Note: This article is courtesy of Iris.xyz

By Frank Holmes

We’ve finally reached September, meaning your Facebook newsfeed is probably brimming with children and teenagers sporting brand new sneakers and backpacks in preparation for their first day of school.

Maybe one or two of your young ones are heading back this week or next. If so, I wish them all the best this year, and I hope you enjoy and cherish watching them grow.

It’s also around this time that hundreds of thousands of 18-year-olds will be attending their very first day of college or university. This cohort, born mostly in 1998, is among the youngest of millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 2000. According to Census Bureau data, millennials are now the most populous adult segment in U.S. history, 83.1 million strong as of last summer. (By comparison, baby boomers number 75.4 million.)

This is why I find it so crucial to keep up with the trends, lifestyles and spending habits of this important group (not least of all because my own two sons belong to it). Any investment manager would be wise to do the same. Millennials are often characterized as entitled, lazy and disengaged, but many of these perceptions fail to stand up to scrutiny when we consider what they’ve already achieved in the information technology space. If you regularly use Facebook, Airbnb, Uber, Pinterest, Dropbox or any number of other popular apps valued in the tens of billions, you benefit from the work and imagination of entrepreneurs who came of age sometime during George W. Bush’s eight-year presidency.

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There’s no getting around it: Millennials are our future leaders, innovators, consumers and investors. By 2020—a mere four years from now—they will make up an estimated 50 percent of the global workforce. What’s more, they’re expected to control between $19 trillion and $24 trillion on a global scale, according to consulting firm Deloitte.

Twenty-four trillion dollars. Let that sink in for a moment.

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