There are many precious metals you can invest in, but gold is still the most popular. Traditionally, gold has been used as a hedge against inflation and economic distress. Due to the financial disasters occurring around the world lately, this is what’s happening right now. The central banks of the world are buying up gold in record numbers to defend against the economic meltdown that many fear is just around the corner.

If you want to protect yourself and your financial future by investing in gold, you have choices.

Gold Bullion Bars

When you think about gold bars, images of old movies probably come to mind. In just about every movie that involves a serious robbery, you see stacks of shiny gold bars. Buying gold in this form is the most traditional way to invest in gold. This is usually the form in which banks buy gold, and you can buy these bars from the banks. They come in different sizes and cost less than gold coins because it is easier and cheaper to make a gold bar than a fancy gold coin.

If you are buying from a source other than a trusted bank, be very careful. Gold bars are easy to forge, so you might end up with fakes.

Gold Coins

Gold coins are the original form of currency. Long before paper money was invented, people used gold and silver coins for every day purchases – the same way we use money today. There are all sorts of places that sell gold coins. The values vary greatly because of the size, face value, purity level and popularity – low mint numbers usually increases the value to collectors.

You can buy gold coins from banks, coin dealers and government agencies. You should be careful when buying coins online because there is a greater risk that these could be fakes. Gold coins cost more than other types of gold because of the processing and design work that goes into each minted gold coin.

Gold Certificates

Gold certificates are like receipts. They are your proof that you own gold. Storing physical can be cumbersome and take up a lot of room. Companies buy the gold for you and store it in their secure storage facilities. Of course, there is a fee for this, but you get the security of knowing you own gold, and you can have the gold sent to you at any time.

This method of buying gold is slightly more expensive than buying gold bars directly from the bank because you have to pay the company for their services.