How to Invest in Silver

By Dan Miller · May 18, 2024 · 6 minute read

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How to Invest in Silver

For millennia, humans have used precious metals such as silver as a way to barter and exchange value. And even in today’s modern economy, many people believe that there is room for investing in silver and other precious metals as a way to diversify their overall portfolio.

Investing in silver can come in many different ways, from buying stocks or mutual funds focused on precious metals to holding the actual silver metal yourself. Depending on how you are investing in silver, it can be considered a valuable hedge against inflation and one way to diversify your overall investment portfolio.

Key Points

•   Investing in silver can help diversify an investment portfolio and act as a hedge against inflation.

•   Silver is considered valuable due to its historical use in coins, jewelry, and industrial applications.

•   Silver and gold are both precious metals that have been used as currency and for portfolio diversification.

•   Investing in silver can offer advantages such as portfolio diversification and lower cost compared to gold.

•   However, investing in silver carries risks, including price volatility and the need for secure storage for physical silver holdings.

Why Is Silver Considered Valuable?

Silver is a type of alternative investment, in that it’s different from a conventional stock or other type of security. And similar to how those types of securities or investments hold value, silver does as well.

At its most basic, silver is valuable for the same reason that anything is considered “valuable” — because we as a society have decided that it is valuable. Silver has been used for making coins and jewelry since the early days of history, which is one reason that silver is considered valuable. Silver is also quite conductive, which means that it has uses in industry as well.

Silver has many of the same qualities as gold, which is why many investors have similarly looked for different ways to invest in precious metals.

Silver vs Gold

Silver and gold have both been used as currency and jewelry since nearly the beginning of human civilization. They are both considered valuable precious metals and useful for portfolio diversification and as an inflation hedge. Deciding whether to invest in gold or invest in silver is in some ways a personal choice, and many investors decide to invest in both.

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What Are the Advantages of Investing in Silver?

One of the biggest advantages of investing in silver is that it can help diversify your portfolio. The rate of return for silver and other precious metals is not always correlated with that of other investments, which means that it can be a useful form of portfolio diversification. Silver is also cheaper than gold on a per-ounce basis.

Many investors also consider investing in precious metals to be an inflation hedge – it’s commonly believed that precious metals like silver or gold hold their value more efficiently or for a longer-term than cash or other assets.

If you invest in actual physical silver, another advantage is that it is a hard asset — it cannot be hacked or erased. Silver and other precious metals are one of the few investments that you can actually hold in your hand. Unlike other investments, your holdings in silver can also be as private as you want them to be.

What Are the Potential Drawbacks?

One drawback of investing in silver is that its price is considered fairly volatile. That doesn’t make it a great investment if you are only holding for the short-term. Prices for precious metals can fluctuate wildly over the short-term, and even over the long-term, may not provide investors with the type of appreciation they may have seen if they had invested in other assets.

Further, if you hold physical silver, you do run the risk of having it stolen. Unlike digital assets, physical silver may not be recoverable if it is lost or stolen. As such, if you are buying physical silver coins or bars, you will need to find a safe and secure way to store them.

💡 Quick Tip: Look for an online brokerage with low trading commissions as well as no account minimum. Higher fees can cut into investment returns over time.

Is Silver an Inflation Hedge?

As noted, investing in precious metals is often considered an inflation hedge.

Inflation is a natural phenomenon that gradually increases the cost of many goods and services. Silver has many uses – it can be used to mint coins, for instance, and be used as an actual currency, or be incorporated into other products. For that reason, it may hold its value more effectively than cash or other assets.

But there’s no guarantee that silver will always be an effective inflation hedge, and it’s important to remember that it’s a volatile asset.

How Can I Invest in Silver?

There are a number of different ways to invest in silver, depending on what you’re looking for in your portfolio. One popular way to invest in silver is by buying physical bars or coins of silver. Another possible way to invest in silver is by investing in the stocks of silver mining companies.

Silver Funds

It may also be possible to invest in silver using various types of funds, such as exchange traded funds (ETFs) that own silver or silver mining companies. There may also be options for investors to invest in mutual funds with concentrations in the silver industry or market, too – doing a bit of research to see what your options are in relation to silver investments is likely to yield results.

The Takeaway

Investing in silver offers investors a way to add an alternative asset to their portfolio, which can help them diversify, and hedge against inflation. There are many ways to invest in silver — including investing in silver mining companies, silver ETFs or owning physical silver like coins or silver bullion.

But investing in silver has its risks, and investing in precious metals typically means investors are okay with adding a relatively volatile asset to their portfolios. As always, if you have questions, it may be a good idea to speak with a financial professional.

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Does owning silver diversify your portfolio?

Depending on the composition of your investment portfolio, owning silver can diversify your portfolio. Silver and other precious metals are often considered an inflation hedge, meaning that their price generally holds its value, regardless of the inflation rate. The rate of return on investing in silver and other precious metals is also not often correlated with returns of other types of investments, like the stock market or real estate.

Will the price of silver always go up?

Like all investments, there is no guarantee that the price of silver will always go up. The price of silver can fluctuate wildly, which means that depending on when you buy and/or sell, you may lose money. Before investing in silver, make sure you understand the risks and drawbacks of silver investing.

What are some alternative metals to silver?

Probably the most popular alternative precious metal to silver is gold. Like silver, gold has been used in currency and jewelry for most of the length of human civilization. Other options for investing in precious metals if you’d rather not own gold or silver are platinum or titanium.

Photo credit: iStock/oatawa

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