high return investment options: Top 3 new-age investment bets for millennials looking to take risk and earn big

In the 1950s, John Osborne and Kingsley Amis introduced the angry young men to the world that later had an Indian version in Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan. Soon after, the world came to know about the next generation of youth called the Gen X and then came the millennials at the dawn of the 21st century.

Tech and global exposure evolved at a massive scale along with Gen X and more so for the millennials, who were seen until in recent years to be a section of investors largely untapped.

In 2017, global investment management firm T. Rowe Price had said millennials are identified with unflattering and stereotypical media portrayals, but financial advisors ignore them at their peril. Advisors and service providers can engage this generation, which is currently more apt to conduct its financial and investment affairs, by ignoring the stereotypes, he said.

Many economists believe the scenario changed with the pandemic, as the leap in stock market participation by retail investors had a large chunk of millennials betting their money in hunt for large gains amid galloping inflation.

Millennials, considered to be the ones born between 1980 and 1996, somewhat helped the economy, including that of India’s, to thrive in dire times. This came months after Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s comments that the mindsets of millennials were adversely affecting the automobile industry as they prefer to use radio taxi services instead of buying their own vehicles.

Talking of the mindset though, they are seen by some as an impatient investor class chasing returns even through relatively riskier investment bets via instruments ranging from peer-to-peer, or P2P lending to cryptocurrencies that are in India under some heat.

“Unfortunately, millennials are being lured rather aggressively by the promise of quick and assured returns, which is oxymoronic. Often, SEBI’s reach is limited on social media and other such platforms where such quick-rich schemes like crypto and alt-coins etc. operate. , making it prime hunting ground for younger investors,” said Utkarsh Sinha, managing director at boutique investment bank firm Bexley Advisors.

Investopedia notes that millennials are the first to be born into a digital world and considered digital natives. They are said to check their phones as many as 150 times a day, justifying perhaps their keenness for the new-age digital investment tools and shunning of plain-vanilla deposits.

To give a fair chance though, Girirajan Murugan, the chief executive officer at FundsIndia, said when he hears the words REIT, NFT, and cryptos, his first instinct is to dismiss them. But then these new age investments are to him what mutual funds and stocks were to many from his previous generation.

FundsIndia’s Murugan, while “thinking-out loud” in his way, helps decode three such new-age investments, which may be scoffed off by some from the previous generation.

Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are intangible virtual currencies, which in a far-fetched view of many might potentially inadvertently replace national currencies. With facilitation of remittances, they may also enable tax evasion and avoidance through illicit flows, just as if to a tax haven where ownership is not easily identifiable. The IMF has expressed views that they may pose risks to the legal tender. However, developing nations are increasingly betting on cryptos and a report from the United Nations trade and development body UNCTAD revealed that over seven percent of Indians owned digital currency in the form of cryptocurrency in 2021.

Murugan said to understand where a crypto derives value from is where it gets interesting. There are quite a number of factors influencing this, but a major factor is the acceptance of the currency by companies/governments, he said.

So why so much buzz around it? Firstly, some popular cryptocurrencies are limited in number. This exclusivity gives it a higher advantage. Secondly, the unbelievable surges and falls have created the temptation of unbelievably good returns. In short, the volatility is largely responsible for its popularity. Various apps offer cryptocurrency purchases and offer the option of partial purchases too. This ease of access and the possibility of mammoth profits has obviously won the attraction of the youth.

Although recent regulations have been a hard hit on cryptocurrency enthusiasts, the temptation of reward still seems to tide over the speed breakers added, FundsIndia’s chief executive explained.

“How do I approach this? I would be a little more confident if the valuation system is well-established and if it had a regulatory body to govern the changes and disputes. If in a month I happen to have some surplus amount, I would probably try investing 5-10% of the surplus. All my basic investments are met, so an extra 5-10% wouldn’t hurt me,” he added.

NFTs – Non-Fungible Tokens

Similar to cryptocurrency, the asset in this case is digital. The asset in question could be an image or a video. NFTs came into existence mainly to ascertain ownership of digital assets. A good portion of such assets are also media that are circulated on social media. Therefore, the higher popularity of this asset class has led to the buzz around it.

Murugan said it is difficult to attach a sense of value to it. “You may get the worth only if you succeed in selling it in the heat of the trend. Impossible volatility, possibility of duplication, and danger of cyber attacks are other factors that stand in the way of us exploring NFTs. So, this one is purely for the risk lovers, I’d say,” according to FundsIndia.

Equity Crowdfunding

To put it simply, this is a method in which individuals, or a group of individuals invest directly in a company. Murugan said he is sure many have come across news that highlight startup formations through crowdfunding. As healthy as it is for the startup environment and the commercial landscape of our nation, as investors, it is important that he/she weighs the scope and the cons well. This asset has a great potential of making the portfolio vivid, he added.

Nevertheless, FundsIndia flags that while better technology is easing the access to such investment products every day, one should not abuse this convenience by investing in unsuitable assets or by investing profusely beyond their risk threshold.

As these investors increasingly jump the boat from savings deposits or other traditional investments, regulators too are grappling with newer challenges to avoid frauds.

On that note, in the next part of this story, we will focus on how millennials can avoid some volatility, risk and still bet on non-traditional products.

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