History is full of political coups, collapsing empires, and currency collapses. The modern economy is full of tension, too. During times of uncertainty, people have turned to gold as a safe haven. Those who had some precious metals in those turbulent times protected their investments, escaped turmoil, and saved their wealth. 

The same happens nowadays – investors who place a part of their funds in precious metals are more likely to avoid uncertainty and risks. That’s the best way to diversify portfolios and decrease any risk of loss. So if you think about investing in the shiny, yellow metal, just follow market trends and research the type of asset you want to buy.

Physical gold is the most represented and desirable form of this precious metal. But it’s not the only option for investors. They can also choose paper gold. It includes gold-backed assets like ETFs, futures, and certificates. For more info on these products, visit this page.

Today, gold-related ETFs, futures, options, and stocks usually have digital forms. On the other hand, coins, bars, and bullion are tangible assets you can hold and store in your safety deposit box. Besides, these products have a few more differences that future investors need to know.

Benefits of Physical Gold

There are certain benefits of owning both physical and paper gold, but the key to deciding which is better for you, depends on your situation. The physical form of the yellow metal offers a traditional store of value and liquidity. In contrast, paper forms can be more vulnerable to political turmoil and other unrest. 

One of the most significant advantages of owning physical gold is preserving its purchasing power over time. While paper money can lose value over time, coins and bars are a safe and reliable hedge against economic and societal downturns and the monetary system’s breakdowns. That makes it very beneficial for long-term wealth preservation.


There are few risks with investing in bars, bullion, and coins if you do that through reputable brokers. But you might be a victim of pushy salespeople and high-pressure sales tactics, especially if you invest with your precious metal IRA. 

Some investment professionals may pressure you to make a decision immediately. Also, unsolicited phone calls and phantom riches are common persuasion tactics. However, the latter is risky as there is the possibility of liquidating your assets without your permission.

You should not expect that from reputable investment professionals, so be very careful when choosing whom to work with. IRA brokers can educate and guide you on trading your assets, but deciding when and how to do that is only up to you.

Advantages of ETFs, Futures, and Stocks

Tax benefits can be taken as a significant benefit of paper gold. While it has no legal status, investing in this form of yellow metal offers tax benefits for investors. For example, when you invest in ETF or stocks, the profit from the transaction is tax-deductible. Also, it has no wealth tax implications. That makes paper gold a great way to diversify your investments, as long as you avoid a large percentage of its value in fiat currency.

Another good side of ETFs and shares is that they don’t come with storage, delivery, or shipping fees. So you won’t have to pay for insurance or storage and think about the penalties of holding these at home. Also, these can’t be stolen or lost just like that. Still, as ETFs and shares are usually digital, there’s a chance of scams, hacking, identity theft, and many other fraudulent activities. 


While paper gold allows for easy speculation, you must consider the risks. These investments usually involve intermediaries, which may not always be honest with you. For example, some companies may sell their ETFs without backing them with physical metal. In other words, these funds may not have enough physical goods to repay you if they go bust or declare bankruptcy. It’s known as counterparty risk.

Also, physical gold is easily transferable to heirs, making it a better choice for the family inheritance. As explained, ETFs and shares are prone to counterparty risks. Simply put, there might be some difficulties with passing it to your heirs. In case of the ETF company’s bankruptcy or business malpractice, you and your heirs might get nothing.

Profit Chances

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When you own bars and coins, you can resell them anytime you want. That makes it desirable for new investors. If you own these in your IRA, your broker might suggest when the moment is right. When you trade precious metals through these accounts, you should know the costs involved in these transactions.

Suppose you don’t have a lot of experience with investing. In that case, you may be unable to leverage the value by paying a portion of the price. But if you’re a financially savvy investor, you can trade ETFs, futures, and shares. You can do market research, determine the best time to act, and expect high returns.

So when thinking about paper gold vs physical gold, there are many things to consider. In general, the first comes with fewer risks and a lower chance of earning high profits. The second option would probably be better if you’re eager to risk and have a backup plan.

IRA Eligibility

Despite its low returns, precious metals, i.e., their certain forms are IRA eligible. The yellow metal’s physical and paper forms can be part of your retirement account. However, some rules and restrictions are related to these products, most of which are about storage and asset custody. 

For example, you must keep bars and coins at an insured depository. Also, you can hold paper gold only if you buy it from certified financial institutions. In both cases, IRA holders should understand that the funds in their accounts are not tax-deductible. Instead, they’re only deferred until withdrawal.

Paper and physical gold are great for portfolio diversification. Knowing your financial goals and strategy can determine which is right for you. Experts generally suggest physical gold for new investors and paper forms for seasoned investors.