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The old guard of investing is at it again

The old guard of investing is at it again

Two of the most iconic investors insulted a new generation this weekend. Why? Because we are doing things a new way.

If the last year has taught us anything, it is that people are tired of the Warren Buffetts and Charlie Mungers of the world acting like they are the only oracles of investing. And at Robinhood, we’re not going to sit back while they disparage everyday people for taking control of their financial lives.

Robinhood has made investing simpler and more accessible to more people — and the public has responded. We are proud of that fact.

It is clear that the elites benefited from a stock market that kept many families sidelined from participating while they amassed huge wealth from decades of investing — driving a deep wedge between the haves and have-nots. Suddenly, Robinhood and other online trading platforms have opened the doors of financial markets to everyday people, deeply unsettling the old guard who will fight to keep things the same. But change is bullish. When she comes, no one can stop her.

My husband and I are both children of Caribbean parents (Jamaica and Puerto Rico, respectively). We grew up modestly in middle class neighborhoods. Our parents are college educated and they did well when we were young, but money still ran out. Once my husband and I went to college, we were on our own financially for the most part and graduated with more than $200,000 combined student loan debt even after academic scholarships. As we got older, the largely non-existent financial opportunities our families had been presented were clear.

We found ourselves facing a lot of the same legacy disadvantages that so many other millions of Americans have faced. So when the doors finally opened, we raced through to begin building our financial futures.

Take my dad for instance — an aerospace engineer who took care of the mortgage and his growing family. He didn’t have the minimum required amounts back then, which ranged from $5,000 and higher in some cases, to get an investment portfolio started.

At Robinhood, people now don’t need thousands of dollars to begin investing. We pioneered commission-free trading, and fractional shares make it possible for people with less money to invest in a piece of a stock. Take Berkshire Hathaway Class A stock. One share trades for north of $400,000. But with Robinhood, fans of the company can invest what they can afford and don’t need to amass what is a prohibitive sum for most Americans. Plenty of Robinhood customers do just that by buying a fraction of Berkshire Hathaway stocks, as well as many other stocks that Messrs. Buffett and Munger have invested in. In fact, we see that a majority of Robinhood’s customers are buying and holding.

Retail investing in America is thriving today because everyday investors are seizing the opportunity to build their own nest egg. It may never be nearly as big as the billions upon billions that the elites in this country have amassed. But it sure is something to celebrate.

Progress is adapting our old ways, and has always been how we advance as a society. From the automobile, to radio, to the internet, to the smartphone — technology is the great equalizer. And when it comes to investing, equal opportunity and accessibility is exactly what Robinhood is built to provide.

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