The philosophy that anything is possible if you divide it up into small enough pieces has been part of the philosophy behind the growth in micro-investment platforms targeting younger Australian adults. Whether its micro-share portfolios or micro-savings maximisers, there are now dozens of apps offering millennials the chance to contribute tiny sums in order to slowly amass a meaningful cache of wealth.
Take Raiz (formerly Acorns), the service is automatically linked to bank feeds and rounds up every transaction. Like a virtual coin jar, every 20¢ change from a $3.80 coffee goes in to the high-interest savings account set up. Similar services exist for share portfolios, albeit requiring more set up to track favourite stocks and bonds.
Yet one quarter of 2000 millennials surveyed by Harris Poll recently said they’d rather invest $1,000 in cryptocurrency than in the stock market - if they had a lazy grand sitting around, that is!
The problem is that few millennials have that $1,000, what with all the smashed avocado and soy flat whites they consume, as economist Chris Richardson famously observed.
Millennials have been edged out of the mainstream saving and investing market, with the dream of home ownership being just that for most people under 30. Add the exorbitant cost of living in major Australian cities (second only to those in Switzerland) and the situation seems intractable.
A survey by student loan specialist LendEdu found that 39% of those aged 18-34 own or once owned some cryptocurrency, most likely Bitcoin. Other surveys have shown that millennials overall are the largest age group to have invested in cryptocurrency followed by Generation X. The difference, however, is in investment size.
Millennials (and more accurately upper millennials in their late 30s) may be the largest demographic by number, but in value Gen Xers out rank them almost 4:1. In other words, those more mature people who invest in crypto do so within a broader, balanced portfolio of investments, and with larger sums.
But for millennials, cryptocurrency investing is possibly all they have. A small number has much in the way of superannuation savings, due to the casualisation of the workforce and stagnant wages. And even less are likely to have any meaningful savings to draw on.
So how to make crypto-investing easier?
Like any kind of investment, there’s a degree of complexity involved in following cryptocurrency markets.
Buying the right coin using real-world currency is just the first step. Deciding which currencies to hold, which tokens are backed by which gateway currencies and then knowing when to exchange between currencies all takes practice and more than a few smarts.
The next frontier is to link micro-purchases of cryptocurrency to every-day expenses.
Australian crypto-currency and customer rewards pioneer Incent is at the forefront of this new technology. Every time you shop at a store or online site that is affiliated to the Incent’s program, you earn fractions of our coin INCNT. This is a cryptocurrency token backed by the ‘Waves’ blockchain. So users can earn cryptocurrency on everyday purchases while they shop.
Because cryptocurrency is safeguarded by blockchain technology, its ownership is well protected .
Plus it can be cashed in for Australian dollars or the currency of your choice via an external digital currency exchange. Some people even use it to save for an overseas holiday and then cash the virtual coins in for the currency of their destination.
Unlike real world currencies, another security feature of blockchain tokens is that they cannot be devalued or confiscated by the government, which chimes well with the millennial distrust of big banks and governments.
So, for millennials struggling to put down a deposit, save up for a car or even buy a second soy flat white with their smashed avo, there is a better way.
Get on-board the crypto-currency wave and use micro-investment apps to round-up purchases, tip into stocks and to invest in small chunks of cryptocurrency.
That way at least you’ll be able to make a start on cutting up that investment ‘elephant’ in the room.
The content of this article does not intend to provide any general or personal financial product advice (as defined in Section 766B of the Corporations Act). It is meant to be informational and of a general nature only. You therefore need to carefully consider whether the information in this article is relevant to you in light of your particular needs and circumstances.