The most standardized way to own physical gold directly is through the acquisition of ingots. Buyers should research reputable distributors and check the purity, shape, size and weight of the bars before purchasing them. Gold bars are usually the most cost-effective way to buy physical gold. They are sold all over the world in major centers such as London and Hong Kong.
Bars are classified as ingots as long as they have approximately 99.5% pure gold or more. You can learn more in our Gold Bullion Buyer's Guide. Even if you see an uptick in the price of gold that you'd like to take advantage of, your physical gold reserves are surprisingly illiquid. There are many ways to invest in gold, from exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to gold stocks, but the easiest way is to buy physical gold or ingots directly.
You can buy physical gold at retailers such as JM Bullion and APMEX, as well as at pawn and jewelry houses. This allows you to expose yourself to gold as an investment without the risk or headache of dealing with physical gold. In other words, when you own gold as a physical metal, you'll never have to worry about another party stopping making a trade or not handing over your assets. The advantage of owning physical gold is that you have it handy if you're really concerned about total financial or social collapse.
Before buying physical gold or investing in gold-backed stocks or funds, make sure it fits your investment strategy, financial objectives, and risk tolerance. It carries out an independent audit of your stocks on a daily basis and, if you wish, it will also allow you to physically receive your gold. As you'll discover below, you don't always have to buy physical gold to include gold in your portfolio. Owning physical gold is not a “magic formula” or a panacea for financial challenges, but it is wrong to suggest that gold has no benefits as a safe haven asset.
There is the option of investing in gold securities, but buying physical gold is attractive to many investors because it represents the purest form of investing. Instead of investing in physical gold, you can buy shares in companies that extract and refine gold. Like an ETF, it offers exposure to the price of gold without the owner having to physically hold or store any gold. Buying gold jewelry is usually the first thing that comes to mind when most people plan to buy physical gold.
Gold futures entitle the holder to receive physical gold at a predetermined time in the future, usually one month, but contracts are usually settled in cash. Of course, the problem with that, depending on the reason you buy your gold, is that you cannot take physical possession of it (or rather, you can, but it will cost you dearly) and you must have the utmost confidence that whoever has your gold holds it securely.