Unpopular Opinion - My PM Story
Back circa ~2008 I bought my first handful of silver coins. Was caught up in politics at the time. My particular brand had a lot of hype about inflation, the protection for which was to buy PMs.
Finished grad school that year and started my first real job. So I didn't have a lot of $$ at first. I thought PMs were a good investment as I saw the prices rise from 2008-2011. As my income and confidence grew I put increasingly more $$ in as prices rose.
Then came the big crash in pm prices. My average cost for the silver and gold in my collection was something like $35 and $1800. At first I started aggressively buying the drop, but prices kept going south, and stayed there for years.
Was inflation real? Yes as far as I can tell. So why the huge drop from ~$42 to ~$14? I really thought I was doing the smart thing financially. I felt pretty burned.
I kept buying a bit here and there but eventually around 2018 I decided that "stacking" was a losing proposition. I would have been infinitely better off if I had put my $$ in the stock market.
So I stopped buying bullion and started converting all of my holdings into numismatic coins. (Probably around when I joined the forum here). The simple thought process was, I already have this $$ in "coins" I might as well turn them into an interesting collection to look at vs tubes and bars.
At that point coins stopped being an investment for me and became a hobby. Not that $$ isn't a part of it, but the objective is satisfaction in having a nice collection vs wealth accumulation. I traded a lot of my bullion in 2018 and 2019 at prices far less than I paid, and have continued to put $$ into "rare" coins to build my type set through present day. I am immensely enjoying numismatics and the hunt for rare coins. But from a dollar perspective, even with price increases on my current collection I believe I'm still likely in the red from all the bullion I lost so much $$ on.
So I look around today and see the stacker culture is still alive and well, maybe even on overdrive. I witnessed people in my local shop just yesterday buying gold and silver eagles at massive premiums. Have seen rumors about billionaires influencing the market, investment gurus saying silver prices are going to the moon, complaints about market manipulation keeping prices low, and people on social media showing off their stacks and trying to convince others to buy into their "strategy." It is all identical to what I experienced 2008-2012, it all leaves an incredibly bad taste in my mouth reminding me of how I got caught up in that culture where the answer to every bit of news was always to buy more silver or gold.
I have a track record of buying high and selling low so maybe I will ultimately be proven wrong (maybe I just needed to wait another decade or 2). But for me, PM's were a huge drag on my personal financial situation, probably putting me years behind, and I'm happy to put that period in my life behind me. I'm enjoying collecting coins for other reasons.
I'm sharing my story here in the hopes that other people will be able to identify with it and maybe rethink the importance of PM's to their own identity, finances, and outlook on the future.
Collecting is great fun, and if you just love to feel like scrooge mcduck with a pile of bullion, awesome. If you are trading the ups and downs to make $$, also great. I just hope that people out there are not signing up to a belief system that expects a paradigm shift of PM's replacing global currencies and metals outperforming all other investments. I used to believe this, and I know many people do today. I'm glad I was able to admit that I was wrong and move on with my life.