In college, Matthew Bergh was ahead of the curve, working part-time at a local Starbucks and setting aside a few thousand dollars a year to do what his parents taught him to do - invest.
In 2008, the markets crashed and the recession interrupted his financial dreams.
"As of right now, I can't invest," Bergh said. "I'm saving."
Eighteen- to 30-year olds, known as "Generation Y", have taken a more conservative approach to managing their money - stashing it in a savings account or under the proverbial mattress.
This generation of investors came of age during a succession of economic earthquakes.
They witnessed the dot-com implosion of 2000 and the more recent onslaught of plunging housing prices, the credit crisis, recession, double-digit unemployment and an annihilation of investor wealth.
"The younger generation has not seen a good stock market over their adulthood," said Gordon Fowler, chief executive of Glenmede, a Philadelphia-based wealth manager for rich people. "That had to have some impact on the psychology of younger investors."
Image: Young American jobseekers line up outside a job fair in New York City in the February 2010 file photo.
Text: Alina Selyukh, Reuters
Images Courtesy: Reuters, AP