Emergency preparedness from a Counterintelligence Agent

Will gold and silver really be a good investment when the SHTF?

Should you invest in silver or gold for a safety net in case the economy gets worse or even collapses? - http://graywolfsurvival.com/?p=2282Is silver really a good investment for barter?

Should you invest in silver or gold for a safety net in case the economy gets worse? I’m going to go over the pluses and minuses of each and tell you what I think.

Some of you who’ve now been reading Graywolf Survival for a while may remember a quick article I wrote a while back on breakable gold bars which was interesting, but not really practical for most people. I’ve been meaning to come back to the general idea of barter and commodities after SHTF for a while but frankly, I just got sidetracked with finding a job after returning from Afghanistan and spending some time in the Bahamas. I really should sit down someday and come up with a plan of posts to write but whatever.

I’ve seen a lot of stuff out there on buying silver and gold due to the economy tanking and whatnot. A lot of that stuff is pure crap just to get you to buy silver and gold from whatever link you happen to be linking on so they can get their commission. I do believe that it would benefit you to do some research and consider buying precious metals but make sure you diversify your investments into other things – like learning.

I see this all the time when someone brings up the idea of buying something like silver or gold to be used for barter if SHTF. Someone (a lot of someones, actually) always pipes up with some crap like “you can’t eat silver.”

Thanks Captain Obvious. You also can’t eat bullets. And you can’t wear food. But you know what you can buy food, bullets, and clothing with? Silver and gold. Also, you don’t know what’s going to happen if society collapses, so stop pretending like you do.

Prepping is all about investment – that’s the whole point. You invest time, money, space, and energy into things in advance of some upcoming emergency or disaster situation. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, due to opportunity cost (I haven’t read the book in that link but it’s hella expensive so it must have a bunch of good stuff about opportunity cost in it – $94 kindle FTW!), when you make one decision, it’s at the expense of all others. The problem is that with prepping, you don’t really know what you should be investing your time and money on because you don’t really know what crap is gonna come. All you can do is learn what you can, make an informed decision, act, rinse, repeat.

Silver and gold trading has always been a large part of commodity trading ever since ancient man realized that ancient women would sleep with them if they brought them shiny stuff that other ancient women didn’t have. From that, it became so popular that gold became the standard of bartering.

Precious metals have ALWAYS had value as an intermediate commodity in every social collapse in the history of mankind. You can’t directly trade with everyone because you might have alcohol but they don’t need alcohol. They might have tools to trade, but you don’t need tools. By having a commonly-accepted commodity, you can trade with each other, knowing that you’ll be able to still trade your goods later.

Also, if what you’re trading has an expiration date (like food), you can’t always wait for someone to come along with something that you need to barter with them. By using an intermediate commodity like silver or gold, you can take the trade now and use the commodity later. Otherwise you end up throwing out a bunch of good food or trading it at a severe loss.

If you think that society will completely collapse and there will forever more never be a society, they anything without intrinsic value would be useless. History has shown us for thousands of years, time and time again, that this isn’t the case.

Don’t just take my word for it, read The Silver Bomb: The End Of Paper Wealth Is Upon Us, which goes through the history of currency and explains why the authors believe that the world will soon return to gold and silver as money.

Is gold a better investment than silver?

Now I’m not gonna go into which will appreciate the most because that really depends on what the price is when you buy it and what the prices is when you sell it. I’m just comparing the two products here. Rich Dad’s Advisors: Guide to Investing In Gold and Silver: Protect Your Financial Future , which explains how and why you should be investing in gold and silver, would be a much better place to read something like that.

The problem with gold, is that it’s expensive. Real expensive, as you can see from the Breakable Gold Bars article I mentioned. That’s great if you’re storing it in a bank vault. Not so great if you’re carrying it around for daily use. It’s a bit difficult to shave off a tiny amount to buy a loaf of bread. Kinda like walking into a dollar store with $1,000 bills. Unless you’re buying a large item or they’re willing to make change somehow, you may have no choice but to overpay.

Silver, however is a bit easier to carry. At current prices, gold is about $1,200 per ounce and silver is $20 as of the time of this article. For all you math-deprived individuals, that means that a chunk gold to buy something will weigh about 1/60th of the same amount of silver. Sounds good on the surface but if you were looking to buy something like a chicken, assuming they’re about $5 for argument’s sake, you’d have to buy 280 of them for an ounce of gold or just 4 or 5 for an ounce of silver. In other words, a chicken is 1/240th of an ounce of gold and 1/4 of an ounce of silver. A pocketful of gold my ass.

Enough of that. Now my head hurts from math and I’m hungry. Time for another drink.

So why are we talking about all this anyway? If you’ve decided to invest in precious metals, buying silver may actually be a smarter choice than gold for practicality. If so, you can head to a local jewelry or pawn shop and get some or a website like CBMint.com or Buysilvercoins.com. If you’d like to go entirely the other direction, platinum or some other pseudo-unobtanium may be what you’re looking for to hold as much value in as little space as possible but it’s probably not the best choice for preppers.

Should you invest in silver or gold?

Now, the big question is: should you be buying silver or even buying gold in case SHTF? In short: yes. Kind of. Remember, investing in skills is much better in the long run. Some think that bullets, alcohol, or tobacco may be the way to go. Remember though that the reason gold and silver are ALWAYS popular when things go to crap is because pretty much EVERYONE accepts them as a form of payment because it’s always been that way. You can’t sell bullets to someone without a gun or alcohol to someone who doesn’t drink – unless they’re just using it in hopes that they’ll run across someone who does.

As I keep trying to get across, you need balance in your life. If you’re only worried about the end of society then gold and silver may be a good bet. The reality of the situation is that every dollar you invest in gold and silver (bullion, coins, jewels, whatever), is a dollar you can’t invest in something else like land, food, water, school, etc.

What happens if TEOTWAWKI doesn’t come for 32 years? Or 320? Gold and silver do fairly well in most economic conditions, especially when they’re crap, but don’t do as well in other times compared to other investments. For all you know, even if you’re concerned about some impending end of your way of life, TEOTWAWKI could come in 32 years and you could be hit by a bus in 31. One thing I’ve seen though is that eventually, precious metals always go up.

If you’re going to invest, you have to consider not only SHTF but all the time before that. By investing wisely, you’ll have not only a better life for the next XXX years, you’ll be better off if SHTF. Just don’t forget that if society does collapse, all the money in your portfolios and in your digital bank accounts will instantly become worthless. Just like if Justin Bieber becomes king of the US and declares all gold worthless, whatever investment in those assets may not pan out. This goes the same for land, learning, food – whatever. An investment only pays off when you sell it. Unless it’s a Harley. Then it pays off every time you ride it. Or a girl sees you ride it.

So what does all this rambling boil down to? In my limited perception of what is and what will be, my personal thoughts are that you should be investing in gold and silver, as both a SHTF solution and as investments in themselves. You should also be investing smartly in other investments such as stocks and bonds in the chance (the most likely chance) that shit isn’t gonna hit the fan in the next decade or so that would collapse society to the point that we’d be back to a full barter system.

I also believe that in a TEOTWAWKI scenario, silver is probably a better choice than gold due to its utility but may or may not perform as well in the meantime.

Basically, invest with all of your future in mind – not just the end of the world. Also, diversify your positions in whatever you’re investing because you don’t know what’s going to happen with the market. Then keep in mind the non-trade utility (such as storage, protection, etc) of whatever your investments are in several different SHTF and non-SHTF scenarios.

Before you go out and pay top dollar for gold or silver, check out places like this link for deals that occasionally come up. You can not only save money, you can get some pretty creative ways to buy it.

But what percentage of your disposable income should you be putting in gold/ siver/ land/ school/ learning/ ammo/ alcohol/ medicine/ widgets? That’s a good question. You’ll have to read something like The Intelligent Investor to find the answers on that one.

Just make sure you don’t put all your eggs in one basket – even if they are gold.

About graywolfsurvival.com

I am a former federal agent and military veteran who has deployed to combat theaters in Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan and have almost three decades of military and military contracting experience.

My goal is to help families to understand how to intelligently protect their family and their way of life against real threats, without all the end-of-the-world doomsday crap.


  1. Thank you Graywolf for talking about balance when it comes to prepping items and silver. I too prep and promote the truth about what’s really going on in our beloved country. This is my first trip to your site, and i’ll be back for more informative reading and ideas. Thanks again!

  2. Frank Pytel says

    Hello graywolf;

    Making my first silver buy and was hoping to get some advice. Obviously how much to buy is relative to ones other skillsets. I feel that mine, with some renewed practice, would allow me to live comfortably off the land. There in lies my quandary. I’m guessing at 2 lbs min and 3 lbs max being sufficient. My buggout location is just above my waist so there is that to consider. Can I get your thoughts on this?

    Nice site. I’ll be back.
    Frank Pytel

    • graywolfsurvival says

      Sorry Frank but I don’t really know what you’re asking or what “above my waist” means. If you’re asking how much silver to buy, there’s no answer to that. No way to look into the future. Putting all your money into silver means if silver drops, you have nothing. Putting nothing into silver would be bad if silver goes up. If you’re buying silver before you’ve paid off your debts and invested in things like living off the grid power etc, then you’re not ready to live off the land.

      • Frank Pytel says

        Hello Graywolf;

        My apologies. I try to do this stuff with cellphones, but it never works out.

        I am a competent field survivalist. I would be very comfortable in the field with just a knife and my children/family. I would do much better on the west coast as that’s where I grew up, but I have begun to rectify that here on the east coast by resupplying and practicing my field skillsets. I hope to begin testing them in the coming months.

        My bug out supplies all fit on my back. If I can’t carry it, then I have too much stuff (above my waist). I do have a 35 gallon can of basic medical supplies and 2 cases of MRE’s (incorporated in the can) to get me over the hump. Once I have arrived at what I consider to be a safe enough destination I can set camp and store it there. I believe a huge part of surviving the coming storm will be mobility, but not necessarily speed. Hopefully the thuggery will stick to the apartment complex’s, grocery stores and gas stations.

        What I am attempting to do now is to prepare for the eventual return of limited societies. Enclaves will certainly form and I and mine will obviously have needs/desires. I understand your comments about the financial aspects of metals/gems and their market values. My investment in precious metals and gems has nothing to do with market prices (current or short term future). I want the silver for barter when society/civilization eventually returns (either for myself or more likely for my children). That is the investment value for me.

        Since I’m carrying everything with me at a near constant timeframe, weight is obviously a consideration. My pack will hold 50-75# for a max weight of 85#? (fish poles, water pot maybe and the like). My can is currently 47# and will deplete to 18# including the can within 1 month.

        I’m trying to decide whether the additional weight of the silver at 3# would be significant. I’m pushing 50 and that extra # or 2 can add up quick. The primary reason I asked is you have listed on your site your deployment skills. Since my survival skills would likely be considered by professionals as that of a hobbyist at best, professional advice is always welcome.

        And thus, for my preparation desires surrounding precious metals, would you consider 3# to be significant, a good start or poorly inadequate?

        I really appreciate your input. Thanks Graywolf.
        Have a Great Day!! 🙂 There won’t be many left with the Demlicans and Republicrats in charge 🙂
        Frank Pytel

        • hi greywolfe. i ran into this site by accident. back about 6 years ago i would talk to friends about an implosion. all i received were weird looks and laughs. For the longest time i thought i was in a fraction of under 1% population. This site finally gave me validity. if anyone owns metals i suggest the same rule applies as in the movie Fight club. Don’t talk about them. that’s rule one. Rule 2 is to revert to rule one. ARE THERE Valid survival camps out there, ones that will work, beside the military. here is the scary thought FEAMA CAMPS, OBAMA OPENED and trump didn’t close them. To me the bottom line is to depopulate. The Amash don’t look so bad now.

  3. Julie Wilson says

    It seems to me precious metals are more of an In between normal life and total shtf scenarios. As things begin to tumble downward and out of control at that point silver should be sold making you rich enough to buy some other needed items. All shouldn’t be sold. But most. This is kind of tricky to conceptualize but I hope you get the drift. If all of a sudden we wake up to nuclear bombs going off everywhere silver won’t do us much good. But if in the time leading up to that day of appocolypse is filled with economic and social termoil silver should just go through the roof. You sell it. Build your bunker and hope for the best.

  4. disqus_6NhVvXbapK says

    Silver won’t mean crap in a shtf scenario. You are going to need real trade items that keep people alive. Ammo, medicine, batteries, food, power, fuel, liquor. Eventually precious metals and jewels will gain value again. But not in the beginning. Offer a starving man a loaf of bread or a silver bar and he will shoot you and take both.

    • graywolfsurvival says

      Actually, there have been hundreds and hundreds of SHTF scenarios over the centuries, and in every case, precious metals soon became the standard because for a society to function, there has to be some kind of agreed medium to base a currency on. Won’t be worth anything for the first few weeks if everything collapses, but we’ll all be back on the gold standard after that. You can’t base a currency on chickens but you can buy chickens with gold or silver and that chicken seller can then turn around and buy feed with that gold or silver. Not every chicken feed seller will want chickens in exchange so you always have to have some form of medium.

      • disqus_6NhVvXbapK says

        I agree. I was speaking of the first few months to a few years out. By most scenarios, If it’s a real shtf situation within three days we will have mass dehydration. within seven days starvation will drive people to start doing things they wouldn’t normally do. The cities will start to empty out. And like locusts, people will sweep the country side robbing, killing and pillaging. The military will be unable to control the hordes of people and will collapse under the sheer number of people and the desertion of soldiers more interested int finding their families. Within a month, the only thing left of the government will be some old men in a bunker hoping to live long enough to put the puppets back on their string. Society will deteriorate down to groups of people who band together for safety. Of those groups, only the ones who were lucky enough to end up in a usable, remote location, with a wide enough variety of talents and aggression will survive. Large cities will burn and 90% of the population will die from starvation and disease. Several years out, when the survivors start to rebuild, and enough of the marauders have been put down. Then and only then will jewels and precious metals again begin to be the primary forms of currency. Then again…. I read lots of science fiction.

      • by the way, how many of you out there know how to pluck a chicken gut it, and cook it. big question how many now how to start a fire without matches. there is so much to learn. it’s too bad that we even have to think, let alone prep. beautiful country beautiful people, but so many, will turn RABID. a person that is scared really scared has no rational thought nor won that has gone a few days without water. it would really be nice to start a community a real one.

  5. Michael E. Waters says

    Hey Graywolf, I have been a loyal reader for quite a while now. I want to say a few things if I may. As I read all of your articals that I can, I tend to agree with probably 90 to 95 percent of them. Really no one will agree 100 percent on such a vast assortment of topics. I started buying old silver coins about 8 years ago. I am a store Manager for a large Grocery store chain. I believe that economic collapse and or an EMP which would cause E.C. is the most likely thing that will happen in the next 5 to 30 years. Fortunately working in a grocery store, I have opportunities to purchase coins from people or the store when they want to spend them. The tougher the economy gets, the more I have the chance to buy them. Also I go to Pawn Stores and buy some too. My opinion (like everyone else, I have my own) is that Gold, Silver and Platinum will become a lot more valuable in just days after an economic collapse. Due to our nation and many others going back to the “gold standard” to make our money worth something again to restore some type of order. I plan to continue (actually increase dramatically) my purchasing of silver in the next year to two. Anyway, I really enjoy your post and I look forward to reading and learning more. Good luck in your future and stay safe. mewaters35

  6. CalvinPi says

    Hi Graywolf,

    “The problem with gold, is that it’s expensive.”

    While I agree strongly with the gist of the article (including the need to invest in stocks and bonds), I also strongly believe that the great thing about gold is that it is expensive.

    I look at silver and gold as having two different purposes.

    Silver is for making relatively small purchases during an event which is so serious that people want hard money (silver) instead of greenbacks. So silver gets you through the event.

    Gold gets your wealth through the event and out the other side. Gold, being expensive, is a convenient means of transporting wealth both across borders and across time.

    For the sake of argument, say one is wiling to allocate 2 pounds of precious metals to your BOB, which may be for fleeing a country (like the elderly Jewish couple who sold a ring in “Casablanca”).

    If you have 2 pounds of silver, at approximately today’s prices, you can carry roughly $640. If you have 2 pounds of gold, you can cross the border with $41,000. Would you prefer to arrive in Casablanca with silver or with gold?

    Of course, you have to get to Casablanca, but that is where the silver comes in: it lets you buy those chickens and bread and cans of sardines along the way.

    The gold may be needed to pay for your passage, and will be needed when you arrive.

    So I think silver coins are good because they allow you to make small purchases (That is why 100 ounce ingots are not so good: they are not readily divisible), and why gold is good because it lets you transport large amounts of concentrated wealth both geographically and through time.

    Two metals, two purposes.

    • i agree with you. i’m with you. i have what i think a lot of junk silver and bullion. the thing about gold will be god when we get to the other side, if we survive. i think gold in small fractions bartering for something large. off topic, but i read somewhere a while ago that Aluminum was a form of wealth. we were a different people back in the GREAT DEPRESSION DAYS. I see packs of wolves in an implosion. scenerio now.

  7. My two cents.
    * I don’t like the stock market. I think it’s BS with most of the money being made by very few folks.
    * I like buying from Ebay. You pay very little over spot. Remember $10 in 90% silver coins = 7.15 ounces of silver so that you can do the math.
    * Silver/Gold will be able to be used for barter, but they will be discounted. In other words if you purchase at $20 an ounce all things being equal (assuming no inflation) whoever you trade with may give you $15 worth of goods.
    * In order to barter folks will have to know what the metals are trading for. Most folks probably won’t especially if the Internet, news, electricity, media, cell service is down. That’s another reason I think that the metals will be discounted. We just may not know what the price is so the price will be determined between buyer and seller. If something is trading at $20 today there is no way someone will give you $20 worth of value for it and assume all of the downside risk.
    * I invest in silver not only for WTSHTF, but because it is a good store of value, keeps up with inflation and is tangible so I can control it, unlike investments in funds/stocks.

  8. I think some gold/silver is good. But for SHTF, once you determine that you need to bug out, what you have is what you can carry. When considering what you can carry, how much room is there for gold? Certainly, you can stash it. But if you don’t, you lose it.

    Also, when people start figuring out who has the gold, how safe will you be? Of course it will be an unsafe time. But there are different levels. Word out that you have metal? Good luck.

    I value skills far more than metal. Learn things that are valuable to others. That will get you just as much. You will not have enough guns, bullets, and friends to protect your metal.
    Just my thoughts. Good luck whatever you decide.

  9. Thank you for your thoughts I did learn something it. I like this site.

  10. And I never thought about if something was to happen in stocking medication you really make me think.

  11. Thanks to all for your comments, although 60ish I too am diversified in preparations whether SHTF or natural disasters. I have some silver for short term barter, some gold and cash (USD and Euro). I also have a small 20# container with useable barter that will be split among those with me in event the foot beats the gas pedal. Having served in Africa, Middle East and other places over the years I would say the absolute best prep is your health, then your field skills. Any thought on that?

  12. Gold and Silver are only valuable to a point. If the dollar collapses and the system is still in tact gold and silver will hold value. If it all goes to mad max hell then no it has no value. guns and ammo and food will hold value.

  13. Steve Whitaker says

    But wouldnt having something that everyone needs, i.e. toilet paper, gasoline, diesel, clean water, propane, be more useful and convincing than an object that is only worth what you trade it for?

  14. I Don’t an exact answer. All i have done is bought metals, barter items like, lead, ciggs, medicine, booze, and water. i’m still studying what type of container to put water in. Maybe” Grey Wolfe” Can answer that. my big challenge is i’m 59 had cancer three times and a stem cell transplant. i did an experiment. i did it for three weeks in a row. i ate once a week, and limited water intake as much as possible. i got trough that but it took three weeks to get my G.I tract back to normal. i was wondering how beef jerjey would do?Silver is heavy.

  15. I buy silver turquoise silver rings (mostly) because if SHTF and you have to get through a check point shakedown or trade for your life > Whipping out your silver bar to barter, the bad guys might think you have more and “slit your throat to check it out.
    But if you stick your dirty grubby finger in your mouth for lube to get your daddy’s heirloom ring off to give him…Me, I’ll stockpile silver rings!!

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