The financial crisis led to an emotionally driven financial approach for many millennials who perceive the stock market, and most investments, as a risk not worth taking. A Wells Fargo study released in May 2013 that surveyed more than 1,400 millennials reported that more than half are "not very confident" or "not at all confident" in the stock market. Marlene Morris Towns, marketing professor at Georgetown University, attributes this mistrust in large part to media coverage of Wall Street. "I think that Wall Street has been vilified a lot recently, so they looked at financial professionals with mistrust," Towns says. "When people say, 'We want to put together a portfolio that works best for you,' they don’t necessarily believe that these professionals are looking out for their best interest."
Most analysis of Generation Y’s relationship with the stock market focuses on millennials’ reaction to the recession, but fear is not the only reason young adults don't invest in the stock market. According to recent research, they have substantial financial obstacles as well, mostly in the form of student loans. In January, financial services firm UBS surveyed over 1,000 adults ages 21 to 29, and found that millennials devote less than one-third (28 percent) of their portfolio to stocks and over half (52 percent) to cash while non-millennials keep almost half of their portfolio (46 percent) in stocks and less than a quarter (23 percent) in cash.