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Gold vs. silver investing: How to decide

Gold and silver may both show growth over time, but gold tends to increase the most between the two in the long term. Getty Images/iStockphoto

No matter what the economic environment is like, diversifying your portfolio is a smart way to keep your investments balanced through changing markets. Precious metals like gold and silver, in particular, tend to move independently of other assets, like stocks, and can help you maintain a store of value through periods of inflation.

While gold and silver both have these benefits of precious metal commodities, they may offer different perks for investors with varying goals. To make the choice between the two, use the following factors and your own investment goals to help you decide.

Learn more about how you can benefit from gold investing now with a free information kit.

Gold vs. silver investing: How to decide

If you're trying to determine whether gold or silver is best for you, these are a few details about the different metals to consider. 

Value over time

Precious metals like gold and silver are more beneficial for your portfolio as ways to maintain stability when other markets are down — rather than for growing wealth on their own. However, when deciding between the two, it can help to see price movements over the long term. 

Looking at percentages, gold has shown more significant gains than silver over time. In the past decade, for example, gold's value has increased by around 50% in total. Meanwhile, silver's spot price has increased by only about 15% over the same time period. 

Experts recommend dedicating only a small portion of your portfolio (about 5% to 10%) to any commodity you choose to diversify with — allowing the rest of your portfolio in traditional stocks and bonds to grow over your investment timeline. So while neither gold or silver will be the best way to increase your investments over the long run, gold may help you see additional returns.

Considering a gold investment? Learn more about how you can buy in with a free investors kit now.

Buying options

In general, the ways that you buy gold and silver are very similar. 

You might choose a physical investment in bars or coins from a reputable dealer online or in person. This option requires a storage solution, whether you work with a third party to store your investment or keep it in a safe at home. 

Investing in physical gold or silver within an IRA (individual retirement account) is another choice for retirement-minded investors. There are requirements you must meet to ensure your physical metal is IRA-eligible, and you will need to work with an IRS-approved custodian to maintain your gold or silver bullion for you.

Finally, gold or silver stock investing may appeal to some who are already used to making investments via brokerages. You can invest in a gold ETF or silver ETF to gain exposure to the markets without having to worry about where you'll keep any physical metal.

While many of the ways you can buy into gold and silver are similar, price is a major differentiating factor between the two. If you have a relatively small budget, you might choose silver as a more affordable option — its price today is around $23 per ounce. But if you have the money to buy the amount of gold you'd like without going over the recommended 5% to 10% investment, you might instead go for gold — which today costs around $1,900 per ounce. 


One of the big characteristics that can appeal to investors about silver and gold is their reputations as stable resources through changing economic environments. However, gold may be preferable to risk-averse investors looking to avoid volatile ups and downs.

Gold moves pretty independently from the stock market. That's what makes it a great diversifier; when stocks are down, gold tends to remain about the same or even increase in value. While its price does fluctuate in the short term, as we've seen throughout this year, it doesn't tend to have very large swings in either direction.

Silver, by comparison, can be much more volatile in the short term. Its price may move by large percentages week in and week out, even as its overall long-term price stays consistent. If you're using gold or silver as a way to add some stability to your portfolio and hedge against big swings in other markets, you may want to consider volatility before you buy.  

Find out more about gold's benefits with a free information kit here now.

Bottom line

Adding precious metals like gold and silver to your portfolio can help you diversify and maintain stability over the long term. If you're still on the fence about whether gold or silver is right for you, consider your own investment goals, budget and personal risk assessment. You may also want to speak with an expert who can help walk you through each of your options and map your overall investment plan.

Start today with a free investment guide here!

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