Every now and then, but not as often as I should, I implore followers to “Buy Silver!” This may seem a bit nuts in general, and also has to compete with bitcoin, othercoins, and gold in just libertarianland, let alone the rest of the world. Personally, I think that inflation is the absolute most important issue facing the world, and this should be the biggest concern for libertarians (despite my support for pluralism). Yes, more important than the drug war and the police state. The reason being is that solving inflation solves almost everything else. By not diluting the currency, the economy will be much stronger and people will find they need less authoritarianism, less escapes from reality, and less income from immoral and degenerate sources. A secure currency is the heart of the economy. Would you fill your engine or machine with cheap, diluted oil?
WHO should buy silver?
Everyone. People often say they cannot afford to invest, but a decent amount of silver can be acquired as cheaply as a dollar. Right now, a silver dime costs about $1.25. The market assigns a premium that makes it about $1.30-$1.35. I could ship that for $0.49 and handling cost rounds up to $2. The only problem is that even at this small amount, it is a little hard to acquire, even with a premium. If you are concerned about the premium, save some money in a jar every paycheck and then cash it out in a bigger lot of silver.
You can buy online or at a dealer in person, but often the premiums scare people away (Why am I paying $2 for what should be $1.35!!!). This is a problem of having a non-precious metals currency. Hopefully one day, there will be a PM dealer in every single town, but we are not there yet. In the meantime, buy what you can afford, even if it is at a premium. Once you buy that first piece, you will be more inclined to buy more.
WHAT should one buy?
For the longest time, I was partial to junk silver, that is US dimes, quarters, halves made prior to 1965, as well as some others. These coins are 90% silver, very recognizable, and fairly cheap. While I still think they are the best buy and the best to start with, I have gotten bored with that and have recently bought some ounce rounds from private mints. A lot of people recommend these and American Silver Eagles over “junk”, but I disagree. An ounce costs $18, while a dime costs $1.30 to $2. If you can only spare a few dollars per paycheck, its an easy decision. Not to mention the premiums are lower. Once you attain more experience, you will become bored at counting Roosevelts, Washingtons, Kennedys, Mercurys, Libertys, Franklins, etc, and look to other types of silver. I am actually considering ounce bars for my next purchase.
WHEN should silver be bought?
This can be interpreted in two ways. One, after you pay all your bills and some debt. If you must, cut out some pleasure item (cable, alcohol, twinkies) and put that money towards silver. It is important not to go into debt to buy silver, so pay down your liabilities first. If you have no money left after this, then you need to look at your budget and make cuts.
Two, a bear market (as we are now in) is the best time. I made a light mistake of buying a little aggressively at $35-45 when it was up there back in 2010/2011. However, even that will be a bargain in the future, just as $5 an ounce of 2000 is a bargain compared to today, but awful compared to the $1.40/oz of 1964. So, whenever you can buy, buy. There are better times and there are worse times, but even if you paid $50 an ounce a few years ago, you will be better off than when the masses come along to create a bubble.
WHERE should silver be bought?
I have bought from local dealers, from ebay, and from p2p online. eBay was good years ago, but now its better for selling, and even that is risky. Dealers can be dirtbags, but building a relationship can payoff. They may also be connected to supplies in an apocalyptic scenario. I would do that more, but there are no coin sellers near me! Instead, I buy from fellow “stackers” on a forum called Bullion Stacker. I recommend making an account there. You dont need to buy or sell, but you can meet people and learn. There is a ebay-like rating system to assure legitimate sellers. There are other forums, but that is where I go. Additionally, there are online dealers, such as Apmex and Amagi. You can compare prices here.
WHY should one buy silver?
The dollar is losing value every day, perhaps not as fast as other currencies (hence the favorable exchange rates this year), but it is declining. We may or may not enter hyperinflation; it is still important to hedge against a loss of purchasing power. This is usually best done by investing in a commodity, specifically a durable one. Corn and beef, as general concepts, are also good hedges against inflation, but you cannot store either for 25-50 years as you can with precious metals. And just because a computer is durable, does not mean it will store wealth for a long time; it is not a commodity! Silver (and gold) will hold their value, and often gain value, over time. Thus, it protects against money printing (we cannot currently synthesize gold, hard as alchemists have tried). Do not think that the metals are immune to inflation; they are not. If a million troy ounces of gold were dropped around the world from some source at the same time, the value of existing gold would decrease (inflation).
The other reason to buy silver is so you can spend it! It is important to use alternative currencies and build a separate economy. This will ensure a faster and smoother transition to a free market, but importantly, it also weakens the ability of the government to exert power. For every bit of silver or gold bought and spent in its own right (as well as bitcoin and othercoins), the fiat currencies are weakened. That means the government is less able to buy weapons, tanks, armored cars; less able to pay their enforcers; less able to bribe us; etc. Using nonfiat currencies is a revolutionary act, which is why many governments of the world are keen to suppress such actions.
HOW should silver be stored?
With all this silver accumulation, you need a place to store it. Its not like the old days where it was money and you could just put it in the bank. Additionally, individuals are somewhat more keen on stealing things today than 50 years ago. Some recommend bank safe deposit boxes, but banks are too tied up with the government for this to be a good idea, and they lack 24/7 access. For small amounts at first, you can safely store at home, preferably in a hidden place that is not obvious. Think like a burglar, where might you look? Under the mattress, in the underwear draw, in a wall safe. All are bad ideas. The best ideas are to disguise your holdings, and then hide them in a ridiculous place, and cover that up. Use your creativity. It may be a good idea to leave a family member or friend or two with a sealed envelope of the location(s) in case you are incapacitated.
Once your “stack” becomes a bit too unwieldy to hide away (you should have started to buy gold by this point, which is more value dense), it is time to look into specialized storage. This may be a very secure safe in a public storage unit (be sure to disguise the safe when transporting it), with 24 hour access and surveillance. Be sure to consider the insurance policies of these facilities. There are also specialized storage facilities across the country, but these will be more in targets than a storage unit. Larger stashes can be stored at home, but require more creativity.
The best way to keep your stack safe is to not tell anyone, sometimes even family (leave them a sealed note per above). As much as I would like to brag to friends, or even tell them to buy silver, I generally cant. No one can really be trusted, unfortunately, as many heists are inside jobs. What someone doesnt know about, they often cant steal. It really is that simple.
I hope that this post convinces you to buy at least some quantity of silver and start accumulating it. The same rules and advice generally apply to gold as well. Buying silver is good for personal reasons, as well as advancing liberty. Even as a socialist, I supported the idea of a sound currency and was skeptical of the Fed (maybe I was a confused proto-libertarian). If you have any further questions, please comment here or on facebook, or message the page.