It's impossible to predict what the cost of living will be in the future - and if it happens to increase as much as some predict, everyone needs a good hedge against inflation. Precious metals are usually referred to as such because they retain their value over time and have little risk for price fluctuation. That is, gold and silver may go up in price quicker than the dollar does down because their intrinsic value doesn't change.
So, which metals are the best hedging option? The answer is that it depends on what you're looking for. While gold has traditionally been considered a good hedge for inflation and other financial events, silver is often preferred since it isn't affected terribly by the dollar's volatility. And while either can play an essential role in a long-term investment portfolio, they only offer their benefits as a hedge when you need them to.
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What Are Precious Metals?
Gold and silver have been used to keep the currency's value steady and as a result, ward off inflation. As far back as the 18th century, several economists have advocated using precious metals to keep the purchasing power of our money consistent. Africa has been known for its large deposits of gold and silver, which Europeans first learned of around 700 B.C.
Throughout history, precious metals have been used for various purposes, including jewelry, currency and decoration. Gold, for example, was used as a currency in Ancient Egypt and was often used to make jewelry and decorations. Silver has also been used for thousands of years as currency and decoration. The first coins ever minted were made of silver and they date back to 600 BCE.
In modern times, precious metals are still used in jewelry and decorations but have also become popular investments. Investors purchase gold, silver, platinum and palladium, among other metals, in the form of coins, bars and jewelry. They do this to protect their wealth against economic downturns and inflation.
Furthermore, precious metals are also used for many industrial purposes. Silver, for example, is an excellent electrical and thermal conductor used in many electronics, from cell phones to laptops. Gold, too, is used in electronics and is also used in the dental industry. Platinum and palladium are also used in electronics, as well as in the automobile manufacturing sector.
What Is Inflation?
Inflation is an economic phenomenon where prices for goods and services rise over time, resulting in an overall decrease in the purchasing power of a currency. It is measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which tracks the average prices of a basket of consumer goods and services that the average consumer would purchase. The inflation rate rises as the prices of these goods and services increase.
Various factors, including an increase in the money supply, an increase in production costs and an imbalance in demand and supply cause inflation. Inflation also occurs when the economy is growing faster than the money supply. In this case, prices rise more quickly than the amount of money circulating in the economy, resulting in inflation.
Inflation can have both positive and negative impacts. On the positive side, it can increase economic growth and business investment. On the other hand, it can reduce the purchasing power of people's incomes, making it harder for them to afford necessities.
Inflation is usually measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which tracks the prices of certain goods and services over time. The CPI is then used to calculate the annual rate of inflation, which is the percentage change in the average price level over a period of time. For example, if an economy's average price of goods and services increased by 3% from one year to the next, the annual inflation rate would be 3%.
Characteristics of Inflation
Inflation is not a random phenomenon. Instead, it has specific characteristics that can be used to determine whether prices are rising, indicating the presence of inflation. These characteristics include:
Why Precious Metals Are a Good Inflation Hedge
Precious metals like gold and silver are linked to national currencies. As a result, they are stores of value less subject to the ups and downs of the business cycle. When the economy is doing well, people spend more money on goods and services. This increases demand for those goods and services, which causes prices to rise.
On the other hand, when the economy is doing poorly, consumers tend to cut back on their spending. This could lead them to hold onto money instead of spending it. This phenomenon causes money to pile up in savings accounts and can lead to deflation. In fact, during the Great Recession in 2008, the number of Americans holding cash outstripped all other types of assets.
Precious metals are a good hedge against inflation because they do not rise and fall within the business cycle. This means they remain an effective store of value over time no matter what happens with the economy.
Additionally, precious metals are dependent upon the market demand for the metal. This means that their price only changes if there is a change in this demand, which removes the element of volatility that one experiences when investing in stocks or bonds.
History of Precious Metals Performance in Times of Inflation
There have been many periods of inflation in the United States throughout the past century. Each period is unique, but some common patterns can be seen in the price performance of gold and silver.
After World War II ended in 1945, inflation was still high as American production increased and more goods were being produced than could be sold. In this period, both gold and silver prices went up.
After the Vietnam War in 1964, inflation ended and prices went down for gold and silver.
In 1973, many economists predicted that the United States would again experience inflation after President Nixon declared that the U.S. would no longer use the dollar as its currency.
Instead, he began paying off foreign gold debts to return the dollar to some of its previous strength. However, these efforts proved short-lived, as earlier attempts by President Roosevelt and Johnson. Prices of gold and silver rose sharply in the last week of 1973.
In 1975, inflation was again at the forefront of many economists' minds. President Ford was trying to fight high inflation by increasing interest rates, which he did in December of that year. Gold and silver both fell during this time.
In 1980, gold had another big price spike as speculation over the Iranian Revolution drove prices beyond their previous levels.
Desperate to fight against the rising oil price in 1985, President Reagan devalued the dollar by increasing U.S. interest rates. This led to a price increase of gold and silver in that year.
In the late 1980s, President Reagan was once again fighting against inflation by raising interest rates and lowering the growth of the money supply.
The 1990s saw another period during which demand for precious metals skyrocketed as investors were worried about possible inflation following the Cold War's end.
Over the past ten years, gold prices have been on a roller coaster ride. Gold prices went up after the 9/11 attacks due to uncertainty about the economy and then fell when interest rates decreased and the economy recovered.
After hitting record lows in 2002, gold and silver soared in price as inflation fears rose again. In 2008, following the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the onset of a global credit crunch, both precious metals hit an all-time high.
During 2011, gold rose in price due to the uncertainty surrounding the Eurozone crisis and quantitative easing by Western central banks. This led to a decrease in the dollar's value and caused gold prices to jump again.
How Do You Invest in Gold During Inflation?
There are several ways to invest in gold during times of inflation.
An ETF is a vehicle that helps investors gain exposure to the price of gold while they enjoy the benefits of investing in a liquid, transparent market. ETFs are ideal for those who want to invest in the gold market through a simple, easy-to-understand investment vehicle.
They work by tracking the price of the underlying asset. In the case of gold, an ETF will buy and store the physical gold bullion linked to the price of gold. This also means that investors pay a premium over the market price for their shares to cover storage costs and security.
To assure its investors, an ETF uses audited storage procedures to ensure its holdings are held securely.
Gold Coins and Bars
Gold coins and bars are a good way to invest in gold during times of inflation because they offer a certain amount of security in terms of melt value. When investing in gold, it is imperative that you protect your investment from the risk of being stolen or melted down by selling what is known as "bullion." Bullion is the actual asset that is being bought when investing in gold. Investors buy the metal itself, not the paper or coin.
Gold Mining Stocks
Another great way to invest in gold is through the stock market. One of the best ways to do this is to purchase a gold mining company. This can be an excellent way to gain exposure to the precious metal because these companies produce the metal. It's essential to check the performance of the company's stock over the past several years to determine whether it is a good investment.
Gold Futures Contracts
Gold futures Contracts are a way of selling a quantity of gold at a certain price in the future. This can be another good way to invest in gold during inflation because you can sell the future gold agreement and invest in other investments such as stocks and bonds. A contract is an amount you sell at the agreed-upon price at a future date.
For example, today's investors can purchase an investment called "a zero coupon bond" with an agreed value at a ten-year date. Another way to think about this is halfway between buying a savings bond and a futures contract. By investing in gold futures contracts, investors can sell their investment before it matures for gold itself.
Precious Metals IRAs
Precious metals IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts) are self-directed to invest in physical precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum. Precious metals IRAs offer an alternative to traditional investments and the opportunity to diversify and protect your retirement savings.
Precious metals IRAs are self-directed IRAs, meaning you have complete control over which precious metals you invest. You can invest in various metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium. You can also select the form of the metal (such as coins or bars) and the amount of each metal. When investing in a Precious Metals IRA, you typically purchase metals from a third-party IRA custodian.
The custodian is responsible for securely storing your metals and ensuring all transactions comply with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations. Each year, the custodian will report your investments to the IRS and ensure you comply with the IRS's rules and regulations.
The process of investing in a precious metals IRA is similar to that of a traditional IRA. You will open an account with an IRA custodian, who will serve as your trustee. You will then deposit funds into your account, which you can use to purchase metals of your choice. Once you have purchased your metals, the custodian will securely store them.
Like any other IRA, a precious metals IRA offers tax-deferred growth, meaning any gains you make on your investments are not taxed until you start withdrawing funds from the account. This can help you grow your account with tax-deferred growth. Once you start withdrawing funds from your precious metals IRA, they will be taxed like any other IRA, but at a lower rate.
Types of Precious Metals Allowed in an IRA
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has specific requirements for the types of precious metals that can be held in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). These metals must meet a certain purity standard or fineness, to qualify as an allowable asset in an IRA.
Generally, the IRS only allows certain types of gold, silver, platinum and palladium to be held in an IRA and they must meet the following fineness requirements:
These standards apply to all coins and bars, regardless of size or weight. In addition, the coins must have been minted by a government-issued mint and be considered legal tender. Coins from private mints and not regarded as legal tender coins are not allowed.
Examples of coins that meet these requirements include:
Examples of bars that meet these requirements include Credit Suisse gold bars and Engelhard silver bars.
Investing in precious metals is an excellent way to protect yourself from inflation and diversify your portfolio. This is because owning precious metals offers a hedge against inflation so that if there is high inflation in the future, the value of your investment will go up. It also provides a good way for investors looking for higher returns to invest their money.
It's important to remember that precious metals do not always increase in value when the economy goes down because they are more susceptible to market forces than other investments such as stocks and bonds. You should watch for precious metals prices during deflation such as the end and the beginning of a new recession.
Investors interested in protecting themselves from inflation can find valuable information about precious metals from our top recommended companies. These companies offer financial information, precious metals analysis and precious metals education. They can also help you determine which precious metals to invest in and how to store them best to maximize your investments.
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