Many people invest in paper gold, which is a great solution if your interest in precious metals
is simply for their earning potential. Gold has other advantages though, and one of the biggest
ones is that unlike stocks or bonds it’s a real physical asset. For a lot of investors a big part of
the attraction is that even if the financial system collapses they’ll still own something with
real value, which can even be used for barter. That means storing it at home or somewhere
else you can be guaranteed quick access. There are also various options between keeping it at
home and holding paper certificates.
If you do decide to keep gold at home your priority is security. There are two elements to
security. One is keeping the number of people who know you have gold at home to a
minimum. The other is finding a place that’s as hard to find, and hard to break in to, as
possible. The first is simple – don’t tell people (although one trusted person should know
where the gold is, in case anything happens to you). For the second you have various options.
The most popular is a safe; make sure it’s well concealed and securely bolted to the structure
of your building. Don’t skimp on the safe either; ideally you want a fireproof and tool
resistant model. Good locations for a safe are in the loft or basement; anywhere protected by
an alarm is also good. The alternative is to hide the gold. Small quantities can be concealed
around your home in locations an intruder would be unlikely to search. Larger quantities can
be sealed in a waterproof container and buried, or even built in to your home. If you’re
interested in long term storage, for example, bars or coins can be stashed in a wall behind a
layer of plaster then papered over.
If you’re storing gold at home don’t forget insurance. If you’re hiding it the chances are you
won’t get cover, but if you’re keeping it in a safe you should add it to your home contents
If you don’t want to have your gold around the house but want it somewhere reasonably
accessible a good option is a safe deposit box. Many bank branches have these, and they can
be rented quite cheaply. The disadvantage is that you’re not guaranteed access, especially if
there’s social disorder. It’s also possible that the bank or government could seize the contents
of your box. Because the contents of the box aren’t declared you won’t be able to insure them
either. On the other hand bank branches have good security and your box will be protected by
it. An alternative that’s even more secure is to store it in a bank vault, or even a licensed
bullion depository. Access is more restricted but you can insure your gold.
How you store your gold is a personal choice and a lot of it comes down to what you see as
the biggest threat. If you’re not worried about a major breakdown then a depository makes a
lot of sense. If you want to be able to access the metal at any time home storage wins.
Whichever you choose, just remember to stay flexible and be willing to move your assets if
the situation changes.