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Physical Gold Versus Paper Gold

With so many ways to gain exposure to the gold market, which is the best option for you?

Types of Gold Investment

It’s possible to gain exposure to the gold market in several different ways

Buying physical gold coins or bars is just one method of gaining exposure to the gold market.

As well as purchasing physical bullion, it’s possible to own shares in an exchange-traded fund (ETF), a traditional fund or mining company, or riskier options such as spread betting or futures or contracts for difference (CFD).

Gold Pyramid of Risk

Which option is best for me?

Each option has its merits. The right choice will depend on your individual objectives and appetite for risk. For example, if you have a high appetite for risk, then you may fancy your luck investing in a mining company. Alternatively, if you’re looking to actively trade the market, then electronic options such as ETFs will be the most efficient way to achieve short-term speculation.

Arguably, the most powerful benefit of gold investment is the balance and market protection it provides. As well as professional traders, regular everyday people buy gold and silver to REDUCE their overall risk. Electronic and paper options provide investors with exposure to the market, but they also present additional risks. This undermines the value of gold & silver as a crisis hedge, or as portfolio insurance in the first place. Physical gold coins and silver coins are by far the safest way of providing long-term stability. They present the most secure method of protecting your family’s wealth in a tax-efficient way.

The 7 Crucial Considerations Before You Buy Gold

We reveal the factors which you should be thinking about when investing in physical precious metals

Gold Investment Options

Here we break down the advantages and disadvantages of each method of gold investment for you to consider.

Derivatives (Futures, CFD, spread betting)
Potential for very high gains
Speculative. Can be very complicated and high risk. Could lose more than originally invested
Gold Mining Company
Potentially higher gains than the price of gold or silver with possible annual dividends.
High risk & returns may rely on new mines coming online, which may take many years. Investment could fall to zero if mine goes bust.
Gold Funds
Well-established, easy to access & well regulated. Could smooth downside volatility, as not all assets are invested in physical gold or silver.
Gains and losses could be larger than fluctuations in the gold or silver price. Annual management charges. Will be invested more generally in precious metals stocks rather than physical metal..
Gold ETF
Relatively cheap, fast and easy to buy and sell. Could smooth downside volatility as not all assets are invested in physical gold or silver.
Counterparty risk. It May not be fully physically backed. Difficult to take personal delivery of gold or silver. Gains and losses could be larger than changes to the metal price. Annual management charges
Physical Gold Coins/Bars
No counterparty risk. A tangible asset with an intrinsic value. UK coins are Capital Gains Tax-free.
Relatively expensive. Premium at purchase. On-going storage. Insurance.

Calculate your investment package


Gold Information

Live Gold Spot Price in Sterling. Gold is one of the densest of all metals. It is a good conductor of heat and electricity. It is also soft and the most malleable and ductile of the elements; an ounce (31.1 grams; gold is weighed in troy ounces) can be beaten out to 187 square feet (about 17 square metres) in extremely thin sheets called gold leaf.

Silver Information

Live Silver Spot Price in Sterling. Silver (Ag), chemical element, a white lustrous metal valued for its decorative beauty and electrical conductivity. Silver is located in Group 11 (Ib) and Period 5 of the periodic table, between copper (Period 4) and gold (Period 6), and its physical and chemical properties are intermediate between those two metals.