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Millennials, you're investing all wrong

Photo: Shutterstock.

Young investors are getting it all wrong.

Swiss bank UBS polled 1,117 millennials and Gen X investors in December as part of its regular Investor Watch report and asked them a bunch of questions about investing.

UBS defined millennials as between 21 and 37 years of age. Those in the survey aged between 21 and 29 had at least $75,000 in household income or $50,000 in investable assets, while those aged between 30 and 37 had at least $100,000 in household income or $100,000 in investable assets.

Overall, millennials had the most regret about the financial crisis. Millennials were also much more likely to say they trusted “their gut” and that investing is all about market timing and to hold a big chunk of their portfolio in cash.

In short, they regret selling when they did and not buying when they could have. They also “failed to learn the same lessons as other generations” from the crisis, according to UBS, which is to buy and hold. Millennials are the least likely to stick to an investment plan, and while they are most likely to say they will take on risk, they actually take on the least.

You can read some of what Business Insider has written about investing in your twenties and thirties here and here. The general consensus is that buying and holding stocks for the long term tends to work out, and that it makes sense to have higher risk exposures (think equities) in your younger years.

Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” has said that young investors should put the first $10,000 of their savings in index funds, for example.

Here are the findings:

Millennials have the most regrets following the financial crisis


The buy and hold approach is less popular with these millennials investors, who are much more likely to think 'market timing' is key.


Millennials hold twice as much cash as other generations, despite the fact that, given their age, they can afford to take investment risk.


They're also the least happy with their portfolio.


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