Getting new grads over stock market phobia

An estimated 1.6 million students will graduate from college this year. Just don?t be surprised if they have one reaction to investing: Forget it.

Indeed, analysts worry the recent market turmoil is scaring an entire generation away from the stock market. Here?s how to help new grads get over their (understandable) phobia.

Demystify the markets. In the Jump$tart Coalition?s 2008 survey of college students, only 19 percent correctly identified stocks as the investment vehicle that tends to have the highest long-term growth. Many financial Web sites offer bite-size investing tutorials. covers 60-plus topics, from ?Basic Financial Concepts? to ?Option Spread Strategies.? Book-wise, beyond the Benjamin Graham bible The Intelligent Investor? (a Warren Buffett fave), planners recommend Richard Ferri?s All About Asset Allocation.

Get discount advice. Some financial planners offer deals for young people.

Janice Swenor, a planner in Westminster, Mass., has a service she calls ?The Graduate,? which includes a comprehensive plan on clients? cash flow, credit and debt obligations, and retirement savings for between $550 and $750 ? more than half off the regular price. Find hourly planners like Swenor at

Try peer counseling. Not all financial message boards are full of pump-and-dump stock hawkers. Planners recommend online communities like, where 20-somethings discuss such varied topics as asset allocation and the investment potential of managed timber. Prefer peer-to-peer advice in person? In a pioneering program at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, top financial-planning students give free advice to fellow students and community members.

Start early. Investing smarts can start before cap-and-gown time. The National Endowment for Financial Education has designed a free financial-literacy program for high school students, while Creative Wealth International runs Camp Millionaire programs for kids and teens.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Syndicate