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With all the turmoil and unexpected events affecting the economy, turning to gold as an investment option is a prudent step.
Gold is a financial refuge as an asset because it performs well even during times of economic uncertainty. When the stock market is declining, gold’s price goes up. In short, gold acts like financial insurance for your investments.
Gold is also immune to the effects of inflation. It is both a store of value and an accepted global currency, the value of which has remained stable and trustworthy for thousands of years.
Choose Gold Dealer – Factors To Consider
First-time buyers of precious metals often think that all gold-silver dealers are just the same. This is not the case.
Buyers should be extra careful about sending money to supposed dealers because the government has not regulated the gold/silver industry yet. Persons with multiple financial wipe-outs and even those with criminal convictions continue to ply their trade. They have some of the most impressive websites and the smoothest talking brokers.
Price & Fees
When it come to gold prices, it’s not who has the lowest prices. The best thing to do is to compare dealers and check who has the best and most reasonable offer. Shady operators often bring down their prices to hook customers in, but you’ll know that these offers are too good to be true.
First-time buyers normally believe that getting the lowest price is the most important consideration in the purchase. It’s not. What is more important than being able to buy it at the lowest price is the ‘getting’, or how you can take physical possession of what you bought.
Look into and compare the shipping fees. See if they are reasonable and enough for the volume of your purchase.
Of course, you should keep abreast with the current and fair metal prices, so you will know what is within a reasonable range and not fall for scammers who dangle lucrative baits so they can pull a fast one on you.
Delivery and Location
One of the first things you need to settle is whether you would like to transact with an online dealer or a local physical dealer.
More and more people are doing online shopping nowadays because of its advantages. First, online prices are usually lower than what you can find in traditional stores. An online shop won’t have to pay for what brick-and-mortar establishments do to keep their business running. Plus, online stores tend to have a national reach, sometimes even to international markets. For gold, online dealers usually sell higher volumes of bullion and enjoy significantly lower fixed costs. Because of this, they can pass on the savings to their customers in terms of lower costs.
However, not all gold buyers would be confident to buy from an online dealer. Gold is a very expensive commodity, so people are usually wary especially if they would buy it from a faceless representative they only met online. This is probably why up to now, with all the advances in technology, local gold dealers continue to remain in business.
A good number of gold buyers still prefer local shops because of the comfort, security, privacy, and relationship with the store personnel – which most online dealers often lack.
If you’re only buying small quantities of bullion and paying in cash, your local dealer may not even report it to the IRS, so the transaction remains confidential.
Another advantage of buying from a local store is, you can physically inspect the gold and bring it with you immediately after. Of course, you may pay a higher price for the gold but there is no shipping fee and you don’t have to wait for delivery.
Because local dealers recognize the unique nature of the business, they are very careful about their own reputation in the community they serve. Often, the service level they show is above average than most stores.
However, because these traditional stores still pay more in overhead costs and do not necessarily get the sales volume they want, they often have higher prices for their bullion.
Just remember that whether you choose an online or a local dealer, each of them carries their own set of risks.
Reputation and Experience
It is a good practice to deal only with companies that have been operating the business for a number of years. Five years in the trade is acceptable but ten years or more is even better. Because the price of gold has been steadily rising, expect new players to proliferate every year.
In fact, this trend has already started as more and more new gold enterprises are popping up all over the Internet. The scary thing is that some of these dealers are merely home-based operations with very minimal or even zero experience in gold dealing. And don’t fall for their websites which appear to be as appealing as some of the more reputable firms we have seen for decades. Although some of these online firms will prove themselves worthy, most of them will likely fall short.
Dealers who have been doing business ten years or more have the requisite experience in dealing with precious metals.
The owners are usually individuals who are dedicated to the business and are true believers in the reliability of gold. They are the kind of firms you want to have a business relationship with.
Your dealer should be able to offer you a wide range of gold bullion products to choose from. Some stores have a small network of suppliers, so they can only offer a specific product or they specialize in one type of product.
For example, you may find one that carries only coins (for example American Buffalo only or South African Krugerrand), or a specific size (1oz coins only) and some that only sells gold bars or gold coins.
The truth is, there is no guarantee when it comes to the business of precious metals. Due to the spike in demand, many new companies have come up and some of them are there just to take advantage of customers or even dupe them into paying but end up not getting anything. Scams involving gold coins have been a staple of fraudsters for years. Tricksters have milked naïve investors through their dishonest schemes and more newbies continue to fall prey to them in their desire to get physical gold as a means to protect their wealth.
However, you can observe some actions to lower your risk of ending up with a bogus or cheating dealer.
Understand what you’re buying. Learn about the product before you close any deal.
- Price: Educate yourself to know the current spot price of precious metals you want to buy or sell.
- Weight: Make sure that you know how to get the weight of gold.
- Design: Each coin has its own exclusive design with very small details that make them very difficult to fake.
- Purity: Check for the purity of the gold you’re buying before you pay. They can be 97%, 98%, 99%, 99.10%, 99.99% or 100% pure.
Keep away from offers that are “too good to be true”. If a dealer offers a bullion product with a price that’s so incredibly lower than the average, or bundles exorbitant incentives and exaggerated claims, chances are, it’s a scam to lure you in.
Pick the big leaders. Dealers with a long track record that extends over the years are obviously more reliable. They have the network, experience, and capacity to handle big demands and even offer greater flexibility.
Ask if they have a Buyback Policy. It’s not highly probable that you would hold on to your gold forever because there might come a time when you want or need to sell it. The easiest way to do it is to sell it through the same dealer that sold it to you, so ask if a Buyback Policy is in place.
Skip ‘rare’ coins that are selling way above their meltdown. Remember this rule: gold products do not legitimately sell below their spot prices.
They should accept various forms of payment. Legitimate dealers should have no problem accepting multiple forms of payment. They should be able to accommodate cash, credit card, debit card, check, and other forms of payment for your transactions.
They should have a positive presence in the NFA database or the Better Business Bureau. You should search the NFA database and check the regulatory background of your dealer. You can also refer to the Better Business Bureau and find out if they are on it, how long they’ve been in business, ratings and if they have good or negative reviews.