American Bullion is proud to announce the winners in our annual Scholarship Program! If you are wondering how to win a scholarship of your own, read the essays below to learn more. Winners are selected each year, and the winning students can help you learn how to get a scholarship of your own.
Five college scholarships worth $500 each were awarded. Over 1000 applications were received in total. Applicants were asked to write an essay answering the prompt “Why should you trust gold to protect your retirement?” The students offered a wide range of viewpoints, each with its own value and approach. American Bullion is proud to award this scholarship to the deserving students below.
The 2015 winners are:
- Elizabeth Blair of Virginia Tech University at Blacksburg, Virginia.
- Aaron Daniels of Kennesaw State University at Kennesaw, Georgia.
- Kelsey Logan of Howard University at Washington, DC.
- Julie Slama of Yale University at New Haven, Connecticut
- Blanca Gonzalez-Phelps of Western New Mexico University at Silver City, New Mexico.
We congratulate the winners and thank everyone who participated. The winners’ essays are below. Stay tuned for information about the 2016 scholarship opportunity at americanbullion.com/scholarship.
Elizabeth Blair – Virginia Tech
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” This quote, credited to Alexander Graham Bell, is applicable to nearly any situation one might face throughout life. If you know you have a test next week, you study. If you think it might rain later, you bring an umbrella. Shouldn’t that same logic apply to planning for your retirement?
The best time to begin planning for retirement is now. The best way to prepare for retirement is to invest in gold. Unlike other paper-based retirement plans, a Gold IRA (Individual Retirement Account) offers protection against inflation and geopolitical crisis. By including gold in your IRA, you increase the diversity and security of your investments. The largest threats to dollar-based investments are inflation and unstable markets.
Every year, the dollar continues to lose its purchasing power. The value of an ounce of gold was equal to roughly $200 in the year 2000. Currently, an ounce of gold is worth over $1,000. If you had put 50 ounces, or $10,000 dollars, worth of gold in a Gold IRA, you would have gained $40,000. There is no constant checking of stock market prices or worrying about if your investment choices are reliable. With gold, you can invest in it, and then leave it alone while you continue with life, without worrying about financial stability after retiring.
In a span of a few months, the market can collapse and render the dollar nearly useless. When the market collapsed in 2008, gold proved its reliability and remained high in value while the dollars’ worth nosedived. Those who had investments in gold did not have to worry about Wall Street or Washington putting their retirement savings in danger. Their physical gold investments remained secure in their safes, immune to unsteady markets and the passing of time.
Gold has been considered the foundation and standard of wealth for centuries, and for good reason. Its’ endurance is invaluable. As a physical asset with perpetual value that is secure against unstable and unpredictable financial systems, gold is the ultimate long-term investment that makes saving for retirement effortless. You can easily add gold to your investment portfolio. If you already have a retirement account, such as a 401(K), you can effortlessly transfer that account to a Gold IRA without worrying about taxes. When it comes time to taking a portion of your investment, you have the option to take direct ownership of the gold you have saved, or request they be liquidated and their cash value be given to you.
American Bullion is considered the most reliable trailblazer of Gold IRAs. Their inventive and original investment system makes the entire process quick, effective, and effortless. The security of your gold is guaranteed with a $1 billion all-risk insurance coverage, an alert and prepared security staff and constant video surveillance.
Gold protects your purchasing power, improves the diversification and stability of your investment portfolio, offers protection against international political and economic crises, and is a globally recognized currency. With investments based on paper money kept in a bank controlled by Wall Street, your retirement funds are not secure. Investing in gold is the most sensible method to smoothly preserve and increase your current wealth so that when it comes time for you to retire, the transition will be comfortable and stress-free.
Aaron Daniels – Kennesaw State
The United States Constitution declares, in Article I, Section 10, “No State shall… make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts…” “Under proposals in many states — including South Carolina, Washington, Minnesota, Iowa, Georgia, Idaho and Indiana — gold and silver coins would be accepted as legal tender based on their metal content.” So why has precious metal as legal tender made a resurgence in the last few years? “Proponents [of enacting these laws] worry that the Federal Reserve’s easy monetary policy will cause hyperinflation like Germany’s Weimar Republic after World War I.” (CNN Money, Feb. 2013)
As summed up by gold expert Rudi Fronk, “Gold is the world’s only universally accepted form of final settlement. Unlike all other assets, it backs itself because it is no one’s obligation. Bonds and stocks represent claims on assets and the value of these claims depends on the issuers making good on their promises. Gold does not. Gold has no central bank and no government that stands behind it and profits from its manipulation.”
He goes on with the following words to explain why this matters. “All the gold in the world today is worth about $6 trillion. Total debt exceeds $200 trillion while world gross domestic product (GDP) is about $50 trillion. The holders of that debt assume they are holding real wealth but their assets depend upon the ability and willingness of borrowers to repay the debt.
The amount of the debt is not sustainable. Only the issue of further debt keeps the game going. When the music stops, the $200 trillion in paper wealth will try to squeeze into the $6 trillion in gold to protect itself with the only asset that cannot default.”
Holding physical gold now and in a gold IRA is a responsible financial move. Though some money can remain in the stock market to keep generating a high rate of return for as long as possible, a percentage of a person’s wealth should be held in the real currency of gold. This positions him for quick recovery following a crisis that occurs in the short term or in the more distant future. The metals kept on hand would retain their value and enable purchases of opportunities at fire sale prices. So when others may even be forced to cash in their retirement accounts early in order to survive, metals position you to thrive. And in an extreme case where bartering becomes the method of trade, gold still holds value. Though you can’t eat or wear gold, people understand its intrinsic value so you could still trade it for the items you need. Additionally, precious metals IRAs will help stabilize your future, should financial disaster hit after the onset of your retirement. If the paper investments in your 401(k) take a nose-dive, gold is like a parachute to break the fall. It is an asset that can be liquidated quickly to pay for living expenses. Furthermore, it is easy to pass on to your descendants thereby establishing generational wealth. Gold and other precious metals are simply a quintessential purchase for financial security.
We can take a cue from the states that are returning to the roots of real currency. When fiat money fails, I want to have my hands on the gold coins and chunky metal bars that will put me back on my feet.
Kelsey Logan – Howard University
Au on the periodic table is used to represent the word Aurum. Aurum, when translated from Latin to English, represents one of the greatest discoveries made by mankind. Gold. As a 4-year student of Latin, I was taught both the language of Latin and the ancient Latin culture. Many times, words and phrases from ancient Latin do not translate smoothly into modern-day English. Translations tend to be rough, because of the differences in our values, goods, and technology. However, the word “gold” translates perfectly from the archaic times of a dead language to the modern times of English, as we know it. This realization is important to keep in mind as we explore why you should trust gold to protect your retirement.
Regardless of whether I am in the 9th century talking about “aurum” or in the 21st century mentioning “gold”, my audience will recognize the value of the yellow precious metal I am referencing. Gold is used in our society for two main purposes. The first (of course) is for jewelry and decoration. However, the second use is what I want to emphasize. Gold is used to guarantee the value of currencies. What does this mean? This means that all over the world, different societies respect gold as a point of reference for the value of currency. Since gold is being used as a point of reference, it is protected from the fluctuations in a nation’s economy.
Gold’s protection from the inflation and deflation that can occur in a nation’s economy is what makes it the perfect protection for your retirement. As you work hard during your labor years, you look forward to retiring and reaping all the benefits of your hard work. As you work today to save wages, the value of currency may be drastically different by the time you retire. Trends show that the United States’ dollar is losing value as currency. Therefore, the huge amount you save now may not seem so huge further down the road. However, if you protect your retirement with gold, you will not have to worry about your retirement money dwindling with value of our nation’s currency.
You should choose gold to protect your retirement to ensure that you reap all the benefits of your hard work. If you rely on the United States’ dollar to protect your retirement, you will inadvertently deprive yourself of some of the benefits you deserve. Gold is one of the few materials to withstand the test of time. When you choose gold to protect your retirement, you are choosing to protect your investment. Your invested time and effort for years upon years in the work force. Your invested money spent to obtain the proper education for your field of study. Every cent and drop of sweat you invested toward your retirement will be harvested in its entirety if you protect your retirement with gold. You are forced to accept losing many things as acts of fate or carelessness. However, you can guarantee that you do not lose a fragment of your work. You should trust gold to protect yourself, your future, and your retirement.
Julie Slama – Yale University
In October 2008, all markets fell sharply as the credit markets collapsed. At the end of the year, gold had risen from its low of $681 per ounce only two months before to rebound at $884.30 by the end of the year, becoming one of the few markets to settle the year ahead. As globalization increases and China seeks to destabilize the markets, gold can be the perfect buffer for a person’s retirement savings.
The gains seen by gold during the last 35 years are hard to dispute. In 1970, the price of gold was just over $34 per ounce. In 2015, it’s now trading at $1,150, a 3,282% increase. Compare that to the S&P 500, which traded at around 95 in 1970; it’s topped out at around 2000, only a 2,005% increase.
Rather than monitoring the markets for hours each day, trying to decide which stocks will tank and which ones will spike, gold is more of the “leave it until you need it” type of investment. Since it’s a commodity and a physical asset, you can think of it as a house- regardless of what the markets do, it will always possess a value far above zero. What sets gold apart from other physical assets is its high liquidity. As a globally recognized currency, it can be readily converted into money, if needed. I tomorrow the markets crash and the NASDAQ, Dow Jones, and S&P 500 each shut down, your Apple stock will be worth next to nothing, along with the rest of your stock investments. On the other hand, your gold will still be there. Its value may drop a bit, but you’ll see it rise over time as inflation increases with government intervention. Investors will turn their attention to the more stable bet of gold, and you’ll be sitting on a massive amount of profit as demand jumps. It’s often said that at any time in history, one ounce of gold would buy an expensive men’s business suit, and with the gold price growing at a rate that exceeds the rate of inflation, we know that fact will be true well into the future.
Gold serves as a solid diversification to a retirement portfolio, as Traditional and Roth IRAs invested in stocks or mutual funds are vulnerable to inflation. To put IRA funds into gold, you have to establish a self-directed IRA, a kind of IRA that the worker manages and can be invested in a wider range of products than more traditional IRAs. After hiring a broker to buy the gold and a custodian to maintain the gold, a potential investor can start diversifying their portfolio with gold.
Many hard-working Americans lack the time to follow the stock market throughout the day and lack the resources to hire a broker to do it for them. Gold provides a convenient solution to this problem; in addition to its high liquidity and steady growth over the last hundred years, it’s an invaluable buffer to financial crises and inflation. After watching the markets bottom out in 2008, interest in gold flourished. If your retirement plan is still without gold, your hard-earned money is at the mercy of the volatile stock markets. Stabilize your future- invest in gold today!
Blanca Gonzalez-Phelps – Western New Mexico University
Growing up, I remember frequently watching the animated series “DuckTales” which is based on wealthy Uncle Scrooge reminiscing about his adventures while gold prospecting. Much like I remember Uncle Scrooge’s “money bin” full of gold coins, I remember always knowing that I wanted a bright outlook for my retirement. As a child, I knew I wanted a secure retirement because quite frankly, who wants to work hard to the end of their days? I wanted to be like Uncle Scrooge, swimming in gold coins and providing for himself and his future generations.
Having started investing in my retirement as a fresh “boot” and a Private First Class in the U.S. Marine Corps, I knew protecting my retirement was a long term goal I needed to address. This is a common interest and most people will also agree that gold has been a symbol of wealth throughout recorded human history. There is truth behind this as gold has been proven to be a quality investment and a long-term wealth store during times of recession and depression. It was only after the start of the Great Depression in 1930 that people began to realize how important it was to own depression-proof assets such as gold. Financial advisors preach and recommend diverse portfolios, including owning assets that retain their value during economic downturns. While Uncle Scrooge also had cash in his money bin, his investment mostly consisted of gold. Why? Even Uncle Scrooge knew that owning gold was a wise investment. I should have learned my lesson from this before the crash of 2008 began. Supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and leaving behind a 5 year old daughter, I was deployed to Afghanistan and realized my investments were taking a turn for the worse. By the end of my combat deployment, my hard-earned investments were gone and yet, gold still ended the year with a 5% gain. How could I have missed the warning signs? Oh yes, I was more concerned about serving in a combat environment and ensuring I made it back home safe and sound to my husband and child waiting for my return home.
Now, stationed overseas in Japan, I am well aware of the fluctuating value of currency. Every withdrawal transaction made at the bank or at the automated teller machine (ATM) reflects the yen-and -dollar exchange rate. Weakening my U.S. dollar is an alarming thing to see, especially as a mother of three children now with retirement nearer than ever. Gold has been a wise investment throughout history and it remains a valuable investment today. With the amount of currency dilution the American economy has undergone since the financial crisis in 2008, gold continues to endure or expected to rise rather than fall. If the response of the American government to a recession is to print more money, gold will be a critical asset to have to secure retirement. Going on just over 16 years and counting of active duty in the Marine Corps, four combat deployments, too much time spent away from my family to serve our country, I want to enjoy my retirement with my family. I want my retirement outlook to be, as the popular expression goes, “good as gold.” Gold’s enduring purchasing power is why we hold the metal and why it is a solid investment for future generations to come. What happens to the economy over a short period of time is only one chapter in the book of the bull market, but by the time that last chapter is written, gold can be trusted to protect our well deserved retirement.
The views and opinions expressed in the above essays are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of American Bullion, Inc., its affiliates, or its employees. American Bullion does not guarantee the information’s accuracy or completeness, and does not recommend that the information serve as the basis of any investment decision.