Editor’s Note: At Wealthy Retirement, we typically recommend safe, proven income-generating strategies, such as Marc’s 10-11-12 System.

But we also recognize that many of our readers are at varying phases of saving for retirement. Some are already retired and are looking for ways to extend their savings. Others are just getting started and have a number of years to go before hanging up their work boots.

So today, we’re looking at a strategy that’s a little out of the ordinary. In today’s essay, Marc shares his feelings about cryptocurrencies and how to invest in them safely.

(As you’ll read below, I’ve personally benefited from the crypto craze.)

– Rachel Gearhart, Senior Managing Editor

“What do you think of bitcoin?” my friend asked in January.

It’s the question everyone asked back then and are still asking today. It’s not surprising.

The price of bitcoin soared from $6,500 in mid-November 2017 to more than $17,400 in mid-December – a gain of more than 165% in just one month. Since then, it’s made a round trip back below $6,500.

I know several people, including The Oxford Income Letter Managing Editor Rachel Gearhart, who have made five times their money on a small investment.

So in January, with bitcoin trading around $17,000, I told my friend what I thought. “It’s a mania right now.”

He replied, “But it can go higher, right?”

Can It Go Higher?

Today, with the price of bitcoin about 65% lower than when I had that first conversation, my opinion about its direction remains the same. It absolutely can go higher. It also can go lower (thanks for the prophecy, Nostradamus).

There are many experts, including Pillar One Advisor and co-founder of Early Investing LLC Adam Sharp, who believe bitcoin will eventually hit $100,000.

They expect other cryptocurrencies to rise as well.

You may be wondering why I’m even talking about bitcoin. Very few cryptocurrencies pay dividends or generate any income.

I’m writing about it today because so many of you are interested, have requested my opinion and want to know how bitcoin fits into your overall portfolio.

As I mentioned to my friend, it was a mania. Many have equated it to the 17th-century tulip bubble in the Netherlands.

Nearly 400 years ago, people bid up the prices of tulips to ridiculous levels and flipped them like day traders.

Bitcoin shouldn’t be compared to tulip mania. A more accurate parallel is the dot-com boom.

After that bubble burst, there were still quality companies left that went on to become giant successes – like Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY).

Sure, their stock prices came down, but they eventually rallied and made long-term shareholders rich.

The companies that were junk (and there were many of them) collapsed.

I suspect that’s what will happen in cryptocurrencies. The prices of bitcoin and other cryptos could still go considerably higher.

But I wasn’t surprised that their prices fell hard, shaking out traders who had no business holding these assets to begin with. It got ugly and painful – just like all mania reversals – and it could get worse still.

But if you’re in the right currencies for the right time frame, you could do well.

If you’re interested in getting in on the action, here’s what I suggest.

  1. Decide how much you’re willing to lose.

If you’ve ever gone to a casino and were smart about it, you had a set amount of money that you were willing to kiss goodbye if lady luck did not pick you as her dance partner that evening.

The same should be true in cryptos.

Knowing your total risk will make it easier to hold on when things get volatile or to handle a potential loss.

  1. Allocate a tiny portion of your portfolio to cryptocurrency.

The Oxford Club’s Wealth Pyramid recommends only a small portion of your assets be designated for the riskiest investments. The good news is it doesn’t take much to move the needle.

Let’s say you have a $100,000 portfolio and are willing to risk 2%, or $2,000, on crypto. If you had success similar to Rachel’s and made 500%, your $2,000 would have turned into $12,000 and your portfolio would have gained 10% just on crypto alone.

That’s a decent year for a balanced portfolio.

If things go horribly wrong and you lose the entire $2,000, it’s not an insurmountable loss. You can come back from it even with more traditional investments.

  1. Understand what cryptocurrency is and how it works.

Don’t just buy it because it’s going up (or because it went down). If you don’t know what crypto is, learn about it before you buy it.

The people who got burned the worst in the dot-com boom and bust didn’t know (or didn’t care) about the companies they bought and why their stock prices were moving in the direction they were.

I avoided a lot of heartache by looking at companies’ financial statements and business plans, and by understanding that management teams had no idea how they would ever make money. They were just cashing in on a mania.

So many times I was told I was crazy for not buying certain stocks during that time. When they crashed, I had no stress because I didn’t have exposure to the riskiest names.

Cryptocurrency is an exciting and potentially lucrative investment. Just be sure you understand the opportunity… and especially the risk.

Good investing,