Over the past week, the Globe and Mail launched their ‘Gen Y Money’ page.
In researching for my gig at this new site, I knew the Globe page was the exact opposite of what Equity.Guru creates – but I really didn’t realize to what end. In going through the generous helping of financial planning advice, I saw one common theme: a critical mass when it came to shaping Gen Y in the form of our illustrious predecessors, the Boomers.
This is why GenY hates being called GenY. The millennials are sick of the assumptions that they can even think about a house – hell the whole “Where in Canada can you afford to rent” tool is an offence in itself. C’mon, we have no choice and yet we make things work. This site is, yet again, another massive misstep in an old format of the previous generation trying to be “with it” with the next.
Globe and mail, you don’t even know what “it” is.
Come to think of it, neither do I.
These pragmatic attempts at serving rehashed ideas to an otherwise theorized generation are providing more of the same evidence that my demographic has been long griping about. We’re not that young anymore, and we can do more – but go out and hire a voice in said generation, or even ask the generation themselves for input? WITCHCRAFT.
An article about how to afford to buy Prada was laughable, as most millennials have shifted away from labels to unique pod-fashions – The Globe would know that if they did a simple search about fashion and millennial spending online or, again, asked.
But the biggest mistake the Globe and Mail site makes is assuming traditional old school approaches to life can suit us young’uns in 2016. They focus on stock images of couples holding hands while preaching “Four money tips for surviving adult life.” Assuming GenY idolizes our parent’s lives is a main theme on the section and truly, it has us all wrong.
At almost 30 years of existence, I have a amassed a dog and a partner. But we live with two others. This type of collective living is commonplace. It’s no longer the young couple together alone. Usually it’s the young couple with roommates, or AirBnB tenants, trying to supplement income so they can afford the next year of school or car payments. Family? That’s for when we can afford to feed a tiny, fragile life. And if Gen Y kids already have kids, it’s usually a situation that, while absolutely happy, causes dreams to be put on hold, and difficult decisions to be made when it comes to a future embracing social assistance.
The Globe and Mail puts this dream-like, childish innocence on millennials, as if, we never really experienced life outside the cocoon of our parental units. That we don’t know about living on the street; we never saw the inside of a Planned Parenthood clinic; that we want our parents lives even though that generation is drowning in borrowed money.
Millennials don’t hide their financial reality like our parents did. We talk a lot about how we’re broke. About the hundreds of dollars we got screwed out of from the boss at our last throwaway job. We openly discuss crappy HR practices, and the debits from our account, unlawfully made in a job that tends to operate on the criminal side (because, for minimum wage, they can).
Financial security? We have none. Our conversations are frank, especially in that communal abode when rent and food need to be divided up and accounted for. All The Globe and Mail has to do is send reporters to be flies on the walls of the local College St bars and ask questions. We’d tell you honestly – we don’t invest because we’re shit broke, and some asshole in an overpriced, faux-designer suit can’t help us unless we have our parents’ funds to buy in.
I started the “entrepreneurialism” route because I still couldn’t find a job in an area where I’m a big fish in a little pond. Yet the outlook on small business when it comes to millennials tends on the lifestyle side – a hobby rather than a burgeoning industry with lots to explore. I’m making special edition comics, with massive art world names at the helm, and investors still look at me like this is small bananas compared to some tech boom bullshit.
But what if we took the village of lazy, disoriented youth and decided to invest in something that works?
Opening a stock trading account requires a minimum $1000 invested, something a lot of my brothers and sisters will never have just lying around.
So what The Globe and Mail is lacking, I’m going to give to you for free.
What I want to propose is an alternative approach to getting that coveted ‘Gen Y’ to invest. A social experiment, if you will.
I want to call out my peers, my elders, my friends, my arch nemisis-eses, and let’s make a group. An investment club.
It can be $5, it can be $10, it can be $100; let’s get people together to collect $1000, the basic amount you need to open a trading account, and we’ll enter into a hedge fund agreement – meaning: we’re levaing the money in for the first two quarters and then, after that period, you can either pull out your wad or continue to play with us in this IRL game of monopoly.
The money will be put in trust. The collective will choose to invest in one of five companies researched (I’ll do some digging in up-and-coming industries, with input from my good ol’ buddy Chris). I’ll dig deep into the chosen company, and write about their current status, their board of directors, their journey to profitability, plus all the fun personal stuff to make it even better.
Yes, there are rules that dictate how we can do this (or, more specifically, how we can’t), so we’ll follow all of those. And yes, your $5 only goes to $10 if we pick a double – not exactly a gamechanger for your financial situation, but nothing to sneeze at either.
The idea isn’t to make a million bucks out of five bucks, rather, it’s to help get the group situated in understanding how the markets work, and why they are such an opportunity. We can read about the latest Start-Up to go IPO, but do we know the math or the concept behind why or who made the money before the rest of us are allowed in? This will give you hands on experience in what that means. It may even spark a dialogue between investor and business, cultivating new business ventures in the end.
Heck, maybe we’ll find opportunity in private equity, or currency, or ETFs. The adventure will lead us.
This is not without risk. Sure, the money can be lost, as not all investments are created equal. But that’s where the research comes in. Spend time in learning about the company and getting a handle on who they are and the industry they’re in. Use the usual time spent browsing Facebook, instead browsing financial articles and catching up on the last ten years of Canadian industry.
Rob Carrick from The Globe and Mail thinks we should imitate those who came before. Let’s innovate and show those people we’re more than genetic carbon copies with neckbeards and lumberjack shirts.