One area that has not seen the trend of the cryptocurrency is 401K. That may soon change, with Fidelity announcing this week that it will allow 401k operators to sign up to allow their employees to invest in Bitcoin through their retirement plan.
This is the first time that a major brokerage has indicated that they will provide access to cryptocurrency within their 401k. While this may become an option for your retirement, it does not mean that you should rush to incorporate bitcoin into your portfolio. First, it requires an understanding of your abilities to safely invest in the currency.
The Fidelity movement doesn’t mean that your 401k will suddenly get bitcoin as a purchase option. The first company to offer it as an option MicroStrategy
The New York Times
And if you’re self-employed, Fidelity doesn’t yet give you access to own coins directly through your retirement account, such as a single 401k or SIMPLE IRA.
However, Fidelity is in talks with other companies to start allowing coins. While it is possible that a crypto option in your 401k will appear soon, before you start investing, make sure that you and your pensioner can afford the coins.
Your goals in 401k
There is value in investing in cryptocurrency in the range of 401k. First, you can use your pre-tax dollars to buy coins, which makes them cheaper to buy. Second, if the coins rise, you will not owe taxes on the rise until you withdraw money from the 401k. Even then, it wouldn’t be treated as a cryptocurrency stripping, but instead like withdrawing your entire 401k. This may reduce what you will owe if you directly sell cryptocurrencies that are highly valued even though they will not be taxed as capital gains.
However, while everyone wants to see the maximum possible return on their investment. When it comes to investing for the long term, speculation can do a lot of damage to a retirement account. If you experience this damage as you near retirement, you may not have the ability to recover.
That’s why it’s important to first make sure your basic retirement needs are met within your portfolio selection. Once this goal is achieved, it becomes understandable to play with some speculation. While you may want to have this hot discretionary asset, it’s important to remember that the primary goal in retirement is to cover your lifestyle expenses while factoring in inflation. The S&P 500 delivered a 7% return, after accounting for inflation, annually on average. Sure, some years are more than 7% and some are much less. However, when you reach the multi-year average, such as while saving for retirement, it allows you to achieve your goals if you set aside enough each month or year.
Few assets have shown a strong long-term result. Whether or not crypto is one of those, it’s not worth betting to retire entirely.
Expect significantly more volatility
Many investors will be unsuitable to hold cryptocurrencies due to their feelings of risk.
To accept cryptocurrency in your wallet, you must first accept that your investment balance may not remain very stable. Alternatively, you can see serious fluctuations depending on how the coins are traded. Since hitting all-time highs in November 2021, the price of bitcoin has fallen by 42%, for example, while the S&P 500 has fallen by 10% over the same time period. Of course, Bitcoin could rise much faster than the overall market for large US companies.
How close you are to retirement and your belief in cryptocurrency in the long term will play a big role in whether you gain exposure to it in your 401k. For those close to retirement, can you take such a hit to your wallet and still retire safely? Many will start withdrawing funds at a time when assets are declining, which leads to a demand to liquidate a larger share of the portfolio to fund basic needs. This can destroy your safety in retirement.
But for those who understand that balances will change, the risk is high, and time can at least wait for the periods when the crypto assets will decline. If, instead, you are rushing to sell when assets are going down, this probably isn’t the right investment to take on risk.
Do not overweight the coin
Even if you decide that you want to test the cryptocurrency in the 401K, you must ensure that it does not become too large as a percentage of your overall investment portfolio. While financial planners may not always encourage taking speculative investments, many say if you do, keep them at less than 10% of your portfolio.
But with crypto, it may need to be rebalanced more often, because the weight of the coin can go up or down dramatically, depending on the volatility we are seeing. If you are comfortable with, say, 3% of your wallet in bitcoin, make sure it doesn’t go over that much. The good news? If you rebalance within your 401k, no taxes will be required on the sale of bitcoin. But you may face in-account trading fees, depending on the rules within your 401k.
It’s one way to keep your 401k safe, even if you decide to dip your toes into cryptocurrency.