Lots of us are looking at the news every day and wondering when, not if, the next big crash is going to happen. Chances are that there’ll be a big correction that is hyped up to look like the end of days, but even in this scenario, it pays to be prepared.

One thing that stands head and shoulders above most other investment vehicles in times of uncertainty is precious metals – in physical form. Gold and silver are the obvious favourites, especially if you visit Golden Eagle Coins for a look-see, but there’s also palladium, platinum, rhodium and even copper. If you can only afford silver and copper right now, then go for it because it’s a start after all. Just make sure you start wisely…

Don’t go in blind

If you wade in and buy everything our budget will allow you, then you might look at the spot prices of all your metals a few days later and realise that you bought at a market high (hint: this isn’t good). If you’d just hung around and watched the prices for a few days or even weeks, you’d be more likely to catch the prices dropping or even bottoming out. This means that when they come back up, you’ll have made a profit.

Always shop around

Spend some time browsing dealers and getting a feel for market price averages. There are, sadly, lots of unscrupulous dealers out there who’ll tack on a couple of extra dollars to each purchase because they reckon they can get it past you. You’re throwing that money away, so take your time and talk to several dealers before you take the plunge.

Never buy scrap gold and silver

Unless you have your own smelter, there’s no point in bothering with scrap precious metals, especially broken jewellery. You can never be certain how pure the metals are, either.

Never buy from an unverified online seller

If you visit someone who’s not verified, who doesn’t have a website with various trust logos or who doesn’t seem to have much of an online presence, then you’re taking a risk. You could end up with low-purity bars or even fakes. Look for a well-established dealer who has lots of good reviews.

Always diversify

You should always aim to have at least two metals – gold and silver, ideally – in several different sizes and coins. If you can stretch to some platinum as well, then do it. Having different sizes means you have more flexibility when it’s time to sell.

Always look at the purity

It’s wisest to buy the purest metals you can – 99% at least and 99.99% if it’s available. Bars and coins that are only 90% pure aren’t actually that much cheaper, but there’s nowhere near as much demand for them. You’re best off spending $1,000 on silver that’s 99.99% pure than $900 on 90% pure metal.

Don’t just invest in physical metals

We’re still using banknotes and electronic money so don’t plough all of your savings into metals just yet! Make sure that you’ve got enough liquid assets to pay your bills, your student loan and the mortgage because we’re not quite at the zombie apocalypse yet!

Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.


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