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Young Investors Eager to Learn Stock Market

FILE - A Wall Street sign is seen against the background of a giant American flag hanging on the building of the New York Stock Exchange, in New York City, Sept. 21, 2020.

Investors younger than 34 surveyed by a financial services company said student debt, health care costs and financial jargon are barriers between them and investing.

Of the 898 surveyed, 61% of the young investors said education costs, or paying down student loans, are the biggest barriers to retirement, tied with health care costs (61%), according to ETrade Financial Services, which conducted the poll.

And financial jargon continued to confound, respondents said. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of the Gen Z and millennial investors note that financial jargon hinders their ability to invest on their own. That was an increase of 8% from last year’s survey.

Interest in investing was on the upswing, according to the poll. Over half (57%) said they have become more likely in the past three months to use sophisticated software like a dedicated trading platform. Nearly half (49%) said they're more likely to seek out professional investment advice.

Understanding how the market works interested the respondents more than other finance subjects. Young investors said they were most interested in taking a class on the markets (43%) over one on saving for retirement (38%). This opinion shift comes amid increased retail engagement among young investors.

"Young investors are true digital natives and have high expectations for any web or mobile experience, but it's clear that they're also open to a bit more traditional support when it comes to their finances," said Mike Loewengart, managing director of Investment Strategy at E*TRADE Financial in a press release.

Loewengart offered additional advice:

It's easy to get caught up in the latest stock fad, so keeping emotions in check and remaining aligned to long-term goals is key.

Don't attempt to time the market. Chasing performance is a risky business – you're always looking in the rear-view mirror. While historical data can be helpful, it bears repeating that past performance does not guarantee future results. So, while we've mostly experienced a bull market over the past year, consider that the market cannot go up forever. And at the end of the day, market volatility is part of a healthy market, so becoming comfortable with the ups and downs is crucial.

Consider automatic investing. One way to build good financial habits is to set up automatic deposits into a retirement or brokerage account. While you cannot control the market or your investing returns, you can control how much you add to your account.

The survey was conducted in July in the U.S. of 898 “self-directed active investors who manage at least $10,000 in an online brokerage account,” ETrade stated.

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