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Duration:04:51
Uploaded:2022-01-27
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In this episode of Making It Work, one woman explains why she'll never invest in crypto, and why she prefers to keep her money in other investments.

Through weekly video essays, "Making It Work" showcases how *real* people have upgraded their personal or financial lives in some meaningful way. Making your life work for you doesn't mean getting rich just for the sake of it. It means making the most of what you have to build a life you love, both in your present and in your future. And while managing money is a crucial life skill for everyone, there's no one "right way" to go about it — you have to figure out what works best for *you,* full stop.

Written by Keertana Anandraj

Video by Grace Lee
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As a woman working in the finance industry, it likely comes as no surprise that I sought to educate myself about cryptocurrency before it could be mansplained to me.

In an industry with such few women, it's not uncommon for me to feel as if I don't know enough, not enough about personal finance, or my 401(k), not enough about investing in ETFs, and definitely not enough about cryptocurrency. After three years working in the traditional finance field, however, I finally feel comfortable with minor risk-taking ventures in the stock market and even real estate.

But cryptocurrency is just not an investment I feel comfortable with, not in the least. Why? Well, it boils down to riskiness.

On average, women are a lot more risk averse than men when it comes to investing. While that statistic seems negative, the reality is that in the long run, over time, women's investments often fare better than those of their male counterparts. The only difference is that women earn less, due to the gender pay gap, and therefore often invest less, stats say up to 40% less than men.

Those 10 extra earnings make a huge difference. And I've sought to correct for this in my own finance journey. That being said, while I am comfortable picking a few stocks here and there or investing in mutual funds and ETFs, cryptocurrency is just not an investment I can justify.

For one, with the sheer number of cryptocurrency coins out there in the world, the chances of investing in a cheap coin with an obscure name that might blow up in a few years, it's slim. While in theory, I could just put $5 away into said random coin in the hopes that I would profit off a cryptocurrency boom in the future-- after all, $5 isn't a lot-- I'd rather put that money towards a diversified investment portfolio that is set to grow over time. One of the biggest draws to investing in crypto is striking gold by investing in a currency that is relatively unknown-- say, Litecoin or Dogecoin-- only to have it erupt in popularity due to a tweet or piece of news, making you a millionaire overnight.

Well, given that investing in these coins is high risk, especially as they may only maybe grow in the future, a more reliable cryptocurrency investment would be in a currency that is guaranteed to maintain value in the future, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ether, which is used on the Ethereum platform. These two cryptocurrencies, which are by far the most popular and well-known, are likely to have practical real-world uses in the future beyond investment vehicles. Bitcoin is already accepted in some countries as a form of currency to exchange for goods and services.

That being said, they're also extremely expensive cryptocurrencies to purchase. And while their values could still rise, it could just as easily plummet. And although there are cryptocurrency options that have uses beyond mere investments, they still remain volatile currencies with values more difficult to predict than even the stock market.

I don't pretend to understand the ways of the stock market, and likely neither should you. But dollar cost averaging largely neutralizes the erratic effects that the news has on the value of a stock on a given day. Moreover, another advantage of investing in the stock market is neutralizing your risk from a single stock by investing in a bucket of stocks, such as through a mutual fund or ETF.

With a diversified portfolio, even if tech stocks take a plunge, other stocks in your portfolio could balance out a market fluctuation. Plus, it's a lot more accessible for the everyday investor. While Bitcoin ETFs that aim to provide people with a less risky cryptocurrency investment do exist, these are yet to be approved by the SEC, a.k.a., they are very hard to come by.

And while cryptocurrency charts and market theories do exist, the truth is that familiarizing yourself with the cryptocurrency landscape is a lot more obscure than establishing an understanding of traditional investing. Given that so many struggle with just the latter, it doesn't seem wise, in my opinion, to invest in cryptocurrency, especially when I could put that money in a diversified stock portfolio instead. Another aspect of investing in cryptocurrencies these days is digital art, or NFTs.

As someone who isn't an investor in physical art, I'm not interested in digital art or exclusive NFT to an exclusive club that includes celebrities, NFTs simply aren't accessible to folks without a large sum of disposable income. In contrast, traditional investing can be far more equitable. While access to financial information is obscure, not all that much money is essential to purchasing, say, stocks or ETFs.

With cryptocurrency however, it depends. Bitcoin, Ether, and NFTs that are likely to gain in value over time aren't affordable. And cryptocurrencies that are cheap don't have any guarantee to actually grow in value.

Unless you have insider knowledge that Elon Musk might tweet about it, cryptocurrency is more akin to gambling than investing in the stock market. Now, don't get me wrong. Investing in general is a risk.

But as someone who works in finance and has worked hard to acquire financial knowledge, I feel significantly more comfortable investing in the stock market or safer financial tools like ETFs or mutual funds than I do investing in cryptocurrency. This isn't a recommendation. After all, you could strike gold with cryptocurrency and have a $5 investment balloon into $500,000 in a short period of time, which is impossible with stock market investments.

This is merely what works for me and why, after spending a significant amount of time attempting to understand the cryptocurrency market thoroughly, I have come to the conclusion that its volatility is too much for my own personal risk threshold. The practical uses of cryptocurrency, from secure charitable donations to sending remittances abroad, are ways I can envision myself using cryptocurrency in the future, if it truly does gain enough popularity to become a popular currency choice. For now, however, I am content to watch as people's gambles on cryptocurrency either makes the millionaires or fools.