The easiest way to avoid being scammed is to buy a reputable brand. And if you buy a recognized stamp, it will have all the proper stamping that a pure gold ingot should have. When central banks hold precious metals — especially gold — in reserves, they hold gold ingots. Why? Gold bars are simply more suitable for storage and mass investment than gold coins.
Gold bars require much less refining work, are easier to stack, and may be easier to secure. You protect your home and car, why wouldn't you do the same with your retirement savings? After all, life savings are just as important, if not more so, than your real assets, aren't they? Indeed, gold bars are a type of insurance for your wallet. They are not tools for getting rich. Rather, they are tools for staying rich by insuring (or isolating) your portfolio from market shocks.
Whether you buy your gold coins in person or online, you don't want to spend money on counterfeits or on less pure gold than you're led to believe. For this reason, simple gold bars tend to be a popular choice among investors looking for gold as a safe investment. But as with gold coins, you're likely to pay more for the amount of gold you receive, a premium that can range from 20 to 300%, depending on the manufacturer. From an investment point of view, investors who want to add the physical product that tracks the price of gold may prefer to avoid gold coins.
When you receive the gold bars, it may be a good idea to store them in their packaging to avoid scratches and store them in a home safe or safe deposit box. Gold funds can track the price of gold, include the shares of several gold mines and refineries, or offer exposure to gold futures and options. This allows you to expose yourself to gold as an investment without the risk or headache of dealing with physical gold. This is especially important if you want to store ingots in a gold IRA; you can't keep less pure gold, unless it's a pre-approved gold coin, in an IRA.
If you're still looking to expose yourself to gold, you might consider indirect access to gold through investments in gold mining stocks, ETFs or gold-focused mutual funds, or gold futures contracts. Some investors prefer to buy gold from local merchants, allowing them to physically inspect the gold and pay for it in cash. Buyers of gold bullion should check websites such as Better Business Bureau and Ripoff Report for more information on a gold seller's reputation. Gold IRA Guide offers many free resources to help you invest in gold ingots or coins in your retirement savings accounts.
Investors who want to enjoy the feel, feel and security of owning gold may prefer to buy gold bars rather than intangible investments, such as gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Physical ownership of gold involves a number of unique costs, including storage and insurance costs, and transaction fees and margins associated with buying and selling the product.