Making the decision to start investing in precious metals is a smart one, but it is only the first step. The next decision you will need to make is how to purchase your gold and silver. You have more than one option, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In this article I’ll cover the three basic ways you can start adding gold and silver to your investment portfolio.
Mining Stocks. The first way is the simplest and the most common. This is how your investment advisor would probably advise you to invest in gold and silver, by buying the stock of companies that explore and mine precious metals. When most people think of investing they think of buying stocks, bonds and mutual funds through either their 401K or Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA’s), which makes this option seem like an easy choice. There are several gold and silver mining companies whose stocks are traded on one of the stock exchanges. There are also mutual funds that specialize in various segments of the mining industry – gold, silver, platinum and even the more exotic metals. Buying gold by investing in mining stocks is an indirect way of diversifying into the precious metal field and it has the advantage of being easy and familiar – buying one stock is just like buying any other.
As the demand for hard assets increases this can be a very profitable way to diversify your investment portfolio and take advantage of the relative strengths of the precious metals market. The chief disadvantage is that individual mining stocks often move with the general stock market which might not correspond with the price of the metal. The situation might arise where gold and silver are rising in price while the mining stocks are going down.
Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s). The second way to invest in precious metals is by buying into Exchange Traded Funds that represent the actual metal. The theory is that you buy into a fund that then buys gold or silver on your behalf, with the price reflecting the value of the actual metal in your account. Buying an ETF is exactly like buying a regular stock, in fact, the ETF’s even trade on normal stock exchanges. I see two primary advantages to investing in precious metals this way. One, it is familiar and easy – most people can simply trade gold and silver within their account just like they buy and sell stocks, and two, you are supposedly buying the actual metal, not a share in company. The chief disadvantage is that you never really know for sure that the gold or silver is there. For most of these funds you don’t have the option of taking physical delivery of the metal so the possibility exists that there is no actual gold backing up the shares you’ve purchased. Still, this is an easy way to diversify your investments.
Gold and Silver Coins. The third way to invest is by actually purchasing physical gold and silver in the form of bars or coins. While not as popular as the other two methods, this is the only way to buy gold and silver that guarantees that you actually possess the physical metal, as you can hold it in your hands. Arguably, you should have a portion of your precious metals investment in the form of gold and silver coins. These two metals are readily recognizable, have real worth and can be easily stored and traded. While you can buy both metals in the form of bars, for most people owning coins is the best way to own physical gold and silver. There is no reason to own any other metal.
Want to own some gold or silver coins? American gold eagles are the best way to invest in gold coins if you’re an American citizen. They are readily available and easily recognizable. For your silver investment, you can choose to own silver eagles or invest in junk silver coins, which are US dimes, quarters and half-dollars minted prior to 1965. You will find these readily available.
There you have it, three ways you can own gold, silver and even the more exotic precious metals. All you need to do is decide to invest in precious metals and then decide on the form you want to own. The most important part is to get started now.