Carrick’s newsletter: Bitcoin is smoking hot – should you invest?

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Bitcoin is a digital currency that has been around since 2009. Transactions involving Bitcoin are made with no bank middleman, and you don’t have to use your name. But the really intriguing thing about Bitcoin is the investingaspect. Prices were in the $2,750 (U.S.) range in late June, compared to about $630 a year ago.

Should you jump in? A European investment firm makes a good argument for taking a pass. Basically, this cryptocurrency is too speculative and unstable. Bitcoin is running into resistance as a challenger to traditional money because of slow transaction times and the appeal of current payment options. Why use Bitcoin when you have a credit card that is convenient and offers reward points?

A recent study took a look at who is using Bitcoin. It’s mostly computer programmers and people involved in illegal activities. By the way, Bitcoin has a hot new rival caller Ether.

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How to get started with retirement saving
A thorough look at what millennials need to know about getting started saving for retirement. Given how many young adults work contract jobs and thus have no pensions, this is crucial information.

How old is “old?”
The answer depends on who you ask. Ask a millennial and old age starts at 59. Ask a baby boomer and it starts at 73.

The world’s most tourist-friendly countries
A fun list if you’re planning a trip.

Ingenious ways to organize your fridge
The bottom line here is to arrange things so you use up more of what you buy and throw out less. Some cool ideas here. By one estimate, households waste $28 worth of food each week.

Today’s featured financial tool
The Ontario Securities Commission has re-launched its GetSmarterAboutMoney website. Check it out for unbiased information on investing, working advisers and more. There are also some good calculators that I have featured in this spot.

Ask Rob
The question: “I’m 38 years old with no debt, no mortgage, a solid government job and a great pension plan. I have $52,000 to invest in my TFSA. I’m going sell-directed route. How should I invest this money? Please help!”

The answer: You don’t say how long you want to keep the money invested, so I’ll assume it’s for the long term (10-plus years). Your pension plan allows you take an aggressive approach in your own investments, provided you’re comfortable with stock market risk. If so, consider putting most of the money in exchange-traded funds tracking the Canadian, U.S. and international stock markets, and a small percentage in a broad-based bond ETF. Exchange-traded funds are very cheap to own and offer diversification across the entire stock market. If you’re a Globe Unlimited subscriber, check out my 2017 ETF Buyer’s Guide.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length.

What I’ve been writing about
– How high debt loads are hurting our children
– Wavering on Home Capital high-interest GICs? Buffett’s got your back (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

More Carrick and money coverage
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About the author

Loknath Das

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