Who Is Teaching the Young About Investing?
Fellow commentator on economics and publisher of Laissez Faire Publishing,Jeffrey Tucker writes in with his take on how young people will interact with the world of investing, and why he believes they will change the paradigm for the industry.
This fall, it was my pleasure to spend quality time with many bright and intellectually curious college students across the country as a speaker at college campuses on economics and philosophy.
The best part is talking with the students during the events. My goodness how times have changed since I was in college!
The crisis of 2008, where the bottom fell out of the youth employment market, had a profound effect on the outlook and expectations of young people who are in the process of completing their degree.
It seems everyone in college today knows a person who got perfect grades in a great major but went out into the job market and completely flopped. They had to accept a lower salary than they ever imagined and work a large part of their time paying back six figure debts. They remain wholly dependent on their parents for health insurance, housing, food, and much more.
Students’ ideas about the long term have changed as well. Back in the day, people imagined that Social Security would take care of them when they became old. Such a notion is inconceivable today. We will struggle to pay current retirement benefits, let alone when this new generation retires! Nor do I believe that these young people count on a 401(k), if they have one, as future income security.
Rather than defeatism and despair, though, I detected a strong dedication to creativity, entrepreneurship, and living a great life. They see success despite a system that seems dedicated to bringing them down.
Many of the people I spoke with, for example, are very seriously considering launching startup companies and are actively taking steps to make that happen. They are assembling their network of talent and sharing ideas. They are dreaming of independent lives and making it big -- on their own terms.
Their education and degrees are parlayed into a job of whatever sort -- a 9-to-5 thing that pays the rent and the cellphone bills, but it is not their career or their dream; it’s just something they do. Thinking of it this way, even a terrible job can be endured with a sense of humor.
Meanwhile, on nights and weekends, they work on their real goal. They are writing apps, working on digital services, thinking through new ideas, and cobbling together business models. They are acquiring new skills and filling in the gaps in their education. They are very careful about money, too -- all too aware of the dangers of debt from bad experiences in college.
Think of apartments with four or five people living off ramen noodles and cheap beer. This is where the mega-businesses of tomorrow are being hatched. These young people seem to live on two levels: their conventional lives, which they see as temporary holding points, and their actual path to the future, where they seek to realize their real passion.
To be sure, this is a group that is very commercially astute. They see business as the way to change the world. The tools they use every day to navigate the world -- buying everything from coffee to concert tickets, getting around cities, planning trips, talking to friends and family -- came to them via businesses catering to their needs.
There is also a vast openness to new ideas. Thoughts about creating internet-based monies and cities, new patterns of global social engagement, and even redefining intellectual property are on the rise.
Despite many challenges, this is a generation filled with hope -- and rightly so. The digital world has opened up new frontiers for them to make a difference in their own lives and the world at large. The digital space enables a new path of progress.
I would not look to this generation to embrace Wall Street and other conventions of the old-world establishment. They are looking at hard money, crypto-currency, peer-to-peer lending, privately funded startups, and other unconventional ways to find return.
I believe many recognize that bureaucracy has hamstrung conventional channels of investment. Instead, they are looking to see the world of investing opened up, just as the rest of the world has become more accessible and transparent through digital innovation.
In the coming years, they will be reaching for the means to achieve financial security on their own terms. Who is marketing to them? Who is showing them the way around the conventions, the rackets, and the losses?
The future of the world is bound up with the hopes and dreams of young people. These young people can and will transform the world that we know today. This is a niche waiting to be informed and educated about how to achieve their dreams.
Jeffrey Tucker is a frequent contributor to many opinion newsletters on philosophy and economics and a sought-after speaker.
My wife Bonnie and I are excited enough about liberty.me that we have made an initial $10,000 contribution, which will fund liberty.me memberships for young African and South Asian students who would not otherwise have the means to participate in this new community.
I encourage you to learn more about the project at the liberty.me website. If you are able, and so inclined, join liberty.me via the current crowd funding campaign. To be specific, I hope enough of you will see fit to participate, that you can collectively match the Rule Family contribution. If enough of us get involved in this, we can soon enough change our own lives a lot -- and change the world a little -- through our own efforts.
Chairman, Sprott Global Resource Investments Ltd.
Disclaimer: Sprott Global Resource Investments Ltd. and other affiliates of Sprott Inc. are not affiliated with the liberty.me campaign. Participating in the liberty.me campaign does not constitute an offer of securities of any kind. No compensation was given or received in consideration of our publishing of this piece. “Liberty.me” is mentioned for informative purposes only.
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