The stock market has been as volatile lately as a poker table at Las Vegas casino. Many traditionally conservative investments have seen unheard of volatility. Savers have begun asking the question, “What can I invest in to make sure I at least keep the principle of my investment?” For many investors, gold has come up on the list of options.
Before buying a boat load of gold, one should consider the reasons gold is valuable and what gold is useful for in terms of investments. Gold has industrial value, but there is frankly plenty of gold that is already mined and available for industrial purposes; so much so that you can easily find 30$ gold plated 2 foot S-Video cables at your local electronics supplier. Gold is useful either to preserve an investment, or as a hedge against falling currency. If you feel currency is unsafe, or your portfolio is overexposed to a specific currency, adding gold to your portfolio could be wise.
A wise investment rule has always been to diversify. Many investors wrongly get the impression that this means buy some tech stocks, as well as some utility stocks. A diverse investment portfolio, however, is not simply having a bunch of stocks; it is having a diverse set of investments. Gold is not a bad thing to add to that basket, which should include not simply stocks, but also real estate, material investments, proper insurances, and other assets that are not exposed to currency risk.
A mistake often made with gold is to treat it as a stock. Indeed, many who hear that gold is a great buy, run out and buy stock in a mining company or two. As mentioned above, there’s already tons of gold that’s already been mined; purchasing a mining company’s stock would really be a bet that either there is going to be a ton of gold mined, or a massive shortage of gold on the market.
So what should a gold saver purchase? Low-premium bullion gold. Bullion is a fancy word for coins, or other forms, of a metal that are only valued by the amount of the metal inside. There are coins that are made with gold that are valuable because they are old, or rare. That is not bullion. A bullion coin is one that you can set on a scale and immediately know its value based on daily spot gold prices. Anyone selling you a stock, or a certificate, isn’t really selling you gold. If you cannot hold it in your hand you’ve been sold a different type of investment.
What does low premium mean? Well, for instance, the US Government sells 1-ounce ‘American Eagle’ coins. These contain an ounce of Gold. The South African government also sells 1 ounce gold coins called krugerrands. American eagle coins contain the same gold as a krugerrand but American Eagles cost more; if you’re just looking to buy gold why pay more?
Bottom line? If you’ve decided that you are worried about a falling dollar, or worried about the risk of ‘traditionally conservative’ investments failing to preserve your investment, its time to buy gold. If you’ve determined to buy gold make sure that you buy gold you can hold in your hand, which is not more expensive because there’s a name on it.