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Q: I’m looking for information on adding gold and silver to my investments. What are the advantages and disadvantages of buying coins? What about gold and silver stocks or mutual funds? Joe Franklin, a certified financial planner and president of Franklin Wealth Management in Hixson, Tenn. The trouble with coins, he says, is that dealers charge a premium.
And the price you pay isn’t based purely on the value of the underlying gold, silver or platinum. There are other factors at play, such as historical value or the costs associated with minting commemorative pieces. If do buy coins, you can start by searching the U. Mint’s site for an authorized purchaser in your region, then do additional research to make sure that the outfit is reputable. This is an area rife with scams.
Another consideration with owning the actual metal is storage: If you pay a third-party to hold the coins for you, there are additional fees. If you store it in a safe at home, there are additional risks. The fees and logistics of owning coins are only part of the problem, says Franklin. It doesn’t pay interest or dividends, and while it can go up in value it tends to be a fear trade. But you’re still going to see dramatic swings. For that reason, Franklin’s preferred strategy is a diversified natural resource mutual fund, which has the flexibility to invest in precious metals — namely via shares of mining companies, some of which pay dividends — energy concerns, and other commodities. While he isn’t a proponent of market timing, Franklin warns that commodities tend to go through long periods of over- and under performance.