Young Koreans see shrinks as stocks sink
Newbies are getting crushed as stocks and crypto collapse, and some are suffering from mental distress after losing so much money in the markets.
Even those buying blue chips are singing the blues.
"My heart starts pounding even 30 minutes before the stock market opens," said one 32-year-old investor. "I only bought stable shares because I thought theme-based investing and cryptocurrencies are speculative. I couldn't handle it anymore after Samsung Electronics dropped into the 50,000-won range."
The young investor recently had a consultation with a psychiatrist after his losses hit 10 million won ($7,762).
Consultation requests related to extreme stress from stock investment doubled in the third week of June, according to a psychiatric hospital in Jongno District, central Seoul.
"Normally, people perceive investment losses as their own issue to deal with, so they rarely visit the hospital for these reasons," said a psychiatrist. "But now, more patients are coming in saying they feel down from the overall economic downfall."
Experts say investors in their 20s and 30s are more susceptible to stress from the current stock market crash because they have not seen stock prices declining this much and do not own as many assets as the older people.
"Those in their 20s and 30s have seen shares rising more frequently than falling," said Kim Sang-bong, an economics professor at Hansung University. "They will be in a deep shock after seeing the market collapse for the first time while not having been able to buy many properties."
The sharp fall of stable blue-chip stocks such as Samsung Electronics has further shocked these individual investors.
Samsung Electronics, the largest stock by market cap in Korea, closed at 59,800 won on Friday. This is the first time the stock closed in the 50,000-won range since November 2020. The company's stock approached 90,000 won early last year and was even anticipated to reach 100,000 won.
It has lost 26.53 percent of its value over the past year.
"Samsung Electronics shares are sort of like installment savings among beginning investors," said a 29-year-old investor who first started investing in shares early last year. "Seeing such a share drop by half, it is difficult to fall asleep at night."
Another investor also confessed that it is "extremely stressful to open up the stock application every morning."
Thousands of investors suffering from the downturn of stocks have also gathered online to console each other.
In one anonymous group chat named "a chatroom for people doomed from the stock and cryptocurrency market crash," over 90 participants joined as of Monday, sharing their experiences.
The operator of the chatroom automatically sends a message once a participant joins, saying, "You have come to the right place if you are going through a hard time."
Medical experts advise young investors to take extra care of themselves and avoid making more investments.
"Older people may not be affected much by the current market situation, but this is not the case for those in their 20s and 30s," said Hong Jin-pyo, a psychiatry professor at Samsung Medical Center.
"It is essential that individuals talk about their situation with those close to them and overcome the situation through other activities instead of investing more to make up for the loss."
BY PARK KUN, YANG SU-MIN [email@example.com]