While talking with a buddy of mine, it finally hit me. It was so obvious I couldn’t believe I hadn’t realized it before.

While discussing our future and our plan to achieve financial stability for our later years, I brought up the topic of investing. A quick response from my friend led to the proverbial light bulb going off: “Who do I look like, Gordon Gekko?”

Gordon Gekko, of course, is the fictional character we first met in the 1987 film “Wall Street,” and brought back to life in the 2010 sequel “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” Most of my millennial friends were probably born in 1987, so they might not be too familiar with the original version. If you haven’t watched it, please do so, tonight.

So what light went off? Millennials have major misconceptions on what investing really is. Expensive suits and slicked back hair are not requirements for entering the investing world, but that seems to be the picture most millennials paint in their minds when the subject of investing comes up.

In fact, a study done by Bankrate.com, which found only 26 percent of millennials are investing, sheds light on the notion that around 21 percent of millennials are afraid to invest because they have little knowledge about stocks and investing. The highest percentage, 53 percent, believe they don’t have the money to begin investing.

Who could blame them? According to Business Insider, millennial men in the U.S. have an average salary of $35,000, while women in the same age bracket were earning $30,000. With all other financial responsibilities, most seem to think the risk is too high to put part of their earnings into the stock market with the possibility of seeing no return, or worse, seeing a loss.

Millennials Investing

Why Millennials Need to Invest

Now is the time to invest. You’re young, you have time and you can begin preparing for your future — something that will be harder to do the longer you wait.

The stock market is unpredictable and unless you have an inside scoop on what to expect in the near and distant future, it can be a little scary putting your hard-earned money into something with little to no guarantee. This is why many people find the research from Stocktrades to be invaluable.

Millennials are facing several obstacles that hinder their growth toward financial stability, especially as it pertains to their retirement plans. Creating different revenue streams can help individuals meet those goals, as noted in this Time.com article:

“Building income streams allows individuals to achieve financial independence within years, if those income streams are sound and stable. Even working toward financial independence via saving and investing can be accomplished in a fraction of the time it normally takes people to achieve retirement goals. Invest 50% of your income, for example, and you’ll reach financial independence in 17 years; save 75% and you’ll be there in 7 years.”

Investing can be a crucial factor in helping you achieve financial independence and reach retirement savings goals.

How You Can Begin Investing, Wisely

The truth is, you can invest with little risk. Recognizing the issues millennials, among other consumers, have with investing, some forward-thinking individuals created applications, like a stock calculator, for simplifying the investing process. Now you can begin investing without risking a large portion of your monthly income, and continue to learn as you go.

Here are the resources you can download now to begin investing and start creating a brighter future — or just to make a little extra cash.

Acorns – Start with the change in your pocket.

Acorns allows you to start investing with the change in your pocket and is a great choice for first-time investors. With the ability to invest small amounts, deposit or withdraw at no cost and a trusted portfolio theory, the Acorns app alleviates most fears associated with investing.

The app links your debit or credit account where each purchase made is rounded up, with the difference invested into a diversified portfolio of index funds developed by Dr. Harry Markowitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist. A small monthly charge is deducted from your account, but it is a small price to pay for easy and user-friendly investing.

Sumday – Change the way you think of investing and saving.

Though still in Beta, Sumday lets you start an account with as little as a dollar. With a nice play on words, the app really focuses on changing the mindset of possibly someday being able to invest, to now, there is no reason you shouldn’t.

Sumday allows you to make small contributions to your investments so you can afford to start building a better financial future.

Robinhood – Why? Free stock trades.

Why should you consider Robinhood? Free stock trades, that’s why.

Young investors often shy away from pulling the trigger on a stock because of the high fees charged by some stock brokerage services. You begin to question yourself on whether it’s the right move because you are investing a lot into each decision. Well, Robinhood cut out the fees, and it’s worth taking a look at if you’re new to the investing game.

Etoro – An investing community to learn and grow.

Etoro might be the most interesting investing resource on the market. Almost serving as a social media network for investing, Etoro allows you to interact, learn from, and even copy other investors.

With their trademarked Copy Trader, users can automatically imitate investment portfolios of those who are performing well. Pretty cool, huh? Though you might not know much about investing, there are those who do, and you can copy their strategy.

Etoro is not only a great place to start investing, but it is a great place to grow your knowledge of the game, something that definitely has its benefits.

It’s Time to Start Investing

You aren’t getting any younger. Now is the time to start investing and preparing for your future.