For hundreds of years, hard assets like silver and gold have provided the bedrock for economies around the world. While markets have fluctuated and bubbles have come and gone, silver and gold have been reliable metals to invest in, and a valuable hedge against less predictable commodities.
It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that in the decade since the decade since the Great Recession, many investors have been turning to gold and silver in order to bring more stability to their portfolios. As commodities, the value of gold and silver fluctuates, but both have reliably been increasing in value for decades, which is one of the reasons investors use them as a long term way of keeping their wealth secure.
Gold and silver are called precious metals for a reason: both have been consistently desirable throughout human history for their beauty and usefulness in a range of decorative arts. But in the 21st century, they also have a number of more practical applications. Both are excellent conductors, which is why most cellphones and computers contain gold and silver in their electronics. Gold is non-toxic, which is one of the reasons it has been so frequently used in fillings throughout history, and silver is even antibacterial, which makes it a perfect coating for medical equipment.
For the most part, it is these practical applications for gold and silver that drive the huge mining operations the world over. Most of the gold and silver that is produced every year goes directly into applications in the high-tech and medical sectors, which is why they are such a useful investment: the amount of gold and silver in circulation is finite, and when production drops (as it did for silver last year), the value of the metals increases.
Investors who want to buy gold and silver can go about doing so several different ways. Some people choose to purchase mining stocks and exchange-traded funds tied to the gold and silver market, but it is generally more cost-effective and secure to purchase physical assets in bullion. This usually takes the form of gold and silver bars or coins, and while it is possible to buy these products individually, smart investors generally purchase bullion through dealers for a few different reasons. First, buying through a dealer is easier and less time-intensive than hunting down precious metals yourself, and second, bullion dealers are more reliable about insuring and guaranteeing storage or transportation.
As any seasoned investor knows, the stock value is extremely sensitive to political developments around the world. With new headlines every day suggesting that we are entering a period of protracted protectionism in some of the largest economies in the world — and perhaps even a trade war — investors who want to guarantee the long term safety of their money are turning to one of the oldest investment hedges in human history. Prices for gold and silver are expected to rise in the coming year, which is why now is the perfect time to buy.