This article is for information only and isn't intended to be taken as financial advice. While this is the kind of statement you'd normally find left in a disclaimer at the beginning or end of a piece of writing like this, it's actually a great way to highlight the core point of the article, as well as one of the key values of the bitcoin and cryptocurrency movement (more on that later).
Trust carries risk.
In finance, as in life, trust is unavoidable in some measure. But when your hard-earned money is on the line, blind trust can rob you of returns and your future financial security.
For example, when you buy shares in a company, you're trusting that company's CEO, board and employees in their vision, integrity and abilities. The history of business collapses, from the South Sea Company in 1720 to Lehman's in 2008, shows that trust can easily be misplaced. And it's often impossible to know who you can't trust until it's already too late.
If there's one message to take away from this article, it's precisely that: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Don't trust one source of information or advice (including this one), don't entrust one single company or bank or pension fund with your financial wellbeing, don't even trust one asset class.
Diversify. Spread risk. And do your own research as well as seeking advice from experts.
With that overarching principle in mind, what might that look like in practice?
Risk, Return, Timescale, Tax
For any investment, there's generally a link between risk and return. The higher the potential returns on an investment, the more risk and volatility there is. Take the stock market, which has (historically) proven a good investment, returning maybe 8-10% annually over the long term. Over the short term, however, the value of the market as a whole, let alone individual stocks, can go up and down dramatically.
Imagine you invested your life savings of $100,000 in the S&P500 – an index of the 500 largest companies in the US – in February 2020. A month later, your net worth would have dropped by a gut-wrenching third to $70,000. Hold on for another year and not only has it recovered, but you're up 20% at $120,000. It's a rollercoaster. It's only on the scale of many years or even decades that the ups-and-downs are smoothed out and the price chart clearly progresses from the bottom left to the top right of the chart. That's why most financial advisers recommend only investing in stocks if you can hold them for at least five years and ideally 10 or more.
Then, of course, there's the risk of an asset simply collapsing entirely. In the early years of the cryptocurrency movement, there was no guarantee that bitcoin and the new technologies it represented would survive – let alone spawn the $2 trillion asset class that crypto is today. Early adopters, who believed in the idea of digital money that avoided points of trust like banks and payment processors, took the risk that they would lose everything. Those who held firm saw their investment grow from a few cents or a few dollars per coin to tens of thousands of dollars today. The outsized returns corresponded to the outsized risks they took.
Diversification means spreading risk across several different investments, so that if any one of them underperforms or fails entirely, it won't destroy your whole net worth. Conversely, that gives you room to include investments that have the potential to outperform and bring outsized returns. Yes, if you go all-in on a promising investment, you could make millions. Equally, though, you could lose it all.
Everyone will have a different appetite for risk, which will depend on many factors, some of which include:
Income (and discretionary income – what you have left over after necessary expenses)
Security of employment and future promotion prospects
Years until you want to be financially independent
Number and age of dependents
Ultimately, though, everyone will want to diversify their investment portfolio to some extent.
One final and often overlooked consideration is Tax. Understanding how tax impacts the growth of your investments is critical and can have an enormous effect on the value of your portfolio. Unfortunately, tax rules are different in every jurisdiction, so it's necessary to research them for your own circumstances. Suffice to say that spending even a short amount of time learning about tax or talking to an adviser might be one of the best investments you ever make.
Investors might look at several different asset classes, allocating funds to opportunities in each depending on their needs and goals:
Stocks, which may be dividend-bearing, and may be diversified across many different sectors of the economy and regions of the world
Вonds, which pay regular returns but are generally used only by experienced investors
Cash doesn't offer good returns, but it's safe and worth keeping a reserve
Commodities include gold, silver, oil, and more exotic examples like rare metals
Property, whether that's the home you live in, farmland or commercial property
Cryptocurrency: a still new but fast-growing asset class that is proving appealing in the current economic climate.
The first five asset classes in this list are well established and well understood, by investors and financial advisers alike. The final one, cryptocurrency, is still somewhat controversial, despite gaining institutional backing and traction with a series of high-profile individuals, companies, and investment funds over the past year.
For regular users, institutional-grade crypto solutions won't be necessary. The main concern will be finding a professional, secure, compliant and user-friendly online coin exchange in a suitable jurisdiction. And, while many users will simply be looking to purchase bitcoin and more popular altcoins like Ethereum, others will be seeking strategies to earn crypto and generate passive income from newer technologies and platforms in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space. These opportunities include "staking" coins for regular returns and earning interest on bitcoin and other cryptos.
Coinchange offers all of these and more, making it the ideal place to start or advance your journey into earning crypto and investing in DeFi.
Вut – and this is important – don't take our word for it. Sign up and check it out for yourself.