Money

Too many millennials are afraid to invest in the stock market—here's how you can overcome the fear

According to financial-advice website Bankrate, only one in three millennials is investing in the stock market. That could be because of anxiety, Ally Invest found, after conducting a survey of more than 2,000 Americans aged 18 and older.

"New survey data suggests the 'Someday Scaries' could be" a factor holding young people back, Ally reports. About 61 percent of adults say they find investing in the stock market "scary or intimidating." And millennials feel significantly more intimidated than Baby Boomers or those in Generation X, it says.

A majority of Americans say they know they will need to be more financially secure someday but don't know how to get there, Ally finds. For millennials, that number jumps to 70 percent.

There are a few reasons why, according to the data. Half of respondents say the thought of losing money in a bad investment is an obstacle while over a third, 35 percent, say the amount of money they believe to be required to invest is. Just under a third, 31 percent, say they don't know whom to trust to help them invest. And 24 percent say they don't know how to get started.

There are ways to overcome these barriers, says Ally Invest president Rich Hagen.

"The way to mitigate risk is through diversification. Investors should look at investing offers that provide a diversified portfolio with a balance based on their overall investing goals. In general, a portfolio that contains a variety of ETFs, bonds and cash is a great place to start," he says.

Warren Buffett and Tony Robbins agree index funds are a good place to start for both new investors since they move with the market. That can reduce the risk that comes with picking individual stocks.

Also, it may not cost as much as you think to get started. With some online brokerage and wealth management offerings, you can buy and sell stocks for under $5 per trade. You can choose also certain automated portfolios for a fraction of the cost of traditional advisers.

To begin with, Hagen says, do you homework, and then go slow.

"Start with a savings account that will give you a competitive rate of return and pay yourself first by putting whatever you can, even if it's just a small amount, from each paycheck into that savings account.

"History has proven again and again that the key to achieving financial security is to start saving and investing early," he says. "What people need most is to face the 'Someday Scaries' head on and get started, taking one small step at a time."

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