There comes a point in nearly every financial conversation these days when someone drops the “B” word.
Bitcoin, that is.
Maybe it’s pandemic boredom. Maybe it’s the fact that every billionaire out there wants us to know whether they hate it or love it. In any case, the cryptocurrency has been on — hmm, let’s say an… interesting… ride — over the past few weeks. So I thought I’d write you a primer on the latest. That way you’ll be ready with some (new) talking points the next time one of your friends brings up Bitcoin.
What to say about its price: Bitcoin is up, generally. It was flirting with roughly $55,000 when this email hit your inbox. And it has risen about 600% in the past year. But there’s been some turbulence of late. The price blasted past $58,000 in February, then plummeted late in the month after Elon Musk hinted that prices might be excessive. Here’s a nice quote to recite to your friends if you want to say something forward-looking:
“It wouldn’t shock to see the price make an assault on the February high of $58,350.” That’s what Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Group Ltd., recently wrote in a note.
And if you want to tell people how to buy it, I wrote about that here.
How to explain its recent rise: Remember these two points:
- The U.S. stimulus may partly be to blame. Now that $1,400 checks are slated to start hitting millions of Americans’ bank accounts, there is growing talk that there will be more flows into financial markets, which could boost Bitcoin.
- But so is growing mainstream acceptance in the corporate world. China’s Meitu Inc., which makes an app that will make you look prettier on the internet, said Sunday that it had bought 379.1 Bitcoins for $17.9 million. Meanwhile Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has said it’s seeing serious demand from institutions as it tries restarting its cryptocurrency trading desk.
A guide to name dropping: Billionaires are just like us! They love weighing in on Bitcoin. You can bring up one (or more!) of the below:
Michael Novogratz: Thinks Bitcoin will probably hit $100,000 before the end of the year
Mark Cuban: His Mavericks team will begin accepting Dogecoin, a “meme” cryptocurrency that started out as a joke
Elon Musk: Recently Tweeted that Bitcoin prices “seem high.”
Bill Gates: Says that unless you’re the world’s richest person, you shouldn’t be buying Bitcoin
Dan Loeb: Has some deep thoughts on the sorts of people who are open to crypto.
How to sound intellectual and maybe even artsy/avant-garde: One of the kookier cryptocurrency trends of late has been the explosion of NFTs (non fungible tokens). People are spending millions. Lindsay Lohan (yes, of “Mean Girls” fame) is involved. NFTs are complicated and I’m not going to try to explain them here, but if you want to start a debate asking “what is art, even?” click here. — Charlie Wells
What We Did Recently With Our Money
A mid-cap growth-stock fund I own has been on an incredible tear for years now. After not checking on it for a while, I suddenly realized one day late last year that I had way too much money in this one high-risk fund. The fund had more than 43% of assets in 10 high-flying tech companies. So even though it has had incredible returns I decided to start taking some profits by selling shares in chunks over time. That way, I wouldn’t hate myself if I sold everything at a price that turned out to be low. I sold some at $43.72 in late 2020, some in January (at $47.49), early February ($50.57) and late February (at $49.04). I didn’t pay any commissions and my average sale price was $47.71. The fund is at about $43 now. I still have $20,000 in the fund and feel more comfortable with the investment. — Suzanne Woolley
In Bloomberg Opinion this week, Chris Hughes says that vaccines aren’t enough to keep British stocks exciting:
Tellingly, the M&A market has so far shown little enthusiasm for pure-UK. stocks. The companies that buyout firms have been picking off have some reopening appeal but generate only a minority of their revenue in their home market — mid-cap stocks like security firm G4S Plc, private jet refueller Signature Aviation Plc and Aggreko Plc, which rents out power generators for events. The revaluation of UK. domestic stocks has been rapid in recent weeks. The longer term challenges they face haven’t gone away.
Read his full reasoning here.
You Ask, We Answer
My parents set up a 529 plan for my college tuition when I was born. However, I was fortunate enough to get a full ride to college for my four-year undergraduate degree. The fund was meant to cover both my undergraduate and graduate education. I plan to go to grad school so I can use the extra funds there but will have roughly $230,000 left over that I need to use for student-related expenses which I won’t have. Since I don’t plan on continuing my education after graduate school, what is the most strategic way to pay a limited to no-penalty fee to use it for non-student expenses? — Mia Gradelski, New York City
First, did you make withdrawals up to the amount of scholarships earned for undergrad? You may make withdrawals up to the amount of your scholarship and only pay tax on investment earnings, but no 10% penalty. That may be a significant amount. Your rent while in grad school may be a qualifying expense up to the allowance for room and board as determined by your educational institution. So you may have some more tax-free withdrawals you can make there. With what you must take out for non-student expenses, aim to do it in the year where your income is lowest. If you’re in a two-year program, there’s likely one calendar year in which you will have very little or no earned income, and that year would incur the lowest taxes on withdrawals, as opposed to making withdrawals in the same tax year that you return to the workforce full-time. — Ryan Frailich, Founder of Deliberate Finances
Send us questions about your own financial dilemmas to [email protected]
- Olo, a food-ordering software company where Shake Shack Inc. founder Danny Meyer sits on the board, is expected to price its IPO on Tuesday.
- Samsung Electronics Co. will host its annual general meeting on Wednesday. The company recently revealed additional details about its plans to build a cutting-edge semiconductor facility in the U.S.
- Also on Wednesday BMW AG will publish its group report for 2020. The company’s CFO recently brushed off the threat of an Apple Car.