It is no secret to this audience that the United States of America is in serious financial peril. Over $16 trillion dollars in debt, a flawed monetary system, a president determined to make every American dependent on the government, and too many people willing to surrender their freedom. If you have any doubt about the mess we are in financially, I invite you to review Tremain Petersen’s article/podcast on “Honest Money” here. Tremain does a fantastic job explaining how evil men and women have combined to destroy the financial stability of our country and to control the wealth and power of the country and the world. He also offers an argument for returning the country to a stable monetary system.
As I contemplate the financial condition of our country I have often asked what we, as individuals, can do to protect our own finances and prepare ourselves for the day that the economy finally succumbs to mounting stress and collapses. In this article I would like to describe the ineffectiveness of “traditional” investments and discuss how acquiring precious metals can help you secure your financial future and help you prepare for future economic disasters.
The Wisdom of the World
“For too long, we have been depending on other people for our success. We have to pursue our happiness; our happiness is not provided to us. If we are relying on someone else for our wellbeing, that in itself is a form of slavery.” – Rev. C L. Bryant
I am confident that each of us, at some point in our lives, has been told to save for retirement by contributing to a 401K, IRA, mutual fund, insurance policy or some other financial instrument. Many have heeded that advice only to discover that these investments were not as solid and sure as they were made out to be. First of all, with most of these investments, the investor has little or no control over the money invested. A fund manager, agent, or broker decides where and how to invest. In the case of IRA, 401K, and many other retirement accounts, the government decides when and under what conditions we can access the funds. To make matters worse, these funds are usually tied to the stock and/or bond markets and are always affected by the value of the dollar so the real rate of return is too often negative.
As Latter-Day-Saints, we should be agents unto ourselves (see D&C 58:28) and control our own financial futures. We should not depend upon the very government that seeks to take away our freedoms to manage and control our finance future.
If Ye Are Prepared
“We encourage you wherever you may live in the world to prepare for adversity by looking to the condition of your finances. We urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt. … If you have paid your debts and have a financial reserve, even though it be small, you and your family will feel more secure and enjoy greater peace in your hearts” (All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances – lds.org).
Taking control of our financial futures requires a sound financial plan. There are many elements to such a plan including:
- Paying tithes and offerings
- Avoiding debt
- Creating and following a budget
- Having 72-hour kits
- Storing adequate food, clothing, fuel, and other necessities
- Building a financial reserve
Since each of these elements could be its own separate article let’s just stay on topic and discuss how to build a real financial reserve.
To clarify, a financial reserve might actually be several financial reserves and each reserve might require distinct types of money. For instance, it would be wise to have a small reserve in a 72-hour kit for short term financial emergencies. Also, a longer-term emergency reserve might be needed in case of economic collapse or personal financial issues. Finally, each family should have a financial reserve for retirement, missions, inheritance, etc.
Not surprisingly, I believe that precious metals should be the major component of our financial reserve. They provide protection against inflation, there is no government reporting requirement on their purchase so only you know you own them, the owner has complete control over their use, and they are honest and real money. Let’s discuss each scenario above and how precious metals can be used to build reserves.
72-Hour Kits – This might actually be a good place to keep some currency. I know it is not honest money but currency is currently the easiest form of money to spend so it makes sense to have some in an emergency. It would also be wise to have a small quantity of “junk silver” just in case currency is no longer accepted at the time of the emergency. Junk silver is a term used to describe old silver coins that have no numismatic value (value derived from the rarity, desirability, and availability of a coin) above the value of their silver content. Silver dimes, quarters, and half dollars are priced per one dollar ($1.00) face value and contain .715 of an ounce of silver per dollar. In other words, if silver is priced at $32.00 per ounce, one dollar in junk silver (ten dimes, four quarters, or two half dollars) would be priced around $22.88 ($32.00 x .715). Note that Kennedy half dollars from 1965 to 1970 are 40% silver so do not purchase them thinking you are getting 90% silver! Junk silver dollars (usually sold as “cull dollars”) contain .7736 ounces of silver per dollar and are normally sold at a per dollar (face value) price.
Let’s now look at buying precious metals to have something of value in case of an economic collapse or other disaster. As mentioned with 72-hour kits above, it may be good to have a little cash on hand for emergency situations but cash would probably be useless in the event of an economic collapse. Junk silver is the first component I would recommend for this financial reserve. I recommend starting with $250 face value of junk silver per person. Junk silver is useful in times of disaster because it is available in small denominations, it is a recognized source of silver (most merchants will know what it is and how much silver is contained in each coin), and it is less expensive to purchase (lower buying premiums) than other precious metal types.
Now that we are covered for emergencies let’s discuss the nest egg for the future. Since we already have some junk silver, this reserve can contain other precious metals. Some good options include American Silver Eagles, American Gold Eagles, and other coins and bullion issued by world mints (Canadian Maple Leafs, Mexican Libertads, South African Krugerrands, etc). Generic bullion which is minted by non-governmental companies is not as easily recognized and may be harder to trade in emergencies due to the difficulty of verifying authenticity and precious metal content but these items generally have lower premiums than the items mentioned above.
A note about buying fractional gold – you can buy many gold bullion instruments in fractional (less than one ounce) denominations. Buying fractional gold will almost always cost more than buying gold in one ounce instruments because you will pay a purchase premium on each piece of gold. Instead of having one premium on a single one-ounce gold piece you would pay multiple premiums on each ounce of gold purchased. That is one of the reasons that it is recommended to purchase junk silver for smaller transactions rather than buying fractional gold. You pay lower premiums and get more for the money.
Tips for Purchasing Precious Metals (Bullion)
One of the greatest advantages to owning precious metals is that you are the only one who knows you have it. When you purchase precious metals, you should buy from a dealer who respects your privacy and will meet with you in a discreet and secure setting.
Avoid purchasing from large online or phone sales companies. There are often hidden fees with online companies and phone sales people use high pressure and are well trained in pushing high margin items.
Do not sell precious metals to check cashing or pawn businesses. They do not give fair market value for precious metals. Deal only with a reputable coin/bullion dealer and know the spot price of the bullion before buying or selling. Margins (or premiums) on bullion should be small; typically no more than 4 or 5 percent.
Don’t chase the market. Many people get caught up in trying to make money on physical metals by purchasing when the price is low and selling when the price is high. Experience has shown that most people end up frustrated and broke when trying to chase the market. Markets are manipulated and do not follow logic.
Don’t buy precious metals on the exchange. It is pretty much the same as buying stock. You never receive the physical metal. The exchange is only for speculation on the market.
Precious metals offer a much better option for securing our financial futures than the “traditional” investments often recommended. Precious metals retain their purchasing power over time, they protect against external controls and economic disasters, and they offer flexibility in funding various aspects of a sound financial plan.