Safely Storing Your Precious Metals

precious metals
by: Ben Tseytlin - on Gold & Bullion

A large percentage of precious metals enthusiasts acquire their gold and silver with the goal of protecting themselves from inflation and having a genuine source of wealth that can be relied upon during emergencies. However, protecting these metals from theft or confiscation is paramount.

Safe Deposit Boxes

Despite their name, safe deposit boxes are not really safe. While they may be protected from the common street criminal, you can only access them when the bank allows you to, and many financial institutions have stipulations which allow them to seize the contents under certain circumstances, which are listed in the fine print on the agreement form you sign when opening the box, that many people don’t bother to read. Additionally, the bank crises in Greece, Argentina and Cyprus, where customers where denied or given limited to access to their funds, means that the bank which you entrust to protect your funds and metals could actually become a threat during an emergency.  You will also have to decide if you want relatives to access the box in the event that you are ill or deceased, which raises other issues.

Offshore Storage Facilities

This option is typically used by high net worth individuals who have too much to store in either a safe deposit box or home safe. There are a number of advantages to using them. First, the metals are outside of the reach your government, and allow for global wealth diversification. However, they have many of the same disadvantages as safe deposit boxes. While they may protect your metals from common criminals and even the government of your home country, the storage firm ultimately controls them and can deny you access at will. Furthermore, if the country in which the metals are stored goes through political upheaval, your metals could be seized, and then there are the storage costs.

Only use this method if you have substantial wealth (too much to store in any one location) and choose reputable storage companies that are licensed and situated in countries that are well defended militarily with a long history of political stability and individual rights. The best that comes to mind is Switzerland, a country that hasn’t been at war for centuries, has a formidable military and yet protects the rights of its citizens and is financially solvent.

Home Safe

This is the best option, as its simple, allows you to keep your metals close, and has no storage fees. You can also access your precious metals whenever you want. The downside to this option is that there are limits to how much you can store, and is only viable so long as unauthorized parties do not know of its existence (it is critically important never to tell anyone about your precious metals stash unless you absolutely trust them). The best safe is one that is hidden. Some property owners even use a decoy safe that can be provided to criminals in the event of a home invasion while the safe with the actual valuables is hidden elsewhere.