The Next Frontier: Digital Assets for Retirement

Is Bitcoin Retirement Gold Retirement Kryptonite or Retirement?

After being treated for a decade as risky investments by much of the financial industry, cryptocurrencies have finally reached wide acceptance. It’s true – BlackRock, the largest and most institutional investor, is plan a cryptocurrency trading offer of its own.

But the Embracing digital assets over traditional finance does not end arguments about their value, usefulness and endurance; he just moves the goal posts.

One question that remains to be debated is whether crypto – and digital assets in general – belong in retirement accounts. To answer this question, we should first ask if digital assets are good for retirement.

A fatality in retirement accounts?

Eric Satz, founder and CEO of AltoIRA, a self-directed digital IRA custodian that offers an individual crypto retirement account, said there are $35 trillion in retirement accounts today, but less than 2% of this total are invested in alternative assets.

“If you compare that to the figure of 10% at the bottom of the scale for high net worth and ultra-high net worth investors, 80% for Yale endowments of the world and pension funds, the everyday investor is missing something thing. “, Satz said. “I don’t think it’s surprising that we’re really heading into a retirement crisis. It’s only going to get worse if we don’t allow people access to high-performing opportunities at an affordable price.

Crypto assets will likely end up in these accounts anyway, whether the financial industry likes it or not. Crypto IRAs are just the first what will likely be the many options for investors in digital assets to hold their holdings in a tax-exempt or non-tax vehicle.

For one, many people are already holding cryptos for retirement. In a January survey, retirement consultancy Capitalize found that more than a third of employees already held crypto assets to fund their retirement.

Satz said this happens because people are tired of retirement accounts that offer repetitive investment offers.

“With the proliferation of mutual funds, indices and ETFs (exchange-traded funds), this whole passive investing industry is made up of a sub-segment of the same 400 significant public companies,” Satz said. “Once you’ve reached a certain number of funds in a portfolio, adding more doesn’t give you more diversification, it just gives you another mutual fund.”

For true diversification that can offer less volatility and better risk-adjusted returns, people should be able to invest across the full spectrum of alternative assets, Satz said. This is why AltoIRA offers access to a range of different alternative assets in addition to cryptocurrencies through a partnership with Coinbase.

Attractive advantages

A majority of people will one day hold cryptocurrencies as investments, Satz said, and a majority of people will see their potential value in a retirement account. These assets, by design, have certain desirable characteristics: intrinsic scarcity of bitcoin means it will ultimately be a bulwark against currency debasement, he noted.

“With more advised institutions and assets entering the space, volatility will decrease,” said David Abner, global head of business development at Gemini, a crypto exchange and custodian. “We will see more stability. Recently, bitcoins establish a new base around $40,000 and it has now bounced above. What I see is that more and more investors are positioning themselves with a long-term perspective. We see declining sales volumes during downdrafts over time, which means many are holding (or HODLing) or adding to their positions.

Henry Yoshida, former financial advisor and founder of Rocket Dollar, a savings option for gig economy workers that allows them to integrate cryptocurrency, alternatives, and traditional assets into the same low-cost account , argues that crypto has a place in retirement portfolios.

“If you want to invest some of your assets in alts, the best funds to use for that are IRAs and 401(k)s because there’s a long time horizon and great tax treatment,” Yoshida said. “Right now, brokerages and financial advisors don’t really allow that for their clients, even those who are familiar with cryptocurrencies and private real estate. In reality, I don’t think they don’t offer these assets because they think they’re inappropriate. It’s really because they don’t have the means to offer a lot of these products and generate revenue.

Attractive benefits, but tax considerations

Although the potential benefits for investors are undeniable, taxes are one of the downsides to crypto trading in the taxable account space.

“Anytime there’s an exit, dividend, interest payment, or any type of capital appreciation that’s liquidated, there’s going to be a tax,” said James Jones, senior vice president of corporate relations. investors at CalTier Realty, an issuer of digital alternatives. with roots in private real estate. “There are all these new alternative asset classes that people are trading like crazy without realizing that they are generating these huge tax bills.”

In an IRA, there’s no need to track transactions, noted Jeffrey Levine, director of planning at Buckingham Strategic Wealth.

“If you think a crypto position is about to go ‘over the moon,’ then owning it in a Roth IRA could make a lot of sense, as the gain would be tax-free (provided you meet certain Roth distribution requirements),” Levine said. “That said, there are downsides as well.”

One of them is the still open question of whether non-fungible tokens can be held in IRAs and Roth IRAs because those accounts are prohibited from owning collectibles, Levine said.

The power of tax-deferred growth

Yet traditional IRAs offer powerful tax-deferred growth, and Roth IRAs offer tax-exempt growth. Accelerate the growth of an investment in digital assets retirement savings over decades may hold promise as a solution to the retirement funding crisis.

If an investor rebalances periodically, doing so in a tax-deferred account helps avoid paying short-term capital gains taxes that can accompany the buying and selling of digital assets, Satz said.

“Why retirement accounts? Because you can initially defer taxes in a traditional account or avoid them altogether in a Roth account,” Jones said. “Taxation is the No. 1 biggest enemy of every investor.”