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Policygenius: Millennials and Gen Z Betting on Crypto

Young and mid-aged US investors turn to crypto over traditional stocks

Young Americans are increasingly choosing cryptocurrencies over traditional stocks as their preferred investment.

Key takeaways:

  • Significant shift in investment preferences among younger generations.
  • Cryptocurrencies are becoming a mainstream investment choice for Gen Z and Millennials.

A recent Policygenius survey highlights a notable trend among American adults—cryptocurrencies are outpacing traditional stocks as the investment of choice for younger generations. Conducted from October 16 to October 19, the survey included 4,063 U.S. adults and unveiled that 20% of Gen Zers (ages 18-26) and 22% of millennials (ages 27 to 42) now prefer dabbling in alternative assets such as cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

In stark contrast, only 18% of Gen Z participants reported owning stocks, significantly lower than the 28% of Gen Xers and 45% of Baby Boomers who still adhere to more traditional investment avenues. Myles Ma, a Policygenius analyst, observed: 

"Younger generations store their wealth differently than their Gen X and boomer counterparts, including novel investments like cryptocurrency. This not only demonstrates a larger appetite for risk but may also reflect newer economic challenges, such as the escalating housing shortage.”

The rising trend of crypto investment among younger generations

The inclination towards cryptocurrencies isn’t just about preference; it’s also about accessibility and perceived control. Nine percent of Gen Z and 8% of millennials admit to turning to social media first for financial guidance, a practice less common among older generations—only 3% of Gen X and a mere 1% of Baby Boomers do the same. This trend underscores a broader shift towards financial independence and literacy among younger Americans, who report feeling "somewhat proud" of their financial management skills despite the complexities of modern financial landscapes.

Historical data supports this shift in investment strategy. A 2023 Bitget study showed that 46% of millennials across major economies own cryptocurrencies, and a 2022 Charles Schwab survey revealed that about half of both Gen Z and millennials wish to include digital assets in their retirement plans. Furthermore, the same study found that 43% of Gen Z and 47% of millennials are investing in cryptocurrencies outside of their traditional retirement accounts, illustrating a clear trend of diversification beyond stocks and real estate.