‘Hot’ investing for the younger crowd

Alisa Roth Mar 26, 2008


Doug Krizner: Personal finance experts will tell you it’s never too early to start investing for the future. Young people typically don’t take that advice. But now, there’s an investment company trying to improve the fortunes of these Gen-Xers. Alisa Roth has more.

Alisa Roth: When dozens of New York’s hippest crowded into a trendy clothing store on a cold Thursday night, it wasn’t to check out the latest in high heels or wrap dresses. It was to learn about retirement planning.

Some people at the party, like Shereka Evans, still have a long way to go.

Shereka Evans: You know, in this day and age, when you’re 27 in New York City, you’re thinking about like going out and events and clubbing and Sex In The City kind of mode. You don’t really think about, like, where I’ll be at 40.

But that’s OK with the party’s hosts, James Perkins and Khalid Jones. They’ve started an investment advisory and a mutual fund especially for people like Evans. They’re calling themselves Thrasher, and they’ve been talking the business up — where else? — on YouTube. Thrasher’s using a mix of brash advertising — think hot pink business cards — and low-key investor education to help woo clients.

James Perkins is founder and CEO:

James Perkins: They’re early in their investment lives. And then the other thing you have to remember is, you know, we’re talking about people that spend $300 for a pair of jeans. You know, we need to reallocate some of this capital to a place that’s gonna guarantee a little bit more longer-term happiness.

The company’s mutual fund, Gendex, has plenty of trendy fashion stocks, like H & M and Uniqlo. Though the cool names share space with more staid earners like Chevron and B of A.

Chief Operating Officer Khalid Jones says they’ve set the investing limit low, to encourage people who don’t have a lot of money to join in.

Khalid Jones: People can come into the fund at any age at $100 and as little as $50 a month.

Perkins and Jones are both in their late 20’s, so they should be able to relate to their own target audience. Of course, their’s isn’t the only fund out there for people who don’t have a lot to invest. Adam Bold, founder of the Mutual Fund Store, says there are plenty.

Adam Bold: The reality is, whether you are in Generation X or Y, what you need are funds that are going to do better than most of the other funds that are out there.

Both Perkins and Jones have financial experience, including creating a hedge fund. They started accepting investors for the Thrasher Gendex fund in October. So it’s probably still too soon to see if hipness will translate into richness.

In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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