The first few months of 2014 brought a record toll of severe storms, floods and tornadoes across the USA, causing ruined homes and communities, and billions of dollars worth of damage. You may be fortunate enough to have your home still standing now, but as nobody knows where disaster will strike next, it is prudent to plan for the effects of a catastrophe on your finances. One strategy worth considering is to buy precious metals as a hedge against disaster.
Of course, dreadful as natural calamities are, for the economy and for individual lives, they are far from being the only potential disasters on the horizon. The global impact of surging food prices is becoming increasingly apparent and is even affecting the big mainstream food companies, whose revenues suffer because consumers cannot afford as much food. No matter how much money is printed by the Fed, prices of the most essential items — food and energy — continue to explode.
Meanwhile, internationally, both debt and money supply in Asia are actually outpacing those in the US, while European loan growth is at an all-time low. In other words, there is evidence everywhere of inflation explosion and economic decay. Nobody can be confident that there will not be another global financial meltdown, which will certainly be far worse than the last — so it only makes sense to be prepared financially.
How to Be Prepared
If you are concerned about what is happening in the world — the threat of economic collapse, environmental disaster, or political catastrophe — your first question, apart from how to survive physically, may be how to protect your wealth. One thing is clear — that at times of natural disaster, or major economic collapse, traditional paper-based financial assets always suffer a downturn, whereas the price of precious metals rises dramatically. Therefore, the real question is, how to buy precious metals in order to be prepared for the worst case scenario.
A Bartering Economy
The first thing to be clear about as a prepper is that you should concentrate on physical metals, as ETFs and mining stocks are likely to be as worthless in a crisis as any other paper assets. However, although your first instinct may be to go for gold, gold may not in fact be the best precious metal to stockpile, or certainly not in big denominations. In a situation of financial collapse, you may need to survive in a bartering economy, so your metals must be suitable for bartering.
For example, if there is a market in which precious metals can be traded for basic foodstuffs like vegetables, eggs and bread, a 1-ounce Gold Eagle coin won’t be much use — you need smaller denominations, such as one-tenth ounce Gold Eagles, which are lightweight and ideal for bartering. However, the most popular bartering currency for preppers is junk silver — that is, pre-1965 quarters and dimes, with 90% silver content. These are easily divisible, so perfect for purchasing everyday items — and what is more, you get better value for your money than you do by purchasing gold.
The other reason to buy precious metals in preparation for catastrophe is to preserve your wealth. If you still have extra money to invest, after taking care of your basic survival supplies and building up your barter currency, it would then make sense to buy some larger denominations, so that in the event of a dollar collapse, you can transition easily to another currency. Again, a mixture of gold and silver is ideal — gold for its lower volatility and silver for its greater profit potential. Many preppers also buy palladium for its many technological applications, which would be valuable in a post-disaster society.
Do it Now
It’s clear that nobody knows when disaster will strike, so the time to buy precious metals is now, while they are still easy to obtain. You do, of course, need to ensure you get your priorities right, and have food, water and shelter sorted out first — without these, precious metals won’t be of much use. However, there’s no doubt that the more gold and silver you can manage to build up, the more you increase your chances both of surviving, and of protecting your wealth for the future.