Millennials get a lot of flak: we’re lazy, we still live at home, we’re politically disengaged. TIME magazine called us the “me, me, me generation.” I think these generalizations couldn’t be farther from the truth. Millennials are in fact the most educated and socially engaged generation of our time, and impact investing is the perfect intersection of fiscally responsible, high-impact solutions that we seek.
Millennials largely want to find careers that align with their values. This means a lot of them are interested in philanthropy, but impact investing is finding more and more takers as millennials recognize it as a sustainable field for them to make their mark. Millennials are not alone in their optimism. JP Morgan predicts that impact investing will attract $1 trillion by 2020, and though salaries are not yet on par with more mainstream finance paths, most millennials are interested in building what The Defining Decade author Meg Jay calls “identity capital,” forgoing short-term gains for careers where they can learn and grow.
“Impact investing has come of age with our generation, which is why I think it appeals to so many of us. I was personally drawn to the sector because I saw it as an opportunity to scale businesses that could address major global inequalities,” says Isaac Gross, Capria’s Investment Manager
In the next 30-40 years, North America alone will see a $30 trillion wealth transfer from Baby Boomers to their heirs, who are people born between 1980-2000 i.e. millennials. So how are millennials investing this money? According to Toniic’s Global Survey, 79% of millennials called themselves impact investors, and although the majority considered both financial and social returns equally, this number also includes respondents who seek social over financial benefits as well as the other way around. The top interest areas according to Toniic are Agriculture, Energy & Environment. (This does not include two of the top sectors we see in Capria applications, where the demographic is slightly older—Education and Health.)
Many sources, including Toniic, TriLinc Global and a recent ANDE webinar consistently cite lack of education around impact investing as the main challenge for both high-net worth millennials who are looking to make investments as well as millennials seeking jobs in impact investing. There is an opportunity to fill this gap within the next 10-15 years, as more millennials inherit the previous generations’ assets and enter the workforce. Here is how:
- Build a well-connected network of like-minded individuals sharing resources and knowledge. Here at Capria, we already recognize the value of a strong network, The Toniic report shows that most impact investments are accessed via friends and an investor network.
- The Stanford Social Innovation Review suggests that financial advisors should be well-informed about the different options available to get social and financial returns.
- Use public databases such as the ImpactAsset 50 to see what the global impact investing landscape looks like, whether you are looking for a job in impact investing or looking to make investments.
- Collect more data about millennials in impact and translate their enormous interest into measurable action. Let Millenials make impact investing mainstream!