There is evidence that millennials relying on the stock market to build wealth, rather than buying a home, are getting nervous about a market correction.
- Many millennials are using the share market as a way to save for a house
- Willem Buiter said there were signs of ‘late-cycle froth in financial markets’
- Australia’s stock market has been sitting near a 10-year high
So just how serious a threat is a market correction to young Australians, who have all their money tied up in financial markets?
Citigroup’s global chief economist Willem Buiter was the latest to sound the alarm, warning of a possible financial meltdown.
“There are clearly signs of late-cycle froth in financial markets, in everything from equities to corporate credit and real estate, especially in the US,” he said.
“There is the risk of an overdue correction.
“We are reluctant to call an end to the bull market in risk assets just yet, but a considerable degree of caution is now warranted.”
Stockspot chief executive officer Chris Brycki said they had been fielding thousands of calls from stressed-out young Australians worried that the stock market was about to crash.
Stockspot specialises in guiding would-be millennial home owners into the share market.
“Last year we fielded a lot of questions because the markets were going sideways from clients, now we’re getting a lot of questions because markets are quite high,” he said.
Their anxiety is understandable — a number of global financial commentators, such as Mr Buiter, have warned of a market crash.
But Mr Brycki rejected those predictions.
“One of the fantastic things about being a strategist at a bank is that you get paid a lot of money to come up with predictions at the start of the year,” he said.
“And by the end of the year most people have forgotten those predictions. And most years those predictions are awfully wrong.
“Predications from analysts and strategists are pretty useless for investors — if anything it can cause them to jump at shadows that don’t exist.
“Occasionally these calls are going to be right, it’s like the saying that a broken clock is always going to be right twice a day … so their predictions won’t really help you invest.”
Markets falling ‘shouldn’t always be seen as bad’
But the reality is that the world’s major stock markets in the United Kingdom, the United States and in Asia have all been regularly pushing record highs.
Australia’s stock market has been also sitting near a 10-year high.
Mr Brycki said he was telling clients that share investing was still a better way to get build a deposit for a home, or alternative way to create wealth, even when markets fall.
“Especially if you’re young, it shouldn’t matter at all if markets fall,” he said.
“For most people [it’s] a fantastic opportunity if markets fall because it will give them the ability to buy more at lower prices.”
Veteran UK financial markets commentator David Buik did concede globally stock markets had climbed so high that they were starting to get a bit wobbly, but he said he was not too worried about it.
“I don’t subscribe to the view that we’re about to have a serious crash,” he said.
“Why? Because I don’t see where the alternate asset classes are and most of the very big organisations on a global basis think that the growth around the world will be somewhere in the region of 3.7 per cent.
“Against a background like that, particularly with the European economy likely to improve, to say that you’re going to have a serious pullback in equities, it’s a brave call.”
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