Baby Boomers trade five times more than Gen Z and you wouldn’t believe what age is the most active

Baby Boomers trade five times more than Gen Z and you wouldn’t believe what age is the most active

Baby Boomers not only trade more often than any other age demographic (five times more than Gen Z) but also tend to trade in traditional shares rather than ETFs.

The demographic breakdown of the near 130,000 active Selfwealth members shows that men aged 70 were the most active in 2022 with an average of 61.4 trades. They were followed by 68-year-old men with 60.3 trades, 63-year-olds with 49.2 trades, 73-year-olds with 40 trades and 64-year-olds with 39.8 trades.

The highest for any female group was 65-year-olds with 27.3 trades.

Selfwealth CEO Cath Whitaker said the data supported Boomers taking a more opportunistic approach to investing during period of volatility, engaging more in both buying and selling.

“Older Australians are making the opportunistic plays. While the younger generations have taken more of a ‘hold’ approach, waiting for the market to return,” she said.

When it came to looking at those who were buying shares rather than selling – twenty something women led the charge with buy-to-sell ratio of more than 80% – meaning that eight out of every 10 trades were a buy, so they are building their portfolio. 23-year-old women were at 84%, 27-year-old women at 82%, and 26 and 24-year-old women at 80%.

Interestingly, the highest buy-to-sell ratio of all ages was 18-year-old men where 88% of all activity was a buy. 70% of trades by Gen Z were buys, 66% for Millennials, 62% for Gen X and 57% for Baby Boomers.

The data also showed that men traded 35% more than women, aligning with the view that men are prepared to take more financial risks for personal gain.

Selfwealth has grown client numbers across all demographics and in particular Baby Boomers and Gen X during 2022. Our HIN-based ASX equities model and our long-standing partnership with ANZ supports gives clients peace of mind when it comes to safe custody of their assets,” Whitaker said.

And what did they buy?

There is one common stock among every age demographic – the Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF. It is the No.1 stock traded by all four age groups in 2022. But the data shows that Baby Boomers (those now aged 58 and over) overwhelmingly then focussed their share investing on traditional shares with the next ETF – Betashares Nasdaq 100 (NDQ) – not appearing until 12th.

In between, Baby Boomers went for the big miners BHP (2nd), Woodside (3rd) and Fortescue (6th), the big four banks Westpac (4th), ANZ (5th), CBA (8th) and NAB (9th). The others to make up the top 10 was Telstra (7th) and Wesfarmers (10th).

Gen Z were very much focussed on ETFs. The only traditional stock to make the top 10 was the once No.1 traded stock on the platform ZIP which was 8th. There was little interest in the miners and banks with BHP 13th, Woodside 15th and Macquarie 16th.

Millennials had similar investing behaviour with ZIP 6th and Qantas 10th – the only non-ETFs to make the top 10.

Gen X (those aged 42 to 57) were a mixture of the other three age demographics with the first four most traded stocks being ETFs and the remaining six of the top 10 traditional stocks – Woodside, BHP, ZIP, Westpac, Fortescue and Qantas.

Most bought stocks by age demographic on the Selfwealth platform in 2022


 Baby BoomersGen XMillennialsGen Z



Selfwealth age demographic breakdown over time






Gen Z








Gen X




Baby Boomers