You’re gradually growing your crypto portfolio and preparing for a potential bull market in 2024-25.
Some prefer day trading, but you’ll be sticking around for several years…which begs the question:
What options do I have to invest in crypto in a designated retirement fund?
Despite the vast range of options to invest in and trade Bitcoin (BTC) and altcoins, many often overlook the massive opportunities for digital-asset investments across over $35 trillion of retirement accounts just in the USA.
Let’s explore the available and prospective options in this space and assess how much we should allocate to Bitcoin or altcoins.
For this, I will focus mostly on the USA. However, I will also cover Australia, Canada and parts of Europe.
What options are currently available?
For any of you interested in allocating Bitcoin to a US retirement account (e.g., a conventional IRA, Roth IRA, 401(k), etc.), the YouTube channel Bitcoin University produced a video specifically about BTC into different IRAs. For 401(k) funds, this CoinDesk article provides insight into this.
Fidelity Investments, one of the largest financial services providers in the world ($4.5 trillion AUM, as of 30 June 2023), permits its clients to invest up to 20% of its 401(k)’s overall holdings in BTC.
Whilst some might still disagree with a limit of 20%, I would say this is sensible — permitting crypto newbies to change their 401(k)’s investment strategy to be heavily reliant on crypto would be reckless.
Some of you might wonder, is there sufficient demand to justify including Bitcoin or other digital assets in a pension account? According to the 2022 Investopedia Financial Literacy Survey, roughly a quarter of Gen Y respondents plan to use crypto as part of their retirement strategy.
How much should be allocated to Bitcoin or altcoins?
This is highly subjective and will thus vary considerably depending on a retirement fund’s (rather, their clients’) risk tolerance and perceptions of Bitcoin.
Considering the growing acceptance of this decentralised network and native coin, I would put at least 10 per cent of total assets towards BTC in a high-growth/”emerging technologies” fund.
This should vary between 10 and 20%, depending on where we’re with bull and bear markets.
A savvy Bitcoin investor will know to accumulate more aggressively during a bear market and to take (some) profits once another wave of Bitcoin and crypto is well and truly underway.
Thus, I would assign up to 20% of a certain fund (or even your overall retirement portfolio) just to Bitcoin when there’s a bear market – particularly for a major price crash – and gradually reduce this to 10% when there are prime opportunities for profit taking.
Wash, rinse and repeat.
Before continuing, the main caveat is that this assumes nothing is fundamentally wrong with the digital asset or its blockchain.
Owing to its consistently strong network and various metrics – hash rate, number of nodes = decentralisation, social-media presence, moving averages and other technical, analytical data, etc. – I remain confident in the network’s longevity.
Before continuing, I realise many people will be more risk-averse, particularly if a partner and children are involved. As always, you do you.
The most attractive option to boost your exposure to Bitcoin and crypto for the future is via a self-managed super fund (SMSF).
As this technology subset and nascent asset class continue to mature, I expect more options for regular Aussie superannuation (super) holders that utilise super companies to manage their retirement investments rather than opting for an SMSF.
Betashares offers the Crypto Innovators ETF (CRYP), publicly traded on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), for anyone wanting to dabble in a local ETF.
A popular option for Canadian residents who want full control over their retirement investments is a self-directed retirement savings plan (RSP).
Here is an official Canadian Government resource that provides information about this, also known as a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP). Your local financial institution should be able to offer you additional details about RSPs.
CPP Investments, Canada’s largest pension fund, has abandoned its plans to pursue Bitcoin and crypto investing, despite initially exploring the option last year.
However, as this asset class picks up steam once again (I expect sometime in the second half of 2024), there will be renewed interest in the idea.
Europe and the United Kingdom (UK)
Yes, I know this will differ considerably depending on where you live across the continent/region.
As per major European players, Germany allows institutional clients to invest in a group of products named Spezialfonds (“Special funds”).
What exactly are these?
Formally, Spezialfonds are “alternative investment funds” (AIF) for institutional investors. Under EU law, they, therefore, fall into a collective category of the most diverse types of funds.”
German Investment Funds Association
In July 2021, the German Government passed the Fund Location Act (Fondsstandortgesetz) that permits investment managers to allocate up to 20% of total holdings into crypto assets. This is a big deal, considering the total amount of assets under management in the Spezialfonds is over €2 trillion.
Moreover, as the country is the largest member state in terms of population and GDP within the European Union (EU), others with the bloc will be observing this to see how crypto investments in Spezialfonds – or similar schemes – pan out.
In France, clients can access a Bitcoin Equities ETF, including exposure to the asset and Bitcoin mining companies. As per the latter, I have made a separate post covering the best-performing Bitcoin mining assets in 2023.
London-based Jacobi Asset Management received the green light in 2021 for the Jacobi FT Wilshire Bitcoin ETF.
After initially delaying its launch (scheduled for last year), it went live earlier this month and is available for trading on the Euronext Amsterdam.
The Crypto Advisor, a UK-based entity that provides useful advice about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, provides a run-down about current options for Brits wanting to invest in this emerging asset class.
Here is a list of other websites that you can check out to become better versed in UK pension accounts:
– UK Government official website regarding Individual Savings Accounts (specifically, the Lifetime ISA). Nothing yet about Bitcoin, but anyone who is the primary decision maker of how they invest their money should take an interest in what options are available – the sooner, the better.
– Binance Academy perspectives on crypto in your retirement plan.
I will add to this over time as more options become available.
Alternative ways to boost crypto holdings for retirement
What if you can’t find an option to invest directly in Bitcoin as part of a retirement fund?
As a bare minimum, if you don’t have a stash that includes crypto exposure, there’s nothing* stopping you from sending funds to a crypto wallet specifically designed for long-term storage (preferably through a non-custodial wallet) that you can use as a nest egg.
Yes, I know that this would be exempt from various tax concessions that would be otherwise available by investing in your own retirement accounts, but it is still better than no crypto exposure.
*Unless dealing with such digital assets is still illegal in your state or country. In this case, double-check your local laws before proceeding.
The US Department of Labor has shared its thoughts about cryptocurrency compliance and regulations, with this information aimed at related 401(k) companies in this space.
Any of you intending to add crypto to your self-managed pension fund should have compliance and an evolving regulatory landscape in the back of your mind.
One of the popular ways for retirement portfolios to gain exposure to BTC via a regulated and reputable institution will most likely be through a Bitcoin Spot ETF whenever these (yes, plural IMO) get approved.
Furthermore, I envisage regulated crypto exchanges, notably Coinbase, Kraken and Gemini, to establish an offshoot of their operations dedicated to a crypto-based pension setup, pending eventual approval by regulators.
Mind you, with the current clown in charge of the US SEC; I doubt this would get the green light anytime soon.
In the meantime, everyone should aim to gradually accumulate BTC and some altcoins as part of a long-term strategy, not to mention continuing to invest in conventional asset classes over time to boost one’s overall investment portfolio.
As these options differ between countries worldwide, and this space is rapidly evolving, look into what works best for you, preferably seeking information from up-to-date and reliable references.
This asset class is here to stay, whether people like it or not.
Sooner or later, the USA will approve a Bitcoin Spot ETF, and this will reignite plenty of interest in the space, even greater than what we witnessed in 2021. This will inevitably lead to pension funds
Some of you might wonder, how do I choose to invest in crypto for retirement?
My current setup focuses on non-crypto investments and aligns with my personal values outside of this space.
However, to compensate for not having a designated crypto pension fund, I prefer to invest in digital assets via conventional wallets, both non-custodial options (i.e., hardware wallets) and exchanges.
The added flexibility towards crypto investing in self-managed accounts comes with more responsibility.
Before assigning a major proportion of your net worth towards crypto assets, you need to have a sufficient understanding of the following:
– their related projects and what unique benefits have to offer over Bitcoin, Ethereum and other blue-chip digital assets;
– their underlying distributed ledger technology (e.g., blockchain, directed acyclic graphs), and,
– crypto market cycles and what influences them, e.g., macroeconomics, government regulations, commercial partnerships, project milestones/events such as the Bitcoin Block Reward Halving 2024, and so on.
Considering investing strategies in your younger years, periodically reviewing them, and, above all, following through with investing money into your future will make you well-positioned for a prosperous retirement.
Whilst there’s vast wealth to be made from this, the highly volatile nature of this asset class – akin to many penny stocks in conventional markets – can lead to strong gains quickly erased without a solid exit strategy.
I acknowledge this is more of an issue for short- to medium-term holders. Still, when that time comes to dip into your crypto retirement nest egg, timing is crucial for profit-taking, particularly if that coincides with an aggressive bull run.
- N.B. None of this is financial or tax advice; I am neither a financial advisor nor a taxation lawyer. You are ultimately responsible for crypto investments, let alone in any asset class.
- The opinions expressed within this piece are my own and might not reflect those behind any news outlet, person, organisation, or otherwise listed here.
- Please do your own research before investing in any crypto assets, staking, NFTs and other product affiliated with this space.
For transparency, Bitcoin (BTC) represents about 25% of my crypto portfolio.