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What does it mean when people buy gold for “survival purposes”?

Gold for preppers

Gold has a wonderfully diverse range of followers and fans.

Governments buy it. Investors buy it. And pessimists buy it.

These pessimists, or preppers, are the people who buy gold for “survival purposes”.  They believe we are always on the edge of the “end of times”. They buy gold because they are certain that we are on the brink of economic collapse and ruin. They foresee the day when national currencies will become worthless. So they hoard gold coins in the belief that gold will be the only currency with any value.

In their basements they have powdered milk, cans of food, wind-up radios and everything else required to survive after the great collapse. If they live in the United States, they also have large stashes of guns and ammunition. And, of course, somewhere in their homes, or under the lawn in their gardens, they have a box or bag of gold.

These survival buyers live in a world a little like Douglas Adam’s “Restaurant at the End of the Universe”. If you have read the book, you’ll remember that you can make a reservation not only to have a meal, but also to view the moment before the end of the universe.

Through some kink in time, you can see this event unfold at any time you eat at the restaurant. It’s the ultimate floor show.

For buyers of survival gold, it’s the same deal. We are always on the edge. The economy is always about to implode. This week’s bad news on CNN is always the trigger that will have us running to the basement.

Of course, with the collapse of currencies and governments, it’s hard to figure out who is going to set a value on the gold these people have hoarded. How much gold should you pay for a loaf of bread or an AK47?

Come to think about it, if everything did go that way, I really don’t think I would want anyone to know that I had any gold.

For the rest of us, who view the ups and downs in the economy as exactly that, ups and downs, buying gold remains a sensible way to secure some of our wealth as a physical asset in our own possession.

We are not waiting for the end of the world. We just want some of our wealth in our own possession and far from the reaches of the folks on Wall Street.

All that said, perhaps I shouldn’t mock. Because in the event of disaster striking, the preppers will be much better prepared than the rest of us.