Think your money is nestled safely and securely in your bank? Think again.
The recent revelations about Wells Fargo’s history of fraud have opened our eyes to what are disturbingly common banking practices, even among the largest and most esteemed institutions. With approximately 90% of Americans using banking services, it seems as though we have little choice but to quietly accept the grim reality of not only the banks’ numerous security vulnerabilities, but now their own deceptive practices.
Should we leave our fiscal security in the hands of the banks, or can we take our finances (and our futures) into our own hands? Here’s how you can mitigate your risk.
Although we might think that online banking is the first step to being hacked, it can be argued that it is actually far safer (nowadays) than analog banking, simply because it gives you immediate access to dubious online activity. You can check your statements immediately and address discrepancies the moment they occur—and since fraud can occur at the blink of an eye, you need online tools to respond quickly.
Yet, if you don’t follow the proper protocols, you leave yourself vulnerable. Here are a few you should always observe:
Tangible assets—physical property and precious metals—are secure from online thieves.
One of the most important aspects of successful precious metals acquisition is familiarity with the seller’s premium.
A properly diversified portfolio should include precious metals. However, if you’re new to the market, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed by the range of prices.
All coins and bars have a premium attached to the price. So, if the spot price for gold is $1,250 per ounce, then the price for physical gold is going to be slightly higher. This is because there are costs associated with minting, pressing, distributing, and marketing from the mint or refinery. Furthermore, the authorized dealer will have additional costs for maintaining their business.
Usually, the size of the premium is inversely proportional to the amount of precious metal in the product. So, purchasing coins consisting of less than one ounce of the precious metal will have a higher premium than one ounce coins. If you buy, for example, three ounces of gold in fractal bullion coins—tenth-of-an-ounce and quarter-ounce coins—it will cost you significantly more than three ounces in one ounce coins.
Additionally, the full amount you decide to buy will influence the size of the premium. Large orders typically have a smaller premium than small orders, in the same way that buying anything in bulk will be cheaper than buying individual units.
While you should be reconciled to the fact that there will be premiums no matter where you purchase your precious metals, you should still shop around before committing to a dealer. The professionals at Birch Gold Group are more than happy to discuss the best options for your portfolio. Visit blog link for more information.
Many collectors enjoy keeping their gold and precious metal bullion coins on display. Here’s how to keep your display coins in the best possible condition.
Gold, silver, and platinum bullion coins are exquisite—their aesthetic value makes them pieces of art. However, like a museum-quality painting, you must store them in a particular way in order to preserve the integrity of the design. Here is how you can make sure your collection will remain pristine.
Do not store coins in soft plastic containers.Soft plastic containers contain chemicals (like polyvinyl chloride, aka PVC) that can release chemical gasses which accelerate corrosion of some precious metals. Never, ever store your coins in zip-lock bags. Hard plastic storage containers, like the ones used by the U.S. Mint, are your best bet, but for less valuable coins, tubular hard plastic coin storage media is also acceptable.
Do not allow moisture to contaminate the coins.Always make sure your coins are thoroughly dry before placing them in their storage containers. Spots of moisture on coins can cause them to drastically discolor.
Separate tarnished and untarnished coins.Tarnished coins can contaminate pristine metals. Silica gel packs can help protect untarnished coins; if you’re in a humid environment, they can help draw atmospheric moisture away from coins.
Do not jumble coins together.Coins that aren’t properly stacked or separated can rub against each other, causing scratches and other friction marks. Always keep your coins neatly stacked in tubular containers or in display envelope sleeves to make sure they remain undamaged.
The professionals at Birch Gold Group are eager to answer any questions you have regarding the purchase of gold or precious metals. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a complete consultation. Visit blog link for more information.
So, you've purchased precious metals—how and where are you going to store them? Here are your options.
The final storage of your precious metals is nearly as momentous a decision as the decision to purchase them. After all—you want them to be both safe and easily accessible to you. These are the most common storage solutions—along with their benefits and drawbacks.
Many precious metal buyers prefer to keep their bullion at home, where they can access them the most easily. The good news? Inexpensive! Bad news? It's the least secure option available.
Keeping your precious metals in a secret location on your property may leave your bullion open to damage or theft. In the event of a natural disaster or fire, if you are unable to rescue your metals, the damage could eat away at their value tremendously. Rather than burying them or keeping them in hollowed-out books, you may want to consider investing in a fire-proof safe. Not only will the safe keep your bullion more secure, you might—depending upon your home insurance policy—receive a credit for owning one. Nevertheless, keeping your precious metals on your property may make you a target for burglars, endangering your assets and possibly your life.
Bank safe deposit boxes are typically more secure than home storage. Banks offer far more comprehensive security than the typical homeowner; even vigilant homeowners. You might choose a safe deposit box or a vault, depending upon the amount you need stored. However, you won't have constant access to your metals—you can only retrieve them during bank hours—and annual storage fees can be as high as $300, not including separate insurance (banks don't insure the contents of safe deposit boxes).
The most secure option for precious metals storage is private precious metals storage facilities. Although your precious metals aren't in your physical possession, these maximum security vaults are aggressively monitored. Furthermore, the facilities are regularly inventoried to ensure all of the deposits are accounted for. Vaulting companies typically provide insurance against theft, fire, and natural disasters. Fees will vary, depending upon the size and value of the holdings.
The team at Birch Gold Group will be more than happy to discuss storage strategies with you during your consultation. Contact our representatives today to learn more about your gold, silver, and platinum purchasing options! Visit blog link for more information.
People used to collect antique coins purely as a hobby. Coin collecting was nothing more than a pastime for a small portion of the population. People would find an antique coin in shops, receive it from others, or even stumble upon it in their home and just place it in a portfolio where they can marvel at its beauty that has withstood the test of time. However, the dynamics of coin collecting has changed considerably over the past few years, especially for gold and silver coins.
Image source: parade.com
Today, coin collecting is considered a huge money maker by entrepreneurs worldwide. It is mainly due to the fact that there are hundreds of buyers to a single seller, driving the g the demand for antique coins. Higher demand calls for a higher selling price. The market for ancient coins is driving itself as of the moment.
Some reports note that coins have become the second-highest performing luxury asset, just next to cars, in the 12 months up to the fourth quarter of 2015. The year-on-year growth in the value of coins was at 13 percent while its cumulative growth for the past five years reached 92 percent. Analysts explained that the increase in demand in the coin market stemmed from the 2008 global financial crash. During that time, people wanted to diversify their portfolio with alternative assets that are tangible yet at the same time not directly tied to the stock market where everything can drop in value at any time. The eventful rise of coin value can be attributed to their being an independent entity from the financial market.
Image source: coinweek.com
Gold demand has reached a new high in the first quarter of 2016, largely because of an environment of low-interest rates that drove consumers to significant precious metal buying. The Western demand for gold exchange-traded funds alone has pushed the metal to its best quarter in over three decades. Key regions of interest in Asia, however, remained low-key.
Image source: financialtribune.com
According to the Gold Trends report, the total demand for gold reached up to 21 percent and weighed in at 1,289.8 tons versus 1,070.4 tons from last year. Because of the shifts in the global financial and economic landscapes over the past several months, a nurturing environment for gold ownership has been created. Furthermore, the weakening of the dollar caused by a slower pace of rate increases by the Federal Reserve also promoted gold buying and helped it to compete with yield-bearing assets. Fears of China’s collapsing economy and Japan’s negative interest rates by its central bank have also kept gold ownership demand afloat since the metal is considered as a good hedge for inflation.
Image source: tehelka.com
The demand for gold in the form of stock or paper asset, meanwhile, has risen 122 percent from 277.9 tons in the first quarter of last year to 617.6 tons this year. This was mainly due to large ETF inflows that reached a seven-year high where demand had an impressive 1,320 percent surge from 25.6 tons last year to 363.7 tons this year. However, despite its attempt at making a comeback from September 2011 when it reached its peak, gold is still down 34 percent even though prices have gained a 20 percent increase in value.
Warren Buffett famously declared that gold "doesn't do anything but sit there and look at you." But does that really matter in the macro sense?
Although economists, investors, and the general public tends to believe that anything Warren Buffett says with regard to one's portfolio should be etched in stone, should we really blindly incorporate his proclamations into our own strategies?
Of course not.
One of the reasons many people abstain from purchasing gold is because bearish investors, like Warren Buffet, don't. However, while no one can argue that Mr. Buffett's investment strategies aren't sound, it is also true that Mr. Buffett is one of the most asset-rich people in the world; it is highly unlikely that he will need to call upon any one of the assets in his highly diverse portfolio.
Furthermore, Mr. Buffett disagrees with the purchase of an asset that doesn't have "productive" value. Because gold isn't utilized in any real industrial applications, according to Mr. Buffett, it isn't productive. However, how actively productive is homeowner's insurance during the times when you don't actually need it?
Very often, utility is the biggest indicator of whether or not a commodity will have long-term value. It is gold's lack of industrial functionality that has allowed it to be one of the world's most historically stable commodities. Since nothing is going to supplant gold in the same way that, for example, whale oil was replaced by crude oil, gold's value will likely remain consistent in the eyes of the world population.
In short, gold will always be gold.
Gold is an excellent asset during both lean and flush times. To learn more about how you can benefit by adding gold to your assets, contact us today for a consultation. Visit blog link for more information.