If you are looking for a way to protect your savings, perhaps you ought to consider trading money for gold. Gold retains its intrinsic value over time (and has for thousands of years), thereby protecting you from inflation. You can always count on this precious metal being worth a high price.
Decide what you want to buy. Gold comes in many forms, but the two most common are gold coins and gold bars. In the United States, gold bars or gold coins minted specifically by the government are probably your best bet, as you can be sure that they are of the quality advertised. A safe gold buy is the American Eagle gold coin.
Research the current and past prices of gold. This is easily done, since dozens of websites now list, in real-time, the going price of this precious metal (see Additional Resources for one example). Most online gold dealers list this price as well. The Internet has made gold buying much more convenient, since you can follow the price of gold in real-time without having to make a phone call or rely on out-of-date books or trade publications.
Wait for the right price. This is crucial. It is also entirely up to you. The fact is, the value of gold fluctuates as the market experiences its own ups and downs. As you follow the price of gold, you'll recognize a good time to buy when it comes around because you'll be more familiar with how it has fluctuated in the past. When the price hits a low that you know is a good deal, based on your own observations, consider going for it. As a long-term investment, however, gold will almost certainly be worth the price--even if you buy it for more than you had hoped--because fiat money is continually losing value, while gold will never lose its basic value.
Find a supplier. Visit the U.S. Mint's website and select your state, then call or visit any of the official dealers listed.
Purchase your gold. Your dealer will tell you the best way to pay. Some dealers prefer cash or check, others a money order. Talk with your dealer about the various options available to you for payment.
Protect your gold. Make sure that you have placed your gold coins or bars under lock and key, either in a very secure location at home or in a safety deposit box at a bank.
Talk to a financial adviser about gold. The market is continually changing, and financial advisers are paid to watch it and make investment suggestions--so their advice is, typically, good to hear.
Before buying from a dealer, ask to see his or her certification as a gold dealer.
- Photo by Sanja Gjenero.