10 Reasons Millennials Should Pledge to Own Stocks

Something's wrong with the retirement nest eggs of millennials.

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Something's wrong with the retirement nest eggs of millennials. If they have portfolios at all, too many of them look like those of their parents and grandparents—not in the amount of money they hold but in how conservatively they're invested.

Despite a spectacular advance that has seen the U.S. stock market more than triple since March of 2009, surveys show that many younger people are reluctant to own stocks, including in their 401(k) retirement plans. That means they've missed out on the market's huge gains. A survey done by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies early this year found that nearly one in four respondents in their twenties had the majority of their nest egg in bonds, money market funds or other low-return, relatively safe options. By contrast, just 13% of people in their thirties and forties were positioned so conservatively.

Why have the young shied away from stocks? Some experts say the severity of the 2007-09 market crash, mistrust of Wall Street, the weak economic recovery, depressed wages and high student-debt loads all have soured millennials on risk-taking. Yet millennials are exactly at the age when they should be taking more risk with whatever they can afford to save.

Here are 10 reasons millennials need to be in stocks for the long haul, despite what they may think.

Tom Petruno
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Petruno, a former financial columnist for the Los Angeles Times, is an independent investor, writer and consultant. He lives in L.A.