A lot of the money advice being given to young people today makes Adam Strock cringe.
Strock, a venture capitalist born in South Africa and raised in Los Angeles, says young people today have more access to personal financial tools and information than any previous generation. But as a result, they are also exposed to even more bad advice.
“I think influencers — specifically those targeting Gen Zers — are very quick to recommend investing in poorly understood risky asset classes,” he said. “Technology has democratized access to esoteric investment options for Gen Z who are just beginning their financial journey, and this should have a positive impact in the long term, but it is important to approach investment choices with a conservative mindset.”
The 35-year-old knows a thing or two about investing. After earning a JD from Georgetown Law and a management degree from Kellogg’s, Struck spent time as a mergers and acquisitions attorney at Kirkland & Ellis. Despite landing what many consider their dream job at one of the largest law firms in the world, he felt an entrepreneurial itch that this role couldn’t scratch.
In 2011, Struck left to start Long Island Brand Beverages, selling it just a few years later. By 2015, Setrak had his own investment fund worth $25 million. By 2017, he was named one of the Forbes 30 under 30 for venture capital. And by 2020, it was making Investments on behalf of Hollywood celebrities Like Leonardo DiCaprio. Today, between Struck Capital, Struck Crypto, and Struck Studio, he has hundreds of millions of assets under management.
“I was fortunate to have good mentors around me pointing me in the right direction,” Strock says of his early financial success. He says the best advice he received at that age was, “Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.”
Who you invest in matters just like a business plan
Social media content often portrays wealth primarily as an enabler of a lavish lifestyle. But for Struck, being a millionaire before his 25th birthday was much more than that. It served as a launching pad for the next stage of his career.
“Coming out at a relatively young age allowed me to put myself in the shoes of an entrepreneur,” he said. “It led to a more nuanced investing vision, and made me realize that it’s not just about investing in space, market, or KPIs — it’s also about investing in the founder and valuing the simple skills that really make a difference in tough times.”
Don’t be fooled: digital currency is here to stay
Many have speculated that the recent collapse of major cryptocurrency exchange FTX will be the beginning of the end for digital currencies. But Stroke thinks it’s just the beginning. He expects that physical currency will be replaced by digital alternatives, especially in countries that suffer from hyperinflation and currency manipulation.
“We envision a future where all forms of assets can be tokenized on a blockchain, allowing individuals or institutions to exchange ownership and value associated with those assets free of intermediaries or third parties that do nothing but ‘tax’ and slow down transactions,” he said.
Basically, cryptocurrencies don’t count. But Struck said the collapse of FTX should provide a warning signal to young people about investing in risky or unregulated assets, adding that he hopes the episode will lead to more oversight in the industry.
“Regulation always lags behind basic technological innovation,” Struck said. “We are confident that the collapse of FTX will spur a wave of regulation that will make crypto safer for consumers in the future, paving the way for mass adoption.”
Never forget that social media is not real
However, the basic financial advice Struck gave the next generation had nothing to do with money at all. He says social media paints a dangerously inaccurate picture of wealth, leading many to aspire to a life of extravagance, ignoring what really matters in life..
He said, “While money is important, it is the means, not the end.” “You can have all the money in the world but without a solid partner and good people around you, it doesn’t really matter.” Blockchain is fundamental to the future of finance.
Discover the future before it happens
As a venture capitalist, Stroke says his job is to think about what the world will look like in 10 years, and invest accordingly. For example, he is confident that the digitization of finance along with strong oversight will help future generations weather economic storms, such as the one we face today.
Strock also believes that the future will be shaped largely by what he calls a “new industrial revolution,” as the world moves from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
“The underlying technology needed for this to happen will be a massive driver of wealth, making it easier to weather the overall tailwinds and various economic storms,” he said.
There is a lot of bad advice. And while there is no perfect proof of bet, the only reliable path to success for Strack is to recognize the realities of tomorrow, not be swayed by broader investor sentiment, and to find leaders with vision and ability to execute.