Keep Your Precious Metals Safe
Last week I explained Why You Should Own Precious Metals. If you already have precious metals or are considering getting them, you need to find a way to keep them safe from thieves. There are several options. But before I get into them, I want to emphasize something.
If you own gold or silver, you should only tell one other person about it. This should be someone you trust completely. Don’t tell your friends, your coworkers, your family, or even your children. It’s not that any of them would steal from you. The problem is that people talk. And if lots of people know you have precious metals, a criminal might find out in passing. Pick one person, tell them the location, the combination if applicable, and include them on the safety deposit box registration if you have one. This is so they can get to it in case you die or are incapacitated. Now on to the hiding spots.
In A Home Safe. This is the most obvious choice. But if you get a safe, you might want to get it bolted or cemented to the ground. Safes are heavy, but that won’t stop a crook from using a dolly to wheel it out of your house and figure out how to open it later. You should also make sure it’s waterproof and fireproof. I recommend one with a combination lock since safes with key locks are easier to bust open. Also, keys can be lost or stolen. Just make sure you don’t forget the combination.
You could also get a decoy safe. (I mentioned this idea in my Home Security article.) The idea is to get a safe, put just a few coins, a little bit of cash, some fake jewelry, copies of important documents, etc. inside, and place it somewhere easy to find like in your bedroom closet. When a thief finds it, he’ll think he hit the jackpot, then he’ll take the decoy safe and leave. What he won’t know is that you have another, smaller, well-hidden safe with the real goods inside. Put that one somewhere deep in the garage, basement or attic behind some random junk.
All Over The House. Putting your precious metals in secret hiding places around the house can actually be fun. Just walk around your house and take a close look at everything you see. There are hundreds of hiding places right in front of you. You just have to be creative. Here’s a short list of ideas.
- Under the carpet. Find a corner where the carpet pulls up easily and lay them on the floor beneath the carpet and foam padding.
- Under a loose floor board, just so long as it’s not one that shifts or creaks every time you step on it.
- At the bottom of a box of cereal, a jar of peanuts, or any other kind of food.
- You can also hide them in cans. Get a can opener that leaves a smooth edge. (With those, the top becomes a lid.) Then empty out the corn or soup or whatever, put your PM’s inside and place it back in your cupboard next to the other cans.
- Inside broken electronics and appliances. A criminal won’t be interested in a small, twenty-year-old TV sitting in your attic. Take it apart and tape coins to the inside. Do the same thing with old stereos, microwaves, etc.
- Install fake outlets. This way you can hide your coins in the wall without leaving a hole.
- Inside boxes of Christmas decorations, old clothes, photo albums, etc.
- At the bottom of a box of detergent.
- Taped to the inside of your vacuum cleaner’s bag.
- On your bookcase. Don’t get one of those fake books that are easy to spot. Instead, hollow out a hardback book you’ll never read again and put your coins inside it.
- Inside tampon boxes. Your average male criminal won’t even touch them.
- Empty out an opaque bottle of soap or shampoo and squeeze the coins (and some cotton balls to muffle the sound) inside.
- In a fake pipe on the wall in your garage. Hardly anyone would think to search inside a pipe on the wall.
- Inside tubs of frozen food. Fill some Tupperware with soup or veggies, hide your coins in the food, and stick it in the freezer. I like this one because you can’t even search it until it thaws, and who’s going to leave your house with frozen food in hopes that something valuable is inside?
As you can see, there are a lot more hiding places in your home than you might think. And if you put your coins all over the place, it would take criminals days to find them all.
Buried Underground. If you decide to bury your precious metals, do it at night so no one will notice. Put your PM’s in plastic bags and inside airtight, waterproof containers. Of course, you don’t want to dig a hole in the middle of your lawn as the fresh dirt might look a little suspicious. Instead bury it in a garden or flower bed. You could also cover the spot with a dog house, a large rock, a large potted plant, or anything else that would be difficult to move. Wherever you bury it, make sure you can find it again, and make sure it’s deep. Metal detectors can detect metal up to four feet beneath the surface.
Safety Deposit Box. If you do this, keep it at a local bank so you can get to it in an emergency. Just remember that safety deposit boxes are not insured against bank robberies and there’s nothing to stop the Feds from seizing the gold in them like they did in the 1930′s. Just a few years ago in the United Kingdom, the police inspected thousands of safety deposit boxes and the renters had to prove they were the owners of the contents. The supposed reason for all this was to find and intercept funds going to terrorist organizations. But unfortunately, people who could not prove ownership had their property confiscated.
Overseas. If you’re really worried about the U.S. government confiscating gold again, you could also send your money overseas. Peter Schiff, the investment broker who predicted the current recession, recommends the Perth Mint in Australia. But unless you have the resources to flee the country (and the timing to get out before a total collapse), you should probably keep your PM’s close.
So which hiding place is the best? Other than the last one, I would suggest all of the above. The more diversified you are, the less likely you are to lose it all. Just remember where it’s all hidden, show one person, and never speak of it again.