Given the low expectation that currencies go bankrupt (at least, main currencies like yen or pound): Is it a viable strategy to just buy currency (the currency proper not some future), and wait until it goes up?

If by falling values we buy more of it, with the same expectation that it goes up some time, is this a very risky investment?

Note: I don't mean, not I'm interested in crypto currency.


Currencies go down in value over the long term, not up. This is due to inflation, the natural rising of prices. People who make money trading currencies do so by taking advantage of typically short term price fluctuations between two or more currencies. Unless you are a professional currency trader, I would recommend against trying to make money in the currency markets.

  • Agreed - compare this with stocks, which go up on average do to increased economic output overall of a growing economy. Dec 29 '17 at 14:50
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    One could argue that inflation isn't the cause of currencies' loss of value, but the label we give to that phenomenon. Dec 29 '17 at 15:55
  • Is not every single word simply the lable we give something? Dec 29 '17 at 17:02
  • @GlenPierce: I believe Accumulation mean that inflation and loss of value are the same thing. In the same way that willfully killing people is murder. Both sides are not in a causal relationship, they are just synonyms. Dec 30 '17 at 0:26

When it comes to currencies, the term "speculation" is more appropriate than "investment". "Investment" implies that you are providing financial resources for some economic activity, and receiving a portion of the resulting benefit. Investment is not a zero-sum game: if a venture capitalist invests money in a start-up that provides a service that increases productivity, then there's a net increase in wealth across society, and the venture capitalist will receive a portion of that. Speculation, on the other hand, is zero-sum: any profit you make isn't from net increase in societal wealth, it's just money you're getting from other people. Investing is where you get money by having your money provide a service to the economy, while speculation is where you try to get money by being "smarter" than other people.

If you just buy something and don't have that thing participate in the economy in any way, that's not really "investing". So if you have a vault filled with yen, pounds, gold, silver, paintings, baseball cards, bright shiny bitcoins, etc., that's not "investing". (A vault full of grain could be considered investing if there are seasonal variations in the price of grain and you're providing the service of storing grain from harvest until winter).

If you are going to store your wealth in currency, there is benefit in diversifying into several different currencies. But as Glen Pierce says, currencies have a general downward trend known as "inflation". If you want your money to keep its value, you need to find some way of having it provide economic value, such as stocks or bonds.

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