Use of technology in investing still eludes millennials—broker

In Photo: First Metro Securities Brokerage Corp. (FirstMetroSec) Business Development head Andro Leo L. Beltran talks about investing in this undated photo.

THE stock brokerage arm of the Metrobank Group said millennials lag behind baby boomers and Gen X in terms of financial literacy.

In a statement released late August, First Metro Securities Brokerage Corp. (FirstMetroSec) said it estimates less than 10 percent of these “digital natives” have an investment or savings in some way or form.

Digital natives is a term attributed to millennials, because using technology for them is said to be innate. However, FirstMetroSec thinks otherwise.

“Millennials in general have a lot of financial aspirations,” FirstMetroSec Business Development Head Andro Leo L. Beltran was quoted in the statement as saying. “Often you’d hear they desire to gain financial independence by the time they reach 40, some [hope to do so] even as early as 30.”

Beltran added the millennials’ wish list “often includes being able to travel the world, spend worry-free and enjoy more-than-average standard of living for themselves and their family.”

“But a great majority has no clear strategy on how to achieve this,” he explained. “And if ever they do, they tend to go conservative, not maximizing the opportunities and resources available to them.”

Sans citing sources, FirstMetroSec said data show less than 1 percent of Filipinos invest in the stock market.

“Although it is where one can significantly grow his money, we noticed that millennials tend to be apprehensive due to unfamiliarity, confusion and intimidation,” Beltran said. “We think this shouldn’t be the case, especially now that technology has already made stock-market investing a lot easier and intuitive, especially for the tech-savvy millennials.”

Beltran finds it paradoxical that the supposed digital natives themselves have fears about stock-market investing.

“If they can figure out how to shop or sell pre-owned items online without the help of a manual, they can surely handle an online trading platform.”

He explained that the concept is pretty much similar.

One can choose the item—or from the listed securities the stock—from a catalog you want to purchase, fund your shopping—or online trading—account, buy—or place a bid—and wait for the item to be delivered to your doorstep in two to three days—or wait for someone to sell the stock.

Beltran added that, just like online shopping, an investor has to do his research.

“If you read reviews or compare prices before you buy items online, you have to do the same when you invest in stocks, lest you find yourselves losing the value of your investment. Although stock investing has many benefits—such as high returns, income from dividend and liquidity—there are also corresponding risks that may be due to market volatility and wrong stock picks, among others.”

“That is why it’s crucial you keep yourselves abreast of what’s happening to the market and the company you wish to invest in. Most online trading accounts give investors access to their research and publications. They are there to guide you in making a smart investment decision,” Beltran said.

He also admonished millennials to stop saying they have no time to trade stocks.

“That is becoming an excuse. Data on Filipinos’ Internet usage suggest otherwise.”

Beltran cited Global Web Index as saying Filipinos are connected to the World Wide Web over five hours daily, with nearly four hours spent on social-media sites.

“We’re not saying social media is bad. In fact, it can even help you get started into investing in the stock market,” Beltran said. “There are online communities that promote healthy exchange of ideas and knowledge about investing.”

He added FirstMetroSec is advocating for “a more balanced and purposeful use of your time online.”

“You only need 10 minutes on average to trade stocks, so it’s really not time-consuming,” the brokerage executive said. “You can even use your smartphones.”

Beltran, of course, cited online stockbrokers like FirstMetroSec have a mobile app version of their online trading platform. “You can trade wherever you are.”

“If you’re still apprehensive, you can always get guidance from experts. Don’t be paralyzed by fear of the market,” Beltran said. “You are bound to lose more in the end if you don’t act.”

He said millennials can connect with investing influencers if they are on online social-networking platforms.

“A lot of them are more than willing to give assistance to those who are really interested.”

Beltran added, “You can also check the free seminars or webinars offered by the Philippine Stock Exchange and some financial institutions. Maximize your use of technology to include starting or growing your investments.”

Image Credits: FirstMetroSec

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