My Coinbase Account Is The Closest Thing I Have To A Retirement Fund

It’s tough living through two economic meltdowns.

I promise I won’t push the tired talking points of the down-on-his-luck millennial too much. While we all know the hits: student loan forgiveness, legalizing weed, the soul sucking job market, the sudden death of every industry boomers love, this piece isn’t about all that exactly. (Though I’m crossing my figures for at least some student loan forgiveness!) This piece is about how hard it is to save money today, and why it’s important to find a long-term way to do it, even if it’s only a little bit and even if its in cryptocurrency. It’s better than nothing.

Im terrible when it comes to planning and saving. Those two facts combined make me inherently bad at money. Add in a couple of terrible monetary decisions made at such a young age that resulted in about $100,000 worth of student loan debt. Combine that with tough job markets, getting a degree in a difficult to break into industry, and a growing comfort with living paycheck to paycheck and you have a millennial with no real savings who relies mostly on luck and a wonderful partner to help everything stay afloat.

In my defense, I had little help reinforcing good money habits when I was young so trying to unlearn those habits now has been incredibly hard work and is an ongoing effort. Additionally, while there have been brief moments where I’ve managed to save a decent amount of money, one emergency or life change after another continues to obliterate any nest egg I build up. To be clear, I am managing fine in the sense that bills get paid every month, food is on the table every day, my apartment is in a wonderful spot, and the jobs I do get while freelancing have been great.

One doesn’t have to be a genius though to recognize the dangers of not having anything saved for a rainy day. What bothers me on a daily basis is the long-term stuff. Will I ever pay off student loans? What will my retirement look like? Will I ever have a retirement? What happens if I get really sick? Should I just suck it up and work at a bank (yuck!) for five or so years of spirit-draining work in order to save money? On most days, I force these questions out of my mind. I’ve found that if I don’t think about them, they become much more manageable. Obviously, this is not a great plan.

Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash

Coming around on the idea of long-term investment.

I know someone who is seriously considering quitting his job and spending all his time working the stock market. He did all the research, employed several common strategies of stock investment, and has seen pretty surprising returns on his trading within only the last two or so months when he started. Now, the catch is that he comes from a rich family. His parents gave him ten thousand dollars to play around with, which he is now smartly decided to spend trading on the stock exchange. That’s the type of privileged leg up that most people don’t have. I understand that fully.

The idea there is sound though. If your plan like mine is to keep your money in something for years while it gains value, investing is a perfect tool to make that happen with relatively little effort and risk required. I’m not an expert at all when it comes to this. I’ve only just begun this journey myself, but the framework with which to view investing on a small scale now make sense. Additionally, I would like to advocate for anyone who wants to start now with only just a little money to consider cryptocurrency as a possibility when thinking of a long-term investment strategy.

To get started, all you need is a little bit of money set aside to kick things off. Then, I would recommend checking out Coinbase. It’s by far the most professional, secure, and user-friendly wallet and trading market for cryptocurrencies available right now.

Opening an account will require levels of ID verification depending on how often and how much you want to buy and sell. Also you’ll have to add a payment method. A bank account is ideal, but a debit card works too. After that, you’re off to the races. Now, remember you are not here to trade cryptocurrency. You are here to invest long-term. With that in mind there are two main things to remember: it never hurts to invest in Bitcoin or Etherium, and keeping a diverse collection of coins in your portfolio is smart too.

First, Bitcoin and Etherium are the OGs at this point. Both have the highest market cap to date and are pretty safe investments. Each one enjoys a variety of use cases already, has establishment credit, and dedicated teams working on them. Additionally, while you may have heard of the volatility of cryptocurrencies, over the years both Etherium and Bitcoin have always been on an upward trend. The volatility only comes into play for day traders, not long-term investment. Frankly, where that ceiling of value ultimately lies for Bitcoin and Etherium in the future is anyones guess. For example, the people in 2016 who invested $100 in Bitcoin. They now have an investment that’s worth about $8,000. If you bought $100 worth of Bitcoin today and in ten years it is worth $1 million, your investment will have grown to around $2,000.

Second, diversification of your portfolio can be a smart move as well. Over the past few months, I have invested between $50-$100 in a variety of low cost cryptocurrency that’s available on Coinbase. This is for two reasons. The first is that Coinbase offers interest on certain coins for just sitting in your account. The second reason is that with just a small investment now, if any one of these coins gains even just a fraction of the amount of value Bitcoin has, then that return could be astronomical. I’d recommend if you are employing this strategy to some reading about the other coins that Coinbase offers. I found a few that stuck out to me as ones that might have potential.

Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash

I’ll write more about my experience with all of this in the coming weeks and months as well as specific coins that I find interesting. Just adjacent to the cryptocurrency space is the concept of a blockchain, how it’s being deployed in a multitude of scenarios, and what fascinating innovations and concepts it has inspired. This whole industry is rife with potential. It makes me excited for humanity’s future. In 2021, I think that’s just what the doctor ordered.

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