Rich Gen Zers and millennials are investing in jewelry, sneakers and fine wine instead of traditional assets, says Bank of America

rich gen zers and millennials are investing in jewelry, sneakers and fine wine instead of traditional assets, says bank of america

Luxury watches, jewelry and sneakers are being bought as investments by Gen Z and millennials, Bank of America found.

Wealthy young Americans are increasingly turning their backs on traditional assets in favor of more unique investments, a new Bank of America survey has found, with rich Gen Z and millennials choosing to buy watches and rare cars instead of simply stocks and bonds.

BofA's 2024 Study of Wealthy Americans surveyed more than 1,000 people who had at least $3 million in household investable assets, and found that 72% of those aged 43 and younger were "skeptical" about solely investing in traditional assets. Conversely, just 28% of those aged 44 and above were cautious about holding all of their wealth in stocks and bonds.

Part of that reason, the survey found, is that 94% of Gen Z and millennials are interested in collectibles with watches, jewelry, and sought-after wines and spirits topping their wish list. They also show an interest in rare cars, antiques, sneakers and art.

Their interest is perhaps unsurprising—after all, the soon-to-be "wealthiest generation in history" has already shown an interest in the finer things in life. In January, a report from Bain & Co revealed that by 2030, Gen Z will account for 25% to 30% of luxury market purchases, while millennials will account for 50% to 55%.

Authors Claudia D'Arpizio, Federica Levato, Andrea Steiner, and Joëlle de Montgolfier added: "Fueled by an investment mindset, jewelry was set to reach €30 billion in market value in 2023, with fine jewelry affirming itself as a bright spot for investments amid uncertainty... Watches continued to thrive despite a rising polarization around a few industry winners."

Interest among collectibles—which also includes the likes of handbags and memorabilia—declines with each successive generation, with 57% of boomers saying they were interested in the asset class, falling to 55% among the silent generation.

A generation younger, 80% of Gen X—those aged between 44 and 59—are interested in collectibles though their interest hinged more on coins as well as jewelry and timepieces.

It seems younger wealthy individuals also have a different approach to sharing their assets in the future. When looking at inherited art it was clear from the BofA survey that Gen Z and millennials want other people to enjoy it as well—while 56% of those aged between 21 and 43 said they'd keep some pieces in their own private collections, 32% said they would donate one or a few pieces to museums or private foundations, and 26% said they would share some pieces with non-art related institutions.

That compares to the older generation, 77% of which said they would keep the collection for personal use with 19% apiece saying they would donate an item to a charity, foundation or museum.

This is indicative of a wider tension between older high net worth individuals and their younger counterparts. As BofA writes: "Younger people indicate a very high readiness to take on and support philanthropic causes... Yet the older generations exhibit much lower confidence; only 50% agree that the next generation is prepared to take on and support charitable causes.

"They’re even less convinced that the next generation will be more effective in philanthropy than they are, though younger people are quite assured of their abilities."

Feeling good

Sentiment among younger cohorts is also much more optimistic than their older peers. For example, Gen Zers and millennials were twice as likely than their older peers to rate the U.S. economy 'very good' or 'excellent'. While just 24% of those aged 44 and over said the economy was fairing well, that figure rises to 51% among younger generation.

The story diverges even further on a wider scale with just 6% of older respondents rating the global economy as good, compared to 46% of those aged 21 to 43.

On a personal level, however, both age groups felt pretty good about their prospects with 75% of those aged between 21 and 43 rating their own financial health as 'very good' or 'excellent', rising to 78% for those aged 44 and older.

However looking ahead, wealthy individuals en masse have higher hopes for the future. Looking at three specific factors: inflation, GDP and S&P500 performance, millionaires expected good news across the board in the next year.

Turning firstly to inflation (which currently sits at 3.3%), 42% are expecting a decrease with 33% expecting the levels to say the same—just 25% expect an increase.

With regards to the growth rate of GDP (currently estimated at around +1.3%) 48% expected the figure to stay the same next year, with 36% expecting an increase and only 16% expecting a decrease.

Likewise 63% expected a boost to the S&P 500 in the next year, 27% are banking on continued levels of performance with just 10% expecting a decline.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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