When investing in gold and silver for the first time, it is very easy for customers to become overwhelmed by the many options offered to them. Whether faced with the decision of which products to order or how much to pay, the choices can seem endless. Fortunately, customers can rest assured knowing that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to purchase precious metals. While there are some general guidelines to keep in mind when doing your initial research, buying precious metals is mostly a matter of finding out which options best suit your needs.
The most important factor in determining how much you should pay for your precious metals is the spot price. The spot price indicates the current market value of a precious metal and serves as a basis for bullion pricing. These prices are constantly fluctuating, so it is important to find the most up-to-date spot price possible. Once you have the spot price for your particular precious metal, you need to research which precious metals dealers have prices closest to the original spot price, since these will be the dealers who offer the lowest premiums.
Before you begin comparing the prices of different precious metals dealers, you need to make sure that the dealers you are researching are actually licensed to sell precious metals. Taking the time to verify their status will not only ensure that their merchandise has been lawfully obtained, but that they also understand the various policies regarding precious metals sales, such as taxation and reporting.
After you have confirmed their license statuses, it is time to compare the different dealers. When examining prices, be sure to take into account other expenses outside the premium rates such as shipping, insurance and taxation. You should also take note of their different policies regarding shipping and methods of payments to see if they can accommodate your needs.
Once you’ve settled on the right dealer, your next step will be deciding the type of precious metals merchandise you would like to purchase. Precious metals come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles, so customers should try to familiarize themselves with their different options. Customers should also be sure to understand the premium policies and investment benefits of these options as well.
When buying precious metals, customers should first decide which forms of precious metals they intend to purchase. Some common forms of bullion include coins, rounds and bars. Coins are the most recognized of the bullion forms because of their use as currency. Their stunning designs make them ideal for customers who want to display their investments. However, due to mintage restricting by the government, coins are often produced in limited quantities, making them quite valuable as both collectibles and investment pieces. Their rarity is also the reason they carry higher premium rates than other precious metals bullion.
With their flat, disc-like shape, rounds are often confused with coins; however, unlike coins, rounds do not have a circulating face value. Their value is based solely on precious metal content. While the premium rate for a round is lower than that of a coin, it is important to note that their premium rates increase and decrease inversely with the size of the round. In other words, the smaller the coin, the higher the premium over spot.
Bars are precious metals pieces which have been pressed into a rectangular shape. Because these forms are easy to stack on top of each other, they are the easiest to organize and store. Bars are popular choice among investors because, like rounds, they offer a low premium over spot that decreases as the size of the bar gets larger. As a result, bars are best suited for customers who want to make substantial investments by purchasing in bulk.
Upon deciding which form of precious metal you would like to purchase, take the time to research which mints specialize in those particular forms. For instance, both the PAMP Suisse and Valcambi are renowned for their gold bars. Then, browse through their collections until you find a particular piece you would like to purchase and proceed with the checkout.
After selecting the items you intend to purchase, it is time to select your method of payment. While acceptable forms of payments can vary according to the dealer, the most commonly accepted forms of payment include credit/debit cards, PayPal, paper checks and bank wires. Again, customers are advised to check with their dealer not only regarding which forms of payments can be used, but also regarding any policies or restrictions with these payment methods.
Customers who prefer an instant method of payment will benefit most from using a credit/debit card or PayPal to make their purchase. These methods typically provide the fastest clearance times and enable the customer to pay off their payment charges over an extended period of time. Such payment plans are ideal for customers who do not have the immediate funds to pay for their order.
In contrast, customers who are not as concerned with the length of the clearance period, but wish to completely pay off their purchase charges are encouraged to make their payments with either a paper check or a bank wire. These methods take longer than credit/debit cards and PayPal because they require the services of a bank or the post office. However, customers using bank wires and paper checks do not have to worry about paying numerous installments since these forms of payment require full surrendering of the funds upon purchase.
When your order finally arrives, the only decision left to make is where to store it. Customers need to take into account both accessibility as well as safety. For most customers, this primary decision will be whether to store at home or through a third-party facility.
For customers that require immediate access to their precious metal, home storage is their best option. Customers who choose to keep their precious metals at home can either secretly conceal their valuables or store them in a safe. Secret storage is the easiest and most inexpensive way to hide your precious metals. Unfortunately, it can sometimes subject your bullion to conditions that can cause physical harm, like moisture. It is better to keep your valuables in a safe since it can protect them from both thieves and natural disasters. While a little more costly, safes can provide an extra level of protection for your gold and silver. The main disadvantage to both forms of home storage is that once someone discovers that you keep precious metals in your home, you could potentially become the target of theft, armed robbery and even assault.
Customers who prefer not to deal with the risks and responsibilities of storing their precious metals at home are encouraged to turn their valuables over to a bank or a precious metals depository. These establishments are equipped with high level security both internally and externally. Their facilities have also been constructed to provide the optimal storage conditions for your precious metals. While these third-party facilities are more expensive and provide less accessibility, they offer greater protection for both you and your investments.
Perhaps, the main decision you will have to make while selecting a dealer is whether you would like to purchase your precious metals from an online dealer or a local coin shop. Local establishments allow customers to actually see the merchandise prior to purchasing them. They also eliminate the need to pay for shipping and insurance since you will be able to take your purchase home with you. There are, however, a number of drawbacks with purchasing your precious metals locally. Local coin shops charge higher premium rates than online stores in order to cover overhead expenses. Local coin shops also tend to have a limited selection of precious metals merchandise due the physical constrictions of the store and their limited clientele. Moreover, many local coin shops double as resale shops, so the majority of their merchandise will be used products.
Online dealers, on the other hand, will often have a wider selection due to having a larger client base and because their virtual storefronts offer unlimited pages to display their array of merchandise. Another advantage to online dealers is the convenience. Unlike local coin shops, where you are required to visit a particular location during its hours of operation, online dealers allow you to shop at any time from the comfort of your own home. Lastly, online dealers also offer you an extra level of protection for both your investment and yourself. A reputable online dealer will be in direct communication with the mints to ensure the merchandise you receive is authentic. More importantly, online dealers enable you to make your purchases privately, which will keep you from becoming a potential target for theft and burglary.
In recent years, other metals such as copper and platinum have become quite popular investment vehicles as well. Copper and platinum bullion provide investors with another means of diversifying their portfolio and increasing their potential for profits. When preparing to buy copper or platinum merchandise, customers can follow the same prescribed guidelines of researching spot prices, comparing dealers and selecting the appropriate style of bullion. However, customers must also be sure to consult with their chosen dealer to verify any specific policies they might have regarding these particular metals in terms of pricing, purchase or shipping.
As one of the leading online dealers in the industry, JM Bullion strives to make the process of buying precious metals as straightforward and enjoyable as possible. We offer low premiums, a wide selection of merchandise and a team of supportive staff to help guide you through the entire process. Best of all, customers can access us at any time from the privacy of their own home or office. Should you have any further questions regarding our merchandise or polices, we encourage you to call us at 800-276-6508. Our staff is also happy to provide assistance through live chat or online form submissions.