Q & A with a Precious Metals Expert!

Q&ARecently we held a Q & A session on Reddit with our Senior Product Manager Brian Hunt. We received some good Questions we’d like to share Brian’s answers to.

If you ever have a question, know that you can contact us at 800-375-9006 and we’re happy to help!

Question: If someone is brand new to precious metals and looking to get started, what products would you recommend they spend…say…their first $500 on from APMEX?

Answer: Honestly, you should buy what you like and what you’re comfortable with and what products interest you. It depends on what’s making you invest (wanting bullion or wanting something more collectable) But, my personal recommendation is Proof Silver Eagles with box and COA. Reasons why are these coins hold a more than just a bullion value. They hold a numismatic value and they are IRA acceptable. Here’s a link to our selection of IRA Proof Silver Eagles. http://www.apmex.com/category/22141/silver-eagles-proof-w-box-coa

 

Question: How often do you come across counterfeit coins/bullion and what is the process of dealing with the counterfeits once you’ve come across themTop of Form

Answer: We come across counterfeit coins and bullion on a daily basis. That is why it is so important that you purchase your product from a trusted source such as APMEX or even buy certified product from NGC & PCGS.

Once we have determined an item is indeed counterfeit we check what metals are used in the makeup of the product (copper, gold, silver etc.) We then contact the previous owner to let them know that their products is indeed counterfeit and in many cases we end up melting the product so the item is never sold again as a genuine product.

Question: How did you go about moving your collecting and hobby to the next level to become a project manager at APMEX?

Answer: You got to broaden your knowledge of buying, selling, and merchandising products. I got started with APMEX at an ANA summer seminar class when I met 2 employees in the same class. We took the counterfeit detection class and hit it off. So going to those types of things gets you great exposure and knowledge.

Question:Is traditional coin collecting doomed now that all coins are released in perfect condition collector sets?

Answer: No, I don’t feel that way. Coin collecting hasn’t been doomed. There will always be a wide selection of products that you can collect. Whether it be a Morgan Dollar or even a 20 Dollar Saint Gaudens Gold Coin. Here are some Morgan Dollars to look at: http://www.apmex.com/category/52040/morgan-dollars-1878-1904 Here are some Saint Gaudenshttp://www.apmex.com/category/11902/20-double-eagles-saint-gaudens-1907-1933

Question: Most of us here are familiar with APMEX. What’s the one thing about working there that would surprise us the most?

Answer: Honestly, being around the high value merchandise on a day in – day out basis. I’m a kid in a candy store. Great! Let our rep know if you ever need something.

Weekly Gold & Silver Market Recap – 10/31/2014

METALS AWAIT DIRECTION AHEAD OF FED MEETING

The week began with speculation on what might occur during the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting that began on Tuesday, along with a week of important economic data releases. Precious Metal prices received a nice boost Monday morning ending three consecutive days of losses from recovering physical demand. Precious metals strategist at Mitsubishi Corp International Johnathan Butler said, “Although this is clearly a bearish development for gold as it implies the beginning of monetary policy normalization, it may have already been priced in.”

EURO BEGINS TO IMPROVE

The euro gained ground and edged up on Monday following the European Central Bank’s stress test on European banks.  The test helped relieve some concern surrounding the eurozone economy and found smaller than expected capital requirements within European banks. Neil Mellor, a currency strategist at Bank of New York Mellon in London, said, “There are some positives from the stress tests and it could have been a whole lot worse.”

GOLD DROPS AS ETP ASSETS DECLINE TO FIVE-YEAR LOW

Holdings in exchange traded products (ETP) backed by Gold fell to their lowest level in five years on Monday. The metal’s 30-day historical volatility climbed in October, shaking many investors out of the market. Investors continue to try and predict when the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates, which is considered negative for metal prices.

GOLD LIFTED BY WEAK DOLLAR

Precious Metals reacted positive on Tuesday to data from the U.S. Commerce Department showing durable goods orders fell 1.3 percent in September. The news pressured the U.S. dollar, which assisted Gold as it regained nearly four percent this month on global growth concerns. “There were some stops triggered once we breached yesterday’s low, but China walked in and pushed up Gold,” one Hong Kong trader said. “People are nervous ahead of the FOMC and big position changes are unlikely. For the moment, I think we will hold between $1,220 and $1,240 [per ounce].”

HOUSING MARKET FUTURE UNKNOWN

U.S. housing data released on Tuesday showed an overall increase for single family home prices for the month of August from 2013, though the increase fell short of expectations. The S&P/Case Shiller composite index compared 20 metropolitan areas and reported a 5.6 percent gain for the month of August, the lowest year-to-year growth since November 2012. “Despite the weaker year-over-year numbers, home prices are still showing an overall increase, as the National Index increased for its eighth consecutive month,” S&P Dow Jones Indices index committee chairman David Blitzer said in a statement. The housing market will be a focus point once the Fed ends its stimulus program, as the policy initially began after the devastation from the notorious 2008 U.S. housing bubble.

FEDERAL RESERVE ENDS QE, PRESSURES COMMODITIES

Wednesday afternoon the market reacted to the Federal Reserve’s announcement to end its quantitative easing (QE) program, which consisted of monthly bond buying to stimulate the U.S. economy. Stocks fell, bonds sold off and Precious Metals were pressured lower after the news broke from the Fed’s policy meeting. Gold fell slightly more than one percent once the news broke. Investors also noticed a more aggressive tone toward raising interest rates sooner than later. “Maybe we brought forward the (first rate) hike a month or two from where it was yesterday,” David Ader, chief Treasury strategist at CRT Capital, said. Wall Street expected a fourth quarter rate hike, despite Fed forecasts of a hike occurring near mid-year.

METALS CONTINUE FALL ON FED’S DOVISH STANCE

Precious Metal prices were moving rapidly and trading lower on Thursday after Wednesday’s announcement from the U.S. Federal Reserve to officially end the stimulus program that has provided support to the economy.  However, even with the losses that occurred, some analyst are positive for the direction of Gold and believe the recent selloff in Gold prices is overdone and demand for the metal has already rebounded.

U.S. DOLLAR CONTINUES TO CLIMB

A day after the Federal Reserve’s recent statement, the U.S. dollar climbed to its highest point in more than three weeks.  Although investors continued to take in the dovish tone from the Federal Reserve, upcoming data may also play a factor is Gold’s pricing.  Esther Reichelt, currency strategist at Commerzbank said, “The positive sentiment is likely to be reinforced by today’s third-quarter gross domestic product data.”

BANK OF JAPAN’ S NEW ROUND OF QE WEIGHS ON PM PRICES

Friday morning both Gold and Silver fell to their lowest point since 2010.  The cause was mainly due to an unexpected move by the Bank of Japan to begin a new round of quantitative easing, which weakened the Yen to a near seven-year low.  The news boosted the U.S. dollar to a four-week high against other major currencies.  Precious Metals are attempting to fight off the many factors that are currently pressuring their price this week with the Fed ending QE in addition to Thursday’s strong U.S. gross domestic product data that was released.

At 5:24 p.m. (ET), the APMEX Precious Metals spot prices were:

  • Gold, $1,175.50 Down $25.10
  • Silver, $17.26 Down $0.25
  • Platinum, $1,240.00 Down $7.90
  • Palladium, $794.50 Up $12.80

APMEX’s Account Managers now have extended hours Mondays through Thursdays and are here to serve you until 8 p.m. (EDT)! Or call us Fridays until 6 p.m. (EDT)! If you have any questions about investing in Precious Metals or simply would prefer to place your order by telephone, we are here to help.

3 Ways to Store Your Precious Metals

Where do you store your Precious Metals? How can you ensure your investment will be safe and secure? What measures are you taking to prevent theft and physical loss?

If you’re new to iStoring Your Investmentnvesting in Precious Metals, the last thing you want is to put that investment in jeopardy. That’s why it’s important to choose the best way to store your Precious Metals. Whether you’ve invested in Gold bullion, Silver bars or Platinum bullion, you should do your best to ensure that it’s stored as safely as possible. Your first major decision when it comes to storing your Precious Metals is whether you want to store them yourself or work with a third party.

Personal Storage at Home

One of the most popular options for Precious Metals storage is a safe in your home. A safe offers security and easy access. Safes can be a thief deterrent because they’re often hard to break into and can be heavy depending on the size. There are some issues to consider. Unless your safe is bolted to the wall or floor, there is a chance that someone could remove it from your home. However, if you need constant access to your metals, a safe is probably your best option.

Thieves rarely enter the kitchen, laundry room or child’s room when robbing a home. If you have a small safe and ample space in the back of a cabinet in your kitchen, that might be one of the safest places in your home to store your investments. The last place you want to store your safe is the master bedroom because it’s the first place people of ill intent will look for valuables. There are also many inexpensive, ingenious items on the market to hide or disguise your valuables.

Safety Deposit Boxes

If you want to store your Precious Metals with a third party, a safety deposit box is one of the most popular options. Safety deposit boxes are usually offered by banks, which tend to have a high level of security. However, there is an additional cost for this, and access is often limited to bank hours, which could be an issue for you.

Professional Storage Solutions                                                                      

One of the safest and most secure options for storing your Precious Metals is through facilities  managed by a security company. Selecting a maximum security storage facility for your Precious Metals can give you peace of mind. If you choose the right company, you reduce the risk of theft, damage to your items or physical loss. Working with a professional storage company will keep your Gold, Platinum and Silver metals in great shape so you can benefit from them later on down the road.

Of course, just one of these options may not be enough. Many find a balance with a mixture of storage options. If you’re looking for a complete solution when it comes to storing your Precious Metals, AMPEX has you covered. Citadel Global Depository Services, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of APMEX, offers maximum security Precious Metal storage that is both convenient and affordable. Whatever you choose, make sure you check your options, terms and fees with each. At the end of the day what matters most is peace of mind about your investment.

Weekly Gold & Silver Market Recap

ANOTHER WEEK OF TRYING TO PREDICT FUTURE FED ACTIONS

This week, Gold and Silver gave back a small portion of their recent gains. Last week’s negative global economic news boosted prices on expectations that the Fed would delay interest rate hikes. The markets continue to focus on what the Fed may or may not do and this week the sentiment turned to sooner rather than later [interest rate hikes]. All it took was a jobs report with claims lower than expected. Expectations are that Precious Metals and U.S. stocks will continue to go back and forth dependent upon predictions of which way the Fed winds will blow.

The renewed confidence in equity markets this week boosted the U.S. dollar. On Wednesday, a report came out indicating a stable and low inflation in the U.S. These two factors independently drive down Gold and together should have clobbered prices, but they did not. Why? Perhaps it was the news coming out of Russia that their central bank is stocking up on Gold. The Chinese central bank is suspected of doing the same thing along with India, as Gold demand is up for the Diwali festival. The Swiss Gold Referendum is also picking up support. If passed, this referendum would mandate Switzerland to purchase a very significant amount of Gold.

Mohamed El-Erian, former CIO Pimco, came out with an article on Monday that is worth noting, “4 Things to Remember after Wild Market Week”:  “1. It doesn’t take much too severely dislocate markets, both down and up. 2. Liquidity is elusive when traders need it most, even when it comes to the deepest of all markets. 3. Market positioning and risk-taking are no substitute for solid fundamentals. 4. The Fed still doesn’t have much appetite for financial volatility, and markets will readily embrace its reassurances that it will try to act to counteract these gyrations.

5 Strategies for Protecting Your 401(k) Savings

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Weighing your options when it comes to your portfolio

This article was originally posted at Len Penzo dot Com and we thought it gave a good perspective of how and why one person started buying precious metals as part of his portfolio. We’re not financial advisers, we just want you to choose what’s best for you.

. . .

 

 

Judging from my email, more and more of you are becoming interested in protecting your wealth — and I’m happy to see it. Last week, one of my loyal readers, Jen from Virginia, asked:

Should I focus on contributing as much to my 401(k) retirement plan as possible, or allocate some of it to buy precious metals, and if so, how much?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer; how you allocate your retirement savings is entirely up to you and nobody else.

That being said, I no longer contribute any money to my 401(k) plan. That’s right; not a penny.

It’s a decision that didn’t come lightly.

After faithfully contributing to my 401(k) retirement plan for many years, I finally found the courage in 2011 to limit my 401(k) contributions to only take advantage of the full company match and use the residual cash to purchase wealth insurance in the form of physical gold and silver.

Eventually, I concluded that the risk of a US dollar collapse was significantly greater than the added benefit I was getting from my company’s 401(k) match, so I stopped contributing entirely. Since then, all of my nest egg contributions have gone towards the purchase of precious metals.

Is that radical? Absolutely.

Frankly, in a properly-functioning financial world, I would never make such a move. However, times have changed. The Fed’s reckless monetary policies — persistent near-zero interest rates and quantitative easing — have distorted the financial system so badly that conventional wisdom regarding strategic management of personal finances has been turned on its head.

If I thought the risk of a US dollar collapse occurring before I reached retirement age was only, say, 50% or less — then I would still be contributing to my 401(k) plan to at least catch the company match. However, that’s not the case anymore; I believe the probability a dollar collapse before the end of this decade is now closer to 95%.

Again, that’s my assessment. You must draw your own conclusions.

Buying Wealth Insurance

So, how much physical gold and silver is required to protect the hard-earned wealth that’s locked-up in your 401(k) retirement plan?

In his new book The Death of Money, author James Rickards notes that:

A useful way to think about (precious metal’s) insurance function is that a 500% return on 20% of a portfolio provides a 100% portfolio hedge.

I know what you’re thinking: What the heck does that mean?

If James is correct — and I believe he is — it means that you can fully protect the wealth that’s currently locked in your 401(k) plan by keeping precious metals in your possession equivalent to 20% of your total nest egg. Here’s a slightly over-simplified example:

Let’s say you have a $50,000 nest egg: $40,000 in your 401(k) and $10,000 in physical gold and/or silver. In this case, $10,000 in precious metals represents 20% of your total savings.

Now let’s say the dollar collapses and its value essentially falls to zero. If that happens, worst-case, the $40,000 in your 401(k) would be:

$40,000 x 0 = $0

Rickards (and many others) estimate that if the dollar tanks, the value of precious metals in your possession will increase five times (500%). I think that’s extremely conservative — but let’s stick with the conventional wisdom of five times. If that’s true, then the $10,000 held in precious metals would now be worth:

$10,000 x 5 = $50,000

Do you see what happened? Although your 401(k) was completely wiped out, the post-collapse value of your physical gold (and/or silver) soared to $50,000! In other words, the dollar became worthless, but the purchasing power of your nest egg remained unchanged — and that is how a portfolio protected with precious metals acts as wealth insurance.

Protection Strategies

If you’re considering a little wealth insurance to protect the retirement nest egg you’ve currently got locked up in your 401(k), there are multiple options to consider, depending upon your tolerance for early withdrawal penalties and your confidence in the on-going viability US dollar. Assuming your goal is to achieve a 20% portfolio allocation in precious metals, here are five potential ways to get there:

1. If you’re certain collapse is imminent, you could pull 20% from your 401(k) immediately, take the tax and penalty hit for early withdrawal, and then buy precious metals with the remaining proceeds. Then again, if you were that certain of collapse, you’d probably want to pull all your money out of your 401(k) and just replace it with physical precious metals.

2. If you believe a collapse is probable, but not imminent, you could temporarily stop your 401(k) contributions until you acquire enough precious metals to make up 20% of your portfolio. Then, resume allocating 80% of your savings to the 401(k) and 20% to physical precious metals.

3. If you believe a collapse is possible, but more than several years away, you could contribute only enough to your 401(k) to get the company match — and use additional funds to buy precious metals a bit more gradually, until 20% of your nest egg consists of precious metals.

4. If you think collapse is a long shot, but still want insurance — just in case — you could continue maximizing your 401(k) contributions and only purchase precious metals whenever you find a little extra spending money.

5. You could borrow from your 401(k) and use the proceeds to buy physical precious metals — if possible, equivalent to 20% of your total retirement nest egg. Yes, if you lose your job you’d have to pay back the loan within a short time frame in order to avoid withdrawal penalties and taxes. However, since the proceeds are only being used to exchange fiat dollars for real money, paying back the loan shouldn’t be difficult.

Of course, you could also pass on wealth insurance altogether — essentially betting on a strong US dollar, healthy world financial system, and the ability of the powers-that-be to continue holding things together far into the future. But that’s for you to decide.

How will you know which path is the right one for you? The only sure way to tell is by observing how well you sleep at night after making your decision.

As for me … I sleep like a baby.

Weekly Gold & Silver Market Report – 10/17/2014

EQUITY MARKETS GET WAKE UP CALL; GLOBAL ECONOMY STILL INTERCONNECTED

Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, prefaced the World Economic Forum’s 2014 Global Risk Report: “Our lives are changing at an unprecedented pace. Transformational shifts in our economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technical systems offer unparalleled opportunities, but the interconnections amongst them also imply systemic risks. This report aims to enhance our understanding of how a comprehensive set of global risks is evolving and how their interactions can lead to unexpected and often systemic impacts.”

The U.S. stock market had been cruising in overdrive, while economic reports from the eurozone, China, Russia, Japan, Argentina and many other parts of the world turned negative. It was as if the fact that we live in an interconnected global economy, as learned from the Great Recession, was being ignored. Following the release of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes expressing concern that the global economy could negatively impact the U.S., the dollar and stocks began to go down while Gold saw a revival.

Despite this seemingly negative news, the stock market staged a rally Friday. Dennis Gartman, founder of The Gartman Letter, believes the bear market has just begun. “This is the start of a bear market. You stay in cash and you stay in short-term bonds and you don’t move out, this is a very difficult period of time and I’m afraid – and I don’t like to think about it – but this might be the very beginnings of a bear market that could last some period of time,” he warned on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Thursday.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is greatly concerned by the continued increase in income inequality in the U.S. “It is no secret that the past few decades of widening inequality can be summed up as significant income and wealth gains for those at the very top and stagnant living standards for the majority,” Yellen said Friday at a conference on inequality sponsored by the Boston Federal Reserve. Although Yellen said that to a certain extent the inequality is a result of hard work and risk taking, her concern is that “inequality of outcomes can exacerbate inequality of opportunity, thereby perpetuating a trend of increasing inequality.”

 

The Benefits of Purchasing Precious Metals Online Vs. a Physical Location

455649179Whether you’re a collector, an investor, or a dealer, choosing where to buy gold, platinum, or other precious metals is an important step. When you make the decision to invest your money in something so valuable, you’ll want to make certain you’re conducting a safe transaction that will offer you variety and fair pricing. While you could go to a physical location to shop for precious metals, purchasing coins and bullion online offers many more benefits.

Enjoy Variety

One of the top reasons to purchase precious metals online is you get access to a virtually unlimited supply of coins and bullion. Online retailers often have much more space than most physical stores, and this means more of a selection for you as a buyer. Whether you’re trying to buy silver, platinum, or gold, choosing to work with an online retailer will give you the freedom to choose from a wide range of different options. The larger selection ensures you’ll be able to find high-quality precious metals you’re looking for.

Lock In Prices

When you’re trying to buy gold, platinum, or silver, the last thing you want is a surprise when it comes time to check out. You want to know exactly what you need to spend and whether or not it’s the best price. If you shop a brick-and-mortar store, there’s no guarantee you’re going to get the fairest, up-to-the-minute pricing. When you buy silver, gold, or platinum online, there’s a greater chance you’ll get a better price. Most online precious metal retailers update their prices in real time, which ensures you always get the fairest price.

Convenient Shopping Anytime

Many buyers want to think about their choices before buying precious metals. If you’re shopping at a storefront location, you have to accommodate your browsing time around someone else’s schedule. If, however, you choose to buy platinum, gold, or silver online, you can shop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You won’t be locked into browsing during normal business hours. Instead, you can browse coins and bullion on your time.

Don’t stress out over where to buy gold, silver, or other precious metals. You can confidently buy online from APMEX, a leader in no-surprises, no-hidden cost pricing. With a wide selection of high-quality precious metals, coins and bullion, quick shipping, and excellent service, you’re sure to become an APMEX customer for life.