If someone generously rewards you a $10,000 check and told you to invest it, what would you do with the money?
LendEDU has conducted a survey which poses this question to 1,000 Americans in March 2018 and the infographic below shows how different generation would invest their tax-free $100,000.
Across All Generations, Paying Down Debt & Investing in Real Estate Are Prioritized
From the survey, LendEDU has discovered that each generation placed a priority in paying down debt and investing in real estate. Regardless of generation, these were the two most common answers, with “paying down debt” receiving 27.3% of the vote and “investing in real estate” garnering 13.5%
It was clear that debt burdens each generation; in fact, a higher percentage of baby boomers (33.1%) wanted to use the $10,000 to pay down debt than Millennials (22.43%). However, the forms of debt for each generation varied a little. Each generation prioritized reducing credit card debt first, especially baby boomers. But a healthy number of Millennials wanted to reduce their student loan debt first, while only 2.54% of baby boomers wanted to pay down their student loan debt.
A solid contingent of both baby boomers and Generation Xers wanted to hack away at either personal loan debt or mortgage debt, while the percentage of Millennials who had the same strategy was less.
There was a strong enthusiasm for investing in real estate for all respondents. Millennials were the most likely to invest in real estate (15.1%), with Generation Xers not far behind (14.6%).
Investor Enthusiasm for Virtual Currency Is Strong
It was no surprise that 9.19% of Millennials wanted to use their $10,000 to invest in virtual currency compared to Gen X (4.04%) and Baby Boomers (3.08%); younger consumers are the most enthusiastic crypto-investors by leaps and bounds.
However, there was great interest in virtual currency from both Generation Xers and baby boomers as well, perhaps indicative of virtual currency’s evolution into a legitimate investment vehicle. Even more interesting was that the older generations had more of an interest in several types of currency compared to Millennial investors.
A higher proportion of both Generation Xers and baby boomers wanted to invest in Ethereum than did Millennials. Baby boomers were the only generation that wanted to invest in Ripple, while baby boomers and Gen Xers were the only two generations to indicate they wanted to invest in a coin not listed.
Another interesting wrinkle from the virtual currency group was the Litecoin was more preferred across all generations than was Ripple. As it stands today, Ripple has a larger market capitalization than Litecoin, yet investors showed more of an interest in the latter.
Human Financial Advisors Vastly Preferred to Robo-Advisors
Of the respondents, 7.2% wanted to take their tax-free $10,000 and invest it in the stock market through either a brokerage account, financial advisor, or Robo-advisor. This result was not the most surprising outcome as investing in the stock market can be seen as the safe, status-quo play.
However, the lack of investors interested in entrusting their money with a Robo-advisor was a bit shocking, especially for the millennial generation. Only 11.11% of Millennials wanted to invest their $10,000 with a Robo-advisor, while 27.78% preferred a standard brokerage account and 55.55% wanted a traditional advisor.
It appears that, when it comes to investing in the market, traditional human advisors are still the most trusted among investors, young or old, looking to diversify a decent chunk of change.
Everyone Wants to Open an Online Business
One of the options for the $10,000 was investing it in the respondents’ own small business, which 6.2% of participants wanted to do. Across each generation, the plurality of respondents that selected this answer choice wanted that small business to be online.
Of the millennial respondents, 41.18% wanted their business to be online, compared to 32% of Gen Xers, and 35% of baby boomers. The results of this particular question were quite revealing of what the future might hold for so many entrepreneurs, regardless of age.
There was a decent showing for that small business being a restaurant or bar, but starting an online business was still clearly the preferred option.
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