American Bullion is proud to announce the winners in our first annual Scholarship Program!
Five high school scholarships worth $250 each, and five college scholarships worth $500 each were awarded. Over 900 applications were received in total. Applicants were asked to write an essay answering the prompt “Why is gold a good investment for future generations?”
The winners are:
- Michael Kanwischer of Paw Paw High School (Paw Paw, MI)
- Madelaine Millar of Hellgate High School (Missoula, MT)
- Hannah Finnerty of Waterloo High School (Waterloo, IL)
- Vivekanand Rajasekar of Chattahoochee High School (Johns Creek, GA)
- Spencer H. of Ransom Everglades High School (Miami, FL)
- Abigail Owens of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Ashley Lewis of University of Alabama at Birmingham
- Grant Trenary of Regis University (Denver, CO)
- Marissa Fink of University of California at Berkeley
- Leslie Wood of Stark State College (North Canton, OH)
We congratulate the winners and thank everyone who participated. The winners’ essays are below. Stay tuned for information about the 2015 scholarship opportunity at americanbullion.com/scholarship.
“Why is gold a good investment for future generations?”
Michael Kanwischer, Paw Paw High School (Paw Paw, MI)
“Gold: The Universal Language”
Gold has been used as currency for centuries. The Aztecs used it, as did the Greeks as well as the Egyptians. It seems as though any civilization that comes into contact with the metal instantly falls in love with it. That relationship continues to exist today, and it is no surprise that even as our civilization evolved, we never abandoned our addiction to gold. Gold is currently used in making many things. It is used in art, jewelry, fashion, medicine, space exploration, and, of course, investments. Gold is extremely popular with stockholders, and for good reason. Gold is a very smart choice for investments and the process of investing in gold should continue in generations to come.[su_expand more_text=”Read more” less_text=”Read less”]Gold is gold. There is no changing that. There is no philosopher’s stone, no Midas touch; nothing can turn another object into gold. Any high school chemistry student can attest to the fact that nothing can change one element into another, with the exception of radiation. However, nothing radiates into gold. In a report about gold for National Geographic, Brook Larmer stated that “the world’s richest deposits are fast being depleted, and new discoveries are rare.” What all this means is that the supply of gold will most likely stop rising in the next few decades. Because there will only be a little increase in supply to affect the price of gold, the deciding factor in value will be demand. And demand has only increased. According to the World Gold Council (WGC), the total demand for gold increased from 3,221 tonnes in 2003 to 3,756.1 tonnes in 2013. This corresponded with about an 800 dollar per ounce increase. This trend is very appealing to long-term investors.
Gold has an amazing ability to minimalize risk. That is why gold is popularly used as a hedge. In a recent study performed by the WGC, they found that “gold returns have outperformed some alternative assets and –an important diversification-and-performance point – it has a correlation to equities that is lower than any alternative asset.” In fact, they found that by having anywhere from two to 10 percent of one’s portfolio invested in gold, the risk of that portfolio decreased significantly. Unfortunately, this information is slightly misleading. Gold is possibly the best hedge fund – in the long run. It is safer than stocks, bonds, and real estate. However, the value of gold fluctuates monthly. One month the value will raise the next it will sink. The up-side to this is that the yearly average increases. So, gold is a great addition for anyone looking for long investments.
Despite its grand attraction, some people maintain that gold is not a good investment. Some do not even see it as an investment. Louis Woodhill sees it as a trade. In an article he wrote for Forbes, Woodhill wrote “what one ‘investor’ gains, another loses.” He goes on to describe a scenario where one investor bought gold for a profit, resulting in another buying the gold for a loss. This may be true for gold; however, this is also true for stocks. This is just how investing works. Everything has risk. A great way for lowering risk is by diversifying the assets one invests in. Gold is a perfect asset to diversify an account with.
During times of uncertainty, gold is a great choice for stability and even growth. A sound theory in economics is the economic cycle. This theory states that the economic climate tends to rise and fall in periods of expansion and periods of recession. During the latter, people tend to sell their holdings in gold. This creates a surplus, driving the price down. This would be a great time for a person to buy gold in anticipation of the market starting up again. Once the market does come back to its full strength, people will once again be buying gold. This drives up demand and, there soon after, the price. By choosing the right time to buy and sell gold, one can maximize profits.
Gold is a perfect addition to any investor’s portfolio. The average price of gold has been rising on a yearly basis. It is a stable investment, proving so with every passing year. While the stock market has going up and down in recent years, gold has stayed on the rise. If the value of the dollar were to plummet, the value of gold will skyrocket. On the other hand, if the dollar were to collapse, then so will stocks, bonds, and housing. Gold will hold its value in times of turmoil and uncertainty. Future investors should not just buy gold, but they should do so with pride knowing that they have just made their future substantially safer.[/su_expand]
Madelaine Millar, Hellgate High School (Missoula, MT)
For thousands of years, humans have known the value of gold. From the ancient Egyptians’ veneration of gold jewelry, to the Persians’ creation of some of the world’s oldest gold coins, to the Incas designation of gold as “the tears of the Sun,” cultures around the world have found gold to be the one substance that best epitomizes wealth. Across history gold has meant wealth, prosperity, and happiness. In the words of William Wordsworth, “Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.”[su_expand more_text=”Read more” less_text=”Read less”]We can see by looking to almost any culture in history that gold has always held value in a way that nothing else has. Unlike property, it can’t burn down, or lose value because it suddenly finds itself in an undesirable neighborhood, and it’s easily transportable. Unlike a single currency, the euro for instance, gold is valuable internationally. Unlike diamonds or other precious stones, gold is useful in a variety of ways-from jewelry to glass-making, coins to electronics, medicine to spaceship parts. Technology becomes outdated, stocks crash, oil fields run dry, but gold always has value. Gold is the most reliable investment that one can make.
Speaking of reliability, the price of gold has been trending upwards for decades. Just from 2000-2010, the price of gold more than quadrupled. Remembering Wordsworth, we remember that learning from the past helps us to profit by the present. We can see that the price of gold has gone up astronomically in the past, growing exponentially just in the last century, and this trend is more than likely to continue. An investment in gold is not only going to hold value, it is going to increase in value, and it is likely that that increase will be a substantial one.
If we continue to explore the Wordsworth quote, we can see that profiting by the present allows us to live better in the future. We all want to have a long, happy retirement, and to provide for our children, and an investment in gold helps us to do just that. When one has a solid, dependable investment that continues to increase in value, one’s funds during retirement aren’t limited to whatever was built up during employment. As gold’s value continues to increase, so do one’s funds. Instead of constant worry about money, one can afford a comfortable home, travel, gifts for friends and family, and innumerable other creature comforts that we all dream of having during our retirement.
This final point is really the most important thing to remember about investing in gold: an investment in gold is an investment in the future. It cements future security, continues to benefit generations of heirs after the death of its original owner, and perpetuates a noble tradition stretching back millennia. Let us look one final time to the words of Wordsworth, “Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.” Gold truly lets us fulfill this ideal, and continue into a better future.[/su_expand]
Hannah Finnerty, Waterloo High School (Waterloo, IL)
I remember my first dance recital. Decked out in my pink tumbling shoes with matching pink socks with a delicate gold trim, I felt like I was on top of the world. My leotard was golden, a standout from the others, and I had tiny gold ribbons tying up both of my piggy tails. This being my first year in dance and one of the youngest, my technique was no where near the level of the older girls in their teens, wearing pointe shoes with silk ribbons laced around their ankles, their hair slicked back into tight chignons. Still, in my gold ensemble, I felt just as graceful and powerful as everyone else on stage.[su_expand more_text=”Read more” less_text=”Read less”]
From this early age, gold became a symbolic color for me, one that represents power and unity, strength and mastery. Now that I am older, I have retired my ballet shoes and no longer tie ribbons in my hair. However, I still continue to keep the symbolism of gold in mind. To every track meet I’ve ever competed in, I wear a tiny chain around my neck that holds a small gold coin. Although it’s small, just like me it has great worth and can do great things. Gold not only has become important to me growing up, but it has played a huge role in economies worldwide. Similarly to how gold plays a part in my everyday life and my future, gold is an incredibly important investment for current and future generations.
One of the biggest reasons gold is an intelligent and invaluable investment is because of its global worth. This year alone, the Russian ruble has dropped nearly half of its value against the United States dollar, as their economy is shrinking substantially. Their national currency has lost significant value, but the value of their gold has not. Even when currency fails, gold holds its value because gold is gold no matter where you go or who you trade it to. People from all over the world want it. They need it to meet the demands of their people. While the price still swings some with the value of a nation’s currency, gold will always be needed, making it an incredibly valuable investment.
Any sort of investment can prove to be profitable but can also prove to be a mistake in the long run and result in a loss. While some know that keeping your investment portfolio diverse can help avoid big losses, others are still unaware. By investing in a variety of different things, you avoid putting all of your eggs in one basket. If one stock or investment happens to fall dramatically or plummet unexpectedly, only one of many investments has bottomed out, leaving your portfolio mostly in good condition. An investment in gold provides diversity to your portfolio, making investing a bit less turbulent and less stressful when planning for retirement or working towards your 401k.
In addition, gold is a safe and defensive investment. By choosing to invest in gold, you are protecting yourself in the long run. In the Enron scandal that occurred in late 2001, the leaders of a business are not always the most trustworthy. Because of this, Enron went bankrupt, and everyone who had invested in the company lost everything. This is not the case with gold. Businesses come and go, but you can keep gold in a lockbox while it continues to fluctuate in value, no chance of losing your investment entirely. It is also a tangible thing, which assures most of the reality of the investment. Instead of having an abstract portfolio and conceptual investments, the physical form of gold is more substantial to most than just the idea of a stock.
As I learned at a young age, gold is powerful. There is something magical to the color, the texture, the strength that you feel when you possess it. However, aside from the abstract ideals of gold, it is an incredibly valuable investment. Where stocks may plummet, there will always be a demand for gold. It is needed now and will continue to be a coveted asset in years to come.[/su_expand]
Vivekanand Rajasekar, Chattahoochee High School (Johns Creek, GA)
“Everything works, and nothing works,” goes the old stockbroker proverb. When the market is bullish, analysts attribute the success of the economy to beneficial government policies. When the market is falling, even with those same policies, analysts attribute the demise to uncertainty in the Middle East, or inflation in Europe, or a tornado in Kansas. Surprising as it may be, there will be tornadoes tomorrow, there will be inflation in Europe tomorrow, and there will be uncertainty in the Middle East tomorrow. The only investment that can be trusted to hold its value over time is gold.[su_expand more_text=”Read more” less_text=”Read less”]Imagine that you are 70 years old and have worked all your life, but purchased nothing. You have been waiting to spend all that saved money to buy something grand. However, if you had kept all your salary as cash, inflation would have bitten a chunk off your savings. The government, furthermore, has a policy of replacing the currency series every decade, rendering the older notes useless. If you had kept your salary as cash, you would be left penniless for all those years of toiling. If you had invested in gold, the yellow metal would have multiplied your earnings. The value of gold adjusts to inflation and deflation to keep its value.
In times of political instability, gold provides the stability by retaining its value. Today, North Korea wages cyber warfare on American corporations, sabotaging assets valued in the millions of dollars. The Islamic State ruthlessly fights off democracy while attracting radicals from around the globe. The American debt of 18 trillion dollars is increasing by the billions every day. Protesters reject all order in Ferguson as they burn and loot, while the angry in New York are murdering cops. When world tensions rise, confidence in the government decreases, and the people just want stability and safety. Gold is their refuge in distressing times, because of its historically stellar performance.
Ever since man discovered trade, gold has served as the primary way to hold wealth. The Incas and the Mayans used gold to built magnificent temples, jewelry, and artwork. The Ashanti of Africa used the Golden Stool as the symbol of leadership and the spirit of the Asante nation itself. The Romans and the Byzantines used gold heavily for art, decoration, and trade. The Maurya and Gupta Empires of India traded gold so heavily that their Roman trade partners complained about losing currency in their countries. The Qin and Han dynasties of China valued gold so much that gold was reserved for the wealthy, educated class. Every civilization on the planet has its roots in the yellow metal, and gold served as a primary way for the advancement of man. One day in the future, gold will again serve as the savior of human civilization.
Gold today plays the additional role of a marketed equity. It is subject to the capitalist policy of supply and demand, and the market determines the price. The supply of gold is limited to two sources: production from mines and the selling by central banks. The world’s largest gold-mining nation, South Africa, has seen its production fall drastically in the last decade. The amount of gold that central banks are willing to sell has also decreased dramatically as instability rises; the banks need the gold to balance for security. So, the supply has been steadily decreasing. The demand, on the other hand, has been steadily increasing from investors, bankers, and developing nations. India and China have seen their consumers grow thirstier for gold each year as their economies grow, while investors also realize the importance of the yellow metal. As any economist can explain, a growing demand and shrinking supply only mean a greater price in the future. Jewelry accounts for the majority of the demand for gold. The culture of wearing gold is most prevalent in India, where golden ornaments are envied and coveted. Just as our ancestors were mesmerized by the golden sparkle, every designer and fashionable woman in the modern world appreciates the sun-like reflection of gold. Especially for people that work tedious, repetitive jobs in dreary offices, the bright reflections of gold provide an escape from the gloominess that surrounds them.
On top of its aesthetic qualities, gold’s scientific qualities are increasingly discovered and exploited. Gold is a great conductor of electricity and it can rapidly transmit data. According to the World Gold Council, at least 50 milligrams of gold are found in every cell phone and computer in the world. Gold can also be flattened into extremely thin sheets, making it a favorite in the gilding process. Many governmental, religious and corporate buildings use gold to cover their roofs. In medicine, gold is used to treat arthritis; injecting gold salts reduces swelling, bone damage, and stiffness. Dentists continue to use gold for fillings, crowns, and bridges. Scientists continue to find more and more uses for element number 79.
In war, trade, history, and science, gold continues to be highly valued and exceptionally useful. That special bond between man and gold has only grown stronger with time; gold continues to save man from anarchy and disaster. Gold is, indeed, like the sun: it is bright, powerful, and mesmerizing. The importance and necessity of gold only increases with time; therefore, it is never too late to invest in gold. When stocks, bonds, governments, mutual funds, and ETFs may or may not work, investing in gold always works.[/su_expand]
Spencer H., Ransom Everglades High School (Miami, FL)
Throughout world history, gold has been one of the most desired substances on the planet. For hundreds of thousands of years, humans have used a plethora of currencies from cattle to cowrie shells to paper. But the currency that has proved to have the most staying-power is gold. From the fields of Mesopotamia to the vast expanse of the Roman Empire gold has been universally desired. In the empire of Mali, located in the Saharan desert, salt was famed to be worth its weight in gold. However, today one can buy twenty-five pounds of salt for $7.32, according to a quick Google search, whereas the price of a similar amount of gold is upwards of $400,000. Gold has an impeccable historical record of being a secure store of value, and will undoubtedly continue to be a stable investment.[su_expand more_text=”Read more” less_text=”Read less”]
Gold has an array of uses in modern-day technologies, which will only heighten its value in the coming years and making it an intelligent investment for future generations. Gold is used in nearly every modern electronic device due to its unique properties as an excellent conductor which does not corrode. Further, the current practice of using gold in our electronic devices is creating somewhat of a gold drain: because most smart-phones and similar devices typically have only two-year lifespans, and very few are properly recycled, the global supply of gold is actually decreasing in small increments. A reduction in the total availability of gold will naturally necessitate a rise in its value, an increase that future generations can capitalize on by investing in gold today.
Gold’s uses have only grown over time, and will continue to do so as our species discovers new potentials for gold. Gold has already begun to be used in certain medical practices and treatments, and as our knowledge of the inner-workings of the human body expands, gold’s potential to treat diseases and disorders will increase the global demand for it. Gold is also used as a lubricant on spacecraft developed by NASA; humanity is inevitably poised to invest vast sums into researching space travel as the technology becomes more and more feasible, and that, too, will increase the demand and value of gold.
Gold is a significantly more stable investment than unbacked currencies, which are subject to rapid value fluctuations. Governments can issue unlimited bonds or print unlimited amounts of currency, which can lead to the disastrous results of hyperinflation. In July of 2008, the inflation rate in Zimbabwe was approximately 89,700,000,000,000,000,000,000% – an amount so vast that even the grandest fortune backed solely in Zimbabwe Dollars was worth next to nothing virtually overnight. The supply of gold is essentially fixed, a fact that ensures its value is protected from inflation. Gold retains the value and wealth stored in it despite the most severe economic conditions.
The value of gold is backed by its intrinsic worth and properties, which are only capable of increasing, whereas other investments, such as stocks and bonds, are backed merely by promises. Stocks are wildly fluctuating, and due to new developments and unregulated flash-trading, are capable of losing practically their entire value in measurements of time incomprehensible to the human mind. Bonds, meanwhile, are backed by the agreements of businesses or governments, entities that are supposedly stable. And yet, the most trustworthy institution for the repayment of its debts, the US government, within the past year has shut itself down due to its inability to reconcile its debts. In uncertain times like these, one is reminded of the words of Madison in The Federalist #51; to paraphrase: men are not angels, and they are not governed by angels. When the most respected government in the world is finding it harder and harder to repay its loans, one cannot help but wonder how secure the value of a bond is.
In short, gold is a smart investment for future generations because of its rich traditions and value in the past, and because of its increasing demand for its numerous uses in the future. Gold has demonstrated a continued value like no other substance, and its uses serve to further set it apart. Empires, cash-crops, and currencies have come and gone, but future generations can be sure that gold will always be there as the object of human desire. Gold will always be in demand and there will always be a limited amount of it. Therefore, over the subsequent years, decades, centuries, and millennia, gold will always be a wise investment.[/su_expand]
Abigail Owens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
There is instability in the stock market, a loss in the dollar’s purchasing power due to inflation, and a large national debt that is expected to only continue growing. The US dollar, as well as other major currencies, are actively being debased. It is not difficult for one to imagine a panic setting into the market, since many believe that these problems could cripple retirement plans and other savings; yet, in times of panic, in times of serenity, and in all the times in between there exists a valuable asset and a good investment for future generations—gold.[su_expand more_text=”Read more” less_text=”Read less”]
Unlike paper money, coins, or other assets, gold has maintained its value throughout the ages—increasing in value, when compared to the US dollar. Gold retains its value, not only in times of financial uncertainty, but in times of geopolitical uncertainty as well. Since gold is largely independent of market cycles, it has long been turned to as a hedge against inflation and market uncertainty, and as a means to protect purchasing power. Even in such a situation when all assets lose their value, gold has shown great resilience. Robert Lenzner, National Editor of Forbes Magazine, states, “Gold has been the best performer in inflationary periods. When investors become wary of sovereign creditworthiness and all currencies share similar symptoms, meaning there is nowhere to run, they run to hard assets such as gold” (Lenzner 2010). The status of gold as a precious metal prevents any official entity from destroying its value; it has no counterparty or credit risk. One would do well to suggest that the essential quality of gold is its role as the only primary asset that is not someone else’s liability.
Although gold is already a valuable asset, it is likely that its value will only continue to increase. Unlike the printing of paper currency, gold cannot be manufactured. Despite the increased spending on exploration, new gold finds and quality mining deposits are harder to come by. Unless some radical new technology is introduced, bottlenecks will impact the gold supply going forward. Mining projects will become more costly to carry out, and in turn, the cost of gold will rise.
One would be wise to invest in gold. It is a safe haven from economic uncertainty, offering solid protection as well as excellent profit potential. Tony Daltorio from Investopedia states, “Gold is often called the ‘crisis commodity,’ because people flee to its relative safety when world tensions rise; during such times, it often outperforms other investments” (Daltorio 2014). As globally recognized currency—timeless and borderless—gold can be readily converted into cash when needed. Additionally, gold stored at IRS-approved depositories is fully insured.
Gold has been a store of wealth for thousands of years—the longest lasting form of money in history—and may continue as a store of wealth for thousands of years to come. Regardless of the amount of time that passes or the extreme conditions it is subjected to, gold does not erode or oxidize. Gold is an eternal asset, a valuable asset, and a good investment for future generations.[/su_expand]
Ashley Lewis, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Very few things withstand the ravages of time: a fact made abundantly clear to me during my recent visit to an archaeological site near my university’s campus. The site, dubbed Moundville, had once been home to a thriving Native American community; however very few physical traces of their lives remain today. The only real residual artifacts are objects of pottery, flint, and, most notably, gold. Gold jewelry, gold carvings, tiny golden sculptures—after nearly 1,000 years, these ancient artifacts hardly showed any wear at all. They shone as though they had been newly minted. This experience illustrated to me, quite clearly and profoundly, the enduring power of gold. After nearly 1,000 years this ancient civilization’s gold had retained not only its form, but also its value. What is more, these artifacts provide important glimpses into the daily lives of these people. I went to Moundville expecting to learn about the lives of the ancient Mississippian Indians. I left filled with questions about the nature of wealth, the value of gold, and the best way to save my money so that I too could leave something tangible behind me when I am gone. This experience, and these questions, drove me to begin researching methods of investment. From this research I have found that gold outshines, both literally and metaphorically, all other investments due to its durability, stability, and accessibility.[su_expand more_text=”Read more” less_text=”Read less”]
Most people do not need their assets to endure for 1,000 years, but most people, including myself, want financial assets that retain their value for generations. My research has uncovered no asset that more perfectly meets this goal than gold. Gold has been a valuable investment for hundreds of years, and it remains a valuable investment today. As illustrated at Moundville, gold maintains its value almost indefinitely. Though the price of gold may fluctuate, it always has worth. The same cannot be said for regular currency. One need only look at the currencies of Zimbabwe or Venezuela to see the instability of paper money in action. I and my peers have been urged from middle school age to start savings accounts, to invest our money, to put something aside for our futures. However, how can we be expected to invest safely in such an unstable market? Paper money and the current banking system seem incredibly unsound. The United States’ monetary system is not backed up in any tangible way. Banks have failed in the past, and, if current economic conditions continue to worsen, the banks could very well fail again. Adding gold to one’s financial portfolio provides protection against this contingency. Even if the dollar should fail, owners of gold will still possess something of obvious value. What is more, gold provides not only financial security but also an emotional security: it gives one something physical, something palpable to claim as one’s own, in the face of an increasingly digital world.
Gold clearly provides long-term security both financially and emotionally, but buying gold is also nearly risk free. Other investments, such as savings accounts or bonds require that a secondary party, such as a bank or federal government, pay back the promised interest. Different investments such as stocks or property ownership come with even more risk and are subject to the constant fluctuations of the economy. Yet, gold is a physical, and relatively stable, investment. It relies on no secondary party. One simply buys, receives, and stores the gold. Afterwards, it can be manipulated by no other party and does not rely on another party to own up to any sort of agreement. As a result, it is one of the safest forms of investment.
The difficulty with gold, and the reason that I believe many hesitate to invest in it, is that it is not easily accessible. Yes, it is primarily used as a form of investment, a form of savings, and savings, by design, remain untouched for long periods of time. However, sometimes, in cases of emergency, it is necessary to liquidate ones assets quickly. Many worry that, in these times of crisis, it would be difficult to convert their invested gold into cash. These are valid concerns. In response to these concerns, many gold investment companies and banks are working to make these conversions much simpler. Banks will give most clients a jewelry loan for gold jewelry. Many also have relatively simple programs that allow for the liquidation of gold. Although some banks will not immediately convert gold coins, even in this case, it is still possible to convert gold to cash through a pawn shop. It is far more accessible than money locked in, for example, real estate. Property has to be sold in order to be converted to cash, and the selling of property is often a long, drawn out process. As a result, despite its perception, gold is actually exceptionally liquid and, therefore, perfectly valid as a form of savings.
The arguments for investing in gold, both now and in the future, seem quite simple. However, these arguments are, in fact, connected to some deep and significant concepts. Its endurance, low risk, and ease of conversion obviously set gold apart as one of the wisest choices in financial diversification. However, the value of gold lies not only in its literal monetary value. Gold is one of the few investments that possesses value financially, psychologically, and historically. It is obviously important that a financial investment have financial value, but is it important that this investment provide investors with a sense of security? Is it important that this investment be able to last for centuries? I would argue, yes. Fundamentally, as human beings, we seek to feel security in our lives, and, even more profoundly, we all seek to leave an impression, however small, on history. Yes, gold has the ability to increase one’s wealth, to diversify one’s financial portfolio. But, it also meets many of our other fundamental human desires, and this sets it far apart from nearly every other form of investment. The descendants of today’s gold investors may one day catch a glimpse of their ancestor’s lives through their golden artifacts, just as we glimpse into the lives of the Mississippians through their gold. As a result, it is clear that gold is truly one of the best investment both for today’s investors and for generations of investors to come.[/su_expand]
Grant Trenary, Regis University (Denver, CO)
I never really thought about investing for most my life. Lately I’ve been growing up. Now that I am on a career trajectory to become a nurse, I’ve begun to consider investing in my future. Like many in my generation I’ve had conflated expectations about what I would achieve. I imagined that making money was a matter of confidence and savviness. You had to simply believe strongly enough in your capabilities and get others to recognize those capabilities in order to make money. I saw the tech industry and startups as an example of enviable wealth creation. I wanted the glamour of quick and smart money. Investing was a gamble and I wanted to take the house. Taking a step back I see a certain vanity in my previous understanding. I think true value in investing comes from making sound and principled decisions. Investing shouldn’t be a gamble. Your money is a reflection of your values and what you chose to invest in says a lot about your character. I want to invest in something that is relatively stable and consistently tracks well with inflation. Gold will increase in value better than a savings account.[su_expand more_text=”Read more” less_text=”Read less”]
Gold has the credential of history that few other investments have. There is a certain stigma in my generation that investing in gold is for overly cautious individuals. Why not invest in a startup that could see far quicker returns? My generation is still learning about market volatility and the lessons that recessions can give to our exuberant spending. Gold is a currency that stands on a firm foundation. It will always have value where people have values and I think that as an investment it will stand the test of time. The investor who buys gold has a certain recognition of the frailty of man. There is a certain mistrust in the exuberance of commerce that a precious metal hopes to assuage. The future is uncertain and full of chaotic fluctuations. This is especially true in regards to economics.
I can’t say with certainty whether I will invest in gold in the immediate future. I do know that I am looking for soundness and reliability in where I decide to let me money grow. I like the idea of a gold IRA account as a backbone of my retirement. I imagine that as many in my generation get older, they will also be looking for sound investments, apart from the glamour and risk of other investments. Eventually one begins to understand what excess cash one can use to invest with. Gold is safe and measured investment for an unpredictable and wild future. Future generations will learn some of the lessons of the 90s dot com bubble and the housing crisis in the 2000s. They will realize that fast money is often dangerous money. Time is the crucial ingredient to make a sound investment grow. Gold provides that soundness and is a resilient currency that often weathers some of the most fiercest and wild economic storms.[/su_expand]
Marissa Fink, University of California at Berkeley
It is hard to recall now, in an age of electronic money such as PayPal and credit cards, that for almost three thousand years gold coins were the very emblems of civilization. Before the use of the physical gold coins, commerce was chaos and people could never be sure of the true worth of their money. It is quite convenient the Lydians of Asia Minor in 700 BC hit upon this idea of producing round disks of the naturally occurring precious metals to simplify trade as a marker of value. King Croesus of Lydian was the first to mint coins of pure gold to determine value. From Greek and Roman times onward, gold has carried a heavy responsibility in the world’s commerce: they are the most effective emissaries of securing ones personal fortune.[su_expand more_text=”Read more” less_text=”Read less”]
My grandma grew up during the depression and was from a family of farmers in Kentucky who burned corn and wheat to stay warm; the crop prices were too low to justify selling them. With my grandma’s family finding no market for their produce and all of the family savings suddenly gone, it took a toll on her physical health. My grandma cracked her head open by falling off a swing and nearly died because her family could not afford hospital care. By some miracle she survived and continued to live her life. She worked hard to get past her family’s financial hardships and moved to Los Angeles with her husband to pursue her dreams. With the help of my grandpa they created Gould Carpet Company, which imported rags from England and manufactured fine rugs for Los Angeles and Orange County. My grandparents explained to my mother the importance of investing their hard earnings in gold. They were very wise and explained if a natural disaster or geopolitical problem may ever occur, gold is the best physical commodity to possess because it maintains its value no matter where one may be in the world.
As a 19-year-old young individual that has started my educational career at the University of California Berkeley, I have found interest to understand why my grandparents were so certain to invest in gold. I meticulously researched gold and performed in-depth analysis to see if my grandparents were right. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were right! I found the economic history in the United States has proved that gold has been a hedge against inflation. Already it is the year of 2015 and the price of housing, gas, and living will continue to rise; gold will continue to rise as well. I was shocked to read the price of gold for 97 years was $20.67 per ounce. Today, when I look up the current price of gold I find it is a whopping $1200 per ounce.
Investing in gold is the wisest decision my grandparents have ever done for my family and will continue to keep their advice and continue to invest in gold for my future kids someday. My grandparents shared with me the idea of possible financial uncertainties the country may face. I use their advice to be ‘smart with money’ and ‘make wise decisions’. I will pursue my educational goals and proceed to invest money in gold, because as explained by economic history, ancient Greeks and Romans, and my grandparents, gold will continue to maintain its value throughout the years.[/su_expand]
Leslie Wood, Stark State College (North Canton, OH)
As quickly as society is progressing today, it is difficult to predict what will be happening in our world decades from now when some of us retire, if we are fortunate enough to be able to do so. As society has changed over time, so has our concept of money and financial means. Only a minute number of things have retained value over the years, but if one thing has stood the test of time around the globe, it is gold. Gold has been a symbol of wealth throughout recorded human history, and it is hard to imagine that it will ever cease to be so.[su_expand more_text=”Read more” less_text=”Read less”]
Currencies vary by region and culture. The value of each individual currency is fluid dependent upon the current economic welfare of a nation-state’s economy. So many variables are factored in; it is risky to put our trust in any type of currency for a long-term plan. Stocks and bonds rise and fall over the years, and booms and crashes will likely occur throughout the careers of today’s work force. Political systems may shift and change. Societies may fall. Although we can make some educated guesses, there is absolutely no way to be sure of what will be happening in several decades.
Another issue to grapple with is the fact that paper currency is used rather infrequently today, even “checks” have fallen by the wayside for the most part. We rarely hold actual money in our hands; our pays are direct deposited into an account, and we use either a plastic card or some form of technology in order to transfer funds that we never actually see. The idea of the dollar has become highly symbolic. Similarly, the “Bitcoin” has been developed amongst other ways of global funds transfer, which seem almost imaginary and quite fallible.
With most funds transfers happening over the Internet, we should be extremely concerned about any way we attempt to save for the future. Hackers are rampant worldwide; proof of that has been repeatedly seen throughout the last couple of years. The likelihood of someone’s intangible retirement funds being swooped out from under them in a flash is becoming higher and higher. Who knows if there will be a great computer crash and all information will be lost? Everything that so many people have worked so hard for yet never held in their hands could disappear in an instant, leaving us to rebuild from zero. Such a thing would be devastating, but is not hard to imagine.
In a modern society where practically all things of value are intangible, I believe it is important to set aside something of value that is tangible. Gold is something that we can hold in our hands. Gold will not disappear if computers crash, and although it can be stolen, it cannot be hacked. In a world with an unpredictable economic future, it is a wise choice to invest in something tangible that has been valued for many centuries, and gold is one of the few things that passes the test. For these reasons and more, I believe that gold is one of the wisest and most trustworthy investments a person can make today for their hopeful future of retirement.[/su_expand]