While the precious metals industry has been booming in the past few years, it is rare that we hear about silver rather than gold. It seems the craze has largely focused on the latter, despite the inherent value in both of these precious metals. So, what is the value behind a few hunks of metal, anyway? Well, I will explain!
Part of it is due to the longevity of these materials in the market. They have a lot of history backing them up in terms of value. For that reason, among others, they are still considered valuable and desirable commodities. If you are curious about how you can apply this knowledge to your retirement, though, make sure you follow along.
What is Silver, anyway?
Research shows that we have been mining this metal for over five thousand years. If you would like to know more about that, check out this page. It has certainly possible that humans have been gathering it for even longer than that.
It is number forty-seven on the periodic table, and when it is found in its usual form that we know of, it tends to be mixed with a few others such as nitrate and sulfide – sometimes even chloride. Something interesting is that it tends to tarnish a lot faster when left alone now than it did in the pre-Industrial era, likely due to the higher levels of sulfur in the ozone layer.
Where do we find it? This is a bit of a harder question to answer since there are so many potential locations. Some of the more common spots are in the United States, Peru, and Mexico. That is where some of the mines are currently, as many of the older spots have been exhausted of resources at this point.
Something of note is that as far as the natural production of it goes, those processes only account for roughly twelve percent of what we collect. It is industrial processes that make up the rest of the silver that we gather. The photography industry is responsible for a lot of the silver production.
As far as environmental concerns go, thankfully only about four percent of it enters the atmosphere each year. Twenty-eight percent enters our oceans, and sixty-eight percent goes into land environments. So, it is not the worst thing as far as mining goes, that is for sure.
What Can We do with it?
There are many common utilizations of this precious metal, dating back to when we first started to gather it. I think the one that everyone thinks of is jewelry, of course. Silver jewelry is very popular, and for good reason – its luster is quite lovely, while it is not over the top expensive like platinum can be.
Of course, coins are another place where it pops up quite frequently, though admittedly not as much anymore. Still, they evoke that appearance, showing how popular that look still is. While gold is also utilized for these purposes, it does tend to be more expensive.
There are other things that we can do with it as well, such as dental fillings! It is harder than gold, but it retains that same malleability and conductivity that makes the former so popular. It is also used to create many of our common appliances and pieces of technology – there are probably some in your phone!
With this final point, I will shift our attention a bit. One of the other uses that people can have for silver is in investing. You can even do a silver IRA rollover if you have enough of the material to do so. I will explain that further, now.
How Investing Works
The process here is similar to investing in any other type of commodity. Commodities can be defined as raw materials that are harvested to able to refine them into something else. Some examples of that are agricultural goods, specifically edible and non-edible crops. Sugarcane and tobacco are some lucrative examples.
What about precious metals, though? They might not be the ones we think of the most, but they remain a valuable part of this field. How can we get started?
Something that I would recommend to anyone considering starting to invest in silver or any other precious metal is to consult with a professional. When it comes to these things, it is easy to get lost in how complicated they can all be. When you speak to someone with years of experience in the field, though, it can become easier.
Thankfully, there are plenty of websites out there dedicated to this topic. It might be worth checking them out if you are seriously dedicated to using this as part of your retirement fund. If you do want to do that, you can try rolling over your current funds into a precious metals IRA account.
While it can sound a bit complex, thankfully it is not. It is as simple as locating a broker for the silver you want to purchase (usually in bullion form, as collectibles cannot be held in a tax account), finding a custodian that can handle storage, and you are all set! The hardest part is usually finding a broker that we can work well with.
I would say it is not a bad idea to shop around and explore your options. The first place that you see is not necessarily going to be the best choice for you. Decide what services you want, such as financial advice as far as investing goes or simply purchasing the bullion with no fuss. Hopefully, you will be able to find services that work for you.
If you are still uncertain about how worthwhile it is to invest in this precious metal, I understand – it can be difficult to make a commitment like this. It is a good idea to do your own research as well and take note of anything that you see!