Young professionals across the country are suddenly more interested in their financial future. Over the last three years, there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of young Canadians who are investing online. In fact, most new investors are under age 35, according to a recent TD Waterhouse poll. Why the increase? Accessing banking, trading, and online information has become easier, faster, and available through mobile devices, including smart phones, and many banks and financial institutions like TD have easily-downloadable apps that enable jet-setting young professionals to access their portfolio while away from home or the office, wherever there is a mobile network. TD’s mobile app lets customers bank and invest on-the-go, with the latest enhancement allowing online investors to place trades through their smartphones.
We recently sat down with Orion Szathmary, Manager, New Investor Services, TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage. A key part of his role is to reach out to online investors, providing them with the necessary tools, support and resources to become savvy investors. He shared notable insights into the fast-moving convergence of mobile and personal finances with us.
What does the young professional need to know about investing?
Investments may play a huge role in young professionals’ financial future, and they need to recognize the difference between investing for yourself and investing by yourself – and by that I mean you can manage your own investments. The great news is that there’s plenty of information available, so you’re not working alone. Depending on your degree of comfort or familiarity, there are many investment types available, all with different risk levels that will suit your needs. In terms of learning what types of investments would best suit your personal goals, there is plenty of information available online and in books. You can also see your financial advisor or visit your online broker for information, tools and tips. For example, TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage currently hosts over 2,000 free seminars per year across Canada on a wide variety of investing topics. I also want young professionals to know that it’s very easy to access the investment world through mobile devices and an online brokerage.
Why are we seeing more young investors in the market place?
Many young professionals have grown up with continually evolving technology, and are very comfortable with the online world and mobile phone technology. As investing becomes increasingly accessible through mobile technology such as smart phones, and getting information on financial markets becomes as convenient as watching a YouTube video, more and more young professionals are willing to try it out and get involved.
I also think that the increasing media attention on retirement savings, with Baby Boomers moving towards retirement, is a contributing factor. Financial institutions are tailoring their marketing to Boomers by asking questions in their advertising such as “What does your retirement look like?” This is encouraging them to really think and plan for their retirement and savings. In my opinion, this has also created an interesting and perhaps unexpected result: the ads are also prompting the younger generation to think about their long-term finances and retirement, and investments that can help them meet their financial goals.
How has online investing and mobile trading changed the way investors play the stock market?
I like to make the comparison to the iPod. It didn’t change music, but it changed the way we listen to it. Suddenly we had thousands of songs instantly available at our fingertips. The same is the case for mobile trading, because it has changed the way we can access the market. We now essentially have the stock market in our pocket. More young professionals are willing to jump on board and explore, reach out to understand their options, and do their research.
How has the increased use of online banking helped more Canadians transition to online investing?
Accessibility makes a big difference for both online banking and online investing, and it all comes down to convenience. With a full array of online financial services available through the mobile app, managing portfolios doesn’t seem like such a daunting task when it can be done from the comfort of your own home, or your favourite espresso bar.
Are there barriers to banking and trading on the go?
It’s definitely important to know that your information is secure. With our app, we have extended our online security guarantee for WebBroker (our online trading platform) to our mobile application.
I’ve also been asked if we have found that people make rushed decisions because of increased access, but I feel that it’s actually the contrary. The instant access to the information and resources provides the right ingredients needed to make informed decisions. Before you place a trade, you can check the price, and read the latest news and information about the company. You can also manage your trades if there are changes you want to make to unfilled orders.
The TD mobile app is available for iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices. To learn more or download the app, click here.