When times are bad, people start looking to invest in precious metals like silver and gold. In this article, you will not only find out how to invest in silver, but also tips for investing in silver and why you might choose silver over gold.
Before we get started, know that silver is much different than investing in gold, in spite of them both being precious metals, so be sure you take the time to educate yourself about investing in silver before jumping right in. You can find out more about the difference between the two in our article, Silver vs Gold, which I would consider mandatory reading before diving in to the silver market.
How to Invest in Silver – Buying Silver
There are two mainstream methods for those looking to invest in silver: buying bullion or buying into an EFT. There are advantages to each approach, which will be listed below.
Silver bullion (physical silver held for investing purposes) is typically sold as bars and coins. Given that silver is much cheaper than gold, bars of silver are much more accessible for the average investor. As a result, investing in silver bars is more common than buying gold bars.
Coins are also an option for those looking to invest in silver bullion, with the most popular coin in the USA being the American Silver Eagle (which weighs 1 troy oz). It is important for those looking to get into silver as an investment that you do not buy uncirculated collector-grade coins. The reason for this is that collector’s coins are typically marked up over the spot (market) value of silver. These are not readily sold and you do not want to pay a marked up price for silver as then you will struggle to make any profit off of your investment. You can learn more about this investment option in our article on How to Buy Silver Coins.
The other option is to buy into a silver ETF, or exchange-traded fund. The most popular one of these on the NYSE is marked as SLV and owned by iShares. At the time of this writing they have over 300 million troy oz of silver that you can buy into. When you buy into a fund like this, you own the equivalent of 1 troy oz of silver (at the time of this writing – other ETFs only offer 1/10 an oz so do your research).
Personally, I think it is much easier for investors to opt for the ETF, but some people just like to own the physical silver. The downside to owning silver is its hard to buy and sell and you have to have somewhere to keep it. Getting an insurance policy for it also eats into your profit.
Find out more about investing in physical silver in our article, How to Buy Silver Online. However, you can also buy silver virtually (stored offsite, not at your house) for the lowest possible fees. We recommend this over owning your own silver. You can read about virtual silver in our article on the Best Way to Buy Silver. There are two ways you can use to in invest silver through your computer with minimal fees.
How to Invest in Silver – Why Silver
Investing in silver is a risky proposition. You should know three things about silver:
- Compared to gold, there is actually not very much investment-grade silver on the market. The gold bullion market is many times larger than the silver market.
- The price of silver is tied much higher to supply and demand than gold is; the demand of silver for use in industry can greatly affect its value
Other than that, silver is often tied to the state of the market and inflation. When inflation is high and the market is poor, silver prices tend to rise. However, gold is typically the investment of choice for protection against inflation. For more information on why people buy silver, see our article entitled, Why Buy Silver? There are a lot of reasons people invest in silver, but make sure your reasons are smart like the ones outlined in that article.
Instead, investors bullish on silver are betting on high inflation and a shortage of silver. After all, silver is a much smaller market for investing than gold, which makes its prices much more volatile. However, there is more to it than that. See our article, Is Silver a Good Investment? for more details on the intricacies of the silver market.
Investing in Silver – Tax Rates
In the USA, silver is considered a collectible if owned for over a year. As a result, capital gains (if you sell silver for more than you bought it) are taxed at a significantly higher rate. This is something to keep in mind when you are thinking about your long-term investing strategy and when analyzing the returns on investing in gold and silver.
How to Invest in Silver – Conclusion
You now know how to invest in silver; you can either buy bullion (in the form of bars or coins) or buy into an exchange-traded fund. Buying into an ETF is easy, though they may be a few percentage points off the market rate. Buying silver bullion can be done through a dealer and depending on your country and area, even at some banks.