Why should you invest in gold & silver? How much of your investment dollars should you allocate to them? Should it be invested in bullion, ETFs, mutual funds, individual mining/royalty stocks or warrants? This article provides the answers.
The original article, as written by Jeff Nielson (www.BullionBullsCanada.com), is presented below in a slightly edited ([ ]) and abridged (…) format by the editorial team at munKNEE.com (Your Key to Making Money!) to provide you with a fast and easy read.
Use the Gold:Silver Ratio to Determine your Mix
For those of you who would like a very simple means of allocating your precious metals dollars let the gold/silver ratio dictate where your dollars go by purchasing silver related investments in a percentage equal to the current ratio. With the current ratio ranging around 80:1, this would dictate putting 75% to 80% of new dollars into silver/silver mining stocks, and the remaining 30-40% into gold/gold mining stocks.
The next decision to make is in what form of precious metals holdings you should invest i.e. bullion, ETFs, mutual funds, individual mining stocks (and either producers, developmental or exploration), royalty stream companies [or any warrants associated with each].
For those who are adamant about using bullion ETF’s rather than holding the “physical” metal directly, you must do your homework. Examine the prospectus carefully, and automatically shun any fund which does not hold/store all of its own bullion. Keep in mind that the “custodians” of the vast majority of ETF “bullion” are the same bullion banks who are currently holding the largest short positions in gold and silver in history. Do you really think these bankers want to help small, retail investors enter this market (and undermine their massive “short” positions)?
Assuming investors allocate 100% of their precious metals dollars in real bullion or precious metals mining companies, the percentage to assign to those two categories is partially a function of risk-tolerance and partly an issue of time-horizon.
I can certainly understand after the events of 2008 that many investors are much more concerned with maximizing the safety of their investments, rather than simply seeking to maximize profits. I would not fault any investor for choosing to invest all of their precious metals capital into bullion. This is especially true for investors only wishing to focus a small part of their portfolio into this sector. For more elderly investors with a short investment horizon, it would also be prudent to focus on bullion, itself.
Precious Metals Mining Company Stock
For those investors who are wishing to invest 20%, or 25% (or even a greater percentage) into precious metals, I would strongly urge investors to put at least ¼ of those dollars into the stocks of quality precious metals miners. Even in the event of a complete breakdown in the global monetary system (which remains a distinct possibility), the worst-case scenario for holders of these equities is that they could become completely ill-liquid for an indefinite period.
However, with gold and silver as the best “stores of value” of any asset-class, clearly the companies that produce these hard assets would be favored above any other class of equity – and would thus be first to regain their value as markets returned to normal.
For more aggressive investors, or those with a longer investment horizon, I would suggest that at least 50% of their precious metals dollars be invested in the miners – since they will always outperform bullion over the course of any bull market in precious metals. As I have detailed previously, it is the “junior” miners (and especially junior producers) who provide the best risk/reward profiles amongst the mining companies.
Of course, placing your investments in this sector is literally only half of the task of managing your precious metals portfolio. Regular profit-taking is an essential part of any long-term investment strategy, so deciding how/when to take profits is a critical determinant in the long-term performance of your investments. As a firm believer in the KISS principle (“keep it simple, stupid”), again I would suggest a very basic strategy: do not sell any of your bullion holdings.
Given that the mining companies offer superior performance to bullion, itself, trading and profit-taking exclusively through buying and selling these shares provides ample opportunities to lock-in gains – with the greater volatility of the mining shares giving investors the best opportunities to re-invest their profits on the inevitable dips which occur in even the strongest sectors.
As for when to take profits, in this case precious metals are no different than any other asset class. Many investors strongly favor selling half their positions on a “double” (a 100% gain), so that their remaining investment represents “free shares” – already fully paid-for through profit-taking. Personally, I don’t like to be that rigid with my own buying and selling.
With my favorite holdings, I rarely sell more than ¼ at any time. On the other hand, with companies which I don’t regard quite as highly, I’m quite happy to sell 100% on any short-term spike – as there are no shortage of quality, under-valued companies to pick from. For those who are investing in the junior miners, do not allow yourself to “fall in love” with any of these companies.
Seeing some of the spectacular gains which these companies have achieved just in this current rally, the temptation for novices to this sector is to look for a “home run” – and put most/all of their precious metals capital into one or two companies which they see as “can’t miss” prospects. Never forget that there is always risk with these companies, no matter how competent or conservative is the management team.
Accidents occur, governments change, and there are always the dreaded “Acts of God”. You must distribute your dollars into a basket of these companies. As I suggested earlier, for those only wanting to put a small portion of their capital into this sector, you are much better off to stick with buying bullion, rather than placing a “bet” on just one or two mining companies.
I personally have more than ¾ of my own portfolio concentrated in this sector – with that ratio having risen substantially due to the out-performance of this sector. I am fully conscious of the conventional wisdom of “diversifying” into many sectors/asset-classes under normal conditions, however, “this time it is different”.
This Time is Different
The last forty years is the first time in history that the entire, global financial system has been completely detached from a gold-standard. In every individual instance of purely “fiat” currencies (i.e. money backed by nothing), this banker-driven adventure has ended badly. Now, for the first time, the current system is facing the imminent risk of collapse.
As is always the case, the cause of this instability is the grossly excessive (and extremely unstable) mountains of debt (created by the bankers), combined with recklessly “easy” monetary policies (also courtesy of the bankers) which are fueling a rapid expansion of these mountains of debt. Unless an investor truly believes that you can “put out a fire with gasoline”, there is only one way this recklessness can end.
This doesn’t mean that everyone should put 100% of their investments into precious metals (or even close to it). What it does mean is that investors must be focused first and foremost on protecting their wealth – and only once that is accomplished do we have the luxury of seeking to maximize returns.
The precious metals sector is not the only place for people to make their investments, it’s simply the best sector. No other category of investment offers the combination of wealth preservation with superior up-side, investment potential. However, this does not mean that those investing in this sector can afford to be lazy or complacent.
The generational shifts taking place in our societies, economies, and markets means that we will see unprecedented volatility – and no shortage of “shocks” to markets. Because there are so many major stresses at work in the global economy (mostly derived from excessive debt/leverage), there are a near-infinite number of possible calamities ahead.
Focusing a significant portion of one’s portfolio into the precious metals sector provides a realistic strategy for small investors to protect themselves versus the option of leaping from sector-to-sector as various crises unfold in the years ahead.
As with all investment cycles, those who engage in such preparation first will be amongst those who benefit most from this strategy.
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