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WHERE AM I SUPPOSED TO STORE ALL THIS GOLD & SILVER? - Part -2
(Storing with Confidence - Part 2)
This is the second part of a two part article written over 15 years ago by Larry LaBorde that is still every bit as valuable now (if not more) than it was then. I have updated it a little, but it is very much still my father’s writing. I would like to thank Silver Trading Company silvertrading.net for sponsoring our efforts. - Christopher LaBorde
In my last post, I reviewed my philosophy about metals storage. Here I will explore some practical considerations for those of you who want to take delivery of your metals and keep them in your home, on your person or in secure facilities.
A brief history of hiding valuables
For centuries, people have worried about how to store their wealth. If you are close to someone who lived through the Great Depression in the U.S. you’ll know that many people didn’t trust banks and hid their money and valuables around their own houses. The last three generations have always trusted the banking system and insurance networks to outsource property concerns around insuring that their wealth and valuables will be there when they need them. However, over the course of history, it has been common practice to store one’s own valuables.
Just visit any old European city, affluent sections of Central or South American cities or even old Charleston or the French Quarter in New Orleans, and you will start to notice something about the architecture. Most of the homes are built like fortresses. They have very nice interior courtyards but also have walled fronts with heavy doors and heavy shutters on the street windows. In some locations, it was common to set beverage bottles into mortar along the top of the masonry outer wall and then break off the tops to deter intruders. During normal times, the heavy main door to the courtyard and heavy window shutters were open, but at night or in times of trouble, these places could securely lock up very quickly.
Precautions for the modern home
While the modern home in the United States is no longer a fortress, you can certainly keep some of your wealth at home if you choose to do so and take some precautions to make this feasible.
Your secret is safe…as long as it’s secret
The first layer of security is secrecy. If no one knows there are valuables in your home, then there is no reason for him to come and search for them. Everyone has seen the pirate movie in which, after the loot is buried, the head pirate kills all of his accomplices then buries them along with the treasure. Not a technique we are recommending, but the idea of secrecy involved has real merit. Limit the number of people who know where you keep your metals.
You can hide small amounts of gold most anywhere, including within steel fence posts, in the garden or in the yard, in hollowed out books, inside frozen food in the freezer and within the wall space behind dummy electrical receptacles. The list is endless and can be as varied as your imagination. When my wife’s grandmother passed we found metals hidden all over the house, as she realized that one of her caretakers was a kleptomaniac, but apparently too good to let go of!
If you do hide your metals you should probably tell someone where your own loot is in case something happens to you. Just make sure it is someone you trust (and who has a good memory!).
C’mon, just tell me!
Another consideration is what pickpockets call a “tell.” If you hide money on your person in a secret place, you are likely to give it away by regularly checking to make sure it is still there. Some pickpockets even work in teams to exploit this habit because it is so predictably human: The first thief simply bumps into someone innocently, and more often than not, the victim immediately touches the secretly hidden goods to confirm that his valuables are still safe. The second thief, who was watching the encounter, then knows exactly where to lift the cash (or metals) a bit later.
Likewise, once you hide your metals, its important not to check on them routinely, or you will simply give away your hiding place! This sounds like a simple task, but most people have real trouble avoiding the temptation. Which makes it very important to pick a place that you can easily observe or can check without being observed yourself.
A safe place
The next layer of security is an actual safe and if the safe itself can be hidden, then all the better. Great hiding places for safes take creativity or effort, like false walls, and add additional time for the “security game,” which is valuable since anything can be opened with enough time.
If you are interested in purchasing a safe, be certain to read one of our earlier posts detailing some practical and technical aspects of evaluating safes. It will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about safes and safe ratings.
A safer place
Finally, if you are interested in private storage, you will find several options. For example, the Security Center in New Orleans rents private safe deposit boxes in the old Federal Reserve vault; Sovereign Solutions in Las Vegas has a similar operation as well as several others around the world. Give me a call if you are interested, and I will tell you about all the storage spots that we have visited.
Buying precious metals is just the first step. Deciding where to keep them is quite another decision. However, don’t let the issue of storage scare you away. Doing nothing and keeping depreciating currency in a bank that pays little or no interest means you are already having your wealth stolen a little at a time, day after day.
Thank you to Silver Trading Company for Sponsoring our scribblings and allowing us to dive deeper into these topics.