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People use phrases such as “good as gold,” “my word is gold,” or “the gold standard” to denote a level of integrity beyond dispute. Like so many proverbs and idioms in the English language, these are rooted in history: for centuries, gold was the standard by which all value was measured. To this day, gold, silver, and platinum—the big three precious metals—continue to act as investment choices for those who desire something more real than what’s written on a piece of paper. Here are some of the benefits of investing in precious metals.
Humans have used precious metals as currency for centuries due to their inherent value. Gold has long been renowned for its versatility and durability: unlike metals such as iron, gold does not rust, nor will it easily corrode. However, its value has long lain in simply being a finite resource; no one’s making any more of it. Silver and platinum have more industrial applications, but their relative scarcity imbues them with high value as well. Unlike fiat currency, a physical asset is immune to hyperinflation.
When you envision a fortune in gold, you may imagine a safe filled with shimmering gold coins and bars—a modern-day treasure chest—insulated from the rest of your savings. But investing in precious metals doesn’t have to mean a personal cache. You can actually make precious metals a part of your retirement portfolio with a precious metals IRA. This investment instrument shields you from the volatility of the stock market and lends valuable diversification to your portfolio. While precious metals are unlikely to skyrocket in value, this is more than offset by the certainty they will confer on your retirement.
If the thought of having a store of silver and gold in your home makes you uneasy, there are instruments offering the best of both worlds. An exchange traded fund, or ETF, is a way to invest in the value of precious metals without acquiring the tangible asset in question. This functions similarly to stocks and bonds and can offer a comfortable long-term return on investment.
This advice should come with a disclaimer. In recent years, investing in gold, silver, and platinum has developed a bit of a bad reputation from advertisers who prey on people’s panic regarding the collapse of the global financial industry. While the benefits of investing in precious metals include a valuable hedge against inflation for the long term, converting all your funds into physical assets is an unwise move that would be too much of a good thing. Just as you wouldn’t put all your money into stocks, don’t put all your money into precious metals.
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