Wealth You Can Wear
By Jeff Clark, Senior Editor, BIG GOLD
In 1975, as Saigon was falling, South
Vietnamese refugees were air-evacuated into Guam and the U.S. The company
Deak-Perera was hired by the State Department to serve as the official “money
changer” for the refugee camps, and it quickly became apparent to the employees
that even the most prominent of Vietnamese citizens arrived with nothing but the
clothes on their backs and whatever belongings they could carry. It was a somber
The problem facing the refugees was that the
banks in their home country had been nationalized (along with most everything
else in the economy), meaning they couldn't write a check that was cashable.
This presented obvious financial roadblocks for many of them, who were already
dejected about their circumstances and insecure about the future.
Perhaps the most dramatic example was a
successful Vietnamese businessman and his family who had been uprooted by the
war. Though his suit was haggard, it was readily apparent the man had been
wealthy back in his home country. He approached the exchange desk with two large
suitcases full of piasters, the paper money issued by the Republic of Vietnam.
The Deak-Perera worker, Michael Checkan, gulped and, with as much empathy as he
could muster, explained to the refugee that piasters no longer existed. They
were worthless, and the employee could not give him any money.
The reality of the situation visibly struck the
man, and his face suddenly looked like he'd been told he had 30 days to live. He
protested, but there was nothing the company or Michael could do. The currency
simply wasn't worth anything. The man was broke, in spite of suitcases full of
his country's money. As he trembled, his wife began crying and the children
became frightened. They shuffled away, hopeless.
Later that day, Michael had another
well-dressed refugee approach the exchange table with his family. He carried a
ragged satchel, and explained that he had been a banker in Vietnam. As the man
began pouring the contents of the bag onto the table, Michael braced himself,
knowing he would have to explain that piasters could not be exchanged for
anything of value.
His mouth dropped open, however, when he looked
down and saw, gleaming in the sunlight, stacks of 24-karat gold TAELs, a form of
gold bullion indigenous to South East Asia. They looked like wafers, thin sheets
of gold delicately wrapped in paper. Each TAEL was .9999 pure gold and weighed
1.2 ounces. The man had dozens and dozens of them.
Michael peered back up at the man; he was
brimming with hope. The employee calculated the bullion's value and moments
later bought the gold TAELs, issuing the refugee a traveler's check for a large
amount. The family hugged as they walked away.
As an American, you may not have to flee your
country due to a military conflict. But there is something far more likely; you
may have to flee your currency. There are many threats to your hard-earned
wealth, and the most insidious is a weakening of the U.S. dollar.
For the United States, the invoices are piling
up. Out-of-control government spending, rising healthcare costs, increasing
entitlement programs, burgeoning military expenditures, etc., all add up to a
number well in excess of revenue. The only politically acceptable solution is to
print more money and devalue the dollar. The money you use for everyday life
will buy less and less over this decade. Remember, as gold rises, it essentially
means the dollar is losing value, eroding the purchasing power of every
greenback in your wallet.
If you own any form of gold, you are already
well aware of those facts. But have you considered the implications of traveling
with that gold? Sure, coming from Vietnam in 1975, you probably got barely a
sideways glance for carrying gold TAELs, or even a suitcase full of cash. But
today, in the age of TSA “love tap” pat-downs and full-body x-ray scanners, and
when you must declare any amount of cash over $10,000 on your way in or out of
America, leaving the country with a stack of gold bullion is probably going to
raise a few eyebrows – if not land you in a TSA backroom somewhere.
That’s why it is important not just to own
gold, but to consider owning it in various forms that give you both discretion
and portability. There is no substitute for gold bullion, but there are far more
portable alternatives, and which are far less likely to raise eyebrows (sure,
numismatics are collectibles, but good luck explaining to customs the difference
between a Gold Eagle and a Saint Gaudens).
Take 24-karat gold jewelry, for instance. To the casual observer, or the TSA
agent, it’s not unlike any other necklace or bracelet. To you, it is a portable
store of wealth. A "money belt" customs will ignore. And a great insurance
policy should you find yourself in need of money on the road.
Not only does 24K gold jewelry make moving with
your money simpler, it also makes giving wealth to heirs or as a gift simpler.
In fact, there are a number of advantages that are frequently overlooked: it's
significantly cheaper than most numismatics and carries far lower premiums than
traditional gold jewelry; it's subject to less of the complexities of taxes;
it's more accessible than gold stored in a vault or certificates that take time
to redeem; and as jewelry, it would avoid confiscation if that ever came to pass
Unfortunately, you are not likely to find real
24K gold jewelry of any significance in your local mall’s jewelry store.
Instead, they are probably selling 14K gold, and at premiums of 100% or more to
the value of the precious metal. It’s simply not practical to use designer
jewelry as a store of wealth – you won't find a numismatic-like resale market
for that Tiffany necklace.
you need to find a dealer that can provide you with pure, certified 24K gold
jewelry that was designed specifically for use in passing down or traveling with
your wealth, and at a reasonable markup. It helps if the jewelry uses a common
unit of measure as well – each piece being an ounce or in some way easily
divisible. That way you can quickly account for how much you have, and if the
time ever came where you needed to sell it for emergency cash like our
Vietnamese friend above, you could easily do so.
At Casey Research, we’ve found just such a
partner with First Collector’s Guild, which specializes in 24K gold jewelry.
If you own bullion or any other form of gold,
consider how portable it really is. A little forethought and you may just
realize it’s not all available the moment you need it. If that’s the case, a
little bit of portable wealth protection might be in order. 24K jewelry is not
an investment, but in the right circumstances it can be a great form of
But don't mistake it for just bullion; this is
These pieces are very elegant and
sophisticated. It's something you can enjoy for many years and generations to
come. And they're perfect for gifts.
If you want attractive, wearable bullion that
allows you to store value safely, then 24K jewelry is it. And it might be just
the right way to sneak some gold into a loved one’s stocking this year.
But hurry – since every one of the beautiful
necklaces and bracelets is custom-made, you have to order by December 10 for
delivery by December 25. To see all the different choices you have and learn
more about Heirloom jewelry,