How to Invest in Gold

How to Invest in Gold: A Comprehensive Guide

Gold is, without a doubt, the most well-known precious metal in the world. It transcends cultural barriers and has been used historically for numerous reasons, including cash, jewelry, and vital components in electronics. Even in this day and age, gold continues to captivate investors as a unique asset that provides an alternative to traditional stock markets.

Since this precious metal plays such a crucial role in today’s world, many people are interested in investing in gold. However, they aren’t sure how to go about it. From physical investments to non-physical investments, IRAs, and more, there are various options to consider. Let’s take a closer look!

how invest in gold

Why Invest in Gold?

Apart from the fact that many other people do it and gold is an extremely valuable material, why should you invest in it? Here are some crucial reasons:

Gold as a Valuable Investment

Many investors prefer to use gold as a store of value since its demand is higher than its supply and it has intrinsic value. This tangible asset is different from other investments in that it can’t simply be created or defaulted on.

Diversification Benefits of Gold

Since gold moves inversely to stocks and bonds, it helps diversify your investment portfolio and reduce the risk of loss during economic downturns.

Gold as a Safe Haven During Recession

Gold’s price has historically increased during times of market volatility or loss, such as recessions or times of economic or geopolitical unrest. Hence, it is regarded as a safe-haven asset.

Gold as an Inflation Hedge

buying gold to defend against inflation

Gold serves as an inflation hedge. Its value increases in tandem with the general cost of products. This is partially due to the limited supply of gold, which allows owners to better protect their purchasing power despite low-interest rates.

Understanding Gold as an Asset

Before investing in anything, it’s crucial to understand and gain knowledge of the investment so you know what to expect and can create an effective strategy and financial plan. The following factors will help you understand how gold as an asset works: 

The Tangibility of Gold

Gold, as opposed to stocks or bonds, is a tangible asset. Therefore, for some investors, gold’s nature as a tangible asset provides a sense of security, particularly when digital or paper assets appear more susceptible to market threats.

Liquidity Aspects of Gold

The gold market is liquid. It has a higher liquidity than various financial markets. Unlike other financial markets, gold’s liquidity doesn’t dry up, even in difficult financial times. Thus, gold enables investors to cover their obligations in cases where less liquid assets in their portfolio are either mispriced or impossible to sell.

Gold’s Volatility and Stability

Because of the tremendous volatility of gold prices, gold isn’t a completely stable investment if you’re looking for a short-term option. Given the volatility in the daily gold prices, it is a more stable long-term investment.

Gold’s Global Acceptance

gold is a globally accepted asset

Since gold is seen as a reliable store of value and isn’t directly impacted by company-specific problems or economic policies, unlike paper currencies or other assets, many investors turn to it during uncertain times.

Different Ways to Invest in Gold

If you’re interested in investing in gold, there are numerous options to consider. Let’s take a look at some of them so you can determine the ideal method for you:

Physical Gold Investments

Gold Bullion and Bars

Gold bullion is a very popular investment option and is often sold in ounces or grams. The face of the gold bar ought to have the weight, purity, and manufacturer stamped on it.

Gold Coins

When investing in gold coins, they must meet the IRS’s purity requirements. Apart from gold bullion and bars, gold IRA physical possession involves two common eligible coins are the Canadian Maple Leaf and American Gold Eagle. However, these often come at a premium and are more expensive than gold bullion.

Gold Jewelry

how to invest in gold jewelry

Purchasing gold jewelry is a more expensive option, which can result in a 20% to 300% premium, depending on the supplier.

Non-Physical Gold Investments

Gold Stocks and Mining Companies

Another approach to investing in gold is to purchase stock in gold mining companies. Although you don’t physically possess the gold, you’re exposed to fluctuations in the market price of the precious metal. However, if the price of gold starts falling, the gold mining company you invested in may decide to hold back on dividends.

Gold ETFs and Mutual Funds

You can gain exposure to gold through various gold mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This could involve trading gold derivatives in the options and futures markets or investing in gold stocks.

Gold Futures and Options

Futures are derivative contracts in which a buyer commits to buying a certain amount of gold at a predefined price at a later time. More experienced investors can hedge their larger portfolios and speculate on prices with gold futures, giving them exposure without having to handle the physical metal.

Option contracts are similar; however, instead of the buyer being committed to purchasing the gold, they have the option to exercise the contract depending on where the gold price fluctuations are favorable or unfavorable.

Innovative Gold Investment Options

Commodity-Linked Structured Investments

By using this strategy, you choose a base currency, such as USD, and the length of the investment. A Target Conversion Rate (TCR) between gold (XAU) and the base currency must be decided upon with the broker or bank.

You will receive the coupon and principal amount in either base currency or gold (XAU) at the end of the investment period. Should gold (XAU) increase in value in relation to the base currency, you will get paid in USD for the coupon and principal amounts. However, if the value of gold drops, you’ll be repaid in gold.

Internet Investment Gold

Internet Investment Gold is becoming a more popular means of entering the gold market. Online gold purchases made through Internet Investment Gold enable investors to purchase physical gold, have it stored in reputable vaults, and retrieve it when needed. Therefore, in addition to being incredibly convenient, Internet Investment Gold offers advantages, including owning physical gold and exposure to gold as an asset class.

Gold Savings Plans

Investors can increase their gold holdings with regular gold savings plans by making regular purchases, such as once a week or once a month. Because frequent savings amounts and minimum contributions are low, providers of gold savings plans often target mass-market consumers by securely storing clients’ gold on their behalf.

Gold Certificates

having a gold certificate of ownership is an important step in gold investment

Gold certificates are documents certifying that the owner possesses the specified quantity of gold. Investors who own gold certificates have direct exposure to the price of the yellow metal. Nevertheless, they’re only as secure as the underlying business that issued the certificate. If the company faces insolvency or bankruptcy, the gold certificate may lose all its value.

Gold IRAs

Understanding Gold IRAs

With the help of a custodian, gold dealer, and depository, gold IRAs allow investors to own actual gold and other precious metals such as silver, platinum, and palladium.

According to the IRS, these self-directed IRAs allow users to hold alternative assets, such as gold, cryptocurrencies, or real estate, in retirement accounts, which is something that’s not possible with traditional or Roth IRAs.

Benefits of Gold IRAS in Retirement Planning

Some of the notable advantages of gold IRA include:

  • They diversify your retirement portfolio.

  • They act as a hedge against inflation or drops in the US dollar.

  • There are numerous tax benefits.

  • You may be allowed to rollover a part of another 401(k) or IRA.

  • The gold dealer will work with an IRS-approved custodian, so you don’t have to worry about compliance.

Considerations and Limitations of Gold IRAs

While there are several pros when it comes to gold IRAs, it’s also crucial to consider the following limitations:

  • You’ll have to pay fees for storage, account maintenance, and insurance.

  • The initial purchase orders are often quite high and tend to range between $5,000 and $50,000.

  • Early withdrawals will result in tax penalties.

  • You may only start withdrawing from the account once you reach the age of 59.5.

investing into gold ira with limitations

Steps to Start Investing in Gold

Now that you know the different options available, how do you start investing in your chosen option? Our comprehensive gold IRA guide can shed more light on the details, butt for now, here’s a short summary of what you need to know:

Buying Physical Gold

You can buy physical gold from certain brokers or banks. Make sure you only buy gold from reliable vendors at all times. Generally speaking, buying gold bullion locally from reputable vendors is preferable to doing it online.

Investing in Gold ETFs or Gold Unit Trusts

You can buy gold ETFs or unit trusts through a licensed broker or bank. Keep in mind that you will incur the costs of managing the fund in both cases; however, ETF management fees are typically cheaper.

To make sure the companies supporting the funds are well-capitalized and have a proven track record, do your due diligence. Investors may find it challenging to verify this, so you might want to get guidance from a licensed financial advisor.

Purchasing Gold Mining Stocks

To buy gold mining stocks, you can invest in the stocks or royalties of a gold mining company, mutual fund, or ETF. Examine the instrument closely, just like you would with any investment – for example, the prospectus and fees of a fund or the financial statements of gold miners.

Grasping Gold Futures and Options

finance broker presents gold future options to his client

To buy gold futures contracts and options contracts, you need a margin brokerage account. These investments are traded on futures and options markets. Remember that not all brokers will give you direct access to gold options markets.

Important Factors in Gold Investment

The following factors play a major role when it comes to gold investing, and it’s crucial that you familiarize yourself with them:

Understanding Purity in Physical Gold

If you want to assess the value of your gold, it’s vital to understand gold purity. A gold item’s purity should be marked or otherwise identified. The IRS has strict rules regarding the purity and fineness of precious metals you can invest in. Therefore, by understanding how purity in physical gold works, you can rest assured that you’re complying with the rules set out by the IRS.

Production Costs for Gold Bars and Coins

Gold is a limited resource. As a result, finding and extracting real gold is more challenging and expensive. Furthermore, the price rises when supply cannot keep up with demand. This results in high production costs for gold bars and coins.

Management Fees in Gold ETFs

Investors have to pay management fees in the form of expense ratios each year for fund management, marketing, administration, and other incurred expenditures. These fees are levied by the god ETF and can be high.

Understanding the Spot Price of Gold

The spot price of gold is the current market price at which dealers can conduct over-the-counter transactions with one another. It is the price of one troy ounce of the precious metal. As the spot price of gold increases, so does the demand.

Assessing Gold’s Historical Performance

gold historical price chart

Historically, due to its ability to hold or grow in value over time, despite rising prices, gold has long been regarded as a hedge against inflation. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to remember that buying gold carries some risk and doesn’t always guarantee a profit. Overall, historical performance shows that gold performs better as a long-term investment.

Comparing Different Gold Investment Options

With so many available options, what investment should you opt for? Let’s compare some of these methods so you can determine which one is better suited to your needs.

Coins vs. Bars: A Detailed Comparison

The main difference between gold bars and coins is their shape and size.

Round and modest in size, gold coins have designs that increase their rarity and appeal. They tend to have sentimental value and relate to a significant historical figure or event in time. Investors may find it easier to store gold coins because of their compact size.

Contrarily, gold bullion bars come in bigger sizes and may require a higher budget for your gold investment, even though the price per gram may be lower. Since they are essentially rectangular blocks of gold, they are only valuable for their gold content and have little historical significance.

Even though they are less expensive per gram and might be closer to the spot price, you might wind up paying more than you would for coins, especially if you opt for the smaller bars.

Gold coins are popular for investors looking for long-term growth and tax advantages since they provide greater investment flexibility, a possible value gain, and tax benefits. However, gold bars are a good option for investors who are concerned with the value and content of gold because they are more affordable for larger investments, offer a pure product, and have lower premiums.

Investors should think about their own needs, financial objectives, and preferences when deciding between gold coins and gold bars because each alternative has pros and cons of its own.

Physical vs. Non-Physical Gold Investments

The liquidity and accessibility of non-physical gold are two of its main benefits. Investing in non-physical gold is more liquid than holding actual gold since it can be exchanged quickly and effortlessly. Paper gold is also more accessible to individual investors because it can be bought and traded in smaller sums.

Physical gold has several benefits, among them being its dependability and tangible nature. Unlike paper gold, physical gold is a tangible asset that offers investors a stable store of value free from market fluctuations. Furthermore, physical gold is adaptable and flexible, enabling investors to purchase and sell gold in a variety of forms in accordance with their financial objectives and spending limits.

When it comes to storage costs, you might incur high costs for physical gold, while non-physical gold has no storage costs. However, non-physical gold is subject to counter-party risk, while physical gold isn’t. Therefore, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons to determine the best option for you.

physical gold vault storage options

Perspectives on Gold Investment

  • Investor’s Perspective: The various benefits and value associated with gold make it an attractive option for investors.

  • Market Perspective: From a market point of view, the demand for gold is higher than the supply, and various global events impact the price of this precious metal.

  • Economic Perspective: Economically, gold is a reserve asset and has a low correlation with other investment types.

  • Financial Advisor’s Perspective: Financial advisors tend to recommend gold investments when it comes to long-term financial planning and retirement savings. It’s also recommended when someone is looking to diversify their portfolio.

how to invest in gold - a financial advisor's perspective

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to invest in gold?

This will depend on your needs and unique circumstances. Make sure to do your research before making a final decision.

How do beginners invest in gold?

An exchange-traded fund and a mutual fund are probably the safest and easiest options for beginners. You can easily buy or sell these securities, as each share of these options represents a fixed amount of gold. Furthermore, mutual funds and ETFs generally have affordable costs and lower minimum investment requirements.

Is gold a good investment during a recession?

Due to historic trends, gold is a good investment during recessions because it’s not correlated with other investment types. However, you still need to consider your specific investment strategy and how this will impact it.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of investing in gold bars and coins?

The benefits include a hedge against inflation, portfolio diversity, a valuable investment, and a safe-haven asset. However, the drawbacks consist of brokerage, storage, insurance costs, strict compliance rules, and price volatility.

What are the cost-effective ways to invest in gold?

ETFs, mutual funds, and other non-physical gold investments are more cost-effective than investing in physical gold bullion.


There are various gold investment options and each has its own pros and cons. Now that you know how to invest in gold, you need to research each option and evaluate and assess each one so that you can determine the best method for your risk tolerance and unique circumstances.

Arthur Karter


Hi, I’m Arthur, and nobody wants to wake up in their 50s like me that they are in serious debt with minimal assets. This wake-up call forced me to reevaluate everything. After going through the school of Hard Knocks, I’m ready to help you by sharing the best retirement choices and how they differ from all the same-old, same-old options that financial advisors sell. These alternatives will help you build and protect your wealth.

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