The phenomenal rise in the price of bitcoin has captured the attention of the internet in the past few weeks. Even though the cryptocurrency lost 30% of its value in just two days after hitting a high of $2,700, the rise of the asset overall has been impressive as shown in the chart below.
When the price of an asset rises this much, there are usually five kinds of people you will find.
- Those who invested in the asset early and now look like geniuses.
- Those who were always against the asset and think the current rise is a bubble waiting to violently burst.
- Those who never bought the asset but now claim they always knew it was going to rise this much.
- Those who keep beating themselves up for not buying the asset.
- Those who now rush to buy the asset.
I think regretting not buying bitcoin (or any other asset which subsequently performed great) early is okay to do but not for too long. What is even worse is letting this regret guide your future investments. For every bitcoin, Facebook or Amazon you missed, you most likely have missed dozens of investments that sunk and lost all of their investors’ money. Going to chase any hot new investment because you missed out on the last one is not a very smart thing to do.
Sure, I would love to invest in an asset early and cash in later on for millions and an early retirement. But that is not how I approach investing. I see investing as a long, hard journey towards financial comfort, not a quick scheme to strike it big. I lose more sleep over consistently being over budget than for missing out on an arcane investment which could have tripled my investment.
As a strong believer in the idea that personal finance is personal, I do not think what works for one person would necessarily work for the other. So if you feel like chasing every hot investment looking like the new bitcoin, do what you want to. However, I think it makes sense that in the long-run we avoid the basic regrets that really matter, like failing to save for retirement.