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For as long as there’s been gold, there have been counterfeit gold sellers. Any investment comes with risk, but when buying gold, the last thing you want is to get scammed. Investing in gold is an excellent way to diversify your investment portfolio and prepare for retirement.
What is the safest way to buy gold? Like all investments, this requires research. Rushing into what seems like a good deal could be a mistake. There are many factors to consider when buying gold, and Oxford Gold Group is here to break them all down.
Buy From Reputable Dealers
First, your gold must come from a reputable source. There are many gold dealers to choose from, both in retail and online. When you find the product you’re looking for, ensure the dealer is legit before you give them any money.
If you choose a gold retailer, pay attention to how they treat you and other customers. Find reviews of the shop online, and be wary if anyone has had a poor experience customer service-wise.
When you go to the store yourself, the seller should be patient and open. Whether you’re buying gold jewelry or pure gold bars, they should be willing to answer any questions regarding their products. If a seller is dodging questions or pressuring you to buy quickly, they could be scamming you.
Authenticity and Certification
However, it isn’t enough that the seller is nice. Some scammers can be very convincing. The safest way to buy gold is by verifying the seller’s certification and the authenticity of their gold.
When speaking to your seller, ask them the following:
- Is your business registered?
- Have any regulatory bodies issued you any warnings?
- How long have you been in business?
The seller should be able to answer each of these questions easily. Remember that high-pressure marketing tactics like “limited-time offers” are tactics scammers use to sell their gold before an investor can do proper research.
If you want to buy gold anonymously, you’ll also want to look for a private seller who allows you to pay in cash or with cryptocurrency.
If you’re buying from an online seller, you can do all of this vetting through their online reviews. Look at how long they’ve been in business, what other customers’ experiences are, and their prices compared to other online sellers.
When in doubt, the U.S. Mint has a directory of American retailers that sell authentic silver and gold bullion. Use this tool to verify authenticity and find the closest gold retailer to you.
Analyze Market Conditions
The price of gold is volatile, which means it fluctuates frequently with market changes. During COVID-19, for example, there was an increase in desire for safe-haven investments. This made the demand for gold increase, along with its value. This is an example of a bull market, a rising market with positive economic trends.
On the other hand, conditions like a high gold supply, rising interest rates, and a strong dollar can cause the value of gold to go down. Understanding the current value of gold is vital to your purchase. If you know the true value of gold, you can easily recognize when a seller is driving up their prices.
You can find this information from government agencies, experienced gold dealers, bullion banks, and investment organizations.
Evaluating Gold’s Suitability as a Long-Term Asset
When making an investment in something of high value, like gold or silver, you want to ensure you benefit from it long-term. When determining gold’s longevity and suitability as an asset, you must determine which form of gold you’re buying. While all gold has potential as a robust long-term asset, different types have different purposes.
Gold Bullion Bars
Gold bars are a classic form of gold investment. While they can be as little as one gram, most sellers start at one troy ounce. A troy ounce is how investors and sellers measure gold and other precious metals. Gold bars can be as large as a kilogram, or about two pounds.
Gold bars have a higher gold content than many other forms, being 99.5% gold. If you’re purchasing gold bars, look out for the serial number on the bottom. If a bar doesn’t have one, it could be a red flag. Gold bars are great long-term investments, as they are good hedges against inflation.
If you don’t want to commit to full bars, gold coins have their own advantages. They are smaller and often less expensive. Some gold coins also have a design that increases their value, depending on the rarity of the design.
Gold coins are good long-term investments. They are easier to store than larger forms of gold, and you can sell or trade them much more easily.
Gold EFTs and Mutual Funds
Sometimes, gold coins and bars aren’t as liquid as other investments. If you want to sell them, you must find a buyer. If you want gold investments you can liquidate quickly, consider gold EFTs and gold mutual funds.
These methods allow you to invest in gold mining stocks. Some popular gold mining stocks are:
- Newmont (NEW)
- Barrick Gold (GOLD)
These options are especially convenient if you already have a brokerage account set up, as you’re familiar with stock markets and exchanges. You won’t have to worry about storing physical gold or the extra fees that come with doing so.
Gold futures allow you to buy gold on credit. Futures are contracts between a buyer and seller that sell gold on a set date. They detail the amount of gold and the price. As the buyer, you have until the set date to buy the gold at the agreed-upon price. Then, the seller is contractually obligated to sell it to you at the expiration date.
Gold futures have lower commissions and lower margin requirements than equity investments. Like EFTs and mutual funds, they are also more liquid than physical forms of gold.
Factors To Consider When Buying Physical Gold
If you’ve never invested in gold before, you may be unfamiliar with the factors you must consider when buying physical gold.
Sellers measure the purity of gold in karats, with 24k being the purest form. Other common purity levels you may buy or sell include:
- 18 karat
- 20 karat
- 22 karat
The purer gold is, the more valuable it is.
Another factor that determines gold’s value is its weight. Sellers measure gold in grams and troy ounces. Troy ounces are slightly heavier than traditional ounces. Common gold bar sizes, for example, include:
- Small bars: one gram to ½ ounce
- Medium bars: 20 grams to five ounces
- Large bars: 100 grams to 400 ounces
As a new gold investor, you’re vulnerable to scams and fraudulent gold. When investing in physical gold, you must verify its authenticity before going through with the sale. To visually inspect gold, look for:
- Hallmarks: There should be stamps or hallmarks on authentic gold, marking its purity and origin.
- Color: Authentic gold’s color should be consistent throughout.
- Density: Authentic gold is much heavier than it looks. If it feels unusually light, this could be a red flag.
- Consult experts: If you’re ever unsure about a piece of gold’s authenticity, speak to a jeweler or appraiser you trust.
Premium Over Spot Price
It’s also important to understand premiums over spot prices. The spot price is the current value of gold on the market, while the premium represents the markup price. For example, if gold is worth $1,500 per ounce on the market but a gold coin sells for $1,550, the $50 is the premium. This is what allows sellers to earn a profit.
Importance of Insured Shipping
When you order gold online, you must ensure it ships safely. The best way to do this is through insured shipping. You can ask the seller about their insured shipping policy. The United States Postal Service (USPS) is the most secure way to ship gold in the United States. Shipping insurance provides reimbursement for lost or stolen goods in transit. This is essential when purchasing gold, as losing this investment could risk thousands of dollars.
Legal and Tax Considerations
The IRS considers physical gold assets to be capital assets, making them subject to capital gains tax. However, you only owe this tax after you sell the assets and if you have held them for at least a year. If you do pay capital gains tax, you can pay up to 28%. This tax is based on your individual tax bracket.
Additionally, you must report any sales of physical gold on Schedule D Form 1040 on your tax return. Use Form 1099-B to report the sale to the IRS immediately after.
Storage and Security
Purchasing physical gold requires safe and secure storage. For smaller amounts of gold, you might store it in your home in a secure safe. Another option is to store it at a professional storage facility or bank. While you’ll have to pay regular fees for this service, you can rest assured that your investment is safe.
Invest Safely With Oxford Gold Group
Investing in gold can have significant benefits, especially later in life. Oxford Gold Group specializes in converting IRAs and 401(k)s into precious metals. The safest way to buy gold is through a trusted group like us. If you’re interested in beginning your gold investment journey, contact us at 833-600-GOLD for more information or browse our products page.