Precious metals are always a good investment. Gold and silver have been used as currency for thousands of years, and they retain their strong reputation to this day. In times of economic upset and political turmoil, investors may lose faith in the stock market, but their faith in the value of precious metals remains strong.
If your portfolio doesn’t include any precious metal holdings, it’s time to buy some. Whether you choose gold or silver, palladium or platinum, here’s what an investment in precious metals can do for you.
1) They Don’t Inflate
Inflation happens when the cost of goods and services in an economy goes up. When it happens, things end up costing more, and money becomes increasingly devalued.
Some amount of inflation is normal over time, which is why you’re supposed to put your money in the stock market, rather than a savings account – the idea is that you’ll hopefully earn enough dividends and see enough growth to offset the power of inflation to reduce your money’s value. An investment in precious metals can also be a good way to protect your wealth from inflation, because the value of your gold or silver will remain stable even as the purchasing power of your currency diminishes due to inflation.
2) They Have Intrinsic Value
Precious metals are a commodity with intrinsic value. Their value isn’t tied to the stock market or to the value of fiat currency. That’s why people have been using gold and silver as money for centuries – it’s inherently valuable. In times of political upheaval and hyperinflation, your paper money may become worthless or inaccessible, but you can still use your precious metals to obtain necessities, bribe officials, or obtain safe passage to someplace more stable.
3) They’re Accessible to Every Investor
Sure, it’s expensive to buy an ounce of gold, palladium, or platinum. Sure, gold spot prices are usually prohibitive, and palladium or platinum are also spendy.
But you don’t have to buy precious metals in weights of a troy ounce. You can buy gold and other precious metals in weights as small as one gram. If that’s still too rich for you, silver is a very affordable precious metal – you can buy a 10 oz silver bar for a fraction of the cost of even an ounce of platinum.
4) They Have Industrial Value
Part of the reason why precious metals remain so valuable is that they can be used in a range of industrial applications. Gold, silver, and platinum can be used to make jewelry. They can be used in electronics because they conduct electricity. Silver has a number of industrial uses, in electronics and solar panels, for example.
Because precious metals are often used in industry, their value can see some volatility linked to the ups and downs of that industry. If the electronics industry sees a boom that requires it to use more precious metals in manufacturing, then prices for those metals are going up. But if an industry that relies on precious metals experiences a lull, the value of your precious metals could drop – as silver values did when consumers made the switch from film (which uses silver) to digital (which does not).
5) Bullion Isn’t the Only Option
Buying bullion is the traditional way to purchase precious metals, and it’s certainly the only way if you hope to take delivery of your gold and silver bars. But buying physical bullion means storing physical bullion, and not everyone wants the hassle of paying fees to store a stack of gold bars in a depository vault or safe deposit box. Storing them at home isn’t ideal, either, unless they’re in a fireproof safe.
Storage isn’t the only issue – you may not be able to liquidate your bullion right away if you need the money. But you can invest in precious metals without buying bullion. You can buy exchange traded funds (ETFs) that trade in precious metals, mining companies, and precious metals streaming companies. You can buy stocks in mining companies directly, or in mining company mutual funds. You can get good dividends, and experience some insulation from stock market volatility, as the value of these stocks will still be tied to the value of the precious metals they trade in. And it’s easy to liquidate shares of stock or mutual funds when you need the money.
Looking for a hedge to protect your wealth from inflation and stock market volatility? Precious metals could be the answer. Add something shiny to your holdings, and hold onto more of your money over time.