Investing in gold/silver
I’ve been talking with my partner about putting some of our savings into gold and silver – or other materials that will likely hold their value no matter what the stock market does and no matter what happens to US currency. Ideally we’d have some small pieces/coins easily accessible in case SHTF. Anyone do this or have suggestions for how to get started? Good resources to check out? Reputable sellers, etc.? I’m starting with very little knowledge.
John RameyStaff - May 9, 2021
I just started writing the beginner’s guide to this a few days ago. I’ve held gold and silver my whole adult life and family has held it since the 70s. The punchline: assuming you’ve got personal finance basics covered (eg. no high-interest debt), it’s totally reasonable to keep something like 1-3% of your net worth in precious metals.
The key is understanding the value: it helps you hedge against problems with your local currency and can be an efficient way to physically carry a lot of wealth in a small package, but it’s not going to become the new currency everyone uses in some extreme SHTF situation.
With the evolution of crypto, metals and crypto are both viable paths for this “hedge against local currency problems” risk.
If you do buy metals, make sure you take physical possession of them — none of these “we hold it on your behalf” games. They’ll mail it to you via insured/certified mail.
John RameyStaff - May 16, 2021
@PNWPrepper turns out you and I said a lot of the same things 🙂
PNWPrepper - May 18, 2021
An excellent and eloquent article as always! Great points on industrial uses driving value. Can’t remember the percent off hand but I recall “investment” bullion was a shockingly small part of the pie.
PNWPrepper - May 10, 2021
SD Bullion, Bold Predious Metals, JM Bullion are a few online dealers but there are many reputable ones online. Most hsve “silver at spot” deals which are a great way to get in the game.
As for resources, there is a robust community on YouTube… just spend some time getting different perspectives. There is a range from “put all of your money in metals and leave nothing in the bank” to more “sane prepper” type opinions. There are also a handful of books on Amazon. If interested, I can go dig a couple out of the pile in my basment to get the titles.
To me, your overarching strategy will be the most consequential choice you will make howeve
There are many different perspectives so this is just mine… but for prepping purposes, you definitely want physical. “If you dont hold it you dont own it”. Last thing you want is to not get access to you metals when you really need them.
In general, I would suggest generic rounds/bars and government minted coins (specifically Maples-Canadian Mint and Eagles-US Mint). There are other legit options out there but these are pretty much the consensus choice for folks in the US.
Why generic? Simple, low premiums. Premiums can eat up your “seed” money very fast. You pay over spot when you buy and if you want/need to sell, you will often get less than spot. That bid/ask price can be high depending on the coin and dealer. Also in this “get it as cheap as possible vien” is shipping, handling, insurance, and any fees associated with method of payment like credit cards (this really only applies for online purchases vs. Local coin dealer… but online has by far been the cheapeat and easiest avenue for me personally). Net, the lower you can keep your “transaction costs”, the more you can put towards metals.
Now why government minted? Simply put, high liquidity. You will pay more of a premium (which is a bit contradictory to my first point) but you will always be able to find a buyer as many people perceive these coins to be a safer bet (more recognizable, etc.). Perception is always reality and so you will often be able to get a higer premium when/if you need to sell as well.
You will find a lot of content on various ways to get into physical metals… but a dearth of information on how to get out (in my experiences at least). Even if the USD goes to pot, the general law of economics will apply (value is defined by the receiver/buyer/market)… so well know gov minted coins have a role to play in a prepper setup.
I personally belive a mix of the above provides a solid safty net for a wide variety of situations (from a personal emergency expense that might surpass your emergency fund to an economic type collapse a la Venezuela).
On thing to note here, IMO, last years supply crunch and high demand was almost like a minor dry run of what one could expect in (at least the early stages) of an economic collapse. Premiums went way above spot and metals were hard to find… to the point you were buying (or selling) generic at roughly the same rate as government minted… and all significantly above spot.
The #1 lesson I took from this was high premium numismatic coins (collector coins) and/or high premium semi-numismatic coins have little to no role to play if your goal is prepping. I say this as someone who has enjoyed buying some coins for fun, but those premiums are really based in a world where folks are comfortable enough to “collect” and not in a SHTF situation. No one was looking for those items in the heat of pandemic driven uncertainty.
All said, there is nothing like holding a stack of shinny silver in your hands;)
Crypto is a more modern day version of precious metals. They actually have a significant amount in common, with some calling Bitcoin the gold equivilent to Etherium’s silver… but that is a seperate thread and this is already long enough!:)
Supersonic - May 11, 2021
Great advice here. I too try and stick with US minted coins, Junk silver, or bullion from popular companies. You don’t want to go try and trade your silver bars in for cash only for them to not accept it because they think it is fake because it came from Bubba’s Silver Shop.
Two websites I like are
The first link will show you how much a US coin is worth, and the metal make up of each.
The second is just a nice clean graph to show you the trend and know when to buy or sell.
I’m starting to see some people buy into gold and silver because they are thinking that inflation is coming very soon if not here already.
Cady - May 16, 2021
Thanks all, this is all extremely helpful!
methews - May 17, 2021
Do you think to invest in crypto?
PNWPrepper - May 18, 2021
I am no expert. However I am personally invested, spent a good amount of time trying to learn and do, and have formulated a general set of perspectives that work for me. Note, crypto technologies and its universe move rapidly… which I frankly don’t have the time or energy to follow anymore… which also informed my perspective below.
Firsr, crypto is not for the risk adverse. I say this because crypto has absurd volatility. The up and down swings on a day to day basis puts even the most adrenaline pumping roller coaster to shame. If you can’t lose the money and sleep at night, don’t do it! If you tend to sell when the market drops only to regret it and buy back in higher, don’t do it! It will save you a lot of stress. If you are not sure, try a mock portfolio for a few weeks and see how you feel (or better yet see the BONUS #2 point below).
That said, I personally believe in the long-term value. This has proven out (so far) over its relatively short life. Unpack that statement for a second. There is an element of faith here. Crpto is barely a new born compared to fiat… precious metals would its great great great (and a few more) granddaddy it has been used as a means of exchange for so long. But, as with everthing, advancements in technology introduce new and exciting things. Note, you are not buy a coke with crpto… yet.
If you do want to invest, i’d offer the following thoughts:
1.) Understand what you are buying before you buy anything. I dont mean you need to have an engineering, computer programming, or cryptology degree level of understanding, but you should have a grasp of the underlying technologies and common terms, tools, etc… difference between etherium and bitcoin, what is blockchain, proof of work, ctypto wallets, public/private keys, cold vs. hot storage, etc. It will give you confidence and help you understand how and why things are the way they are.
2.) For most folks, i’d reco sticking with etherium and/or bitcoin. There are some other worthy coins but these are the silver and gold of the crypto world. They call it “mining” for a reason;)
3.) Start small and learn the process and nuances of operating in the crypto financial world. How do you buy, sell, store, do you want to stake your coins for extra cash… how about earning intrest… what are the transaction costs, etc. I firmly believe this is something you learn best by just doing. A lot is lost in translation if you just read about IMO.
Things are getting more convenient/easier as crypto becomes more mainstream (which is key for its long-term viability) but it is nowhere close to as instant or seamless as your typical banking app (at least not for the numerous platforms I have used).
Coinbase or Robinhood are probably the most user friendly but you can probably find better/cheaper options once you figure out your style/strategy. NOTE: you do not “own” your crypto on Robinhood so you can not transfer it off platform, but you do on Coinbase.
4.) Understand taxes… crypto is not an investment in the eyes of the IRS so no capital gains rates. You also need to track all of the transactions you make so if you get trade happy you will have at min an extra annoying day of tax prep in front of you.
5.) Realize the risks. You will be dependent on the grid… however a very decentralized one which provides security in 99% of likely SHTF scenarios. If you don’t hold it, you don’t own it… just like precious metals. IMO the biggest risk is goverment, any governement. The point of crypto is to take away centralized control of money supply and generation (i.e. bye bye Fed). Most government’s aren’t too excited about losing this lever of control.
6.) Lastly, put any FOMO (fear of missing out) impulses out of your head. Per multiple points above ot is not a good trait in this space.
BONUS – related to the risks, if you put “real money” into crypto (whatever that may be for your situation) and look at it as a true prep… IMO you want to own it (i.e. have the private key) and you want to store it in “cold storage” (i.e. offline). This is basically how you make it physical like physical bullion.
BONUS #2 – Coinbase has training modules thatbteach you about different coins and by completing them (5 minutrs each, if that) you get free coins. You can immediately transfer them to BTC or ETH if you want. I believe it is upward of $50+ altogether. Even more if you refer friends as well. A great risk free toe in the water.
Oh, and only because I just realized I didn’t touch on it, avoid coins with unlimited supply. If you want unlimited supply just stay in USD. Crypto like bitcoin have a finite amount which creates scarcity and thus a real store of value.
This is by no means gospel and just the ramblings of a relitve crypto nube. One great starting place I do reco is a book called “The Age of Crypto Currency”. This is not a technical or investing book. It is a very easy read that walks through the absolutely fascinating history (good, bad, and ugly) of crypto. A very engaging and easy to read way to learn some basics:)
Robert LarsonContributor - May 19, 2021
^What PNWPrepper said. He know’s what he is talking about.
I wish I could spend more time and money into crypto. I see Dogecoin millionaires popping up left and right and want to be a part of that. Just like he said in point #6, I have FOMO. And by the time I catch on, it’s too late.
Coinbase is easy, and I do like the free money you can make on there. I’ve been doing that for a few years. As soon as I get my random alt coin, I transfer it to bitcoin/eth. By doing that I have made $600 as the market has increased.
I love the idea of crypto, but I HATE how volatile it is. I wish it was semi stable like the USD and then I would use it every day for normal purchases. But right now, I have that fear of paying for some deodorant online with bitcoin and that amount is then worth $200 next month. Crypto to me is just a gamble.
I think that the US government will create a USD form of crypto within the next 10 years and as our digital lives continue to be more integrated, everyone will use this.
Gideon ParkerStaff - May 19, 2021
methews – The Prepared has written a very sane and level headed approach to crypto for preppers. It’s a good read and could be an educational guide for you Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain for preppers
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