Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Ethereum are a part of the mainstream conversation and in the news but should it be a part of your investment plan?
We're going to decode the terminology and explore the tech so you can weigh whether or not it's the right option for your family!
Should We Include Cryptocurrencies In Our Investments?
We're talking today about a topic that has been popping up all over – Cryptocurrency.
Just this year alone, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many others. Have been on a roller coaster ride with their prices. Coinbase just went public this April. And there's a lot of excitement and questions about the crypto space.
And there are couples who don't quite see eye to eye on this. I've gotten questions, first of all, about how exactly these currencies work. And then second, if now is the time to jump in and invest in it.
In some cases from what I'm hearing, one of you is excited about this new opportunity. While the other is skeptical or just plain against it.
Like any major decision it's important for your marriage and for your money. To discuss your options and make sure that it fits in with your goals and financial plan.
In this episode, we're going to get into the essentials about the tech and terms use with cryptocurrencies. And then we'll talk about what to consider and discuss so that the two of you can decide whether or not it's the right option for you. We have a lot to cover so let's get started!
Resources to Dive Into Cryptocurrencies and Manage Your Money
- Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System by Satoshi Nakamoto
- Ethereum Whitepaper by Vitalik Buterin
- NFTs, Explained
- Blockchain and Money – MIT Open Courseware
- Like it or not, you should probably start paying attention to bitcoin
- The blockchain catalyst for change
- How blockchain can solve the payments riddle
- Bitcoin Losers
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Decoding Crypto: Understanding Blockchains
Before we decide whether or not cryptocurrency is the right move for you, it's important to talk about some of the essential and foundational terms and tech that's being used.
While the idea of having digital currency is in itself interesting the technology behind it specifically, blockchain is the real star.
Basically think of a blockchain as a public and digital ledger of all transactions.
Typically when we make transactions, for example, paying bills, buying something from a store or selling online. There's some communication not just between buyer and seller, but between our bank and whoever we're dealing with as well.
Our banks are checking with each other to make sure that there's enough money to cover the transactions.
To a degree that makes sense, but like everything, there's a cost in that not just with transaction fees but also the time involved.
There's a bit of a delay between the two parties. Yes. You can pick up your item or you can sell it, but then you go and log on online with your bank and there's that pending charge. And it could clear quickly, or it could take a little bit of time.
With blockchains that is significantly reduced on both fronts because you're dealing directly as buyers and sellers. In that public ledger keeps a record of all transactions, not just yours but everyone who is using that digital currency for example.
Instead of using bank accounts, you have your digital wallets part of the security is that you have a private and public key.
The public key part allows you to receive. Your digital currency. And then the private key is allowing you to spend that currency with your wallet.
Within that space itself, whether it's Bitcoin or Ethereum or whatever currency you're using, the idea is you don't need a central bank because that security is built into that community.
Encryption is used to protect your wallet from any unauthorized access. And because you have that ledger containing all the transactions and balances that takes the place of a bank having to verify that you have that money in.
The system is decentralized. Being decentralized is a selling point in itself for some people.
All right. So that's blockchain in a nutshell. Let's talk about cryptocurrencies.
We're going to start off with bitcoin. It's the most well-known and it successfully, kick-started this idea of a new type of currency, something that's decentralized.
If you love a good mystery, you might like this.
Bitcoin was introduced through a white paper by a person or persons – we don't know for sure – known as Satoshi Nakamoto.
One way to think about Bitcoin is to think about it as gold, specifically, when we talk about mining.
Basically mining is computers crunching and solving complex math equations. It's meant to mimic the effort involved in physically mining, precious metals.
Now there's a whole conversation that can be had on the impact that this mining is having in the real world. But that's for another episode, another podcast.
What I want to highlight is the scarcity that's built into Bitcoin's design with a finite number of Bitcoins in existence.
Ethereum and Ether
Let's talk about Ethereum now. First off. It isn't a cryptocurrency, even though it's usually spoken along with Bitcoin and doge coin.
Ether is actually the cryptocurrency. Ethereum is the network. This difference is what makes it really interesting technology wise for a lot of people. With that network software developers can create smart contracts and decentralized applications.
With smart contracts, you can automate certain transactions. Think about not having to call customer service. And argue about rescheduling, a flight, or maybe getting a refund for a canceled concert. Or another event.
That's the power and potential of Ethereum. This can go beyond just financial transactions.
Finally, let's talk about doge coin. Whew. Okay. First off, it literally started off as a joke. Of response to Bitcoin and it's based on a meme.
It really isn't designed like Ethereum or Bitcoin.
For example, there's a certain scarcity that's baked in either by design with the limited supply. Or by some kind of community consensus or planning. With doge coin, the supply just keeps growing.
Again, this was started off as a joke, and I believe the creator had mentioned it took only a few hours to make.
It's definitely become a huge community and it's very popular online, but out of these three options, I would say this is the most speculative.
So for me, unless something changes with doge coin I'm not gonna put any money into it.
Now, if you're looking at the traditional cryptocurrencies and you want to dip your toes in, but you're not ready to deal with the volatility then there's a different class of cryptocurrency called stable coins.
By pegging itself to a cryptocurrencies and Fiat money or a commodity, it offers some price stability.
Like I said, this is a very high level, brief review of the key terms and tech of cryptocurrency.
I believe that learning the essentials of whatever you're investing in is the first step.
Should Crypto Be a Part of Our Investments?
How will you invest your money is your choice, however you owe it to yourselves to evaluate your decisions together.
If you're planning on getting into cryptocurrencies. Here are a few things that you should talk about:
How does this fit in with your investment plan? How would crypto be a part of your overall plan? There are differences between investing and speculating.
How comfortable are you with the volatility? You need to be real honest with one another about this.
If there's one takeaway I've gotten from watching cryptocurrency prices, it's impossible to predict what's going to happen day to day.
Can you block out the noise? If there's one takeaway I've gotten from watching the cryptocurrency prices, it's that it's impossible to predict what's going to happen day to day.
Can the two of you block out the noise? There's a lot of information going out there about cryptocurrency, but not all of it is high quality. You want to make sure that the information that you're getting gives you an objective view of what's going on.
Review your finances. Make sure that you have that foundation in place. Is your portfolio diversified?
Are you contributing already to tax advantaged accounts? This might not be the most exciting part of finances, but it is important that you have those pieces into place. Before you start putting money into cryptocurrencies.
Don’t forget taxes. Just remember when you're trading, you're typically going to have increased costs.
This is outside my wheelhouse of expertise, but just know in the eyes of the IRS that your cryptocurrencies are treated as investments and are subject to capital gain taxes.
You have to make the best decision for you. But my key piece of advice is if you do decide to get into cryptocurrencies, don’t put money in that you can’t afford to lose.
Starting with a smaller amount can give you some exposure without taking on a ton of risk. As you get more comfortable, you can increase that amount. HJust make sure you’re educasting yourself along the way.
One way you can learn and actually earn crypto is using Coinbase.
It's a cryptocurrency exchange platform that makes it easy to get started. One feature that I like, is there a section where you can earn rewards and it teaches you about different cryptocurrency.
No, you're not going to get a ton of money with it but it helps you become more familiar with the technology and the different currencies that are out there.
Right now they also offer $10 in BTC when you buy or sell $100 of crypto. Just check it out here for the details.
Please do not join Coinbase, if you're not interested or comfortable with cryptocurrency.
I want you to make the decision that's right for you and your situation.
Investing in Cryptocurrencies
And another thing to consider is whether you’d rather put money in companies working in the space like Coinbase.
This is not a stock tip. You really have to put in your due diligence with anything you invest in.
I’m just throwing out another option that you two can look into.
Make sure however you invest or get involved with cryptocurrency is aligned with your overall financial game plan and your risk tolerance.
Key Takeaways on Crypto
Before we wrap up, I want to share a few key takeaways I got from preparing this episode.
- Invest in educating yourself about the tech behind cryptocurrency. This technology is not going away. Becoming familiar with it can put you in a better financial position even if you're not directly getting into cryptocurrency.
- Make sure that crypto is aligned with your goals and risk tolerance before jumping in. For some couples, there's this anxiety and fear of missing out which is not good when you're trying to think longterm and objectively about the best financial decision.
- Focus on investing, not speculation. There's a lot of hype and volatility to sort through. So make sure that as you're putting money in, if you decide to go that route, that you understand that this is for the long-term. And not some get rich, quick scheme.
If you want to discuss this more, ask questions, swap ideas, maybe learn a little bit more of crypto currencies from others who have gone into this space– don’t forget to join us in the Thriving Families group on Facebook.
We’re all about helping one another out with our family and financial goals.
Hope to see you there!
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