Soon, Fidelity Investments will enable some 401(k) investors to add Bitcoin investments to their 401(k) accounts, the company announced Tuesday. But financial advisors urge caution before savers jump at the investment opportunity.
Financial advisors advised caution to investors-to-be to their 401(k) accounts. Fidelity Investments announced on Tuesday that they will allow Bitcoin investment to their retirement account .
“I would keep it at a very low upper limit of one to two percent of assets at a maximum,” says Catherine Valega, a certified financial planner in Boston. “These assets can be very volatile, and I’m nervous that employers are setting themselves up for a major headache if investors get too excited and carried away.”
On Fidelity’s platform, investors can invest a maximum of 20% in Bitcoin. Employers will be able to limit that further. The general rule of thumb is to keep exposure to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin below 5% of the portfolio’s total as most financial advisors suggest.
Cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile as Valega has said. These currencies are very new and they don’t have decades of historical data to make them as safe investments for one’s retirement.
That’s one of the reasons the U.S. Department of Labor has warned caution against holding crypto in a retirement account.
“At this early stage in the history of cryptocurrencies…the U.S. Department of Labor has serious concerns about plans’ decisions to expose participants to direct investments in cryptocurrencies or related products, such as NFTs, coins, and crypto assets,” the department said last month. It also noted that the newer investments tend to attract more inexperienced investors “with expectations of high returns and little appreciation of the risks the investments pose.”
Investors approaching retirement should be extra careful of adding volatility to their portfolio in comparison to younger workers.
Dave Gray, head of workplace retirement platforms and offerings at Fidelity Investments tells Fortune that Fidelity, the nation’s largest 401(k) plan provider, fundamentally disagrees with the Department of Labor. By limiting the Bitcoin cap and providing education to users will ensure wise decision- making. Furthermore, investors want the option of investing in crypto, he says.
Gray says that employers who have opt in to their retirement plans, then employees will be able to allocate a portion of their 401(k) contributions to a Digital Assets Account that will invest in Bitcoin. Essentially, they will select from a menu of investment options like how a mutual fund offering works.
Savers will get the full tax benefits of their 401(k). Fidelity will be custodian of the Bitcoin and will handle trending for investors. Security will be held by the investment firm who will also hold Bitcoin private keys.
There will be a fee between 0.75% to 0.9% of assets annually attached to the investment option like a mutual fund’s expense ratios Gray said. The fee will go toward the custody and security of the accounts.
For those who don’t want to worry about crypto taxes, they will only need to worry when they take a distribution from their 401(k).
“This is designed for longer-term investing, not for somebody who wants to make short-term trading in Bitcoin,” says Gray.