August 23, 2018
“Digital natives” is a term attributed to millennials, because using technology for them is said to be innate. Or so we thought.
According to the latest Annual Labor and Employment Estimates of the Philippine Statistics Authority, millennials make up 45.1% of the total Philippine workforce, making them the largest group among the three generations. However, compared to baby boomers and Gen X, millennials somewhat lag behind in terms of financial standing. First Metro Securities Brokerage Corporation (FirstMetroSec), the stockbrokerage arm of the Metrobank Group, estimates that less than 10% have an investment or savings in some way or form.
FirstMetroSec Business Development head Andro Leo Beltran said, “Millennials in general have a lot of financial aspirations. Often you’d hear that they desire to gain financial independence by the time they reach 40, some to even as early as 30. The wish list often includes being able to travel the world, spend worry-free, and enjoy more-than-average standard of living for themselves and their family. But a great majority have no clear strategy on how to achieve this. And if ever they do, they tend to go conservative, not maximizing the opportunities and resources available to them.”
According to data, less than 1% of Filipinos are invested in the stock market. Beltran said, “Although it is where one can significantly grow his money, we noticed that millennials tend to be apprehensive due to unfamiliarity, confusion, and intimidation. We think this shouldn’t be the case, especially now that technology has already made stock market investing a lot easier and intuitive, especially for the tech-savvy millennials.”
Tools of the trade
Beltran finds it paradoxical that the supposed digital natives themselves have fears about stock market investing. “If they can figure out how to shop or sell pre-owned items online without the help of a manual, they can surely handle an online trading platform. The concept is pretty much similar: choose from a catalog the item (or from the listed securities the stock) you want to purchase; fund your shopping (or online trading) account; buy (or place a bid); and wait for the item to be delivered to your doorstep in 2-3 days (or wait for someone to sell the stock).”
Beltran added that just like online shopping, an investor has to do his research. “If you read reviews or compare prices before you buy items online, you have to do the same when you invest in stocks lest you find yourselves losing the value of your investment. Although stock investing has many benefits such as high returns, income from dividend, and liquidity, there are also corresponding risks that may be due to market volatility and wrong stock picks among others.”
“That is why it’s crucial you keep yourselves abreast of what’s happening to the market and the company you wish to invest in. Most online trading accounts give investors access to their research and publications. They are there to guide you in making a smart investment decision,” Beltran said.
Time to take stock
Beltran admonished millennials to stop saying they have no time to trade stocks. “That is becoming an excuse. Data on Filipinos’ internet usage suggest otherwise.” Global Web Index says that Filipinos are connected to the web over 5 hours daily, with nearly 4 hours spent on social media sites.
Beltran said, “We’re not saying social media is bad. In fact, it can even help you get started into investing in the stock market. There are online communities that promote healthy exchange of ideas and knowledge about investing. What we’re advocating is a more balanced and purposeful use of your time online. You only need 10 minutes on average to trade stocks, so it’s really not time-consuming. You can even use your smartphones. Online stockbrokers, like FirstMetroSec, have a mobile app version of their online trading platform. You can trade wherever you are.”
The BEST GIFT
Beltran said, “If you’re still apprehensive, you can always get guidance from experts. Don’t be paralyzed by fear of the market. You are bound to lose more in the end if you don’t act. If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, connect with investing influencers. A lot of them are more than willing to give assistance to those who are really interested.”
Beltran added, “You can also check the free seminars or webinars offered by the Philippine Stock Exchange and some financial institutions. Maximize your use of technology to include starting or growing your investments.”
To help raise awareness about online stock trading, FirstMetroSec regularly conducts seminars, which are divided into two: Basic Education on Stock Trading (BEST), which tackles basic stock market information, and Guided Investor, Fearless Trader (GIFT) for individuals already invested in the market and with in-depth understanding of market valuations and technical analysis.