“The arrogance of age must submit to be taught by youth.”

Edmund Burke

Earlier this month, I received an email announcing that Wealthsimple had launched Wealthsimple Trade, Canada’s first $0 commission stock-trading app.

After downloading the app, I’ll be able to trade stocks and ETFs. With that, I’ve earned a trendy new title: Millennial Investor.

Millennials are due to inherit the biggest wealth transfer in history, an estimated $30 trillion USD over the next 30 years. There’s an enormous amount of wealth coming our way, and even without it, 89% of millennials are investing already.

People who discuss the investing strategy of  millennials tend to believe two things about them:

  1. Their investments must be aligned with their deep sense of social responsibility, and;
  2. Millennials invest in technology because it’s what they use everyday.

These beliefs are too simplistic to be true.

To begin, the idea that social issues are what drives millennial investing strategy is a myth.

34.9% of millennials polled say that the social impact of their investing choices is not important to them at all, and 44% of millennials say it’s only somewhat important.

Yes, there is an incredibly vocal minority who take a hard line with social issues, and, because of how vocal they are, I can see why that may give the appearance that all millennials think that way. However, that is an alienating perspective that makes it hard for millennials to communicate what they actually value.

This begs the question: What do millennials care about?  My theory is that millennials want to be part of large, global shifts: reaching the apex of what humans are capable of, and ushering in the future, today.

Right now, technology is the obvious choice for them. The “blink and you’ll miss it” rate of change in the technology sector is currently unrivalled in other industries.

Of course, that rate of innovation has created benefits that impact millennials’ lives every day (I personally struggle to remember a world before Uber). However, I disagree that daily use is what attracts millennials to technology.

The zeitgeist of millennials is one that strives for greatness. The globalization of the world has given us many gifts, one of them is the ability to see many great stories from around the world unfold. Stories of great individuals, stories of great companies, stories of celebrity. With that, has come a desire to be part of a great story and to build something greater than yourself.

Investing in great companies that are changing the way the world works is a millennials’ first step into being part of something great.

Any company, in any industry, can attract the millennial investor, so long as you are committed to revolutionizing your industry, abandoning the status quo, and building an amazing story that they can be part of.