Is Stocking up on Gold and Silver Smart?

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Regular Joe. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


There is a strategy among some survivalist and preppers that is included in their preparations. It’s the accumulation of gold and silver for use later after a SHTF event. I’m not trying to start an argument as to whether this is a smart strategy or not, only put forth my thoughts. Some will agree and some will disagree with me and that’s OK.

First off let me say that people prep for different reasons. Some do it in anticipation of TEOTWAWKI and some do it on a smaller scale for seasonal natural events like hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and temporary power loss from storms. Others are preparing for the end of civilization and law. I think it’s the latter group that is primarily interested in having gold and/or silver on hand to use in a bleak future. I’m going to let you know my reasons for NOT stocking up on precious metals as a hedge.

Why stocking up on precious metals is a bad idea

First off most people who are in the process of prepping have found that it costs money. Now don’t get me wrong, I have read numerous articles on prepping on a budget etc., but I don’t know anyone who has prepped properly and not spent money on it. I for one am not what would be considered wealthy. My wife and I are comfortable and we have very little debt other than our house. I make a good wage so money is not a huge issue for us. We do keep cash on hand for the possibility of power outages that last a short period of time. That being said, we are not as prepared as I would like us to be and therefore need to continue our preps. I simply can’t afford to put money towards hording precious metals at this time nor do I think it’s a smart thing for me to do. Why do I say that? One reason is what I stated above, we’re not fully prepped. I want my extra money to go toward my supplies at this time. It’s kind of like needing to pay off your credit cards before you can start saving money.

Another reason I don’t think I would put gold as one of my supplies is simply a practical matter in my mind. Let’s say the worst has happened and we are all in survival mode. You know someone who knows how to make bread and you want bread. You have a gold coin that you paid $1100 for back when the world was still somewhat sane. Do you offer that coin for a loaf of bread? 100 loaves or a years supply? The person making the bread may not want gold. They want a pig instead. You go out and find someone who has a pig and offer them the coin. They don’t want it, they want alcohol. This is starting to sound like bartering isn’t it?

What value would you put on food for your family?

The next reason I don’t want to keep precious metals is this . . . Once society has collapsed there is no unified value set for your coin. In your community of survivors maybe a coin is worth a cow. 5 miles down the road in another community they may say its worth one box of ammo but a cow might be worth 50 boxes of ammo. Everyone sets their own value to things. If you were in the desert and dying of thirst and would be dead by the end of the day without water, how much would you be willing to give for just one 8 oz. glass of water? Living in the Northwest, water probably doesn’t hold the same value as in the desert. I think values will be set individually and by community. Who’s to say that the prepper that stocked up on cans of tuna isn’t richer than one who has 1000 ozs. of gold? Money itself has no value per se. Money derives it’s value as being a medium of exchange, unit of measure or storehouse of wealth. It is what allows us to trade goods “Indirectly”. Money is only valuable because everyone knows it’s value and accepts it. In some ancient cultures sea shells were highly prized and used as currency. Sea shells have very little value as a currency in today’s world. This is the reason that the $1100 dollar gold coin might be worthless if civilization ends.

I believe it’s more realistic to think that the surviving members of the human race will live by supporting each other and trading, much like our ancestors did. I’ll give you a stone axe if you help me kill that Sabre Tooth. They traded salt or other spices. Salt was once one of the most valuable things on earth believe it or not. During the era when the Phoenicians ruled the Mediterranean sea and surrounding area they basically had a monopoly on salt and could charge whatever they saw fit. It is more than likely that the value of salt was equivalent to gold with it trading ounce for ounce. This is where the saying “Worth your salt” comes from. Why was the value so high? You have to remember that in ancient times it was hard to preserve food. Salt was used to preserve fish and meats as well as seasoning not to mention the Phoenicians had the salt market cornered. I’m not saying go stock up on salt, just making a point. Who knows what value certain things will have? Again, I think values will be set regionally. Another example of setting value is the diamond. They are not rare, they are controlled. The ones who control it create the value by locking up the extra stock and marketing. There are other precious stones that are much more rare and cost more because they are in fact rare.

Most preppers think Ammo would be highly valuable in a SHTF Event.

You might be better off thinking instead of where you PLAN on spending the End Of Days and stocking up on things that won’t be easily obtained in that area. The reason that the word plan was put in bold letters is that you must have a plan. It may not work out and you might wind up somewhere completely different doing something you didn’t think you would be doing. Live in the desert? Salt might be good. Water most assuredly. Live somewhere with a short growing season? Home canned fruits and vegetables might be the choice. All I’m trying to say is we don’t really know what will be valuable. If there is an Economic collapse, Gold and Silver may be a really good choice and I will be left eating my MRE’s while others feast on fine wine and steak. Who knows? I certainly don’t, but what I do know is I have skills to offer and those will always be valuable. All I can do is prepare the best way that I can using logic as to my situation and go from there. My logic won’t be your logic. My beliefs may not be your beliefs.

If you really think about it no matter what SHTF event happens, be it EMP, asteroid, zombie horde, alien invasion or super-volcano, the economy will collapse and it will probably collapse for a long time. When you are in survival mode buying gadgets and what not on amazon will be the furthest thing from your mind. Chaos will reign at the beginning and things will eventually settle down to various areas controlled by someone. That someone will be the one to set value to things. Maybe they will want to have gold jewelry all over them to show their power. My logic says that we will be in a bartering economy for quite a while. Eventually, we will revert back to using what we term as currency because bartering becomes too cumbersome. As populations come back and skills are developed we will need a way to trade and that way might very well be gold and sliver or some other precious metal or mineral. I think that if it truly was the end as we know it, where a very small percentage of people survive, it will be a very long time before we get back to monetary currency. More than likely the “currency” will be what ever you can trade or offer in service.

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22 Comments on "Is Stocking up on Gold and Silver Smart?"

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Cbt_Engr
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I agree completely with this author’s perspective on hoarding gold or silver for any kind of serious “end of days” event. I have a friend who does just that and we’ve had conversations that are very close to what this author brings up. You have a gold coin that you paid hundreds of dollars for, but you don’t even have a quart of water left in your supplies, or not even so much as a can of tuna — how much is that expensive coin worth now? You can’t eat it. And nobody is going to give you much for… Read more »
Les
Guest

In the scenario you describe what matters as to how many dollars were paid for the gold? If that piece of gold gets you the water you need then it was good that you had it. I would bet a fistful of those dollars wouldn’t have gotten water for you.

John Hertig
Guest
It is true that gold and silver are not critical for survival; you can’t eat it or drink it or cure your cut with it or protect yourself with it, and it won’t keep you warm and dry in inclement weather. Definitely, skills and necessities of life should be the priority. Extras for bartering and/or helping others are secondary. Gold, and particularly silver, are a useful part of only some bartering strategies so are third priority. If something which crushes the transportation system occurs, gold and silver will not be desirable for long because there will quickly be nothing to… Read more »
Bill
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I would take issue with the article concerning PMs. First, gold is not normally considered as bargaining or purchasing power. Gold is for the purpose of establishing yourself on the other side of the disaster. Silver on the other hand will be used for purchasing and bartering during the disaster. There are some who hold junk silver( pre 1965 silver coins) which will come in handy. It wont take long for the value of all things used for barter to be established. There will be those who will wish to take advantage of you in the barter, but then you… Read more »
GregChick
Guest

Best I have read on this subject to date. A smart baseline needs to come before a smart reaction. This entry is such baseline, also I just agree with it. So that is my 2 gold cents worth.

Thomas Paine in the butt
Guest
Thomas Paine in the butt

Silver has more value than as a medium of exchange. Silver has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. The earliest use, that I know anyway, of silver in medicine is in the Roman legions as a closure for wounds.

Copper and gold can also be used as conductors.

When thinking about precious metals think outside of monetary value.

Duane
Guest
First, I don’t think possessing precious metals, especially gold, is a bad idea. But I do think there are two sides to this thinking that need to be mentioned.This article deals with a scenario of which most of the country, or world, is in disarray and turmoil because of a catastrophic event created by some act of nature, or war, in which people are better served by proper prepping, survival, and bartering skills. The other scenario is the fear of economic decline or collapse on a national or global scale. In this scenario, possession of gold or silver may be… Read more »
Poorman
Guest
Just a couple of comments. the example you show of one person wanting a pig and another wanting alcohol is the exact reason that humans went from a straight barter system to using gold,silver and copper as a medium of exchange Another comment is you saying you are not prepaired yet so you don’t want to purchase silver or gold and I agree that should never be a first or most prep but I do feel it has it’s place so I wouldn’t consider my preps complete ( if we are ever complete ) without having some on hand. I… Read more »
Regular Joe
Guest
You are right about the reason humans went to using PM’s to make it easier than straight barter for trade. That is why I used the term “inderectly”. I do believe that at some point after things have gone horribly bad we will re-establish using some form of currency for trade. It might happen quickly and it might not. I also agree with the potential usefulness of gold and silver in the wake of an “Economic Collapse”. In that particular scenario Gold and Silver might skyrocket in value and those who choose to store it as part of their preps… Read more »
Sam
Guest

I certainly wouldn’t hoard PM’s to the detriment of other preps, BUT. . . There have been numerous SHTF events in the last couple of millenia, and PM’s have proven to be of value in most of them. A modest supply of silver, and possibly small gold coins might prove very helpful. I wouldn’t consider a PM stash until I had beans, bullets, bandaids and training / experience squared away.

John Wheeler
Guest

I agree mostly with the author. You need to be well-stocked first before you even think about precious metals. Once space becomes an issue though, AND you have several month’s supply of emergency cash, then if you have the money, precious metals are worth thinking about. But only after the basics are covered.

EgbertThrockmorton1
Guest
My wife and I take what we refer to as the “long view”, (strategic), when it comes to our PM acquisitions.. First, we see, having silver and gold fractional coins, as wealth protection, as equal in importance as food, water, shelter and means of physical defense. Even now, when we travel, domestically, we each carry in our EDC on-person gear, a supply of fractional gold coins, as a means of decreasing the likelihood of carrying a larger amount of FederL Reserve Notes.(commonly misinterpreted as “cash”) I have no desire to have anyone see or detect what we are carrying for… Read more »
Steve
Guest

Gold and silver are hedges against inflation which makes them a very good choice for economic collapse. Look at what’s happening in Venezuela right now and you will see the value of PM. The Bolivar has depreciated by 500 percent and gold has increased in value also by 500 percent. Missionaries in Venezuela are reporting that one once of gold will purchase three months worth of food. Before buying gold however you should be stocking up on other non perishable items. When you run out of storage space then go for the PMs.

christopher
Guest
I have to be one that disagree with you on this.. just because you personally don’t have the money for it, or want to spend your money for it, doesnt make it a reason NOT to do it. you say you keep cash on hand but anybody buying gold or silver is hoarder? arent you hording cash then, by that logic? but each to their own and that is your choice. I have a 1/3 of my salary in gold and silver and in cash and investments. you can actually buy less than ounce in gold if your not aware… Read more »
Regular Joe
Guest

I appreciate your comments and understand that we all have reasons for assigning “Value” to our strategic preps. As stated in the article my cash on hand is for short term problems like a snow storm that cuts power for a week, which I have experienced. I guess that I didn’t do a very good job of explaining my vision of “Total Collapse” and why I thought it would be beyond our lifetime before we got back to a currency based system. People who have PM’s in their preps might very well be way ahead of me if the SHTF

Stephen Maro
Guest
Oversimplified and too personnel. Of course you need to determine where/when to rank the necessity/desirability of different preps. However, because this doesn’t currently rank for you does not mean it is wrong. I realize you stated everyone’s situation is different, but then you gave a history lesson that was kind of silly and forgot lots of angles. If you are bugging out, can you take a cow, 50 boxes of ammo, a years supply of bread? Probably not. Can you take a coin? Yes. Additionally, a 1oz gold coin is not your only choice. They’re are .1 oz, .25oz, .5… Read more »
BigBarry
Guest

In Argentina after their collapse gold and silver were not well received. How do you make change for a tank of gas with a gold bar? What was accepted was gold jewelry. Specifically rings and necklaces. The rings used to barter, the necklace links used to trade. In the past I have purchased silver ingots. Instead of a birthday card I use the money on a small ingot to mark an occasion. The gift that keeps on giving.

W8
Guest
Smaller gold denominations are used frequently around the world today for purchasing essentials. Whereas some who were in Argentina’s collapse reported so so usage of gold/silver I promise you the rich elites which left Argentina to avoid a massive loss of wealth knew all about gold and silver. Nigeria had people using grams of gold during their currency crisis. Had you left Argentina, escaping with your family and went to a new country with a stash of gold, that gold bar you spoke of might have gotten you a car or a plot of land, a house, etc. None of… Read more »
W8
Guest
You’re off on your thinking. It’s not simply a matter of opinion or preference. You write an article about PMs being a bad idea. There are thousands of years of history and current events around the world which directly contradict your assertion. Gold/Silver are what is used when fiat money fails. You imagine Mad Max, The Road or WWZ I suppose and see no place for silver and gold. Food, water, guns, ammo, meds, cash, gold, silver and even skills and expertise can all be looked at as insurance policies that you control yourself. Prioritizing makes sense and if your… Read more »
Les
Guest
Gold and silver have been a medium of exchanged for five thousand years. Its portable. Its frangible (can be divided). Its recognized globally as wealth and it has value. Its difficult to carry a chicken around in your pocket. A handful of Mercury head dimes are a lot easier. The US Dollar today isn’t even a real Dollar. Its a promissory note. Its just debt passing from one to another with the feds being the debtee. It isn’t backed by nothing, and the day is swiftly approaching when it will be worth exactly that…. nothing. Having PMs is just one… Read more »
FRANK
Guest
I believe the author failed to include possibility that either all your preps will be taken away from you by force or you have to flee on foot carrying only what u can on your back. There are numerous stories where individuals literally left everything they owned and fled a country because a dictator came to power with a few gold coins sewn into their clothing which allowed them to start over in a new place. PM have there place in prepping it’s not an either or decision. One last note, an article on another site said a man purchased… Read more »
robert
Guest
vaalue is very “failures” a tornado in one area is a SHFT to them. Hurricane to another. Having something of value that can easily be transported is wise. The only reason that bartering will take hold and I agree it will. Is that most people do not plan and are not ready. Just look how popular garage sales are. So much junk people are trying to peddle. Same in a barter scenario. Eventually things will recover and gold/silver has beena medium of value for over 5000 years. No other “money” can say that. Also remember that the dollar is not… Read more »
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