I know something I heard about a lot as a child was silver and gold. Even some of the most famous Christmas movies, for example, have songs about them. It fascinated me for that reason, and I know I am not alone in trying to mine it in my backyard.
However, as I got older, I started to realize that they are actually practical forms of investing for my retirement. It is not something that I expected, but with a self-directed individual retirement arrangement, I can add precious metals to my account.
So – we have established that it is possible, but not how. Before we do that, though, let me walk you through some of the reasons you might want to invest in these metals. We can focus on gold, but keep silver, palladium, and platinum in the back of our mind.
Gold Throughout Human History
Ever wonder why you hear so much about this metal? Well, I will tell you. First, you might want to read more about it in this article. On the periodic table, its symbol is Au. This is from the Latin word “aurum.” It means shining dawn.
Its primary uses throughout the centuries have been for sculpting, making jewelry, decorating buildings like monuments, or making coins. Because it does not corrode or tarnish easily, it is a symbol of wealth and power.
We can begin with jewelry. Often, it was used in combination with other metals like silver, which is called an alloy. Electrum is the alloy of the two. Ancient Egypt was one of the primary places it was used. Many times, pharaohs and other nobility were buried with some of their material objects so that they could bring them with them in the afterlife.
Usually, this was in the form of bracelets, brooches, pendants, diadems, or earrings. It is not limited to those forms, though – rings are also a common choice. Today, many wedding rings are made with a gold band.
Now, it was also used in coins. It still is today, of course, but less often than before. This practice began in the Asia Minor area. It was adopted by the neighboring regions as well, increasing the level of trade throughout the whole world eventually.
Having physical currency rather than trading with goods was a major development for humanity. One of the most popular ancient coins came from Rome, when one of the emperors named Constantine made a large coin.
One more utilization in the past was in religious iconography. Many crowns and scepters that religious figures like priests used were made of precious metals. Gold was the most prestigious given its rarity in many Christian areas like Western Europe.
However, other civilizations used it as well. The Incans are a good example of this. Interestingly, this metal was also used in dentistry quite often. This is because of its low reactivity to other elements and how difficult it is to tarnish.
Okay – but Why is Gold Important Today?
I know – I have talked about history a lot today. Maybe you do not think it matters or do not find it particularly interesting. I understand that perspective, for sure. However, keep in mind that this lends to the credibility of this substance as a form of investment.
In fact, if you look at any gold investing websites like this one, https://investingingold.com/, they will probably give you a much briefer run down than the one I gave. Understanding what you are getting into is a big part of our finances even if we do not realize it.
This metal is still used as a symbol of status and wealth. The higher karat or quality of your gold jewelry, for example, the more expensive and flashier it is. It can also give you bragging rights.
Gold is still used in dentistry, which many of us might not realize until we go to get a filling or crown. While it is usually not left uncovered anymore and can be covered in porcelain, it is still there. It remains one of the best ways to make a filling.
A lot of religious artifacts still utilize it, of course. While they are usually not personally owned by the figures anymore, they are still important for ceremonies and rituals. Many statues and sculptures are made of it as well.
There is also an application for it in electronics. It is a good conductor for things like small electrical charges, so many computer parts or connective wires use it. While it is only in small quantities usually, it is still there in a lot of our smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
Finally, it is even used in the aerospace industry. Again, this is large because of its high levels of conductivity. I had never realized it was still so important to our world.
Should We Invest in it, though?
The answer to this is yes, at least to an extent. If you’re still wary, try looking at an article like this one. Also, keep in mind that there is more than one way to get into the precious metals industry. Physical product is just one of these ways.
Of course, it is a popular one for a reason. Even some gold coins can be placed into an account like a self-directed IRA. You just cannot place jewelry or other collectibles, unfortunately. When stocking up on physical goods, you might want to talk to a professional about it to ensure your metal bars (otherwise known as bullion) are high enough quality to be added.
As you have seen above, though, gold is used a lot, even in our everyday lives. It might seem like a luxury good that is far from accessible, but the demand for it is high around the world. This means that if you have holdings, there will be a market for them whenever you do decide to liquidate.
Both historically and today, it is a versatile metal that can lead to a higher chance of financial wellness in the future if you invest early. Do not wait too long!