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Does a Bitcoin Weigh More Than a Gold Coin? Alternative Assets in Retirement Plans

The problem with being young and successful is that right now you’re, well, young and successful. However, that’s a situation which eventually takes care of itself. At some point most intelligent people come to that realization, and they start thinking about saving for retirement. The problem is that they start thinking about it a little too late. Most Americans never save enough of a nest egg to adequately supply their retirement needs. Even starting just a few years earlier with retirement investing could mean conservative differences in excess of a $100,000.

Sold!

So you’re willing to put aside a few bucks for the coming rainy days, but the question still remains. Where should that money go? You could go the traditional route and just park it in a mutual fund. That’s a popular choice now with most people betting that the market and the funds will keep on delivering. Or you could go a completely different route. One of the more exciting alternatives in retirement investing is Self Direction. In Self Direction investors choose retirement assets that they understand (e.g. real estate or private business). The draw is that the profits can be higher and more consistent than typical market returns. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular alternative assets, and find out which ones make sense as a retirement investment.

Gold

Out of all the alternative assets, gold has definitely received the most extensive marketing campaign.Numerous companies have trumpeted their gold investment platforms as the best alternative to the stock market, but is gold really worth the hype? In actuality gold is a commodity like any other and its price follows the standard laws of supply and demand. Currently gold is riding a huge wave, but there are no guarantees that the wave will continue. With the somewhat chaotic nature of single asset prices in general, a prudent investor would not want to bet his/her entire retirement fund on gold alone. Gold, though, does have one unique feature that makes it attractive as a retirement investment. Namely, you can hold the physical gold and take it with you if the situation ever calls for it. Not allplatforms allow for physical possession, but those that do allow gold to function as a kind of insurance policy. Presumably gold will retain a large percentage of its value at any given time, and, more importantly, in any given location. That renders it a highly portable store of wealth.

Real Estate

Real estate has always been the classic venue for those who want to branch out on their own. It comes in a variety of forms, and it seems that rehabs and flips have captured the minds of today’s investors. However, flipping is not necessarily the best retirement investment. A successful flip requires real estate knowledge as to which properties are the most suitable, as well as how much it really takes to do a proper rehab job. Novices jump in, but then find themselves in trouble when they’re stuck with a property that doesn’t sell.  This approach could knock out your retirement fund before it even gets off the ground.  For most investors, a more conservative approach is in order. In real estate terms, conservative means foregoing the big deal and instead securing a small but steady stream of income. This can happen with a rental. Many retirement investors have found long term success by placing their funds in a single or multifamily rental. With the help of a qualified real estate agent, you should be able to find a rentable property that will provide your funds with a steadystream of retirement income.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the first fully digital currency that has achieved some degree of general acceptance. It’s also one of the hot alternative flavors of the day. The question, though, still remains: is it a good retirement investment? For the answer to this, let’s take a lesson from the medical world. When a new pharmaceutical is released to the general public, it has already gone through extensive FDA safety testing. Still, many doctors recommend waiting a few years before taking it. The reason for this delay is that even with all the testing, the long term effects in real world scenarios have not yet been determined. This idea also holds true for new investment assets. When something as new and revolutionary as Bitcoin comes around, it might potentially be very profitable, but the long term stability is not yet known. As a retirement investor its best not to place your retirement solely in unproven assets. If you’re the adventurous kind, then take the plunge with some of your funds, but leave the majority of them to safer investments.

Alternative assets can definitely provide higher returns than a standard mutual fund, but caution should always be your first response. The best thing to do is choose a reputable financial firm  that offers alternative investment options. Next up, get educated. Choose an asset that appeals to your investment sensibility, research it fully, and then make a sensible judgment with all of the facts.

Cara Price is a caffeine based life form who ardently believes in the convergence of technology, communication, and art to help businesses thrive. She is currently working as a content and communication specialist for Broad Financial, a leading custodian of enhanced retirement platforms. She loves people, Pinterest, and the written word, and she can be contacted via cprice@broadfinancial.com

“Wantrepreneurs Live On Hopium,” says NY Angels’ Chair Brian Cohen

“I love angel investing. I’ve been doing it since it was called ‘stupid investing’” said Brian Cohen, Chairman of the New York Angels, as he attempted to fill the information from his most recent book, What Every Angel Investor Wants You To Know: In Insider Reveals How To Raise Money For Your Billion-Dollar Idea, into his 20-minute keynote at the NY Founder Institute First Look Showcase of their latest class of startups.

 

 

The Founder Institute is an early-stage four-month accelerator program where participants are not required to quit their day jobs. FI has helped launch over 565 companies across 28 cities, 13 countries, and five continents – making it the world’s largest startup accelerator.

Cohen has been investing in startups in New York for 40 years, he said, preferring this coast to the other, as he sees New York entrepreneurs as being more willing to help each other.

“California has an alpha-dog mentality,” he maintained.

Some of our favorite sound bites/pearls of wisdom from the publisher (Information Week) turned publicist (TSI Communications) turned Angel Investor/Entrepreneur Mentor/Technology Marketing Strategist/Author:

“Do you know the difference between Angels and VCs? Angels spend their own money. VCs spend other people’s money.”

“M&A make up 90% of all exits. The average time for an exit is nine years.”

“There are 30,000 serious Angels in the US… which make your chances of getting funded 400:1 – and it’s getting worse.”

“VCs want to know how big is your market. They’re driven by large market potential. Period.”

“Ever hear the term ‘wantrepreneurs’? Wantrepreneurs live on hopium.”

“Don’t let ego, greed or fear be part of your business plan… When you’re pitching to investors, they don’t want to hear ‘I think’ or ‘I hope.’ They want to hear ‘revolutionary’ and ‘unique.’

“When you’re meeting with investors, use the time wisely. Ask them, ‘tell me who you wrote checks to and why.’ Investors don’t like to say ‘no,’ because they’re afraid of missing out on the next big thing. Get to ‘no’ as quickly as possible.”

For a full transcript. Oh, wait, there is no full transcript available. You’ll just have to read the book.

And now, your First Look at FI’s latest group of startups:

emozia is “revolutionizing the way we communicate emotion – in real time,” said founder Aleksandar Vukasinovic. Communicating emotion to our apps and devices is almost impossible. And that’s exactly what emozia is about. The company has developed technology that determines how you feel and empowers you to share that information with your friends, devices and apps. Imagine if Songza knew what kind of mood you were in – and could suggest music for it, or to counteract it. Uber is currently testing this technology.

Inkwell empowers authors to take control of the publishing process. Through crowd-funding, social tools, and a support network, authors can raise the funds they need to produce their books, and readers/supporters get a first look to see if they’d like to read more – and make it happen

HelpSource is a digital hub for behavioral health providers and consumers. According to co-founder Mavis Baird, People can get the help they need either online, or by reaching out nationally or locally. Revenue is derived through the company’s booking engine.

Builder Buzz “is an online home improvement marketplace where contractors come to you – Snap, Post, Hire, Done!” explained founder Michael Lisovetsky. You post your project and can compare contractors by looking at their profiles, work history, and reviews from previous customers. You decide who to speak to and get quotes from. Of course, it’s also a great platform for contractors to find their next job.

Viewsafar Ok, so you have your big screen HDTV and it’s taking up a lot of real estate, considering that it’s most likely not on 24/7. Viewsafar co-founder Michael Su wants to change that, by providing ambient videos that can run in the background. Wish you were at the beach? Imagine being able to look at the rolling tides in the comfort of your home, and not having to deal with all of that bothersome sand getting all over the carpeting.

One + Love is a social networking app for the LGBTQ community, connecting users to local safe spaces, supportive online community, entertainment, and news. Get a map that takes you right to advocates, hotlines, hospitals, and LGBTQ-friendly organizations and businesses. You’re not alone; One + Love connects you.

Pathgather is an enterprise learning application that helps employees discover learning content, track their progress, and connect with coworkers around professional development. Employees learn more when they learn together. On Pathgather, employees share learning achievements, set public goals, and recommend helpful resources. The end result is a social learning environment that motivates and accelerates personal development – and workplace training.

For full coverage of startup events in New York, visit The Watch.