Millennials get a bad rap for doing stupid sh*t and being annoying. We fall off the side of the Grand Canyon while selfie-ing, twerk on Facebook live, and in general, “can’t even.” When we’re not worshiping the Illuminati, meme lords, and the patron saints of avocado toast, we keep very busy not knowing who Paul McCartney is. We can’t look up from our screens long enough to cross a street safely.

While there is some truth to these statements, I mostly think that millennials are annoying just like all people are annoying when they’re young. And considering the shit sandwich of an economy our predecessors brown bagged us for lunch, we’re not doin’ so bad at life.

Well, except in this one giant, horrifying, “holy shit WHAT IS THAT” stepped in what appears to be human feces type of way.

According to this study, Millennials have invested just 30% of their retirement savings in stocks (equities). Older investors have closer to 50% of their retirement savings in stocks.

Fellow Millennials, this is scary.

Let me tell you why this is scary

Want to know what will drive the MAJORITY of your returns, and therefore determine the MAJORITY of your wealth in retirement? How you’re invested. And I’m not talking about Tesla stock or Snapchat stock or Target stock. I’m talking about ARE YOU EVEN INVESTED IN STOCKS?

Twerk on Facebook Live all you want so long as you get your money in the market, ’cause that’ll cost you in long-term freedom. Over the course of 30 or 40 years, this extremely low exposure to the stock market could cost you thousands or even millions of dollars.

Traditional personal finance theory tells us that as young people with decades to invest, we should primarily invest in the stock market. Sure, keep some bonds (fixed income) as the more “stable” and negatively correlated piece to your portfolio, but not more than 20% or 30%.*

Why? Stocks historically have a much higher rate of return than bonds. Think about it; when you invest in a stock, you invest in a bona fide business. The goal of business is to create new value in the world; value of which did not previously exist. Companies are incentivized to create wealth and this is could never be the case for homes, or bonds, or gold.

Yeah, the stock market can be a real asshole in the short-term (BTW the short-term is 1 day to 5 years in the stock market), so people get spooked by stocks. I totally get it! But as a young person that DOES NOT NEED ACCESS to this money in the next 30+ years, what happens in the next 5 or 10 years DOES NOT MATTER. You have time to ride it out and let businesses do their thing and time for the stock market to work through its inevitable short-term kinks.

*For more on determining the right mix of stocks and bonds for you, I recommend reading The Often-Overlooked First Step To Investing.

Thanks to The Reformed Broker for tipping me off to this dumb statistic!