We covered a lot of ground in parts 1 and 2 of this three-part series on cryptocurrency. You may or may not be interested in using cryptocurrency as a means of exchange. But what about trading in it, directly or in fund form? If you’re considering that possibility, know that, at this point:
All the transactional risks we covered in part 2 can also impact cryptocurrency traders. To recap, these include:
That’s a lot of potential buzzkill for your happily-ever-after holdings. These and other risks have translated into an extremely volatile ride for cryptocurrency traders, and one reason you might want to think twice before piling your life’s savings into them.
Then again, every investment carries some risk. Without risk, there’d be no expected return. That’s why we also need to address an important difference between evidence-based investing vs. speculative ventures. It has to do with how we evaluate future expected returns.
What’s a bitcoin worth? A dollar? $100? $1 million? The answer to that has been one of the most volatile bouncing balls the market has seen since tulip mania in the 1600s. As described in this Wall Street Journal piece, bitcoin was trading for around $7,000 per coin in early 2020; as of February 20, 2021, the price topped $55,000. By the time you’re reading this piece, there’s not much stopping it from being worth far more than that… or far less.
The problem is, there’s really no way to establish meaningful expectations either way. In his ETF.com column, “Bitcoin & Its Risks,” financial author Larry Swedroe summarized how market valuations typically occur:
Here are several others weighing in on the matter:
In other words, we’re not saying it’s impossible to profit from trading in cryptocurrencies. But the attempt more closely resembles a game of chance than an investment. In contrast, evidence-based investing enables us to create a unified portfolio we can manage according to YOUR individual goals and risk tolerances. Evidence-based investing calls for the ability to:
Cryptocurrency simply doesn’t yet synch well with these parameters. It does have a price, but it can’t be effectively valued for planning purposes.
All this said, what if you are still interested in trading in cryptocurrency, for fun or potential profit? If so, here are key tips to consider:
1. Treat it like an entertaining trip to the casino. Don’t venture any more than you can readily afford to lose!
2. Use only “fun money,” outside the investments you need to fund your essential lifestyle.
3. If you do strike it rich, regularly remove a good chunk of the gains off the table to invest in your managed portfolio. That way, if a bubble bursts, you won’t lose everything you’ve “won.” (Also set aside enough to pay any taxes you may have incurred.)
This wraps our three-part series on cryptocurrency. We hope it’s helped you put this headline-grabbing subject in proper context. What other questions can we answer for you? Whether cryptocurrencies mature into mainstream transactional tools or they eventually wither on the vine, we remain available to assist you in managing your total wealth, in whatever form it takes.
This post was prepared and first distributed by Dimensional Fund Advisors.
Shore Point Advisors is registered as an investment adviser with the State of New Jersey. Shore Point Advisors only transacts business in states where it is properly registered, or is excluded or exempted from registration requirements. Past performance is not indicative of future returns. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss. There are no assurances that an investor’s portfolio will match or outperform any particular benchmark. Content was prepared by a third-party provider. All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors on the date of publication and are subject to change.
Let’s take a look at five of the most common financial adages and review why they are often much easier said than done.