Gold: $2355.64 15.75
Silver: $31.70 1.20

How to Store your Investments

One thing that separates investing in precious metals from other types of investments is the fact that you physically have them in your possession. You cannot hold a share of stock in your hand – anymore, anyway – and taking an actual load of oranges or soybeans is simply not what investors do.

However, having a physical store of gold or silver is not only common, but expected. In fact, experienced investors often view their stores as a point of pride. With this practice, though, comes the responsibility for storing your investments. So, here are some of the most common ways that precious metals investors safeguard their stacks.

Secure storage facilities

The first major avenue for storing and protecting your investments is the use of secure storage facilities. These venues, also known as depositories, are locations that are entirely dedicated to the storage of precious metals. They have both electronic and physical security measures in place and make their living on their safety and impenetrability.

In exchange for safeguarding your gold and silver, secure storage facilities will charge a small percentage of your metals’ value each year. In general, this percentage is less than 1% of the value, and covers the ongoing cost of maintaining your stack. In addition, some facilities may charge an additional flat fee to cover the cost of handling your initial deposit, subsequent deposits, or withdrawals.

One nice thing about using this type of facility is that it is often possible to insure the value of your metal against any losses. However, before you decide on one of these facilities, you need to have answers for the following questions:

  • How convenient are the physical storage facilities to you? In the era of the internet, you can often find many excellent options to store your metals. However, if you plan to withdraw the gold and silver yourself or would like to be able to do so, it’s important that you pick a company with locations relatively nearby.
  • How much does the company charge relative to other vaults? Make sure to shop around. Don’t just take the first place you find unless transporting your metals elsewhere will be prohibitively expensive or time-consuming.
  • Does the vault allocate your gold or not? Allocation is the practice of segregating your gold and silver from that of other investors. In some cases, a vault may not allocate and will mingle your metals with other investors’ stores. When you want to withdraw, you’ll get an amount of equivalent value, not your specifically-stored pieces. Needless to say, it’s a situation that is less than ideal for most precious metals investors.

Safety deposit boxes

If you want a more accessible option than the dedicated storage facilities, you can always place your gold or silver into one of the many safety deposit boxes available at your nearest bank. Although you should check availability at your individual locations, there is usually no shortage of safety deposit boxes that can house your precious metals nearby.

The level of security with a safety deposit box is substantial, to be sure. You cannot access your gold or silver without appropriate identification, and a bank employee must facilitate or monitor any interaction you have with your box.

At the same time, the banks are mostly unaware of the contents of your box and cannot vouch for the specific security of your items the way a secure storage facility can. In addition, they may not offer exactly the same amount of security to you that a professional security venue can. The safety discrepancy may be mostly academic, to be honest, but it is there nonetheless.

The primary advantage of safety deposit boxes, though, is their accessibility. No other professional option will grant you more ready access to your gold and silver than a safety deposit box. They are convenient to your home or work and are mostly available during business hours.

There are a few downsides to using a safety deposit box, though. So, before you rent one, consider the following:

  • The space limitations – If you have large collections of gold and silver in your possession, you may not be able to fit all of it into a single box. So, you may have to rent multiple boxes at greater expense, and you may not be able to find them all at the same branch.
  • The lack of insurance – Although bank depositors are protected by law up to $250,000, safety depositors don’t have the same consideration. So, in the case of theft or damage, your metals would not be subject to any kind of compensation.
  • Privacy – There are some instances in which your safety deposit box may be subject to confiscation or interference by the federal government. There are limited circumstances in which an agency like the IRS or Department of Homeland Security may gain access to your box.

Safety deposit box prices are determined by their size, the individual bank’s policies, and the length of the contract. Don’t be afraid to shop around, although you’re likely to find the best deals with a bank with whom you’re already a customer.

Home safes

The most obvious and easiest place to store your precious metals is in a home safe. Any major online retailer, sporting goods store, or home improvement merchant will have a selection of safes you can buy. They can range in price from a couple hundred dollars all the way up to several thousand.

There are several considerations to address if you decide to get a home safe, however. They are unquestionably riskier depositories for your precious metals than the professional options.

You are vulnerable to any hoodlum, known or unknown, who is aware that you possess a safe or just happens to search your home thoroughly. Furthermore, your safe is subject to the same fire and flood dangers that houses are.

Obviously, a home safe is the ultimate in convenience, but its security drawbacks make it, in our estimation, the least of these three storage options. However, if you simply must go this direction, be sure to remember the following elements:

  • Install the safe permanently into the home. A portable safe is simply too easy for a crook to take away and open at his leisure.
  • Make sure that any company you use to install your safe is bonded, insured, and reputable. Otherwise, there’s no sense in going to the expense of hiding it.
  • Buying the cheapest safe available is an extremely poor idea. You largely get what you pay for, and the superior materials and lock integrity of a high-value safe are irreplaceable.
  • Make sure the safe you buy is fireproof and floodproof. As we mentioned, your safe is subject to the same problems that your home is now, and the last phrase you want to describe your precious metals collection is “total loss.”

Consider adding a home security system to complement the protections of the safe itself. Having your home monitored by camera or otherwise guarded by an external agency may make it possible to stop break-ins before they are complete or, at least, identify the culprits more readily.