One in four US teens would buy crypto if given money to invest, survey finds


Researchers have attempted to probe North American teens’ perceptions of the stock market, cryptocurrencies and other investments in the high octane GameStop era. The results showed that cryptocurrencies edged ahead of some other asset classes like real estate, with 25% of teens saying they would invest in crypto if given hypothetical funds as compared with 24% in real estate. 

43% remain convinced that the best bet would be to invest their funds in the stock market, yet a large share – 37% – said they’d refrain from investing altogether.

These results were drawn from a survey jointly conducted by Junior Achievement and RSM US in mid-July of this year among a small sample of just over 1,000 teens aged between 13 to 17 years. 39% of respondents who had closely followed the GameStop saga agreed with the idea that investing in the stock market is a great way to make a quick buck, with 20% judging trading stocks to be too risky overall. Nonetheless, 40% continue to believe that stocks can be advantageous as a long-term investment. 

The survey’s leaders have indicated that they aspire to reestablish confidence amongst teens that buying into the stock market is really in their best interest and to temper the negative picture they may have after having witnessed the fate of GameStop’s retail investors – as opposed to hedge funders – during the short squeeze. In the words of Jack E. Kosakowski, President & CEO of Junior Achievement USA:

“These results show that the recent ‘meme stock’ phenomenon could be having an adverse impact on teens’ perceptions of what it means to invest in the stock market. Given the fact that the stock market plays a major role in helping countless Americans achieve a secure retirement, it’s important that we help demystify it for the next generation.”

Junior Achievement and RSM have been trying to change teens’ impressions by promoting pro-stock market educational programs, including simulated stock market experiences and a curriculum designed to clarify the basic tenets of investing. The challenge they face is that, according to the results of their survey, a vanishing majority – 51% – of teens said they believe the stock market is “‘a good thing’ for ordinary people.”

Related: Parents, it’s time for ‘the talk’: Did your kid trade crypto in 2020?

As Cointelegraph previously reported, in many parts of the world, an increasing reliance on speculative investments has become conspicuous among millennials struggling to subsist in an era of suppressed wages, an insecure job market and forbiddingly high real-estate prices. 

In contrast to Junior Achievement’s takeaways, Lee Han Koo, an economics professor at the University of Suwon in Korea, argued earlier this year that the difficult socio-economic environment has fueled a “desperate” perception among many young people that day trading represents a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to break out of their insurmountable financial precarity. 

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