ever before. TD’s Direct Investing WebBroker portal offers new investors the tools to get started as they handle their own investments for the first time. With video tutorials, an extensive library of relevant articles, and a user-friendly navigation experience, TD aims to make it easier for Millennials to take control of their portfolios and determine their own financial futures. WebBroker supports you as you learn at your pace and take those elusive first steps whenever you are ready – no pressure or sales tactics.

Another technological advantage young investors have relative to prior generation is their ability to engage with social media channels to further their knowledge base. For example, if you check out @TD_DirectInvest on Twitter, you’ll find that several of Canada’s leading personal finance voices (oh yeah, us too!) recently chimed in on a #DIYInvesting chat with their views on how to get started in handling investments, as well as which pitfalls to avoid.

Don’t let the noise of the world’s loudest pessimists scare you away from educating yourself about DIY investing and towards a financial sacrifice you don’t need to make. No one should care about your money more than you do. The best time to start taking control of your finances is today.

Editor’s Note: This post was written in partnership with TD Direct Investing; however, all thoughts and opinions are the author’s own.

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