Retirement Weekly: 3 reasons why crypto doesn’t belong in your retirement account — yet

by | Aug 19, 2022 | Stock Market

Any individual who followed Matt Damon’s advice that “fortune favors the brave” during the Super Bowl and invested $1,000 in the crypto markets have seen staggering losses, with the value of those assets dropping more than 60 %.  This small slice of activity in the crypto markets demonstrates two major issues with this new asset class: its historical volatility and a lack of education about these assets among most would-be investors. Given that, as well as a cautionary regulatory environment, it’s clear that at this time, crypto has no place in defined-contribution plan lineups.

This hasn’t stopped some DC plan administrators from soon making digital assets available to plan participants, if the plan sponsor decides to make this feature available. Read: This is why bitcoin won’t ‘diversify’ your 401(k) Defined-contribution plan sponsors will likely keep a close eye on these moves to make crypto more accessible to DC plan participants. For now though, we at Mercer do not view cryptocurrency or crypto-related assets as suitable investment options in a defined-contribution plan. Here are three key reasons why: 1. Volatility Proponents of cryptocurrencies point out that Bitcoin last year became the highest performing asset class of the decade, with an annualized return of 230 percent, when its price reached $60,000. But since then, its price has dropped precipitously, sitting at around $21,500 as of July 27.  Of course, much of the stock market has entered bear market territory, bringing crypto along with it. But volatility is par for the course in crypto. According to a Mercer analysis, the annualized standard deviation of monthly returns of Bitcoin from 2015 to 2020 was approximately 80 percent, at least four times the volatility of publicly traded equities. Many experienced crypto investors may understand that these new markets reach new highs then crash in cycles, but it’s likely that most defined-contribution plan participants do not. Most participants don’t have the appetite for such high volatility—after all, as the primary vehicle that people rely on for their ret …

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