Why I’ll Invest in Crypto, but Not for Retirement

When it comes to cryptocurrency, it's fair to say that I'm a late adopter. Initially, I was firm on shying away from all things crypto-related. Recently, I've changed my tune and am doing some research to see what coins might be most suitable for my portfolio. I don't want to rush into Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC), for example, just because it's the name I'm most familiar with.

But while I'm willing to invest in cryptocurrency on a near-term basis, I still don't think it's a suitable investment for my retirement savings.

A speculative investment

My retirement portfolio is loaded with stocks across a wide range of market segments. And I do agree that buying cryptocurrency could lend to added diversification.

Image source: Getty Images.

In spite of that, I'd rather use cryptocurrency as a means of short-term investing and stick with stocks for retirement planning purposes. While stocks are hardly risk-free, they're less volatile than digital currencies. And, they've been around a lot longer.

There are stocks in my portfolio that have been trading for many decades. Cryptocurrency, by contrast, has only been around for a little over a decade.

Also, I feel that I have the knowledge to predict whether the stocks I own have long-term staying power. I own Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), for example, and one of the reasons I haven't sold it is that I think it still has the potential to soar.

The company has proven its ability to continue to innovate and branch out into different corners of the market. Recently, it's expanded into pharmacy services, showing how in tune it is with consumers' needs. And so it's easy for me to look at a company like Amazon and see why the demand for it might exist 10, 20, or 30 years into the future.

I have trouble doing the same thing with cryptocurrency. For one thing, we don't know what regulations might come down the pike that impact investors. Secondly, we don't know if digital currencies will become widely accepted payment forms.

Right now, the value of cryptocurrency hinges on investor demand, whereas the value of Amazon hinges on the company's finances and various revenue streams. And so while I feel comfortable planning to hold onto Amazon for many decades, I just can't bring myself to think of cryptocurrency in a similar light.

A different approach

Generally speaking, I like to take a buy and hold approach to investing — load up on quality stocks and keep them in my portfolio for many years. I'm not convinced that this approach works for cryptocurrency. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

I won't be investing a huge chunk of my money into crypto — just a small portion. And I also won't be banking on that investment to fund my retirement. As such, I can actually go in with a bit less worry. If my investment crashes and burns, I'll have learned my lesson — but my long-term plans won't be impacted.

This isn't to say that cryptocurrency isn't a suitable long-term investment for some people. That's just not how it fits into my plans.

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Maurie Backman owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and Bitcoin. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1,920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1,940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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