Complete Guide to Investing in Gold

Why Invest In Physical Gold?

Before buying gold bullion, knowing the benefits can help you make the best decision regarding your investments. You may have done some research on types of bullion or the price of various bullions, but it’s important to understand the reasons before investing. 

There are three major reasons people invest in physical gold and silver.

1. Value of Gold Over Time

Gold has finally broken the $1500 mark! That means an ounce of gold is now worth over $1500 an ounce. The same cannot be said for the US dollar. The dollar has actually lost value due to inflation. Gold is not subjected to the same economic pressure as the fiat dollar system. 

2. Fiat Currency is Unreliable

As we mentioned above, a fiat monetary system is susceptible to many outside influences including political and economic pressure. This means the dollar’s value can change by any arbitrary government decree since it has no intrinsic value on its own. It’s completely backed by a fluctuating global market. Gold, on the other hand, is a precious resource, carrying value by virtue of being rare. 

3. Diversification of Assets

Because of the reasons above, it’s important to have a diverse collection of investments, not just relying on stocks. Investors prefer having stocks and physical bullion because that lessens the risk of losing all investments if they were tied up in stocks.  

Follow Up Reading:

Should I Invest in Gold?

Should I Invest in Silver?

How to Invest in Gold

Now that you’re familiar with the reasons for investing in gold bullion, you probably want to get started! Don’t know where to start? We have outlined the perfect guide for all things bullion investing. We start with the basics of buying bullion and end with the future potential of your new gold investment. Let’s get started! 

Types of Bullion

When shopping for silver and gold investments, the term bullion is used. Bullion is a bulk piece of a specific metal. So, you will encounter three types of bullion: bullion bars, bullion coins, and bullion rounds. 

Bullion Bars

Bullion bars, also called ingots, are rectangular shaped pieces of precious (or semiprecious) metal. The most popular types of bars are gold and silver, but other metals are available like rhodium. Bullion bars are a popular choice for investment because they are easy to store, due to being stackable. The difference between bullion bars and bullion coins, other than their shape, is bars are usually manufactured by a private mint. Government mints have made bullion bars over the years, but they are much harder to come by, compared to private mints.

What is Private Mint Versus Government Mints?

In order to understand the types of bullion better, it’s helpful to understand how bullion is made. All bullion is made by two entities: sovereign mints and private mints. Sovereign mints are mints owned by a national government while private mints are privately-owned companies that produce bullion. The main difference is bullion made by sovereign mints are legal tender with currency value. Private mints mainly make bullion specifically for investment, but that doesn’t mean they are low quality. There are many reputable private mints that create bullion at the same quality as sovereign mints or even better quality. The main thing to keep in mind is what type of bullion you want and that will lead you to the mint.  

Bullion Coins

Bullion coins are coins that are created by a government mint. They carry a face value and are legal tender in the country of issuance. Since their value is backed by a government, they are popular for investments. They also have value as a collectible. Many hobbyists like to collect bullion coins and there are many popular types throughout the world like the American Eagle and Canadian Maple Leaf. 

Bullion Rounds

The difference between bullion coins and bullion rounds is that rounds are made by private mints. They are essentially the same as bullion bars, but in a round shape. They are not legal tender and not issued by the government. They are usually more decorated than bullion bars, making them popular with collectors. The most commonly are found in gold and silver. 

Follow Up Reading:  Which Gold Coins Are the Most Valuable?

Finding a Trusted Dealer

Now that you’re familiar with the different types of bullion, it’s time to start purchasing bullion for your investment collection. An important step before purchasing is finding a reputable bullion dealer. 

1. Choose a Business with Longevity

When looking for a reputable bullion dealer, find businesses that have been in the gold industry for a long period of time. Five years is a good measure, but ten years is even better. This means they have seen the ups and downs of the market and should have a good reputation. There are businesses that haven’t been operating for more than five years, yet could still be reputable bullion dealers. So, make sure you also take into consideration our other factors when deciding, but it’s safe to say that a bullion dealer who has been in business for a lengthy amount of time has enough happy customers to sustain their business. 

2. Read Reviews and Check Track Records

There are so many ways for consumers to access information about a business’ practices and policies, from review sites to forums. It’s vital to see what other customers think about a potential bullion seller’s reputation. Review Google reviews and reputable third party review sites, like TrustPilot, which we use here at Nationwide. This will give you a good idea of how a seller treats their customers. 

3. Delivery and Shipping

Any reputable bullion dealer should offer good shipping rates and deliver your goods damage free. Find out how much your shipping costs would be and factor that into the cost of your bullion. The last thing you want is to pay for your bullion and never receive your product. Ensure products are shipped in a timely matter, or even better, if you’re provided with a tracking code upon it leaving their facility. 

Follow Up Reading: How to Find Reputable Gold Sellers

Steps to Buying Bullion

You have found your bullion dealer and now you’re ready for purchase. We walk through all the steps you’ll encounter when buying bullion so there are no surprises. From buying to investing in your retirement, we cover each and every step so you feel prepared to purchase your investment bullion. 

1. Buying


Once you have your bullion dealer, you will need to choose what size bullion you would like. This will be different based on if you’re buying coins or bars. If you’re shopping for coins, the most common products are one ounce coins. These include American Eagles, South African Krugerrands, and Canadian Maples.

If you want something bigger, the next option is a one kilogram bar, or kilobar.  There are even bigger denominations of bullion bars including 100 oz and 400 oz bars. The thing to keep in mind is gold is measured using the troy system. So, a kilobar is a 32 troy ounce bar. You will see the troy system used when purchasing gold. A “regular” ounce, the one we use in our everyday life, is called the avoirdupois ounce. 

Common Troy Conversions

1 troy ounce = 1.09714286 ounces (avoirdupois)

1 troy ounce = 31.1034768 grams

1 troy pound = 373.24166483486 grams

1 troy pound = 0.822857 pound

1 kilogram = 32.1507 troy ounces 


You’ve chosen the size you want your bullion, now it’s time to ensure you’re buying the best in purity. Investment quality gold ingots will be 99% pure gold. The 1% is an alloy used for smelting, usually copper or silver. There is one full troy ounce of .999 gold in the $50 Gold American Eagle. Because other metals are added for stability and luster, this makes the coin slightly heavier than one ounce.

Follow Up Reading: How is Gold Measured?

2. Payment

You have chosen the bullion you want, it’s now time to purchase. A reputable bullion supplier will accept a diverse form of payments to accommodate the consumer, like a wire or credit/debit card. That being said, it’s a potential possibility that a bullion supplier will prefer one form over the other and you could get a small discount for using the preferred method. Here at Nationwide using a wire transfer allows our customers to receive a better price since that’s our preferred method of payment. The second thing to look for when it comes to the payment step is your purchase needs to be discreet and completely secure. Any reputable bullion seller will make sure your privacy is a top concern and their payment portals are totally secure. It’s so important to us at Nationwide that it’s part of our Nationwide Guarantee.


Your bullion will most likely be delivered by a private shipping company like FedEx. Most bullion buyers receive their bullion in this form all the time and have no issues. The package will be discreetly labeled and your delivery person will be none the wiser. If you do want to add an extra layer of security to receiving your bullion, you can always opt for a P.O box. 

At Nationwide, customers typically receive their products within 7-10 business days after the order has been processed and confirmed. So, make sure you check your tracking number to ensure smooth delivery. A bullion supplier shouldn’t take an excessively long time to process and ship your order. Their focus should be efficiency.


When it comes to storing your bullion, you have a few options, but the first piece of advice is to avoid storing bullion in a bank. Your reason for investing in bullion in the first place is to avoid having investments tied to any government or private entity. Banks also have limited hours so you will not have complete access to your holdings. Now that we have excluded the bank, your first storage option is your own home. 

Tips for Home Storage

Using a safe? Get a dummy safe.

You can get a cheap safe and store some bullion or valuables you’re willing to part with. That way in the event of a robbery, thieves will assume they have made off with all your valuables.

Split up your valuables.

If you can, try to vary the hiding places and keep some bullion apart. This just makes it harder to source and secure your bullion so intruders will have a tough time taking it all.

Be creative.

The more creative the placement, the harder it is to find. Like a secret compartment!

Make sure there’s a way for your benefactors to know where your bullion is, like stating in your will where they can find it. 

The second option is using a third party vault system. These companies specialize in storing precious metals so they’re a safe choice if you’re not comfortable storing bullion at your home. These locations allow you to audit, or visit, your holdings with 24 hour notice and are insured. 


Bullion is a great investment in all stages of your life. You can possess physical bullion in your home or vault, but bullion can actually be used as a retirement investment. Gold IRAs were created in 1997 and allows the owner to own physical gold, silver, platinum and palladium. 

Gold IRAs have differences and similarities to regular IRAs. They can be either a Roth or Traditional IRA, but it will need to be a self-directed IRA and you’ll need a broker to buy the gold. You’ll also need a custodian to store the actual bullion. A financial advisor can guide you through these steps which may seem lengthy, but in the end you’ll have made a sound financial choice. The reason being is it’s best to diversify your retirement portfolio. When gold’s value rises, paper currency’s value, like stocks, diminish and vice versa. Having a diversified portfolio mitigates these risks. 

Follow Up Reading: 

Everything You Need to Know About a Gold IRA

Are Gold IRA’s Safe for Retirement?

How To Complete a 401k to Gold IRA Rollover

How Does Investing in Gold Pay Off?

The Gold Bull Market

Before explaining the gold bull market, you must be familiar with the increase and decline in the stock market. When there’s optimism stock values will rise, that’s a bull market. On the opposite end, when the value of stocks decline that’s a bear market. Precious metals also work in the same way, their value increases and decreases over periods of time. The difference between the stock market and precious metals market is: precious metals bear and bull markets can last for a long time! Also, a decline in the gold market doesn’t mean it will rebound, unlike the stock market. 

Chart with gold prices starting in 1997 to 2019.
Gold 1997-2019
Chart with Dow Jones from 1997 - 2019.
Dow Jones 1997 – 2019

Gold’s Potential During a Bull Market

Now that you’re familiar with the gold bull market, you probably want to know the benefits of investing in gold during this prosperous time. The downside of a gold bull market is it usually means there is economic uncertainty on the horizon or in the works. While the stock market has been friendlier in the long run, the importance of a gold bull market resides in its ability to be a safe haven for investors. While stocks decline, those who have invested in gold still have assets that could offset their loss in stocks. 

Follow Up Reading: Top 4 Benefits of Investing in Precious Metals