Los Angeles Times

Stocks soared this year. Half of millennials missed out

At 27, Nick de Leon knows firsthand about the gulf between millennials and Wall Street.

De Leon graduated this year from UC Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in political science and rhetoric with plans to start law school soon, and he has an internship with a Superior Court judge in his hometown of San Bernardino. He's also intrigued with the stock market.

But De Leon won't be investing in equities any time soon. Saddled with $1,400 in monthly payments for student loans and for credit card debt from a failed business start-up, along with living expenses including food, his phone bill and and car insurance, he's temporarily living with his parents and working at Costco to make ends meet.

"There's really no money for it right now," De Leon said of the stock market. "I just don't have the cash to even think about it."

He's not alone. Although the market is poised to close a banner year hovering near record highs, the rally hasn't helped half of the nation's millennials, who either lack the means to knock on Wall Street's door or are wary of doing so.

In the last two years, an average of 49% of millennials (ages 23 to 38) held stock directly or through mutual funds,

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