Gold, as so many of us are so often told, is the most stable investment you can put your money into during these strange economic times. Unlike many other types of investment, the price of gold doesn’t jump up or drop down sharply based on political or social events, or almost anything that happens in the news.
That isn’t true one hundred percent of the time - gold can and sometimes has dropped sharply in value without warning - but history tells us that it’s true more times than it isn’t.
For cautious traders, gold is often a more sensible investment than something that’s going to yo-yo up and down drastically and cause you unnecessary anxiety or stress.
Investing in gold isn't as simple as just acquiring a few bars of bullion, though. You can do that if you wish, but it isn't always the best way to go about it!
There are several ways you can become a gold investor, and not all of them involve physically owning any gold at all. We can't tell you which one is the best for you - that's a job for your financial adviser.
We always recommend speaking to a professional before you decide where to put your money. However, we can make you aware of the most commonly selected options. If you're going to invest in gold, you'll most likely want to do it one of these five ways.
Buying gold jewellery is the most common form of gold investment. Typically speaking, jewellery investments can be volatile, but gold jewellery holds and increases its price better than jewellery made from any other material.
Don't take this as a sign to head to your local store or flea market and buy up all the gold jewellery you can find, though - not all gold jewellery is equal.
24K gold is pure gold and will cost you a lot of money. 10K gold is at the other end of the scale. Gold accounts for less than half of the composition of 10K gold items. Don't buy anything at less than 14K because it's unlikely ever to become valuable. Always get a certificate of authenticity from wherever you buy it from too. It prevents arguments or debates about provenance from occurring later.
If you're a novice investor, your first question here is probably "what is an ETF?" The answer to that question is that it's an exchange-traded fund. From the name alone, you should understand that this means that buying into gold ETFs means buying your way into the stock market - and so you should also know the risks.
For all the glitz and glamour that sometimes accompanies it, the stock market is really just a planet-wide game of online slots which offer free spins no deposit.
A little knowledge about how it operates can help you to tilt the odds in your favour in just the same way that knowing the 'return to player' rate and the volatility of a game at an online slots website can improve your chances there, but there's still a lot of luck involved. We know that stock traders might not appreciate being compared to online slots players, but it's a fair comparison.
Nevertheless, the route is available if you want to take it, with more than 30 ETFs available that specialize in gold and an increasing number of people who pair gold ETF investments with property investments as a preference to currency holdings. Ask your adviser to go through the pros and cons with you.
Gold Single Stocks
This might be the most simple way you could invest in gold. When you invest in single stocks related to gold, you're literally investing in a company that mines the precious material out of the ground.
You might think that this is a no-brainer because anyone who operates a goldmine must surely be making money, but some gold mines perform better than others.
Some are about to go dry. Others are at the beginning of digging out a whole new seam of gold. You need to know who you're investing in before you part with your cash, which means knowing what inventory they have, what their reserves look like, and what their track record is.
Single stocks can be very profitable if you back the right horses but disastrous if you back the wrong ones. Knowledge is power, so do plenty of reading before you head down this route.
Closed-end Gold Funds
The attraction of closed-end funds is that they usually come with a discount that makes them cheaper to own than buying directly into the asset they're traded-in.
The downside is that they also usually come with fees. Only their performance will dictate whether the fees justify the discount or vice versa, and even past performance can't always tell you whether future performance is likely to be favourable.
The key to success in this market is finding a fund that's available with a deep discount and jumping on it just before a sharp rise in the price of gold.
Unfortunately, if it was easy to do that as it was to write about it, everybody would be rich, and we wouldn't be writing this article because we'd be enjoying our private villa in the Bahamas.
A very experienced, shrewd adviser might be able to spot the patterns that indicate when the right times for jumping on or off might be, but ask them for evidence of the performance of their own investments before you follow suit. They should have the confidence to put their own money where their mouths are.
Anyone who said that collecting coins is a boring hobby clearly doesn't understand the value of money. Gold has been used to make coins for as long as coins have existed and will continue to be used for the same purpose until the day that physical currency no longer exists.
American Eagles are the most popular type of gold coins in the USA, although Canadian Maples also have value and are expected to keep it in the years to come.
Be careful where you buy it from, though - professional dealers and brokers are the best way to go if you want to ensure that you steer clear of counterfeits. You wouldn't want to spend big money on coins only to find out that they're not quite what you thought they were!