Millennials are a unique group, especially when it comes to their money. Many enter adulthood with a large amount of debt, and — especially young women —don’t know if they are managing their money correctly. A study by TD Wealth says that most of those that are in the 18–34 age group are choosing to go it alone and trade for themselves online. Jessica Moorhouse, a blogger, financial counsellor and host of the Mo’ Money Podcast, speaks with Kim Parlee about some of the issues that come with trading online, and some tools to help you succeed.
- Millennials are a unique group, especially when it comes to their money. Many enter adulthood with a large amount of debt and don't know if they're managing their money correctly. A study by TD Wealth says that most of those that are in the 18 to 34 age group are choosing to go it alone, choosing to trade themselves online.
Jessica Moorhouse is a blogger, financial counselor, and host of The Mo' Money Podcast. And she's here to talk about some of the issues that come with trading online, and some tools to help you succeed. Nice to see you.
- Thanks for having me.
KIM PARLEE: Why are millennials doing it all by themselves?
- I think we like to have some more control. And we like that flexibility. And we like to dabble in lots of different things. We want to maybe do some day trading or do the passive investing. We like having options.
KIM PARLEE: So what are some of the mistakes when you're giving yourself all those options?
- Well, that's the thing. I think a lot of people forget that when you have that flexibility, it's great. But you're also the captain of your own ship. You have to make all those decisions. No one else is helping you. It's very self-directed. That's why it's called self-directed investing.
- So OK, so it's self-directed. And you got to manage it. I know one of the things that I've been talking to people but this for a long time. And I it's the same with every generation. But people think about buying a stock and making money. But not really the why you're doing this in the longer term, because if it's like a map, you need to have a destination.
- Yeah, it's like, why are you doing this? Why are you investing? And I think a lot of people get hung up on TFSA versus RRSP? What's the best vehicle for my investments? Or what's the hot stock? I want to make sure that I'm buying what everyone else is buying-- what's cool and hot.
They generally probably don't care about-- yeah, but what's your investment plan? What are your goals? And what kind of benchmarks are we working with? What kind of ETFs make sense? Maybe not as sexy and exciting, but way more important, especially if you are investing for a long-term goal, like retirement.
KIM PARLEE: It's hard though. I mean, to actually, because when someone asks you why. It's like, oh, gosh, now I have to have a life plan. Or now, I have to--
JESSICA MOORHOUSE: You should have a life plan, right?
KIM PARLEE: But it's stressful, I think, for people, sometimes, to make decisions in choosing those things that you want.
JESSICA MOORHOUSE: Exactly. And I think it really comes from a place of, if you want to start investing, and especially self-directed investing, awesome. We need to kind of figure out some things before you buy that first stock or that first ETF.
You need to figure out, have you set that financial foundation for yourself? Do you know what's going on with your money right now? And then let's figure out what are your financial goals-- all your short-term, your long-term goals. And then how can we build an investment plan that works with those goals so you can get to where you actually want to go.
KIM PARLEE: How do you do all that? Because I know some people-- and this is not just, I think, for millennials but for everyone is, A, they meet with an advisor-- maybe meet with them once. You might meet them twice. You have a conversation. But they don't really have an ongoing-- or a relationship, I should say, with them. So it's not enough.
- No, because as your life changes-- and especially as us millennials-- we're getting older. So our lives are changing. We're buying houses. We're having families. We're getting married. Our lives evolve. Our money has to involve. Our investment plans have to involve. And so if you are working with someone, great. You might have to actually initiate more of those conversations. They may not call you more than once a year.
So if you do want them to be more involved, you may have to kind of reach out. But if you want to just do it completely on your own, which a lot of people are doing too, then you have to kind of be your own kind of money coach and make sure you've set reminders in your calendar. You have like a monthly money meeting with yourself or your partner. You have to be very proactive.
- I want to have a monthly money meeting--
- I have one with my husband. It works. It's so super nerdy, but it works.
KIM PARLEE: I love it. I love it. Is it formal? Do you guys sit down?
JESSICA MOORHOUSE: It is. I mean, I guess formal. We're usually in our pajamas, but, yeah. [LAUGHS] For at home, we have spreadsheets. And we talk about it. And then after that, we're like, OK, we talked about our money. We can move on. We don't have to talk about it throughout the month--
KIM PARLEE: Isn't that fantastic? Let me ask you about-- so if you decide, though, that, yes, say, you're in the pajamas. You've done the spreadsheet. You put it all together. And now you want to start trading online. I'm like, is there a good way to keep track of when you're trading online?
JESSICA MOORHOUSE: Exactly. I know some people-- they just like to use a spreadsheet and do it completely themselves. But there's also lots of great features out there. So I think when you're especially looking at what kind of discount brokers do I want to work with to make my own portfolio, look for ones that have features that may help you. I know TD Direct Investing just came out with new feature called GoalAssist that is free. It's included in their platform.
And that is a new way for them to help their customers, have a little bit more customization but a little bit more guidance, cause, again, when you are self-directed investor, there's a lot of choices to make and decisions. And it can be very stressful. So that's like one new feature that you're like, oh, try it out. It takes some of the pressure off yourself.
KIM PARLEE: It lets you know how you're doing too. That's part of it. I thought, are you on track?
JESSICA MOORHOUSE: That's the most important thing. It shows you whether you're off track or on track. And it'll go kind of green or red. And if you're off track, then you have to take a look at what's going on. Do I have to do something? Do I have to rebalance my portfolio? Do I have to just wait it out? And then you'll kind of know what to do after that.
- Now, [CLEARS THROAT] excuse me for coughing there. You were just part of an event this weekend, I think, for millennials.
JESSICA MOORHOUSE: Yesterday.
- Yesterday, I'm sorry. Level up Your Money-- so what's that all about?
- Yeah. So I partnered with my friend and author, Erin Lowry. She's the author of Broke Millennial and just came out with a book called Broke Millennial Takes On Investing. And so she wanted to come to Canada. She has lots of fans and readers here. And we teamed up to do a financial literacy event all about investing to educate millennials about investing.
So to inspire them to get started to answer some of their questions and hopefully kind of push them in the direction of, today is the best time to start investing.
KIM PARLEE: Two questions-- I'm curious. Were people asking a lot of questions?
- Yes. [LAUGHS]
- What were they asking?
- Oh, everything under the sun. Some people really were like, a big one actually was, I have student debt. Should I still invest? And that's a hard question to really answer. It really depends on your particular situation. You may feel more comfortable to like, just knock that out of the park and then start investing.
But if you know you're going to take 10 years to pay off that student loan, you don't want to wait 10 years to start investing. You want to start investing as soon as possible, so figuring out how can you balance both. So that's a really big one I think that we got popped in.
- Are millennials, do you think, more open with money, perhaps, than, let's say, boomers or Gen Xers? I mean, because I know if you get Gen Y or get younger, some people that just say, if they're happy to talk about anything--
JESSICA MOORHOUSE: Yeah, good for you--
- And sometimes you're like, get too much information. That's good, thank you. But I'm curious for millennials-- do you find, is there an openness around common--
- I think it's getting more open. And this could be because I'm in a little bit of a bubble. And I love to talk money. But I feel like people do want to talk about it. They're just trying to figure out, how can I talk about it? Who could I talk about it with?
So it's about also finding those communities where you can have an open conversation, no judgment. And so that's why I'm like, there's great Facebook groups or social media where you can talk about that. There's so many bloggers out there. So I think I feel like there is more conversations and more openness.
KIM PARLEE: And if people want to find out more about the conversations you're having, where do they go?
- They can go to jessicamoorhouse.com.
KIM PARLEE: Awesome. Jessica, thanks so much for coming in.
- Thanks for having me.