How Can I Store My Gold Safely?
This is one of the most common questions we’re asked at Sharps Pixley by first-time gold buyers (many of whom are experienced multi-asset investors) that just aren’t sure what to do when faced with a tangible, physical entity.
In this blog, we've shared some of the options that are available to you, but it's imperative that you consider the pros and cons of each form of storage. Obviously, you need to keep your investment safe and secure, but accessibility is also vital; how easy will it be for your to get hold of your gold if you need it?
The most popular forms are:
- Home Storage
- Safe Deposit Boxes
- Bank Branch Storage
It's also important to consider the size and weight of the gold or silver you wish to store and any future plans you may have to continue investing. Bullion coins, for example, are easy to store and separate, and you could be in possession of thousands of pounds with just a few of the right coins.
It’s not possible to estimate the precise percentage of investors who store their gold at home. This is because they only confide in one or two trusted confidants as to the whereabouts of their precious metal.
Should a crisis or something unforeseen occur, you might need fast and easy access to your gold. For example, at the end of the Vietnam war, when Saigon fell, citizens were forced to evacuate with immediate effect. Such an order means that withdrawing money from a bank is entirely out of the question. Fortunately, many residents had a store of gold at home which enabled them to make a new home elsewhere.
This is, of course, a very extreme example, but it shows just why people enjoy the peace of mind of knowing they’re covered from a financial perspective should the worst occur.
- Advantage: You know where your gold is and you know it can be accessed anytime
- Disadvantage: Privacy is a significant factor for investors and storing it at home means you can maintain that privacy
- Disadvantage: Higher burglary risk. Thefts from households are more common than bank or depository thefts. And if you're the target of attempted burglary, you could have it stolen.
One of the most popular modes of storing gold, believe it or not, is burying it.
This does sound a little far-fetched, but there’s a reason our ancestors buried their gold and valuables. And that’s because it’s highly unlikely anyone is going to know precisely where to dig to find them.
If you do decide on this course of action, make sure that you yourself or a trusted appointee can find it to dig it up again.
Although there are resilient metals, you'll need to make sure your gold or silver is protected from outside elements by investing in an airtight lock box which will repel water and other potentially damaging influences.
- Advantage: Hidden away. Burglars are becoming more and more adept at uncovering hiding spots within the home, but they can’t possibly know where to look if it’s been buried
- Disadvantage: Remembering where you buried it
- Disadvantage: Vulnerable to natural cycles
Safes are the most popular method of home storage. They come in all different shapes and sizes, with digital keypad locks, combination dials and key locks. It's this variety that appeals to homeowners, as it means they can always find an option to suit their space and storage needs.
- Advantage: Big freestanding safes are weighty and awkward to move.
- Disadvantage: Large safes are easy to spot.
Floor safes are more secure than upright safes. Obviously, concealment plays a big part in that. However, compared to freestanding safes, they will probably work out to be a little more expensive as you will probably need a technician to install it.
- Advantage: Easily concealed
- Disadvantage: Immobile
- Disadvantage: Installation costs
If this an option that you are considering, you must be incredibly creative. Plastic containers in cupboards, under a mattress or behind a loose brick just won’t cut it. ‘Hiding in plain sight,’ is a risky approach and will leave your investment exposed should your home attract the attention of thieves.
- Disadvantage: Easily misplaced, especially if someone in your household is unaware of their presence
- Disadvantage: You’re making life easy for any potential burglars
Bank Branch Storage
Bank boxes are admittedly more secure than at home, but it doesn't mean they don't come without risks. For a start, storage rates have rocketed since 2012, mainly because a lot of high street banks have discontinued their storage services and some banks have not had a favourable track record in keeping items safe for their customers.
- Advantage: Removes the risk of home storage
- Disadvantage: Bank collapses are possible
- Disadvantage: High storage costs
Safe Deposit Boxes
In recent years the banking system has lost a lot of credibility. If you don’t want to risk home storage and you don’t trust the banking industry, safe deposit boxes might be the option for you.
- Advantage: Less risk compared to home storage
- Advantage: Not subject to sudden and potentially damaging banking legislation
- Advantage: Lower storage fees
- Advantage: Fully insured
“So, Which Option Should I Choose?”
When it comes down to it, it's up to the investor to choose the option that best suits them. Most investors shun bank storage due to their skepticism in the way banks are operated these days. Domestic storage is a very secure option, as long as it’s done so intelligently, but most of our customers here at Sharps Pixley favour the use of a safety deposit box for ultimate peace of mind.
After all, a safe haven asset is only as safe as the place in which it is kept and remember that we invest in gold for four primary reasons:
Take these into consideration before making a decision this way or that. However, as long you’re happy and secure with the choice you’ve made, it’s the right option for you.