Why having physical gold is the safest way to hedge your savings
- 27 Ottobre 2018
- by Blogger
The free market created money. Civil government spotted an opportunity and took it. The State granted itself a monopoly over money. It did so in the name of law: the defense of society from unscrupulous cheats and counterfeiters. From the day King Croesus (rhymes with “greases”) asserted authority over the new invention of the round metallic device that we call the coin, the State has muscled into monetary affairs. For 2,600 years, the public has accepted this arrangement. It worked for 1,100 years in Byzantium: 325 to 1453. It has not worked anywhere else for longer than a century or two.
Then came paper and ink. As Ludwig von Mises once said, “Only government can turn valuable items like paper and ink into something utterly worthless.”
Not All Forms Of Gold Ownership Are Equal
Ultimately, the value of gold is based on its tangibility. So, why do so many investors assume they're getting the same protection from investments like gold futures that they're getting from physical gold: while gold futures and ETFs will fill most of the needs of owning gold in normal circumstances, in extraordinary circumstances, something that's intangible like a futures contract just won't do. Because how will you collect your gold from the custody bank when all the banks have failed?
This week, the Goldnomics podcast ranks the safest ways to own gold to the least safe. The safest is, of course, owning physical gold bars. The next safest is to own allocated and segregated gold, which is owning physical gold kept in a separate physical account. The next level of safety is unallocated gold, then there are physically backed-ETFs and non-physically backed ETFs.
Further out the safety spectrum is owning shares of gold miners, which trade like equities (because they are). However, the vast majority of investors own gold via an ETF.
While it's an easily accessible way of owning gold, it's not designed for physical deliverability. "The idea of having gold in a systemically linked instrument like that could be convenient in normal times but when things get out of hand, suddenly those contracts don't bear any weight."
Like Alan Greenspan said, Gold is trusted by everybody as a form of payment. And indeed, most gold investors own the precious metal for its tangibility. And reading the fine print of these ETFs, the fund manager is protected from ever having to be found liable for delivering its gold. Instead, the gold is stored with large custodian banks, and if there's ever any serious systemic risk, the owner of the ETF won't ever be made hole.
"Don't think you're checking that hedging box if you own gold through an ETF, or a digital gold provider."
This article does not constitute investment advice and is not a solicitation for investment. Auromoney does not render general or specific investment advice and the information on this article should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell gold or precious metals. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.