We all want our children to grow up investing intelligently, protecting and preserving not only what we have passed on to them, but also what they’ve earned. We know how important having gold and precious metals in your portfolio is, but how do you convince them?
It’s impossible not to write about gold and/or precious metals without always wanting to remind the reader why you need it: as a hedge against fiat currencies, preserver of value, counter-weight to the markets, etc. There are certainly many reasons to own precious metals, and intellectuals much smarter than me have poured over those reasons again and again.
How about this reason that many are too proud to include: they’re gorgeous!
I saved a little pride by not calling them “pretty”. But have you ever seriously looked at Lady Liberty’s golden hair on the gold American Eagle, or the detail inscribed on the Maple Leaf of the Canadian coin’s namesake? What it is about a finely inscribed bullion bar that just exudes power and majesty?
I think with all of the “harsh crisis scenarios” we can think of that make holding metals a necessity, precious metals tend to be labeled as being for us “old men”, and not savvy, young, hot-shot investors. We are the only ones worrying about monetary history, pouring over the gold confiscation by Roosevelt in 1933, or hoarding metals by burying them in their backyard.
Based on this knowledge, we try to convince our children why they should consider metals. But why should someone younger invest in gold when there is no interest or dividend you can see grow every year? If I had a 1ozt silver Austrian Philharmonica for every time I heard one of our clients say, “I wish I could convince my children to invest in metals”, I would be rich!
Which begs the simple question: Have Your Children Seen Your Gold?
For those that don’t know me, I was born, raised, and lived two-thirds of my life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, before moving to Switzerland to be with my Swiss wife 15 years ago. My son, Benjamin, was born in 2007, and our small family has carved out a nice existence in Switzerland.
When I was growing up, investing in my family was the occasional CD or US government bond held at the corner bank where you knew all of the names of the tellers. Maybe we’d really go out on the ledge when we invested $500-$1000 in a stock. I didn’t open my eyes to precious metals until around the mid-to-late 00’s, when I was by then well-rooted in Switzerland and Benjamin was born.
As I accumulated bullion gold and silver coins and bars like my son accumulated his younger years, I started to wonder how I could get him interested in this valuable form of investment someday.
It came recently, and unexpectedly, when I sat down in front of the safe to pull out some documents. He was with me and asked what the tubes, small boxes and bars were on the 2nd shelf. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I’m the guy that likes to pull out the metals to admire them on occasion, like a kid reviewing his trading cards, so I happily obliged to his questions.
We looked closely at the small collection: the Swiss Vreneli’s he got for his birth, the 1ozt silver collectors coins we bought at the Canadian mint in Winnipeg, and the Maple Leafs, Armenian Noah’s Arks, and Eagles I purchased through our own Global Gold program here in Switzerland.
He was amazed how shiny they were, and was intrigued by how they were stored. I explained why we wouldn’t touch the silver directly, why coins were grouped in tubes of 10, and which countries each coin was minted in. He admired the detail and the weight. He admired the “pictures”.
I appealed to his young greed when I told what one gold coin was worth on that day. “This one coin is worth how much?” he asked twice, as if he hadn’t heard it the first time. We practiced math too: if we bought this coin at $800, and it is now worth $1300, how much would we make on it?
I explained how people will always find value in these metals and how they have been used for hundreds of years as a means of trade. How even if we didn’t have paper money, we could still use these to get what we need. He understood keeping metals in a safe place meant we didn’t need to rely on anyone else if we needed them. Still, what struck him most was how pretty they were.
We closed the safe, and much in the same way he doesn’t tell anyone what he has in his “piggy bank” in his room, he promised to keep our secret. But a “Ta Da!” moment came when he asked what will happen to those metals over time, and I told them they will be passed on to him. Someday, he’ll get the code to the safe, and those contents will belong to him. He learned his “old man” was watching out for him.
It’s been months since that happened, but the subject comes up regularly. He knows that part of his dad’s work revolves around precious metals and when we talk about the prices jumping, he automatically knows what that means to each item in the safe.
So, have your children seen your gold?
Yes, it was a purely elementary exercise with a 9-year old child. But when I say “child” or “children”, they could be 5, 10, 20, or 50 years old…it doesn’t matter. It took me until my mid-30’s to see a silver Canadian Maple Leaf for the first time, but I was hooked…just from seeing it! After a while, it didn’t matter what the prices were: I knew I needed to purchase some here or there and keep adding to my holdings. My parents didn’t teach me, so I had to learn the hard way. Now I’m the little kid at 45 that likes to look at my coins every couple of months.
If your children haven’t seen some of your metals yet, they haven’t had them in their hands admiring their beauty, it’s about time you let them in on it.
For my son, seeing was believing. No, he’s not worried about gold confiscation or the collapse of the monetary system, but he knows those pretty, shiny coins and bars are worth a lot. They just aren’t worth a lot to me…but they will be to him as well!
This article is written by Scott Schamber originally appeared on Mountain Vision.