To Do List: Save for Retirement

By Caleb L. Swiney, Spring 2019 IAC Student Intern

Most people know that they need to save for retirement, but that’s the easy part. Actually beginning to save, knowing how much to save, and, most importantly, knowing who to trust your savings to are where the difficulties begin. Luckily, FINRA has outlined a checklist to help investors navigate those questions. Each of the following four tips are important to not only those investors who are starting to save for retirement, but also those who want to strengthen their savings plan. Continue reading

Money, Money, Money, Money…MonAYYY

Money, Money, Money, Money…MonAYYY

By Brook Ptacek, IAC Student Intern

That is what it always comes down to: the nickels and dimes. So how does money impact millennial investors? Well the last myth to pull apart from FINRA and the CFA Institute’s sponsored study, entitled Uncertain Futures: 7 Myths About Millennials and Investing, is that “millennials overestimate the investable assets needed to work with a typical financial professional.” What the study showed us is that, in fact, millennials underestimate how much money they need to invest.

This is not surprising though because as the study clearly shows, and as my blog series started addressing in the beginning, money is tight for millennials. Millennials are not buying houses and not having children for that very reason, something FINRA and the CFA Institute point out as impacting millennial investment decisions. The top financial goal of 40% of non-investing millennials surveyed is to not live paycheck to paycheck. So of course a group that already is having difficulty just meeting their daily expenses is going to underestimate what kind of money they need in their savings to work with financial professional.

In sum, the FINRA and CFA Institute’s research seems to show that to get millennials to invest, they need to feel like they are in a position where they feel comfortable to hand over their rainy day money. And to do that, you need to educate them about where that money is going or companies need to offer more employer-sponsored retirement plans so a millennial’s natural curiosity takes over. Millennials are not adverse to the financial system, they’re just averse to losing their precious money.

All We Need is Some Education

By Brook Ptacek, IAC Student Intern

In my last blog post, I hit on how millennial investors prefer some face-to-face action when it comes to investing. In the study, Uncertain Futures: 7 Myths About Millennials and Investing, sponsored by FINRA and the CFA Institute, some of the top factors identified as holding back millennials from investing was debt or a lack of savings.  What was interesting was that money was not the only factor holding back millennial investors, but so was education.

The study showed that not all millennials feel confident in investing. Rather, they would want a financial adviser who could educate them on investing. According to FINRA and CFA Institute, this debunked the myth that “millennials, being overconfident in general, are also overconfident in their financial lives,” and the myth that “millennials are wary of the financial services industry and by extension skeptical of financial professionals.” Continue reading

Millennial Investors: This time it is Personal

By Brook Ptacek, IAC Student Intern

For a generation that grew up in the tech age, one myth that FINRA and CFA Institute’s study on millennial investors debunked is that millennials would likely be more attracted to robo-advisers. However, that could not be farther from the truth.

The results of the study show that in fact greater than one third of the millennials surveyed had never heard of robo-advisers. What is more interesting, though, is that the millennials surveyed did not show any interest in robo-advisers. Rather, millennials seem to gravitate towards something a little more personal.

The study showed that even after explaining to millennials what robo-advising was and giving examples, such as Betterment, Wealthfront, and Blooom, millennials still wanted no part in it. According to the study, only 16% of the millennials surveyed marked that they were very or extremely interested in robo-advisers. Instead, the “Me, Me, Me Generation” seems to want to talk to someone face to face, not electronically.

This is interesting for a generation that is often cited for being full of social media endorsing, selfie-loving, narcissists. And in a generation where you don’t even need to go into a store to buy milk, its odd that millennials would want a real person they can talk to face-to-face about their finances.  But as my next blog post explores, this is likely easily explainable: millennials don’t want you to bring them a fish, they want you to teach them to fish.

Millennials are on “FIRE”?

“Millennials are on ‘FIRE’?”

By Brook Ptacek, IAC Student Intern

The first myth this study debunks is that millennials are all of the “FIRE” type (Financial Independence, Retire Early). The general assumption, the study points out, is that millennials have “lofty” investment goals and want to retire before the age of 40.  According to FINRA and CFA Institute, however, categorizing millennials as the “FIRE” type may be much farther from the truth.

Rather, the study shows that millennial investment goals are on par with their GenX and Baby boomer counterparts. According to the study, millennials have “modest financial goals,” expecting to retire at the age of 65 years old.  Only 3% of the millennials surveyed with taxable accounts believe they will be able to retire before the age of 50.  In fact, what was most shocking was that of the segment of millennials investors surveyed who already had some sort of investment account about 9% said they will never retire because they could not afford to.

What’s worse, the study shows that millennial investors may also have a reduced incentive to invest. According the FINRA and CFA Institute, the research shows that there is a “lack of access” to employer-sponsored retirement plans. This is important because the study also shows that employer-sponsored retirement plans are also what help get a millennial’s foot in the door when it comes to investing. FINRA and CFA Institute note such retirement plans are “a key stepping stone to investing” because it is one of the “top influences” for getting millennials engaged.  However, as the next blog post points out, there are also other factors that influence millennial-investing behavior.

From Helping Farmers to Helping Investors: My Clinic Story

By Dowdy White, Spring 2018 IAC Student Intern

As an undergraduate student who studied Agricultural Communication at the University of Georgia, it seems weird that I would be a law student interning in the Investor Advocacy Clinic and working to help clients navigate through their complicated investing schemes and work through the FINRA arbitration process, right? Well, maybe not as much as you would think. Though these two academic areas of study seem wholly unrelated, they are more alike than you could ever imagine.

When I was an undergraduate student, I was often asked if my Agricultural Communication degree was real or if I enjoyed talking to plants and animals. No matter how many times I was asked these questions, I always found myself laughing and trying my best to explain to people what my degree did for me. I always told interested people that my degree was in the area of talking and communicating with people who needed my help. Yes, I took copious amounts of journalism and public relations classes on top of a rigorous agricultural curriculum, but I also spent my time helping and listening to people who had a problem. Continue reading

When the Private Impacts the Public

By: Esmat Hanano, Spring 2019 IAC Student Intern

On February 8, 2019, Amazon’s stock closed off from its opening price by $26. What could lead to such an usual drop? If you guessed it was external factors, such as continuing trade tensions with China, you’d be wrong. Surprisingly, the dip in Amazon’s stock is linked to Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos. Bezos has been dealing with the fallout from a blog post he wrote accusing the National Enquirer of extortion. The post details the National Enquirer’s attempts to blackmail Bezos with threats to release salacious photos of the Amazon CEO. From a public relations standpoint, Bezos’s post is a shrewd tactic to get ahead of an embarrassing story. From a financial standpoint, however, the post could cause headaches for Amazon and its investors. Although the drop in Amazon’s stock price is relatively minor, the impact from Bezos’s behavior could become a distraction that further drives the price down. Continue reading