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Five worst investing mistakes that millennials make

When Christine Nguyen graduated from university with a whopping $35,000 in debt six years ago, investing for retirement was barely a blip on her financial radar. And even if she could afford to invest, the Toronto resident admits she couldn’t tell a blue chip from a micro cap.

Although daunted by the prospect of building wealth, Ms. Nguyen educated herself by reading investing websites and grilling money-savvy friends.

“My biggest mistake was not investing sooner,” admits Ms. Nguyen, who, now 28, writes the blogTheWalletDiet.com and is debt free. “During my period of investing ignorance I had the notion that you needed a ton of money to start. You don’t. You can invest as little as $20.”

Although many personal finance gurus recommend paying off debt first – particularly high-interest credit card debt – before bothering to invest, Ms. Nguyen’s strategy to pay debt and invest simultaneously worked for her. She has already built a nest egg while others her age are just starting.

Whether they’re putting off building a portfolio or picking inappropriate stocks, those who make up the millennial and Generation Z demographics – between the ages of 15 and 35 – are making plenty of cringe-worthy investment gaffes.

Two investment advisers – Paul Harris, partner and veteran portfolio manager with Avenue Investment Management in Toronto, and Joe Ruddell, vice-president, prairie region, for IDC Worldsource Insurance Network in Edmonton – weigh in on some of the worst.

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