Question: What Percentage of 18-29 Year Olds ARE NOT Investing in the Stock Market?

Apr 09, 2015
Behavioral Finance, Question of the Day, Research, Investing, Stocks, Current Events, Case Study

Answer:  About 75%.

Flurry of articles about results from a recent survey that asked Americans about their investing habits.  This presents a great opportunity to ask your students whether they currently own stocks or intend to own stocks and their reasons for owning/not owning.  Here are some of the highlights of the survey:

Young adults aged 18-29 are the least likely age group to own stocks, according to Gallup, and their numbers are falling as well. Just over a quarter of that group owned stock in 2013 – down from 33 percent in 2008, thanks in part to a lingering mistrust of the equity markets and the financial industry at large in the wake of the 2008 crash.

  • As for the general population, over half (52%) have no investments in the stock market (USA Today):

A survey released Thursday found that 52% of those polled said they weren’t currently investing in the stock market.

“It was a little surprising, especially since we specified that also includes IRAs and 401(k)s,” says Claes Bell, banking analyst for “So you’d expect to see more people with some money in the stock market. … But we had two big market shocks in recent memory. The bubble burst in tech stocks around 2000, and of course the financial crisis. So part of that probably comes from mistrust of the markets and … people not having the funds to invest right now.”

Among those not currently putting money into stocks, 53% said the reason was they simply didn’t have the spare cash to do so.

  • Wondering what is keeping investors out of the stock market (from

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 5.12.15 PM

Here are some great follow-up questions to ask your students about this resource:

  1. You’ve seen the data for why many people of ALL ages do not invest in stocks (chart on previous slide). Which of these reasons do you think explain why about 75% of 18-29 year-olds do not invest in stocks?
  1. Many people do not trust the stock market – why do you think that is? What recent events in stock market history have occurred that may have kept people from investing?
  1. What are the implications of NOT investing?
  1. How can the decision to NOT invest impact a 18-29 year-old when they are older?  

Want this resource and questions in slide format to use in class? Click here!


Check out the NGPF Case Study: The Mystery of the Missing Millions which teaches students about how 401(k) plans work as they try to solve a mystery.

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.