Every ounce of gold is basically the same as every other ounce. There is no way for a company to create unique value in the gold it produces. And, as such, gold is a commodity that trades based on supply and demand. Physical gold is usually traded in the form of bullion, which is simply a gold bar or coin stamped with the amount of gold it contains and the gold's purity. (Bullion is different than numismatic coins, which are collectibles that often trade based on demand for the specific type of coin and not on their gold content.)    
Rounds, like bars, are produced by a number of different mints and can also be found close to spot value like bars. The thing about rounds, however, is that they are sometimes harder to find depending on the issue and edition you are looking for. Because they are sometimes made in collector’s additions, certain rounds have their prices artificially inflated by high demand and things of that nature. This is not common, though it does happen.
Given that $52 billion worth of gold was sold last year for investment purposes, according to the World Gold Council, it’s not surprising that shady dealers have lined up for a piece of the action. Most of the total was invested in gold mutual funds or exchange-traded funds. But some of us like to possess the lustrous stuff by buying it in coins or bars -- and that’s when you can get ripped off. Regulators say the number of rip-offs is rising with the price of the precious metal.
Bars generally carry lower price premiums than gold bullion coins. However larger bars carry an increased risk of forgery due to their less stringent parameters for appearance. While bullion coins can be easily weighed and measured against known values to confirm their veracity, most bars cannot, and gold buyers often have bars re-assayed. Larger bars also have a greater volume in which to create a partial forgery using a tungsten-filled cavity, which may not be revealed by an assay. Tungsten is ideal for this purpose because it is much less expensive than gold, but has the same density (19.3 g/cm³).
Second, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) only allows for one tax-free rollover of IRA funds each year and this rollover of the full amount of funds must occur within 60 days of removing the funds from your current IRA custodian's care to avoid penalty. If you choose a custodian that you want to change later, you will have to wait the full 12 months or face tax penalties on the money you are moving.
And then there are operational issues, since mining is expensive, time-consuming, and often dangerous. A problem at a mine, a major exploration success, or any number of other operational issues can cause a miner's stock performance to diverge materially from the price of gold. Small miners, meanwhile, often provide the most upside opportunity and downside risk, since tiny moves in the price of gold can sometimes be the difference between these miners making a profit or losing money. And then there are companies like Northern Dynasty Minerals, where the only asset is a mine under development. The stock is cheap today, making it something of an option on the price of gold since the value of the mine (called the Pebble Project) won't be realized for years. But if the Pebble Project gets built, Northern Dynasty could see material stock-price gains.

For investors who are a bit more aggressive, futures and options will certainly do the trick. But, buyer beware: these investments are derivatives of gold's price, and can see sharp moves up and down, especially when done on margin. On the other hand, futures are probably the most efficient way to invest in gold, except for the fact that contracts must be rolled over periodically as they expire.
However, people still love the yellow metal. Clearly, a big part of demand comes from the jewelry industry -- we all like nice baubles and trinkets. But a notable amount of demand comes from entities that want to own gold in its physical form via coins, bullion, and bars. That stems largely from the economic history of gold and the resulting view of the metal as a safe-haven investment. If paper money were to suddenly become worthless, the world would have to fall back on something of value to facilitate trade. One of the most logical options is gold, since that was the role it played before fiat currencies ruled the day. This is one of the reasons that investors tend to push up the price of gold when financial markets are volatile.
“Gold does tend to hold its value in the long-term, but it is also volatile —roughly as volatile as stocks — so you may need decades to ride out its ups and downs,” says Campbell Harvey, the J. Paul Sticht Professor of Finance at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. “So gold would be at the bottom of the list [as an investment choice] for people who are retired or close to retirement.”
Advisors watching the U.S. stock market have shared concerns for the current long-standing bull market. These concerns include, but are not limited to: weak global market growth, slow U.S. GDP growth, an aggressive Fed, over-valued stocks, and a U.S. national debt increasing at almost $50,000 per second. But again, current global forces are strong enough and sporadic enough to create sudden and potentially cataclysmic economic fallout.

When people buy physical gold, they can store it themselves, have someone store it for them or do a combination of both. Some people keep it in a home safe, storage boxes, or in coin capsules at home. Others store it in a safe deposit box at the bank or other secure location. Safe deposit boxes at the bank are affordable but may offer limited access, based on the hours of the financial institution. The bank does not insure the contents of the box, which means separate insurance should be purchased.

A coin or bar dealer will not buy gold from you at the spot price, as they have to factor in their business overheads. They also have to consider the chance that the bar or coin is not what they think it is. Some rarer coins might be quoted at prices above spot, but in gold bullion products like small bars, Sovereigns or Krugerrands, this usually results in you receiving 2-5% less than the spot price when you come to sell.
RNC Minerals has also put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into its Beta Hunt gold-nickel mine this year. While the company put the mine up for sale in March, the asset in Kambalda, Western Australia is now off the market following a major discovery at the project in September. Click here to watch President and CEO Mark Selby discuss the “once-in-a-lifetime” find.
Gold vs. the Stock Market: When it comes to retirement planning, the name of the game is risk versus reward. After all, the most important retirement goal is ensuring that your hard-earned money is preserved and available to you when you stop working. Smart investors, with the future in mind, partner with us when they want to protect their retirement funds from the volatility of the stock market, and diversifying your portfolio with precious metals is key in achieving that peace of mind. Keep a portion of your money out of the stock market by investing in a powerful and stable option – precious metals.
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There are two main reasons people buy gold: as insurance and as an investment. People who are concerned about the recent economic crisis tend to view their ownership of precious metals as an insurance investment. As long as you have physical gold or silver to sell or trade, you will never be broke, even if the economy collapses. As nationally recognized gold expert, long-time investor and author of “Stack Silver Get Gold: How to Buy Gold and Silver Bullion Without Getting Ripped Off!” Hunter Riley III told me, one of the main things gold bullion has going for it is that it’s a tangible asset you maintain control of, no matter what happens to the global economy.

Gold vs. the Stock Market: When it comes to retirement planning, the name of the game is risk versus reward. After all, the most important retirement goal is ensuring that your hard-earned money is preserved and available to you when you stop working. Smart investors, with the future in mind, partner with us when they want to protect their retirement funds from the volatility of the stock market, and diversifying your portfolio with precious metals is key in achieving that peace of mind. Keep a portion of your money out of the stock market by investing in a powerful and stable option – precious metals.
Royal Gold isn't like the traditional mining companies that have to invest in a lot of costly equipment and operations to actually get the precious metal from the ground – it makes its money through royalty and streaming agreements with the heavy earth movers. In fact, one of Royal Gold's major sources of revenue is a streaming agreement for a Dominican mine with Barrick Gold. This low-cost business model is a gold mine (pardon the pun) for Royal Gold in terms of free cash flow – the company was able to convert about 60% of its revenue into cash flow in the first three quarters of fiscal 2017. 
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