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

by / ⠀Personal Finance / May 9, 2014


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.


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.


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 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

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About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.