This is the first of a small series involving New Zealand Gold Merchants customers and why they have invested in gold.
Bob Hitchens' interest in gold and silver began when he was 16 and purchased a Krugerrand – a coin he wishes he owned now.
"I sold it because I wanted a jet ski," says the gold and silver investor who now has $120,000 tied up in the precious metals. "You know, I was young and thought money can't buy you happiness – but it can buy you a jet ski and there don't seem to be too many unhappy people riding a jet ski."
The gold coin taught him a valuable lesson. The jet ski was temporary fun; the Krugerrand was a long-term investment: "I wish I had that coin now and what it is worth," he says.
Hitchens (not his real name, changed to protect his privacy) has searched for years for that same Kruggerrand but has not been able to trace the person who bought it. "I want it because it is kind of a lucky coin for me," he says, "it showed me the worth of thinking long term and thinking gold."
Gold (and silver) makes up only a part of his investment portfolio; he has a rental property and a family home, plus shares in New Zealand, Australia and the US. On one hand, he says gold has proven its worth over so many years that he now doesn't buy based on value – he buys based on quantity.
"I don't really care that much about value because gold has proven over decades – centuries – that it will go up in value in the long term, so I can happily put the question of value aside and just accumulate."
On the other hand, he says, gold has also proven itself as a protective investment and, in the famed refrain from TV show Game Of Thrones, he believes "winter is coming".
"I think the probability that inflation will hit us soon is rapidly increasing," he says, "and gold has also proven itself as a hedge against inflation."
It's been proven many times that, when the property market and/or shares are tanking in value, gold increases – and Hitchens says he does not have cash savings: "My savings are primarily in gold and silver," he says. "If I need money, I just sell some silver – and that is so easy in the New Zealand market if you price it right.
"This next crash could be bad. Some people ask me how bad it could be and I tell them possibly the worst in history, maybe leading to a substantial depression. The housing market and the share markets are in a state of euphoria – and that doesn't bode well if there is a bad downturn."
If many of the predictions are right and the world "turns upside down", Hitchens says investments like superannuation are in danger. "Some superannuation companies are good at future-proofing themselves, others aren't," he says. "I have basically written off my superannuation; my gold and silver is all about creating my own superannuation."
He praises New Zealand Gold Merchants and says all his biggest transactions are done through them while another investor, Gary Collins (also not his real name), says NZGM are "streets ahead, head and shoulders above" other operators and they are "honest and upfront".
Collins, a sales consultant, is new to gold and silver, starting his investing in February with, so far, $15,000 involved: "I'm not poor; I'd say I'm middle class, but I don't have enough money to buy another [protective investment] like a farm or invest in other asset classes. I wanted something to protect myself and all my money was sitting in the bank, doing nothing.
"When I tell friends and family what I am doing, the first reaction is usually 'Oh, but gold doesn't have a decent yield'. I tell them that is not what I am seeking to do and, anyway, gold has proven over thousands of years that it retains its purchasing power – that's what led me to it."
He was flying internationally about two years ago when he watched an in-flight documentary on the history of silver, igniting a long-held interest in world history. He continued researching the protective qualities of gold and silver and recommends the Mike Maloney TV series The Hidden Secrets of Money for more instruction.
"It's a good introduction, otherwise asking someone like me to tell you all about gold investment is like trying to drink from a fire hose – you get a real outpouring; more than you need. So watch Mike Maloney or talk to Tony Coleman and his people from New Zealand Gold Merchants; they really know how it works."
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