Jeff Clark, Senior Analyst, GoldSilver
Where, exactly, should you store your gold at home?
You instinctively know that gold is valuable and understand it must be stored safely. You probably also realize that gold coins and bars come with no replacement policy: if you lose them, they’re gone for good. There’s no claim check to redeem.
This makes your home storage plan critical. While storing gold at home can scary to some people, it might be the right choice in some circumstances. Knowing how to store gold in your home to prevent theft — and without losing track of it in the process — can save you a lot of time and money versus other options.
This Gold Storage at Home guide provides a wealth of information about what to do with your stash. Some of these same tips can be applied to silver storage, too. Some of the things we cover include:
Let’s dig in!
Part I: Gold Knowledge, or the Lack Thereof
1. The Golden Rule for Home Storage: One Confidant
Everyone should have one confidant that A) knows where your bullion is stored and B) has the ability to access it. It should be someone you trust implicitly and who knows how to keep a secret. They should have a good idea of how much you have, where it is stored and the key, passcode or instructions to access it if your chute doesn’t open from that weekend dare.
Why do you need to share your storage details with someone? Because telling no one about the location of your gold and how to access it poses an obvious risk. If you become ill, incapacitated, have a major accident or even die, then no one else is able to get to the gold. The reason you bought and stored bullion to begin with — to preserve and protect your family's wealth — is thus defeated. Your wealth strategy must include one confidant knowing your secret.
But they are the ONLY person who should know you have gold stored in the house. If others find out, your risk just increased. Worse, once the word is out, you have lost control of who knows you have bullion. That’s because of the ripple effect: once someone knows you own gold, you have little control of who they tell — and who those people tell.
|When Word Gets Out: A Real-Life Account
My father had a friend named Robert who was a gold coin collector. He had one of those big, fancy combination-lock safes. My dad said it looked like it would require a forklift to move it. Unfortunately, a couple local thugs found out he had some gold. They forced their way into the house and held both Robert and his wife at gunpoint.
Once they found the safe, they demanded the combination. But Robert refused to give it to them. He’d been collecting gold and silver all his life, and it now represented a large chunk of his net worth. He also planned to leave much of his wealth to his children. He wasn’t about to lose it all to two seedy lowlifes.
The rest of the story is very unpleasant. His wife was brutally tortured until he gave up the combination. They were both shot as the thieves fled.
My Dad’s friend didn’t have loose lips. All it took was word getting around that he was a “gold guy.” People began to talk, and once word was out, he had no control over who found out. We can’t stress it enough: no one else should know you have gold stored at home!
This might never happen to you. But the point is, the greater the number of people that know you have gold, the higher your risk.
2. Are You a Target for Thieves?
So, how many people already know you own precious metals? If you’re honest with yourself, it might be more than you think…
And then there are these questions, whose answers could make you a target:
If you conclude that more than one confidant may know you own gold or think you may be a natural target, you might want to keep less gold in the house, or at least rethink your home storage plan. Remember, once the word is out, there are no takebacks. You’re now a potential target, with the risk growing as bullion prices climb.
Following this rule will keep your risk low.
3. Deciding Whether to Insure Metal
You might be thinking… can’t I just insure my home-stored bullion?
I shy away from taking out a home insurance policy on gold for two reasons:
Insurance protects you from one set of risks but exposes you to others. Imagine going to the trouble and expense to “insure” your lifestyle by buying gold… only to lose it through theft or robbery. Remember, gold is a bearer instrument, meaning whoever possesses it can sell it. It comes with no replacement policy.
Insuring your home-stored bullion is a personal decision, but I prefer the greater privacy and security I can get from professional, non-bank storage. GoldSilver.com’s fully allocated storage program includes insurance for full replacement value, up to $50 million per account. Try getting a home insurance policy for that amount—even if you could the cost would be prohibitive.
Part II: Storing Gold at Home
One of the advantages of physical gold is that it serves as a financial backstop. You want some bullion readily accessible in an emergency, whether that emergency is a personal one or something on a national scale.
If you have no cash handy…or the bank is temporarily closed…or the internet is down…or there’s an economic crisis…or you even need to barter, having some physical gold could be a lifesaver.
|“I believe everyone should have gold and silver in his or her own private possession, where you can lay your hands on it, because they are one of the few financial assets that can be completely private and not part of the financial system.” - Mike Maloney, Guide to Investing in Gold and Silver
Keep some gold in a place that is immediately available and easily accessible. If your bullion is two days away, or is time-consuming or complicated to get to, its use as an emergency financial asset has diminished.
Unfortunately, most people don’t think too much about how to keep gold coins safe and so just stick them in a sock drawer or cookie jar. It may be out of sight, but this is obviously not an ideal way to store your wealth.
There are 3 basic options for home storage: hide it, bury it or use a safe. Let’s look at each one below:
4. Gold Storage Hiding Tips
One of your major risks with keeping gold in the house is theft. You can probably think of dozens of places in your home where no one would think to look. The trick is to hide your bullion in such a way that it isn’t too complicated for you or your heirs to find, but is very hard for a thief to find.
Here are a few tips on hiding locations so that hopefully a persistent burglar leaves empty-handed. (Note these are just suggestions and not necessarily formal recommendations — each person must decide what is right for him or her.)
5. Backyard Burial
The term “midnight gardening” comes from people who bury their precious metals at night so the digging won’t be noticed. Here are a few pointers if you choose to bury your bullion.
A related option might be to install a safe in the floor of a storage shed. The advantage is that you can access your bullion without being seen, day or night.
6. Alarms and Safes
The more metal you have at home, the more you need to consider a security system that offers both video recording and monitoring. They may or may not prevent a theft, but would ideally give you an immediate police response and evidence that is prosecutable.
You could also consider a nanny cam. They're not expensive and will often do what you need them to.
Check out hidden camera video recorder systems that are disguised as an alarm clock, wall clock, smoke detector, clothing hook and even a light bulb. Most of these can record many hours of surveillance video and allow you to monitor it live, over the internet, from anywhere in the world, on your cell phone or computer. If you go this route, be sure to get a system with plenty of memory.
If you use a safe, make sure that it is:
If you use a key safe, hide the key separately from the safe. If you use a combination lock, don’t assume you’re immune from a robbery — remember my father’s story of the robbers pointing a gun to the head of Robert’s wife while they demanded the combination.
Another consideration is the weight of the safe. One that weighs around 100 pounds could be stolen by one or two burglars with some basic tools like a dolly or straps. A 300-400 pound safe removes the risk of theft by a single person. Heavier than 500 pounds and you’re probably immune from it being stolen unless there’s a group of them with a heavy-duty vehicle and equipment. Don’t forget that the contents of the safe increase the weight, especially if you’ve got silver in it. Of course, the heavier the safe, the more likely you’ll need it delivered and installed — and this would tip your hand to the installation company that you’ve got valuables in the house. So go for heavy, but not too heavy.
7. One Risk That's Hard to Avoid
Regardless of the above methods, keep in mind that you’re still exposed to natural disasters. Home-stored gold isn’t protected against fires, floods, tornados, earthquakes and other natural calamities. Remember the 2011 Tsunami in Japan? Investors that had gold stored at home saw it washed away, lost to the sea, no matter how strong the safe or clever the hiding spot.
Remember, once you lose your gold, you have no recourse should you become a victim. And consider how badly you’d need your gold at a time like that. That’s why I recommend this rule:
8. The Ultimate Storage Plan
You don’t want your physical wealth to be wiped out through one act of misfortune. We recommend storing some of your bullion at or near home, but then diversifying where you keep the rest of it.
The ideal solution would be something that gets it out of the house — and yet holds it in such a way that it was still available at any time.
That option is available. Private, non-bank, fully allocated, fully-insured class-3 vaults offer the highest level of security and are the best protection during times of financial and social crisis.
GoldSilver is widely recognized for developing one of the most superior storage programs in the world. Check it out today if you’re looking to safely store large amounts of precious metals.