One Take from the Week #14: This Is Not Financial Advice

First, a little thought experiment:

  • You have a fixed income in the form of a salary or retirement.
  • The government continues to print money at an historic rate with the idea that the rich will cover the expenses.
  • The lower classes continue to ride the free money train. This is much easier than working for roughly the same amount of money.
  • The value of the dollar continues to go down.
  • Help Wanted signs keep springing up in shop windows.
  • It gets harder and harder to spend your money, because you can go to a nearly empty restaurant and have an hour wait due to staffing issues.
  • Being harder to spend your money may be a good thing as everything now is more expensive compared to the dollar.

I worry about hyperinflation. I am not desperate now, but who is to say I won’t be desperate next year or ten years from now. If my salary/retirement cannot keep up with inflation, how will I be able to provide for myself and my family? How will I buy food and everyday supplies if no one is producing it? There is even the chance that the price of food will get so high that it will be unaffordable.

Pre-WWII Germany during its hyper-inflation where bread cost 2 million marks and people were burning the cash to stay warm. Picture courtesy of Daily Mail.

The economy is in shambles. How far away are we from the next major financial crisis like we had in 2008? How far away are we from the Second Great Depression? How prepared am I to deal with something like that? How prepared are you?

Enter Cryptocurrency

Two people I am close to approached me recently about my thoughts on cryptocurrency. They were invested in it and wanted to know my position. My position? What position? At the time of their asking, I knew nothing about it other than the stories of some get-rich-quick-newly-minted-millionaires. They said I was missing out on a potential opportunity. I let their words sink in.

How many times have I missed out on something because I didn’t know any better? Finances may be one of my biggest weaknesses. When I was younger, I racked up huge amounts of debt because I thought it was free money. How many decades did it take to get that under control? When the internet really started to open to financial opportunities, I was in no position to take advantage of it. I was more eager to consume content than to create it. I was a consumer, a spender. I was not a creator or investor. Big difference! Would I miss the boat on crypto as well? Oh gosh, I have a lot of work to do.

And thus begins the research…

I started with the easiest way to digest the information. I went to YouTube. This, like any other platform for information, is filled with a plethora of experts and an equal plethora of those who deem themselves to be experts. Much of what I saw turned out to be hype and non-information. Some of it, however, was good and coming from people who did the research. If you can sift out the wheat from the chaff, you have a valuable resource.

Next, I went to podcasts. This is not much different than YouTube, except you can find interviews with insiders who develop parts of the ecosystem. If you are interested, I recommend the Unchained Podcast with Laura Shin.

Then I hit the books. Ah yes, this is where I excel. Here, I learned what blockchain and crypto are, its influence, and technical capabilities. Much of this was to gather information on terms, history, and insights on a deeper level. If you are looking for current market trends, this is not the place to go. But if you are looking for foundational knowledge, this might be one of the best resources available.

Lastly, there are the online communities. These are also valuable resources if you can separate the wheat from the chaff.

Disclaimer from Crypto Crow, whose videos have been super informative.

THE FOLLOWING IS NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE, AND I AM NOT AN EXPERT:

wen lambo

One of the most common questions I see in all its poorly written glory is “wen lambo.” What does it mean? When am I going to be able to buy a Lamborghini? There is a large group of investors who think they can put in $100 today and wake up tomorrow with millions. Obviously, there were some who got lucky. That percentage is probably just above winning the lottery. And what happens when they chance upon this windfall? Will they be broke in a year like many of the lottery winners? Here is your official “This is not financial advice” advice:

If you are struggling to pay your rent, don’t put it all in one a high-risk investment that has a once-in-a-lifetime shot at success.

HODL (Hold On for Dear Life)

What is the best way to pursue this investment opportunity? Do the research. Look at the companies, the people running the companies and their backgrounds. Play the long game with money you are willing to lose. Put your money in and let it sit, let it accumulate. Build it like an investment portfolio.

wen freedom

This is what I am really looking for. I don’t care about the Lambos or any other vehicles with low utility. I am looking for freedom and security. I am looking to protect myself from a dollar that is losing value. I want to rest at night knowing that my family is taken care of even in the event of my passing. For me, it is not “wen lambo” but “wen freedom.”

Similarities to Politics

Oh yeah, if you are not careful, following cryptocurrency and blockchain can become like following politics. It can you drive you into an obsessive mania of constantly checking your portfolio. You can go overboard with trying to catch all the latest news. If you allow this to happen, then there is no freedom. Instead, you will be shackling yourself to an unhealthy lifestyle full of stress.

This is my one take from the week. If you are not in the crypto world, hopefully you found the information useful. I am no expert in this world, but I am learning. I am going to give this the same attention and effort that I use for philosophy and health. If you are in this world or considering it, drop me a comment and let me know what you think. -Tony


Feature photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

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