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Gold Investment Storage and Vaulting Options7 min read

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If you invest in gold, silver, or any other precious metals, you will need to consider how you will store them. You want to keep your gold, silver, platinum, palladium, coins, and other precious metals safe and with a variety of options for storage and vaulting for gold investments, it can be difficult to decide on the best and most secure method. 

With so many options, which is the best way to store your gold? We will go over the various gold storage options available for investors and why so many of them choose to store their gold in certified vaults. 

Options For Storing Gold and Precious Metal Investments

The days of hiding your money in your home or burying it in the backyard are long gone. There are just too many ways that this situation can end badly, from theft to fire to natural disasters. The last thing you want to do is lose your life savings!

Making a decision on the best storage options for you will involve balancing out the cost of storage and the probability of loss, as well as the speed that you can access it in the event of an emergency. 

While there is a minority out there that will only store their investments in a hidden cache in an attempt to keep the prying eyes of the government, banks, and other institutions away, these are the five most common storage options for investors:

Home Storage

Have you ever heard the saying, “If you can’t hold it, it’s not yours”? If you fall under that belief, you may be tempted to keep your precious metals at home for storage. While not the recommended method, if you are a small to a mid-level investor you do have this option.

However, it is highly recommended that nobody knows what you’re hiding and where and if your investments are five figures or more in value, you want a professionally installed, properly hidden, and completely insured safe somewhere in your home. 

Safe-Deposit Box

Whether you choose a bank or non-bank safety deposit box, this storage method is good for smaller values of gold investments, especially if you need access to your precious metals quickly.

Make sure you check what happens to your investments in the event of a banking crisis. (I.E. If the non-bank safety deposit box company should go bankrupt, can they keep your assets that are vaulted with them?)

Bank Vaults

Larger banks will offer to vault for bullion. However, I would recommend that before you store any larger amounts of gold or money with a bank in their vault that you find out what happens to your investments in the event of a bank crash.

Because of the bank crisis of 2007 – 2008, banks are no longer as secure as was once thought. In fact, banks are permitted to use deposited funds as their own in a crisis. 

Non-Bank Mixed Vaults

A mixed vault will hold various high-value assets like gold, diamonds, artwork, and cash. They offer up excellent security, but it does come at a higher cost. 

Non-Bank Specialist Vaults

Facilities that specialize in bullion vaulting are well insured and offer high-security storage at a  more affordable price. Your investments will be stored in segregated or pooled vaults.

It will be completely separated from other investors’ metals and fully separated from corporate assets, which ensures your investment in the event that the vaulting company goes bankrupt. Many of these vaults are also designated as IRA-approved.

Gold Storage Risks

Obviously, theft is a major worry in investors’ minds, rightfully so. There are not many other types of assets that can easily “vanish” like gold. This could be in a “common” theft in the home, a sub-rate vaulting company, appropriation from banks during a crisis, or due to a government confiscation in the unlikely event of a national disaster. 

In any event, once stolen, gold is untraceable. 

The best vaulting companies have vigorous safety measures in place to protect your assets. Foot traffic in and out of the building is subject to metal detectors, searches, and Z-ray machines to detect gold on each person.

Many companies require their employees to have a change of clothing before being allowed into the building–this clothing will have no pockets and will never leave the safety of the facility. Staff will also be subject to a background check tougher than the military before they can be hired on. 

External thefts will be impossible in these high-end vault companies, with the amount of security in place, thieves would have trouble even getting on the property, let alone get close to the gold. 

In the event that theft does happen, top-notch vault companies will have stellar insurance and you will be covered. 

Home Storage Issues

As mentioned before, storing your gold and other investments at home can be problematic. Not only do you run the risk of it being stolen, but you can also have some other issues, including:

Over-Secrecy

Keeping your investments private is always the right way to go, but you should at least leave some sort of paper trail in the event of your death. There are millions, if not billions, of dollars sitting unclaimed because loved ones are unaware that it is there. 

Fires and Natural Disasters

Gold has a lower melting point and a house fire would be hot enough to melt your gold. Once it mixes with debris, it is expensive and difficult to salvage. Earthquakes, tornadoes, and flooding are also possible crises that could put your investments in danger. 

Mixed Storage For Gold

Keeping some of your investments in a vaulted storage unit, but also keeping some of it closer at hand is a good idea. How much you decide to keep at home would depend on your beliefs of an impending emergency.

For example, if you have $100,000 in investments of gold, you may decide to keep $20,000 at home for an emergency, with the other $80,000 kept in a secure gold vault. 

You would want to make sure you have a professionally installed safe in your home, preferably secured into your home structure and hidden. 

Please note: Criminals are more likely to find your precious metals than you think. Social media pictures, word-of-mouth chit-chat,  and bragging kids or spouses are all ways that the word of your investments could be made known. No matter how well you think the gold is hidden, a determined thief will find it and may use violence to take it.

Vaulting Gold For An IRA

If your gold is for your IRA, then it MUST be professionally vaulted in an approved bullion vault or storage depository by law. Home storage of your IRA gold is completely and totally out. If you use any storage option other than what is IRS-approved, you could face fines–or worse.

Fortunately, IRA gold storage facilities are top-level secure and have the best insurance policies in the world. Vaulting IRA gold is simple, just requires a few forms to be filled out, and then you can open your self-directed IRA account.

As soon as your gold is paid for, it will be delivered to an IRS-approved storage facility where it will be held in either a segregated or allocated account of your choice. 

You may not have to pay vaulting fees; many vaulting companies provide the first year of storage for free and continue to provide free storage depending on the amount in the account. 

Making a Decision on Storage and Vaulting for Gold

Every person is unique and so is their investment portfolio. Choosing the best solution for your portfolio will depend on your preferences, circumstances, and both short-term and long-term investment strategies. Keeping your gold at home or offsite in a storage facility both offer positives and negatives. 

Keeping your gold at home will require some planning, some secrecy, security measures, and possibly even a dehumidifier to ensure the air is appropriate for your gold. And don’t forget your insurance. Many homeowner policies won’t cover precious metals without a special rider, which could make home storage more expensive in the long run. 

Going the offsite route will require some research as well, making sure to pick a reputable storage facility that is covered by excellent insurance. But it is also the safer route, whether you store your entire investment gold or just part of it. 

Conclusion

The bottom line is that gold storage is a necessity for any investor who is utilizing precious metals in their investment portfolio. Whether you go for home storage, a safe deposit box, bank, non-bank vault, or a specialist fault, you will need a safe way to keep it. 

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About 

Edwin Cannon has spent his entire career in the financial industry and specializes in alternative investments and surviving marketing turbulence. He started My Retirement Paycheck to help educate consumers about retirement investment options that aren't typically introduced by advisors.