There are quite a few ways to invest in gold, which include paper gold and the physical metal itself.  What you should acquire will vary depending on what your goals, objectives and time horizons are.  Thus, this is where you should start.  If you need help with this consult a precious metals firm.  The only trick here is this: paper metals dealers don’t typically sell the physical metal and vice versa.

If you are looking for short-term price speculation than a gold ETF like GLD is good for you.  Anything put into physical gold should be considered a longer-term hold.  Therefore never put money into physical gold that cannot be held for at least 3-5 years.  For physical gold there are two different types you can acquire: Bullion and Numismatic.

Bullion is coins and bars who’s value is based upon the gold content only.  There is no value added for collectability, quality or rarity.  The price is determined by taking the spot price and adding a premium to it for it being mined, minted and distributed.  The premium can vary coin to coin and dealer to dealer, and can range on average anywhere from $50 to $100 above spot gold.

The other type of gold you can acquire is numismatic gold.  The most popular type of numismatic gold coins are the pre-1933 US mint gold coins.  These coins contain the exact same gold that is in gold bullion coins, but value is added due to its collectability, quality and rarity.  These factors give it some benefits beyond what the intrinsic value provides.  These coins are private upon buying and selling.  They have been excluded from gold bullion confiscations in the past, and with the weakness in the dollar many experts believe that we could experience another confiscation in the not to distant future.  My favorite benefit of owning numismatic/rare gold coins is the growth they have achieved in the past.  According to PCGS data, mint state rare gold coins have outperformed the DJIA close to 11-1 and outperformed gold bullion 4-1 over the last 40 years.  All of these factors combined are the reason why so many people believe it is the best way to own gold.

Whether you are investing in paper or physical gold, do your research, understand the market and speak to a reputable precious metals firm.  This will make for an educated and pleasant experience.