Does Warren Buffett Invest in Precious Metals?
Buffett has long made his preferences known; he prefers productive assets that generate income and grow over time.
These include stocks, bonds, real estate and small businesses that create products and jobs; in his eyes these were the drivers of civilization while gold had no such effect.
Why Buffett Invests in Gold and Silver
Precious metals have long been used as money in many parts of the world. Not only can they store wealth safely, they’re also immune from credit risk, maintaining long-term purchasing power even during periods of inflation or currency devaluation.
Buffett has stated that gold should be seen as an investment against catastrophic risk, such as currency collapse or economic crisis. His belief is that its purchasing power will remain secure over time when compared to assets like stocks and bonds.
He’s generally not fond of investing in physical precious metals because they’re nonproductive and costly to store, as well as producing no cash flows like dividend-paying stocks or interest-bearing bonds do. But he does think owning up to 10% in precious metals as part of an otherwise mostly equity and bond portfolio might make sense; the best way of doing that would be purchasing shares in publicly-traded precious metal royalty/streaming companies.
How Buffett Invests in Gold and Silver
Gold and silver are popular investments. Precious metals provide investors with a safe haven against stock market volatility, political unrest, inflation risk and currency devaluation – thus diversifying your portfolio with precious metals is often seen as advantageous.
Before investing in gold and silver, there are some key things to keep in mind. Commodity investments like gold and silver do not produce cash flows and should therefore only be seen as pure speculation; stocks offer more reliable income through company growth.
Buffett has long disapproved of commodity investing, citing his belief that you’re better off with a diversified stock portfolio rather than purchasing precious metals as investments. He even went so far as to claim that buying gold as an alternative investment during times of war or economic turmoil is “not an investment,” while real value investments come from purchasing companies at fair prices. Yet last quarter his Berkshire Hathaway purchased $563.6 million worth of shares from Barrick Gold – one of the world’s leading gold miners – regardless of his distaste for gold investments.
How Buffett Values Gold and Silver
One of the core principles of Oracle of Omaha investing is investing in things with useful purposes. Both gold and silver offer such investments. For example, silver’s excellent electrical conductivity and corrosion-resistance makes it essential for electronics such as computers, cellphones and cameras; additionally, medical applications for bandages and catheters make silver an attractive investment option.
However, unlike profitable businesses and interest-bearing bonds, commodities such as precious metals don’t generate their own cash flows and must rely on appreciation in price over time to generate returns for investors.
That is why most gold and silver investors buy bullion and store it safely, eventually passing it on to their children and grandchildren. Others use exchange-traded funds (ETFs) as an easy way to gain exposure without storage issues, while still more purchase shares in companies that mine metals or mutual funds holding portfolios of these mining companies – this last option can present greater risks but potentially higher returns.
How Buffett Profits from Gold and Silver
Buffett has stated his opinion that those who purchase gold merely act on fear, which doesn’t align with his value investing principles. According to him, investment value relates directly to usefulness; gold fails this test.
Silver on the other hand has many industrial and medical uses (including bandages, catheters and water purification). Furthermore, it serves as an excellent conductor of electricity without corrosion issues – which makes it beneficial for electronics such as computers and cellphones.
Buffett may have taken an unfavorable stance towards precious metals in general, yet made an investment in one of the world’s largest silver mining companies this year – it will be interesting to see whether this represents the beginning of Berkshire Hathaway taking an increased position within this industry.
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