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INVESTING IN

PRECIOUS METALS 101:


Everything You Need to Know About Buying
and Storing Physical Gold and Silver
Investing in Precious Metals 101

Table of Contents

Preface .............................................................................................................................3

Why Invest in Gold and Silver Now?. ....................................................................4

Paper Gold/Silver vs. Physical Precious Metals ..............................................8

Five Things to Consider Before Buying Gold and Silver...............................13

Internationalization ...................................................................................................21

With All This in Mind, We Developed the Hard Assets Alliance ..............23

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Investing in Precious Metals 101

Preface
As an astute investor, you already understand the need to own gold and silver becomes more pressing
with each passing day.

At first, a small stash of gold is held as a value-dense, portable, and easy-to-conceal hedge against
any number of crisis scenarios: currency controls, bank “holidays,” civil uprisings, or a rapid spike in
consumer prices.

But as confidence in central banks, paper currencies, and government debt continues to erode, upping
one’s gold holding seems wise. It very well may be your best strategy to protect against a global
monetary reset.

Easy enough decision, yet questions about what to buy and where and how to store it soon become
pressing as your hoard expands. The number of options is daunting and growing, so how does the
precious metals investor know which are best and how much to invest?

It’s an important question. Lacking skillful planning, you could find yourself with a coin menagerie
not meeting your particular needs... or selecting a storage facility with questionable integrity or poor
oversight. You might overpay... or be stuck without an easy or cost-effective exit strategy.

This e-book is devoted to answering these questions. By the time you’ve finished reading it, you’ll
be familiar with the options best suited to your circumstances, exactly how much gold and silver to
purchase, and the steps you can—and should—take right away.

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Why Invest in Gold and Silver Now?


Precious metals preserve wealth.

They have served as money for thousands of years. They have been history’s premier life raft. If you can
carry your wealth with you when you must, you may survive where others perish.

Moreover, gold and silver are the ultimate insurance policy against the ravages of inflation and all kinds
of crises.

Gold Zigs When Economies Zag


When the economy skids into a recession, most investors end up riding shotgun right along with those
large losses for stock portfolios.

The way to lessen—or even eliminate—a decline in portfolio value is to understand asset correlation and
allocation. You want to own uncorrelated assets to reduce the losses during a recession.

Finding uncorrelated investments is not easy. You can count them on one hand. Some bonds and equity
investments will do well, but certainly not all of them. Stable dividend-paying stocks and utilities can
help, but they can’t make up for a large market decline.

Gold, however, is largely uncorrelated to stocks and many other investments. And here’s an interesting
fact the World Gold Council uncovered:

»» Gold’s correlation to stocks drops during a recession.


This is a good thing since most stocks fall.

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Notice what happens to gold’s correlation to other asset classes when the economy moves from
economic expansion to contraction (data from 1987 through 2015)…

Gold's Correlation To Stocks Decreases During Recessions


1
Correlation With Gold During Expansion
Correlation With Gold During Recession
0.75

0.5
Correlation With Gold

0.25

-0.25

-0.5

-0.75

-1
Global Equities US Bonds Treasuries S&P 500
© Hard Assets Alliance Source: World Gold Council

(A correlation of 1 correlation means assets always move in the same direction 100% of the time; 0
means there is no relationship between the variables, , and -1 means they move in complete opposite
direction..)

Gold already has a negative correlation to the S&P during periods of appreciation. In a recession, when
the market is declining the correlation grows even more negative.

Historically, this means gold will always move in the opposite direction of stocks over the long term, but
even more so during periods of recession. And since stocks typically decline, gold is likely to rise and
offset equity losses.

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Here’s proof. There have been seven recessions since 1965. Notice how gold has performed.

Gold Is Usually Positive During Recessions


$2,000

$1,800

$1,600

$1,400

+17.5%
Price per Ounce

$1,200

$1,000
+27.6%
$800

$600
+85.1% +4.6%
$400
+4.7%
$200
-1.8% -9.1%
$0
1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015
Recession Period in Bars Gold Price
© Hard Assets Alliance Sources: Thomson Reuters, Federal Reserve

In five of the seven recessions, the gold price rose. And three of those times, it soared by double digits.
In only one recession did gold suffer a noticeable decline (-9.1% in 1990). Even in the midst of the 2008–
2009 financial crisis, gold moved higher.

This makes sense when you think about it. A slowing economy stokes investor worry, and gold is a
natural refuge in times of economic stress.

This has clear implications for investors. To preserve the value of your investment portfolio…

»» Own a meaningful amount of gold before the next recession begins.


As the saying goes, you can’t buy flood insurance after the flood. You must buy it before trouble strikes.

So, is the next recession on the horizon?

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The Next Recession Is Inescapable


No prediction about future events or getting the timing right is required.

You don’t buy homeowner’s insurance based on a prediction of when your house could burn down. You
buy the insurance to limit your financial loss in case your house burns down.

Regarding a recession, there is no “in case”…

»» The odds of another recession are 100%.


History clearly shows this. Another recession is inescapable.

This makes precious metals an absolute portfolio necessity. I know many gold critics who own gold
because of this exact argument.

We don’t have to predict the future in detail to justify buying gold. We are simply shielding the rest of
our portfolio from the strong likelihood of losses.

Those who own a meaningful amount of precious metals stand a greater chance of winning in the next
recession than those who do not.

Insure Your Portfolio Before Things Turn Ugly


As more and more citizens wise up to the irresponsible and reckless US (and worldwide) monetary and
fiscal policies, they will increasingly turn to gold. This will make it much harder to acquire.

That’s what happens during periods of strain, such as the financial sector meltdown in 2007–2008.

During this time, gold buyers were forced to pay between a 9%–15% premium over the spot price to buy
gold coins and 20%+ for silver coins... when they could find them.

Shipping delays of 30–60 days were the norm and lags up to four months were not uncommon. There
were days when suppliers simply advised dealers not to sell because no one could promise when, or
even if, orders would be filled.

When the next crisis hits—and globally, national governments’ actions virtually guarantee one—it’s
possible gold and silver will be unavailable at any price.

It will then be too late to add sufficient precious metals to your portfolio to protect your wealth and your
standard of living. You can’t buy flood insurance to recover after the deluge has hit.

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Paper Gold/Silver vs. Physical Precious Metals


Investing in precious metals is a no-brainer. It’s a hedge against all kinds of calamity, protects against
inflation and deflation, and isn’t correlated to the stock market. Everyone should own some gold.

But what form of gold should you buy?

There are lots of options, but they all boil down to two choices: physical bullion or paper gold/silver. Each
has its advantages and drawbacks.

Here are the pros and cons of each, which will help you buy the right form and meet your personal
goals…

Paper Gold/Silver
The term “paper gold/silver” simply refers to a paper document or digital account entry representing
a gold/silver holding. Examples of paper gold/silver include bullion exchange-traded funds, mint
certificates, pool accounts, and futures and options.

It is any form of precious metals where you don’t have direct ownership of physical metal.

Many of these paper products were created as a convenient way to gain exposure to the gold price
without having to buy physical metal, take delivery, and arrange for storage. Like all investments, you
will realize a profit or loss when you sell.

Another advantage is paper gold/silver can be a very low-cost option.

The primary drawback with all forms of paper gold is this: You don’t own the metal.

This often means you can’t take delivery—or if it’s available, it is usually very expensive. Paper also
carries counterparty risk. This essentially means you must rely on a third party to make good on a
contract.

Fraud, mismanagement, delivery failure, and other issues are possible. Threats like these are not
common, but they have all occurred and their risk is not zero.

Here are the most common forms of paper gold/silver, along with their pros, cons, and suitability…

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Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)


An ETF is an investment fund that trades much like a stock. For a bullion-backed ETF, the fund’s share
price tracks the price of gold or silver. And the fund is supposed to hold physical metals, backing each
share of the fund.

Bullion-backed ETFs are convenient and low cost. However, you don’t own any portion of the gold
backing the fund’s shares.

The largest gold ETF—SPDR Gold Trust (GLD)—does not buy and sell gold. It creates and redeems paper
shares in the company, which are passed through a group of market makers trading them on the NYSE.
A corresponding amount of physical bullion is then deposited into or withdrawn from the fund’s vault in
London, operated by custodial bank HSBC.

So if you buy shares of GLD, you don’t own the metal or have any claim on it. To take delivery requires a
minimum 100,000 shares—at $1,300 gold, it’s a $1.3 million investment! The fund also has the right to
settle a physical delivery request in cash.

Other bullion-backed ETFs work similarly. Some smaller funds permit delivery of as little as one ounce,
but it’s expensive and delivery is not prompt.

Counterparty risk is also present, such as mismanagement of the gold company, custodial fraud, or
delivery failure. It’s important to realize risks would be heightened in a period of financial crisis.

As such, a gold or silver ETF would not act as a financial backstop during a personal or economic
emergency. This is the primary advantage of owning physical bullion, which you forgo with paper gold/
silver.

One last advantage is you can usually buy options on an ETF. While this generally entails a greater
degree of risk, gold bullion itself does not offer this type of leverage. Traders will use paper forms of
precious metals for this purpose.

Suitability: Bullion ETFs are ideal for someone who wants a low-cost way to invest in
the direction of the precious metals price or wants to employ leverage with options.
They are designed for the investor who doesn’t want delivery now or later, and is
comfortable with counterparty risks.

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Pool Accounts/Fractional Ownership


A pool account is where your investment dollars are “pooled” with other investors to buy physical
bullion. You essentially own a fraction of a gold or silver bar.

Like ETFs, these programs are usually convenient and cheap. Storage is also inexpensive, and in some
programs, it’s free.

Also like ETFs, you don’t own the metal. For programs advertising “allocated” gold, it means the metal is
allocated to a group of investors, not to any individual investor.

Some programs offer delivery, but it’s expensive. You must first pay a fabrication fee, which can exceed
the premium you would’ve paid for the gold in the first place, and then add a delivery fee.

You are also exposed to counterparty risk. Should the company become insolvent or bankrupt, you
become an unsecured creditor. You may never receive your gold or even the return of your money.

And the recovery process could take months or years to complete.

Pool accounts were popular in the early 2000s, but their popularity has waned. Today, a greater
selection of options to buy and store gold is available.

Suitability: Pool accounts are best for investors who want a low-cost way to buy and
store precious metals, with the option to take delivery someday (though it is expensive).

Physical Gold & Silver


Physical gold and silver refers to all gold and silver you can hold in your hand. Even if stored elsewhere, it
is specific pieces of physical metal held in your name and title.

It is not a paper representation of precious metals, but actual bullion you own outright.

Purchase costs are higher—though not as high as many believe—but you avoid the potential risks
associated with paper gold/silver.

The primary advantage of gold bullion is this:

You can never suffer a default.

Gold and silver are the only financial assets not simultaneously someone else’s liability. Once you own
bullion, it’s yours!

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Bullion doesn’t require the backing of any bank, government, or brokerage firm. It cannot suffer a
default or have its value fall to zero.

No counterparty risk means once you have physical metal in your possession, you don’t depend on
someone else to fulfill a contract or keep a promise for it to retain its value.

Stocks, bonds, ETFs—essentially all paper assets—require another party to uphold their end of the deal.
Not so with a gold Eagle in your hand.

Physical gold and silver are the ultimate form of long-term value. You can leave it to your kids, and it can
be sold for currency literally anywhere in the world.

Here are the advantages bullion offers over paper gold…

Bullion has no...

• Time limit (it will outlive you!)


• Shelf life (it never rusts)
• Counterparty risk (remember bank customers in Greece and Cyprus?)

As money, gold bullion is...

• Liquid (easily convertible to cash)


• Portable (you can hold $50,000 in a single hand)
• Durable (you can leave it to your kids and grandkids)
• Value dense (high value held in a small quantity)
• Private and confidential (you control who knows you own it)

Physical bullion cannot be...

• Printed (it takes a mine 10 years to go from discovery to production)


• Counterfeited (you can try, but technology will catch it every time)
• Inflated (it can’t be reproduced by the whim of a central banker)

Gold and silver are valuable because they have intrinsic financial traits no other asset does! These are
the reasons to consider owning physical bullion instead of paper proxies.

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(Find out why gold has remained valuable since it was first discovered in our article, Why Is Gold
Valuable? The 5 Reasons Most Investors Overlook.)

Suitability: Physical gold and silver are ideal for investors who don’t want to worry
about counterparty or default risks. It can be used no matter where you live, will outlast
any paper form you buy, and can be kept confidential from other parties.

Final Recommendation
Based on our extensive experience working in the bullion industry, we tell investors they should initially
favor physical bullion over paper proxies. A bullion ETF is a great way to play the price of metals, but
physical bullion should be purchased for longer-term holdings and insurance purposes.

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Five Things to Consider Before Buying Gold and Silver


In this section, we’ll review everything you need to know before buying gold and silver bullion, including
what to buy, how to find a reputable bullion dealer, and more.

We’ll also include some “insider’s tips” so you can avoid some of the common pitfalls.

Let’s begin with the most important question…

1. How Much Should I Invest?


Before you decide, here are the three distinct benefits gold ownership provides:

• It reduces risk. As an uncorrelated asset to the stock market, its value will tend to rise
when stocks fall.
• It’s a long-term store of value. How many stocks and bonds have lasted for centuries?
Chances are, some of the companies you own now won’t be around in 20 years, let alone
for your great-grandchildren. Gold will.
• It provides crisis insurance. Physical bullion protects against crisis like no other asset
can. Inflation or deflation, recession or depression, terrorism, debt implosions, credit
defaults, bank failure—some of these will happen in your lifetime, and bullion can protect
your portfolio from the fallout.

So how much should you invest in gold and silver? It depends on your age, risk tolerance, and how much
of these benefits you want or need.

Be careful of the extremes—don’t put all your money in gold or silver, but also know one gold bar won’t
provide the advantages above.

Physical bullion isn’t foolproof, but history shows it’s a great diversifier and the best hedge against all
kinds of crisis.

Insider’s Tip: Buy a meaningful amount of bullion—enough that it will make a difference
to your portfolio if things get sour. Trusted experts we’ve worked closely with advise
holding at least 10% of investable assets in physical gold and silver.

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2. What Type and Size of Gold and Silver to Buy


The range of bullion products can leave even the most seasoned investor feeling a bit confused. It’s not
uncommon for us to speak with clients who have purchased large amounts of “limited edition” proof sets
or coins adorned with cute animals such as a polar bear cub.

In certain situations, these coins can make great investments. However, more often than not, the person
finds them to be illiquid and trading at significant bid-ask spreads—sometimes upwards of 30%.

This means the metal’s price would have to appreciate about 30% just to break even on the investment.

You should always buy gold and silver bullion products for investment as opposed to collectibles—coins,
ingots, bars. They’re generally the most liquid and reasonably priced. The spread between the bid and
ask prices also tend to be the narrowest, around 3%–5% for gold and 4%–7% for silver.

While the size of most bullion coins is between .10 and 1 ounce, silver and gold bars come in different
sizes (weights). You can buy as small as one gram or as big as 1,000 ounces.

The most common bullion bars are one ounce, 10 ounces, and one kilogram (32.15 troy ounces, which
tend to be more popular in Europe), and 100-ounce silver bars. Institutions, exchanges, ETFs, and central
banks typically purchase 100-ounce or 400-ounce gold bars.

The larger the bar, the smaller the premium you’ll pay over spot since the manufacturing cost can be
spread over a much larger product.

So should we buy the largest bullion bar possible to pay the lowest premium?

No!

Why most investors should buy small gold bullion…

• Larger bullion bars reduce the pool of potential customers. In a tight market, you may not
find a ready buyer for your 100-ounce gold bar or 1,000-ounce silver bar.
• The larger bullion bars carry a greater risk for counterfeiting if purchasing from an
unvetted dealer. Counterfeiters prefer large bullion products because they are harder to
detect and can make more money on the transaction.
• Owning a larger bar gives you fewer options in the event you need to sell to meet a
financial obligation. And what if you want leave each of your kids or grandkids some gold
or silver? Hard to do if you own one large bar.

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• The larger the bar, the more likely it will have to be assayed if you want to sell
independently. This will be costly, inconvenient, and delays access to your cash.

The advantage of buying a larger bullion bar is that the premium will be smaller. But you lose other
advantages by purchasing the biggest bar you can. If you’re a high net worth investor, however, we’d
recommend buying a combination of kilogram gold bars, American Eagle gold coins, and American Eagle
silver coins.

We also recommend that if possible, you shouldn’t buy gold bars smaller than one ounce.

The premium spikes up for bars smaller than an ounce. If your budget is such that you can’t afford more
than one ounce, I do recommend buying several smaller bars or coins so you have the advantages above.
Owning some gold and silver is better than owning none.

Insider’s Tip: Buy smaller bars or coins to meet future needs as they come up. If you
have a high net worth, buy both small and large bullion.

3. Where to Buy
You always want to purchase bullion from a highly reputable dealer, either online or your local shop.
You can also find them on eBay and at dealer shows, but we wouldn’t recommend those options as
counterfeits will be more prevalent. Whichever way you go, here’s a quick checklist of what to look for…

• A dealer focused on education and quality information as opposed to an overly


promotional one. Avoid the dealer that heavily promotes rare coins and numismatics; the
markups are significantly higher.
• The size of the business. Small dealers may have limited product selection or be unable
to fill a large order. Small dealers may also be unable to buy back a large sale. Be sure
to ask about delivery times, too; if they don’t ship within a week of your purchase, look
elsewhere.
• A buyback policy or ability to store metal for later resale. If they don’t have a policy
in place, shop elsewhere. This is another reason it’s important to do business with a
reputable dealer—you want them to be around when you need to sell. Dealers with
buyback policies and storage options will ensure liquidity when you want to sell.
• Accepted forms of payment such as wire transfer, ACH, or physical check. You can reduce
your cost by paying with one of these methods, as opposed to a credit card.

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Last, compare three dealers. Be sure to compare total cost, both bid and ask prices—commissions, credit
card or bank wire fees, and shipping and insurance. Consider who you feel most comfortable with, too.

Buy Quality Only

Once you find a dealer, make sure the gold bars have these two things:

1. Proper stamping. Every gold and silver bar should have its weight, purity, refiner, and
refiner stamped on it. It’s important to buy bullion with these markings. Without them, it’s
hard to be certain what you’re getting, and if you someday sell, the buyer might require an
assay.
2. A hallmark. There are many bullion refiners, but the easiest way to avoid getting ripped
off is to buy a reputable brand. At Hard Assets Alliance, we only sell bullion from refiners
recognized by the London Bullion Market Association. (If you buy a hallmark brand, it will
have all the proper stamping.)

Properly stamped hallmark bullion is highly liquid. You can easily sell it virtually anywhere in the world!

Insider’s Tips:

You’ll probably get a better price from a large, reputable online dealer. But it’s worth
establishing even a cursory relationship with your local dealer so you know what your
options are in case, for example, you need to sell at a moment’s notice.

If you decide to shop online, call the company the first time to make sure you feel
comfortable with them.

Don’t buy from TV ads. They have big marketing budgets and expensive celebrity
endorsements, which can only be paid by high premiums or pushing numismatics.

Consider buying from two different dealers to fully evaluate the experience and
differences. This will allow you to compare service, timeliness of delivery, costs, etc. to
see which you prefer. It also gives you two vetted sources for future purchases.

Buy only hallmark brands.

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4. Storage Options
As soon as you buy physical bullion, one question will immediately hit you: where do I keep it?

You basically have two choices: you can store it yourself or have someone store it for you. You can also
do both.

One caution: don’t store all your precious metals at home. The risks with home storage are theft or
natural disaster. All it takes is one mishap, and your entire stash is gone!

You can mostly avoid these risks by also keeping some of your bars stored away from home. Along with a
bank safe deposit box, there are some very reputable facilities providing dedicated bullion storage.

Bottom line, once you accumulate more than a few ounces, we recommend diversifying where you store
your bullion.

Here are the three primary options…

Home Storage
Everyone should keep some gold and silver at or close to home. It’s a primary reason you own bullion—
so you can access it quickly. You don’t bank three towns away, and neither should you store your
“emergency gold” that far away either.

You can probably think of a hundred places to hide bullion in your house. But please, not in the cookie jar
or under the mattress! Those are the first places thieves look.

One option is backyard burial (properly sealed—PVC pipe is a popular choice). Subterranean gold is
relatively secure, and it keeps your metal close at hand for fast access. Best you do some regular digging
in the yard so the neighbors don’t think twice about your new gardening hobby.

A home safe is another good option. One built into your house and concealed is best. Otherwise, get
something too heavy for a burglar to carry off. You can also create hidey holes out of ordinary household
objects and hope your burglar hasn’t been watching a lot of YouTube videos to blow your cover.

It’s also fine to use more than one hiding place, but not so many you forget where they all are.

There’s a golden rule with home storage: tell only one other confidant where your bullion is hidden.
It obviously must be someone you trust implicitly.

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We heard of several horror stories where robbers found out someone had gold at home and forced the
homeowners to reveal the hiding location or open the safe. One of these stories ended tragically.

If a thief finds you have precious metals at home, your entire storage plan is sunk. And once the word is
out, there are no takebacks. It can’t be overstated: tell no one other than your confidant!

Bank Safe Deposit Box


This is generally an inexpensive way to store some of your precious metals. They’re close to home,
and no worries about someone breaking into your home or the house catching on fire. And most bank
robberies occur at the teller station and not the safe deposit box area.

But a bank box isn’t risk-free, either. A bank safe deposit box doesn’t come with insurance for theft
or acts of nature (fire, flood, tornado, earthquake, etc.). Think of the banks washed away by the 2011
tsunami in Japan. Those box holders lost everything stored in them—and had no recourse.

Access to your box is another issue to be aware of. Could there be times where you need access, but the
bank is closed? If an emergency arises at night or on a weekend or holiday, you’re out of luck.

Bank storage also compromises privacy. If you have a bank box, the government knows about it. This
may or may not be of concern to you, but it’s something to be aware of.

Bottom line, a bank box is a viable option, just don’t have it be your only storage location.

The last option is one of the superior ones…

Professional Storage
There are repositories specifically built for bullion storage.

The advantages are your precious metals are stored outside the banking system. A number of them even
offer international storage, which is another way to diversify.

The better ones offer immediate delivery upon your request.

The disadvantage is you’ll pay more for storage than a bank box. But once you get more than a few
ounces, it’s prudent to keep a portion of your precious metals out of your house and out of the
banking system.

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You can also consider a buy-and-store program (read more here). You buy bullion from the dealer and
they’ll ship them automatically to a storage facility with a separate custodian (you never want to store at
the bullion dealer).

Insider’s Tips:

Keep some precious metals close to home so you can access it in an emergency. But
don’t keep all of it in your house or get too fancy with your hiding places. Tell only one
confidant what you have and where.

A bank safe deposit box is usually inexpensive and generally safe. But it comes with no
insurance, limited accessibility, and some loss of privacy—so don’t make it your sole
storage location.

Consider the ease of a reputable buy-and-store program. They can remove the risks
associated with home and bank storage. You can always take delivery, and they’re a
great way to diversify internationally, too.

These are all viable options, and you can research them to determine if they’re a good fit for you. But
eventually, anyone with a significant amount of gold and silver will come to realize keeping it all in one
place means assuming serious risks.

We recommend diversifying your holdings by moving a portion of them outside your political
jurisdiction.

5. Transportation and Insurance


If you buy bullion at your local shop, don’t walk out the door and shout, “Look what I bought!” For
obvious reasons, be discreet. If you buy a lot at once, take your confidant with you. Or stagger your
purchases.

If you need to move your precious metals, be careful transporting it yourself. It’s not risk free, and if you
lose it for any reason, you generally have no recourse. Taking more than an ounce or two across a border
comes with additional risks, so I wouldn’t put my fate in the hands of a border agent.

Dealers and storage facilities are experienced at transportation, so we would suggest using their
services. If you want to do it yourself, do so with only small amounts or in stages.

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Should I Insure My Bullion?

You might be surprised at this, but we generally don’t recommend insuring precious metals stored at
home. Why? You’ve got to tell other people what you have, and that breaks the golden rule.

Look how many people know you have precious metals as soon as you try to acquire insurance:

• Insurance agent
• Insurance agent’s assistant
• Insurance agent’s corporate office
• Appraiser
• Appraiser’s assistant
• Appraiser’s corporate office

And who knows whom they’ll tell or who else will have access to the paperwork?

Better to use a good hiding place for a few ounces, then use a bank and professional storage facility for
the rest.

If you use HAA’s buy-and-store program, all your gold bullion is fully insured for replacement value (read
more here).

Insider’s Tips:

If you transport precious metals for any reason, always be aware of your surroundings.
If you transport a lot, take your confidant with you or stagger your purchases.

Insuring your bullion forces you to tell other people—people you don’t know and who
now forever know you have gold or silver. The best advice is to use more than one
storage location, and only keep an emergency stash well-hidden at home.

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Internationalization
First off, under no circumstance do we advise you attempt to carry gold or silver bullion across a border.
While it could go smoothly—and it is legal—the risks are too high.

We know of numerous stories of travelers whose precious metals were confiscated by an aggressive or
ignorant customs agent. US federal government rules and regulations are murky, to say the least—and
far too complicated to go into here.

Don’t forget the destination country will have its own set of regulations controlling the importation
of precious metals, too. And, of course, if anyone sees your metal, you become a prime theft target.
Personally, transporting the metal yourself is generally not the best option There are a host of reasons
to consider holding precious metal in a foreign location. First among them is to achieve jurisdictional
diversification. Keeping your assets in one country, subject to the whims of a single government poses a
significant threat to your wealth given the level of global debt.

Going global now with your assets helps mitigate four serious risks to your financial health:

• Confiscation or Outlawing of personal gold ownership.


• Capital Controls—the government limits or denies a citizen’s right to carry or send any
form of money abroad.
• Administrative Actions—seizure of property by a government agency without notice or due
process; becoming enmeshed in a frivolous civil lawsuit.
• Currency debasement/inflation will lower one’s standard of living and destroy wealth not
adequately protected.

Understand, however, these risks can be reduced, not eliminated. There is no perfect solution.
Nonetheless, political diversity is an essential element of an overall protection strategy against an
uncertain future.

Be aware, though, foreign-held assets require greater awareness and planning:

• Access to your metal may not be quick and easy. Foreign-held bullion is for those with
sufficient gold and silver already stored at or near home. Storing all your precious metals
overseas defeats one of its purposes—to have it handy for an emergency.
• The receipt of proceeds after a sale will take time. The delay between selling your foreign-
held gold and receiving the funds can be days. Offshore precious metals should not be
considered as ready cash.

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Investing in Precious Metals 101

• While the US may pose the greatest threat, a foreign government could move to
control certain assets as well. The risk varies by country and is generally greater within
the banking system than with a private vaulting facility. Be sure to perform your due
diligence before selecting a country . Choose a location with a history of strong depositor
protection, governed by the rule of law, and solid property rights—and select a vault with
the highest reputation.
• Understanding and complying with reporting requirements is essential. More below.

The bottom line: gold stored abroad is all about minimizing risks and maximizing options. As your metal
holdings grow and governments become increasingly desperate, diversification becomes increasingly
important.

Offshore Storage Facilities


There are an increasing number of international storage programs from which to choose, but some are
better than others. Here are the important criteria to consider:

• Safety. A highly secure, fully insured, and audited vault is paramount.


• Non-bank, vaulted storage. Private vaulting facilities are not subject to bankers’ hours,
the sudden declaration of a bank “holiday,” or systemic risks within the financial sector.
• Segregated/allocated storage. No commingled holdings with other customers.
• Competitive fees. The lowest-cost program is not always the best solution. You shouldn’t
make tradeoffs between cost and safety. However, do look for comparable solutions and
try not to overpay.
• Convenience. A straightforward, unencumbered program covering the ability to liquidate
and/or take delivery of your holdings at any time.

Among offshore vaulting options, Switzerland is home to several and is arguably the world’s best
storage jurisdiction—owing to its long, unbroken history of respect for private property.

But locations like London, Singapore, and Australia are also attracting growing numbers of depositors
(read more about HAA’s ultra-secure US and international vaults).

Finding the solution best for you requires substantial due diligence. It may mean considerable work to
arrange for the transport of the metal to your chosen storage facility.

Taking delivery can be costly and involve your presence at certain stages. And you could be responsible
for filing the requisite paperwork with the government or face serious penalties.

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Investing in Precious Metals 101

With All This in Mind, We Developed the Hard Assets


Alliance
Historically, there have been difficulties in owning and storing bullion, and not just outside the country.
A lot of people want to own physical gold and silver without having to handle it.

Thus, many investors have opted out of physical metal and embraced ETFs, like GLD, as bullion proxies
due to the sheer ease of trading. But there, you don’t own the real thing, and you gain none of the
international diversification that is becoming critical.

Others would like to escape paper holdings, but find their choices to be daunting, complex, expensive, or
opaque.

The optimal solution:

• lets you buy and sell as easily as with paper gold/silver


• gives ownership in real bullion in an allocated account
• comes with full transparency and safety
• stores precious metals internationally but offers domestic delivery
• has access to competitive prices
• exempts the owner from US government reporting requirements

The Hard Assets Alliance’s state-of-the-art technology fits the bill on all counts by allowing you to log
into your ultra-secure account and with just a few clicks, buy, sell, take delivery, or even store your
precious metals.

There is literally no simpler, safer, or more hassle-free way to buy, sell, or hold precious metals.

In addition to extremely competitive pricing, here’s a comprehensive checklist of HAA advantages:

• Simple to buy and sell—everything can be done online


• * No minimum investment—with the exception of metals purchased for delivery within
New York state ($1,000 minimum), there is no minimum purchase requirement with the
Hard Assets Alliance, including IRA and UTMA accounts. More info can be found in the
Your Questions Answered section below.
• Open an account in less than 10 minutes—no need to submit notarized copies of multiple
documents

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Investing in Precious Metals 101

• Easy to fund with a check, bank wire, or ACH transfer (incoming only)
• Highly liquid—transactions accomplished with the click of a mouse
• Transportation and storage are handled for you (charges apply)
• Accurately assayed
• Unencumbered ownership—investors retain full title of the bullion
• Fully insured—all bullion stored by GBI is 100% insured through Lloyd’s of London
• Physical audits—HAA retains Inspectorate, a Bureau Veritas company, for physical
verification of every bar and coin stored
• Geographic diversification—store gold outside one’s home country
• No US reporting of foreign financial assets (FBAR and Form 8938)
• Physical delivery—elect physical delivery of bullion at any time, usually within 48 hours,
and it’s sent to most countries around the world (charges apply)
• Cost effective—precious metals are acquired from up to 15 competing dealers and
refiners, ensuring some of the lowest prices available in the market
• Very competitive fees
• Limited regulatory risk—gold bullion is not subject to changes in regulatory oversight by
the CFTC
• Excellent storage locations—New York, Salt Lake City, Sydney (Australia), London, Zurich,
and Singapore
• Offshore storage for IRA gold—storage is available in Zurich for American Gold Eagles
held in an IRA

In addition, the Hard Assets Alliance offers overseas storage and the seamless transactional engine
(think of it like your favorite online trading platform). There are two additional advantages of joining the
Hard Assets Alliance worth mentioning:

1. No Counter-Party Risk. When you buy and store your metals through the Hard Assets
Alliance, you own the specific, tangible physical precious metals products you purchased,
held on your behalf in our ultra-secure vaults. It’s a stark contrast and primary difference
to GLD or many bullion programs offering unallocated accounts, which are effectively
claims on precious metals that may rely upon a counter-party to fulfill.
2. Unbroken Chain of Custody. With the Hard Assets Alliance, buying and storing your
precious metals provides an unbroken “chain of custody,” making it quick and hassle free
when the time comes to sell your metals.

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Investing in Precious Metals 101

The alternative of trying to sell precious metals you have stored at home, or even in your
personal bank vault, can involve a serious time delay and added costs and hassles as the
dealer will often require an assay to verify the quality of the metals.

With an unbroken chain of custody between the manufacturers and world-class vaulting
facilities we have partnered with, the Hard Assets Alliance enables investors to buy and
sell metal 24 hours per day through a simple online platform. Ample liquidity is paramount
should the need arise or you want to sell your metal quickly. Being forced to sell at a
discount to the market is not a situation you want to encounter.

When you add up all the advantages offered by the Hard Assets Alliance, it becomes clear why leading
economic and investment research firms serving the research needs of literally millions of investors
have signed on as corporate members of the Hard Assets Alliance and actively recommend the service
to their clients.

The Hard Assets Alliance is a far more attractive alternative than GLD and other paper forms of
precious metals. It’s just as easy to trade, yet you have the security of knowing you own specific physical
metal, stored at a location of your choice (including internationally!), and you can take possession of
your metal at any time.

Here’s a breakdown of the available metals, storage locations and fees, transaction costs, and delivery
options:

THE HARD ASSETS ALLIANCE


Website hardassetsalliance.com
Metals Available Gold, silver, platinum, palladium (currently only gold and silver
are available at non-US locations)
Storage Locations New York, Salt Lake City, Sydney, London, Zurich, Singapore
Minimum Purchase for Delivery* no minimum purchase required
Minimum Purchase for US no minimum purchase required
Storage*
Minimum Purchase for no minimum purchase required
International Storage
Minimum Purchase if US$100
MetalStream Applied to Account
Buy Fees Gold 1.2%–2.5%; silver, platinum, and palladium 2.5% or less
Sell Fees 1%–1.5%, depending on volume and market
Shipping Fees FedEx or UPS fees, no surcharge added

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Investing in Precious Metals 101

Physical International Delivery? Yes


Storage Fees (annual) Up to $100,000 in assets**: 0.70% gold, palladium, platinum;
0.80% silver
$100,001-$500,000 in assets: 0.65% gold, palladium, platinum;
0.75% silver
$500,001-$1,000,000 in assets: 0.60% gold, palladium, platinum;
0.70% silver
$1,000,001+ in assets: 0.50% gold, palladium, platinum; 0.60%
silver

* With one exception: In order to protect our clients from a New York state tax on small purchases of precious metal, we have instituted
a $1,000 minimum on metal purchased for storage or delivery in the state of New York.

**If the calculated storage fee for a given quarter falls below $15 (roughly $8,500 or less stored gold), a minimum storage fee of $15
will be charged. However, this minimum is waived for accounts with our MetalStreamTM automatic purchasing service activated.

With ballooning government debts, runaway fiscal deficits, and myriad stimulus and money-printing
schemes worldwide, the need to own gold becomes more pressing with each passing day. Take the easy
step of using this exciting new service to protect your portfolio and family’s finances.

Click here to open an account with the Hard Assets Alliance now

 Send Us an Email  Give Us a Call

support@hardassetsalliance.com Toll free:


877-727-7387 (877-7-assets)
Our offices are staffed from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Arizona time zone)
Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. We strive to respond to every Local (Arizona) and from outside the US:
email we receive within 24 hours, but typically do so in half that time or less. 602-626-3022

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Investing in Precious Metals 101

Disclaimer

The Hard Assets Alliance website and the SmartMetals Investor are published by Hard Assets Alliance, LLC. Information
contained in such publications is obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The
information contained in such publications is not intended to constitute individual investment advice and is not designed to
meet your personal financial situation. The opinions expressed in such publications are those of the publisher and are subject
to change without notice. The information in such publications may become outdated, and there is no obligation to update
any such information.

Any Hard Assets Alliance publication or website and its content and images, as well as all copyright, trademark, and other
rights therein, are owned by Hard Assets Alliance, LLC. No portion of any Hard Assets Alliance publication or website may
be extracted or reproduced without permission of Hard Assets Alliance, LLC. Nothing contained herein shall be construed
as conferring any license or right under any copyright, trademark, or other right of Hard Assets Alliance, LLC. Unauthorized
use, reproduction, or rebroadcast of any content of any Hard Assets Alliance publication or website is prohibited and shall be
considered an infringement and/or misappropriation of the proprietary rights of Hard Assets Alliance, LLC.

Hard Assets Alliance, LLC reserves the right to cancel any subscription at any time. Cancellation of a subscription may
result from any unauthorized use or reproduction or rebroadcast of any Hard Assets Alliance publication or website, any
infringement or misappropriation of Hard Assets Alliance, LLC’s proprietary rights, or any other reason determined in the
sole discretion of Hard Assets Alliance, LLC.

Affiliate Notice: Hard Assets Alliance has affiliate agreements in place that may include fee sharing. If you have a website
or newsletter and would like to be considered for inclusion in the Hard Assets Alliance affiliate program, please contact
us. Likewise, from time to time Hard Assets Alliance may engage in affiliate programs offered by other companies, though
corporate policy firmly dictates that such agreements will have no influence on any product or service recommendations, nor
alter the pricing that would otherwise be available in absence of such an agreement. As always, it is important that you do
your own due diligence before transacting any business with any firm, for any product or service.

© 2018 Hard Assets Alliance, LLC.

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