Is crypto your dream investment ticket to retire early?

07/01/2021

There have been countless crypto-based get-rich-quick scams, from Bitconnect-style Ponzi schemes to “rug pull” scams on Uniswap — discounting inexperienced investors investing money into memecoins based on the fact that they feature the same breed of dog as Dogecoin. But what separates crypto from most get-rich-quick scams, however, is that people genuinely do get rich — and quick. So rich, in fact, that many find themselves in a position to retire early even without working toward that goal.

Accidently Retire, Early

A former Oracle database product manager, Mike Palmeter, explains to Magazine that he’d been interested in Bitcoin for years but had been put off by the warnings of critics and economists who have been insisting it’s a bubble about to pop for years now.

“The very first epiphany that I had is that this is way bigger and way more complex than I can handle. I haven’t had the time to do nearly enough homework, but the price is moving.”

He began investing money as fast as he could until 50% of his portfolio was in Bitcoin and related investments, such as Bitcoin mining companies and payments or trading platforms including Circle, Robinhood and Square.

He learned as much as possible about blockchain. It left him convinced that Bitcoin was “the highest value application of blockchain technology.” Although difficult to accurately value, he was confident it would grow in value:

“I studied, and my ego and my arrogance and refusal to admit defeat brought me to a place where I actually thought I’d accidentally made the right decision. So, I kept it, and then I started buying more because I thought, ‘This is a long-term play.’”

He also learned his lesson from the 2018 market crash and took profits regularly after each big price increase, rebalancing his portfolio to ensure it was split 50% toward Bitcoin investments and 50% toward stocks providing high dividends. Even with the effects of crypto crashes factored in, he has made an average return each year over the past five years of 79.67%.

Selling up is hard to do

While plenty of crypto holders do end up with paper profits that would enable them to retire, few end up realizing those gains. Most hold on, expecting it to go higher — or because they’ve become so addicted to the game that they don’t want to leave the table. It’s one of the biggest dilemmas with cryptocurrency: Cashing out means losing out on massive potential upside, but not selling means risking life-changing wealth.

Retirement plans

The retirement industry itself seems cautious of crypto. It’s difficult to find a 401(k) plan in the United States offering crypto investments. In Australia, the equivalent of a 401(k) is called “superannuation,” and most funds don’t want anything to do with crypto. However, crypto fans are able to set up self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) to manage their own investments — and are doing so in increasing numbers.

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