Ways to Store Value
|— Traditional stores of value have advantages and disadvantages that need to be considered.|
— Money is universally accepted for payments and easy to use (via a bank and ATM) but requires you to forfeit your financial sovereignty but sharing your data with a bank, and submitting to their policies.
— Money is also subject to inflation, which erodes its ability to store value over time.
— Gold is able to maintain a stable value over time but is extremely difficult to spend and to store safely.
— It is worth considering other options for storing value, and crypto provides an alternative.
So you’re interested in buying some crypto, but still not totally sure what all the fuss is about. Here we discuss traditional ways to store value, so you can compare for yourself.
In our previous articles, we examined how true financial freedom means ownership, security, and easy access to your money, and looked at the ways some institutions seemingly offer financial freedom—but instead offer a watered-down version of it.
In reality, the only way to store value with complete freedom is to be your own bank, by cutting out the middlemen and taking true control over your finances.
The way you go about this generally depends on your personal life circumstances, but whatever the situation, you will need to be using financial assets that give you absolute control over both their security and accessibility.
For most people, this is either cash money or gold and other precious resources—since these are well-established and widely accessible. But they’re not exactly convenient to store value.
Here’s how the two measure up:
We’ve all used cash in our everyday lives. Generally used for everyday purchases, small expenses, and casual payments, cash is accepted practically everywhere and is the most common payment method in many countries.
But while cash certainly offers more convenience than bank deposits and money locked up in investments, just how much financial freedom does it really offer? Let’s weigh up the pros and cons to find out.
Accessibility and convenience are two major advantages of cash. In many cases, cash offers both of these in equal measure.
Cash is universally accepted, and you don’t have to worry about anybody tracking how or when you spend your money.
Likewise, it’s easily accessible and cheap to use—with no ATM withdrawal fees or transfer fees to pay when spending it. It also offers peace of mind, since you can always be sure of your finances, by simply keeping tabs on how much cash you’ve got.
But for all the freedom cash offers, it isn’t perfect.
Cash can be easily stolen, and it’s practically impossible to trace if it is—meaning it’s gone forever in most cases. It’s unlikely you would feel comfortable with walking around with the large sum of cash needed for some purchases, or even keeping a considerable sum of cash in your home. This is one of the main reasons individuals turn to banks to take custody of their cash—for the simple fear of losing it.
It is also subject to inflation. As more and more is printed by central banks, cash, and your hard earned nest egg, loses its value. So although you’re saving hard, being safe and generally doing everything right, your stack of cash will buy less and less the longer you hold it. So it’s not really a fair game in the long term.
It relies on centralized banking mechanisms to be traded, invested and loaned out. So no matter how much you own, you always need someone else’s permission to manage you money as you see fit. This is something DeFi is completely changing, so if you’re interested in growing your savings, but sick of the bank taking a cut, check out our video 3 Ways to Earn Passive Income Via Crypto.
Gold and other precious metals
Like cash, gold is widely considered to offer holders improved financial freedom, and is arguably the most popular hedge for those looking to protect their net worth even when the economy starts to decline—such as during a recession.
No doubt you have heard about how X billionaire holds Y percentage of his portfolio in gold, or how people in some countries have turned to gold and other precious metals rather than using their national currency.
But is gold all it’s cracked up to be? Let’s weigh the pros and cons to find out!
Gold doesn’t suffer from inflation. Unlike cash, gold isn’t issued by the government and can’t have its supply suddenly changed on a whim—since actually finding gold reserves, extracting and refining it, then distributing it isn’t a process that can be simply ramped up since gold is an extremely scarce resource. In this sense, it has some parallels with Bitcoin.
As a result, gold has actually grown in value over time and has maintained its value far better than most modern currencies. It also has pretty much a universally agreed value, meaning you can take it anywhere, and can usually exchange it for a reasonable price.
While it’s hard to argue against gold’s merit as a store of value (especially in recent years), the same can’t be said for its ease of use.
Gold is impractical. It’s incredibly heavy and can’t be carried around on a whim. This means it will always need to be converted, and that comes with its own issues.
There are heaps of fees to contend with if you ever plan to sell, trade, or buy gold. You’ll typically need to buy it above spot rates due to brokerage costs, whereas if you’re selling it, you’ll lose a small chunk of your returns due to fees. Not exactly ideal…
Moreover, if you plan to hold it long-term you’ll probably be looking at storage and insurance costs—particularly if you hold a large amount of gold. This again leads to reliance on third-parties, reducing your access and control over your own assets.
Crypto – an alternative store of value
Both cash and gold can be used in varying degrees to store value, but they come with limitations, such as devaluation, impracticality and poor accessibility. And both require a host of trade-offs that just aren’t ideal for most people.
Could crypto be a better option? It depends what your priorities are. However, with a number of factors limiting the utility of money and gold, it is certainly worth considering alternatives – and now is a great moment.
Hey – before you understand crypto, it’s essential to understand money. And that’s not easy. But we’ve got you covered – check out our School of Block episode What is Money, Really? for a better foundation to explore your crypto future.