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Coming of Age: Young Investors and the Rise in Riskier Investments

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Kacey Tollefson

As our society has progressed and evolved with technology, an increasing number of individuals have access to security exchange markets than ever before. Low commission trading costs coupled with social media trends have led to much higher participation from young investors, more especially those who may not know about the risks of investing. As the composition of participants in the investment sphere skews young, the quality of investments being made can be called into question. Currently, young investors have the largest economic power than any other preceding generation due to higher earnings, larger savings accounts, and earlier participation in security trading. While market participation has grown, 60% of Millennial and Gen Z investors are also turning to alternative investment forms as a means of wealth creation. According to Motley Fool, 91% of Gen Z have used social media as a credible information source when making investments. Evident in the GameStop boom of 2021, social media has a significant impact on their financial decision-making behavior. My current research incorporates changes in investor demographics coupled with the quality of investments being made. This includes analyzing social media movements and just how impactful influencers, whether of an educated background or not, are encouraging people to take on high risks. Credible sources include my own analytical research comparing stock prices with social media trends, a survey of University of Utah students and their risk preferences/social media usage, and incorporation of peer-reviewed research by financial analyst professionals. In this analysis, I am challenging the assumption that uneducated, riskier investments are being made by Gen Z/newer generations because of 'get rich quick' trends and movements on social media. I believe risk tolerances have changed and up-and-coming investors will carry a large impact on market
University / Institution: University of Utah
Type: Oral
Format: In Person
SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
Area of Research: Business
Faculty Mentor: Nathan Seegert
Location: Alumni House, BOYER ROOM (9:40am)