Is Gold worthless after an Economic Collapse?

I know this is a touchy subject for some in the survival/prepping community, but I think it’s one worth discussing. Before we start, I just want to let you know that I’m not an expert on gold investing. I’m also not trying to sway your opinion towards gold, or away from gold. Everyone must do what they think is right for themselves, and their families.

Real Gold

Investing in Gold

Throughout time gold has always been seen as something that has great value. As early as 2600 B.C, Egyptians we’re using gold; and by 1500 B.C., it had become recognized as a form of currency. Gold is also mentioned throughout the Bible, and has been used by a number of religions for ceremonies and in their symbolic artifacts.

Because of problems like the 2008 stock market crash, the foreclosure crisis, inflation fears, and a general lack of trust in government, Gold has seen resurgence in popularity.  The price of gold has jumped over one thousand dollars in the last 10 years, causing many people to shift a good portion of their investment dollars into gold.

While many have bought Gold as an investment, there are also a number of people who are buying gold to ensure their financial security in case of a total economic collapse. But I often wonder how smart of a move that really is.

Gold is valuable because people perceive it to be valuable.
In reality, it has very little use in modern society.  In fact, when you look at how gold is utilized in today’s society you really have to wonder about the practicality of placing so much importance on something that really isn’t that valuable to begin with. The utilization of gold today is about 50% jewelry, 40% investments, and only 10% in industry.

In a collapse situation or SHTF scenario, how valuable will gold really be?

I think the value of gold in a post-collapse world is questionable at best.

In a post-apocalyptic scenario, there will be a number of items that are going to be far more valuable than gold. I know my main focus will be things like food, water, shelter, weapons, bullets, land, clothing, etc…. Things that will keep you alive; thus hold their value after a collapse.

In the short-term, gold may have some perceived value; those that have it may be able to use it for trading.  But if things go really bad, items like water, food, ammo, and clothing will be 1000 times more valuable than gold.

Gold, just like stocks, bonds and real estate, are only worth what people are willing to pay (or trade) for it. If the system collapses, what do you think gold will really be worth?

If you do buy gold, make sure it’s physical gold

Unless you have physical gold in your hand, investing in gold exchange-traded products for survival purposes is probably not a good idea. Like all paper currencies, stocks, or contracts your investment in paper will be useless if the system collapses. If you’re going to invest in gold, make sure that it’s real physical gold.

If our financial system does collapse, I think the real value of gold will be in the buildup before the collapse. For those that manage to convert it right before the collapse, it offers them the finances to buy up a lot of needed supplies.


  1. Jack
    February 17, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    100% Agree. I’m puttnig my money on bullets and food. To all the people who are stocking up on Gold for survival purposes GOOD LUCK eating your gold

    • Darlene Irvin
      August 13, 2016 at 1:45 pm

      The only problem there is it’s hard to store $10k in ammo. But gold or silver….

      • Jason Kerrone
        July 28, 2017 at 11:33 pm

        a .22 bullet may well be worth 1$ or even 2$ in buying power post collapse

    • dean
      May 15, 2017 at 7:08 am

      Maybe you just cant afford to Jack?

    • Bob
      January 8, 2018 at 6:26 pm

      I believe being in a city or densely populated are is the easiest way to get killed. Riight now the Amash look pretty good. I live in Los Angeles it is so compact, a bad scenario to be in.

  2. Ben T
    February 17, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    It’s part of my portfolio, but I see your point. I guess my paper is worthless if the system crashes.

  3. Tank
    February 17, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    I agree it would be better to have trade goods to barter with than gold or money. I always try and pick up extra survival gear in case I need to trade it.

  4. Lisa
    February 17, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Unlike paper currency, gold will retain much of its value no matter what happens with the economy. Collapse of no collapse I think it will be worth something. If it was used as a currency thousands of years ago what makes you think it will not be used a thousand years from now

    • Xerxan
      November 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      What makes us think it would not be used in the future? It only has value so long as people desire to posses it, when SHTF no one is going to give a damn about gold when they are starving and dying of thirst. Some people just don’t understand that worth changes as needs do, food and water will be the most sought out comodities in SHTF, anyone that has large quantities of those should invest in firearms and a decent supply of ammo, or work out a deal to feed those with the arms and ammo to begin with.

      • Dave
        July 16, 2016 at 6:26 am

        You’re thinking hyper short term, yes personal protection and the ability not to die and all the items that enable that are of course essential but they are no basis for a longer term economic solution. Barter and labor, time banking and also trade in precious metals will coexist.

        Metal currency will serve a purpose, you cant pay somebody in 100lbs of lead, brass and steel, especially if times change and there is less and less need to be killing each other. The irony of thinking long term prepping is it actually narrows some people’s horizons to just physical survival because of short term scarcity and fear.

        Besides gold and silver, think palladium and platinum, there are many metals which are essential for the tech of today and the alchemaic uses of yesterday, they will hold value.

      • Jeffrey
        March 24, 2017 at 8:36 pm

        Gold has retained value thru countless wars, depressions, famines etc. The next SHTF scenario wont be any different than the others

    • Joe Alaimo
      September 7, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      Well Lisa, if I have a load of bread and you have a bar of gold, I wouldn’t trade you because I can’t eat the gold. I would give you a slice for nothing, that’s because you can’t eat gold.

    • Jason Kerrone
      July 28, 2017 at 11:35 pm

      Gold is nothing more than heavy metal when there is no one to covet after it. If all are hungry then food will usurp metal any day of the week.

    • Bob
      January 8, 2018 at 6:29 pm

      Fractional gold and junk silver you see mike maloney and schiff have already bugged out to Puerto Rico. That tells the collapse is near.

  5. Gold Zombie
    February 17, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Hey Lisa so were sea shells does that mean I should start stocking up on sea shells because people used them as a currency thousands of years ago.

    No thanks only thing gold I’m buying are gold colored bullets

    • Bob
      January 8, 2018 at 6:31 pm

      The thing with gold is that is easier to carry than silver buillion.

  6. jdc
    February 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Hey gold zombie… even though sea shells might have been used thousands of years ago… they aren’t being used now. Gold is timeless, which makes it a good investment both before shtf and during. Gold reserves will be necessary for nation building and eventually currency after shtf.

    • bmcb82
      September 10, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      y is it needed for nation building? it means nothing. its only used for computers. why does a curency HAVE to be backed by gold. what if my country says ” yea so you got a bunch of gold, and?”

      • Bob
        January 8, 2018 at 6:02 pm

        How are you going to keep bread for a period of time it goes bad quickly as do many foods vegatibles and fruit. It’s very tough. Water has to be in a certain container to not get tainted. The plastic in bottled water taints the liquid. This not a criticism but a search for an answer.

      • Bob
        January 8, 2018 at 6:33 pm

        It is being used in some cancer treatments.

  7. Gold Zombie
    February 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Yes there is a chance that it may have value, but there is also a good chance that it won’t. Just because people thinks it has value doesn’t mean it will always be that way.

    There are very few practical purposes to use gold for anything other than the fact that it is shiny and people started to use that instead of the sea shells.

    The fact is you have no idea if it will be worth anything after the SHTF.

    • Bob
      January 8, 2018 at 6:07 pm

      After the shag I call that phase 1, survival. Phase two after maybe even myself and you die then gold and silver come in. It is amazing how all these gold and silver pitchmen never adress survival

  8. SundaysChild
    February 18, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    My dear departed dad was an underground gold miner for 32 years. He was trained in explosives (wish I was too!). Most of the time, after a blast, the gold isn’t visible, it’s just little tiny bits mixed in with tons of rock. Once in a rare while, there was visible gold after a blast. Of course, as a child, hearing the stories of finding CHUNKS of gold fascinated me! With his dry sense of humour, he would tell me .. “bah, it’s hard to sit on when I eat my lunch”. Still makes me smile thinking about that. I miss you Dad. Julie Andrea

    • Bob K
      April 25, 2016 at 12:39 pm

      “It’s hard to sit on when I eat my lunch.” Good one!

  9. john
    February 21, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    The question is not will gold have value? Of course it will! Also water, fire starters, food & shelter will be valuable. The thing that investing and depending upon gold in a SHTF scenario is how in the middle of absolute anarchy would you use it. You would not be able to skip on up to the grocery store or gas station and buy life’s essentials for survival because you would not get out of the parking lot and if you did you would be followed by a parade of homicidal self satisfying elements that now know where you and your lovely family live.

  10. zummi
    February 28, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    True you cannot eat gold, but as for me, I am still buying gold and silver. What happens if after a big crash and society manages to fix its self? Try buying food or paying rent with water. The way people are gold will always have value and can be used as currency, it may drop low like the stock market crash in the event of a disaster, but it will jump up when things get fixed. Do not get me wrong I am still stocking up on extra multi tools, lighters, & stuff for barter I just do not want to put all my faith in just one possibility.

    • Jason Kerrone
      July 28, 2017 at 11:38 pm

      So long term-silver/gold but short term requires a combo of cash ( people will still for some sick reason recognize it as valuable), foodstores, dry goods, and trading stock ( alcohol etc). Then you might make it. Might.

  11. Smitty
    March 9, 2011 at 8:35 am

    How many REAL survival experts talk about stocking up on ANYTHING(gold, food, etc.)? Having an access of anything, in a real economic collapse, makes you a bigger target for those around you. All of these so-called “experts” that are peddling gold, silver, seeds, food are making tons of money based on your fear. In a situation where there is no electricity, no law, no accountability, there is only ONE thing of value…YOUR own survival skills. Think you can stay where you are and defend your stuff? You can’t stay awake 24 hours a day; and you won’t have enough ammo. In survival, it’s not how much “stuff” you have…it’s about what you can defend. And it’s about how much you can carry. All of this crap about stocking up on supplies and gold is giving you a false sense of security. How long do you think you can last before terrified and hungry people start coming to take your stuff? A week? A month? Even if you live out in the country. How long will it be before thousands of hungry people start leaving the city and roaming the country side looking for shelter and food?

    If you think that “survival” means that you’re to have a house in the country with plenty of food, gold, and a solar generator…ask Randy Weaver or David Koresh how well it worked out for them. All they dealt with was a few hundred coordinated people with rifles. Change those situations to hundreds (then thousands) of hungry people and then think if you have the man-power to guard a perimeter 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Here’s some REAL survival advice. And it’s completely free. Learn the survival techniques taught to the military (ie Army Infantry, Rangers, SF, Marine Corps, Navy SEALs, etc.). Watch shows by Les Stroud and Bear Grylls. Read books or websites that teach personal survival. Learn the principals of the Light Infantry (ie staying off roads, avoiding populated areas, getting to staying in the wood line). Understand that survival is NOT about how much stuff you have to defend, but about how much stuff you can carry. Understand that survival from thousands (or millions) of hungry people will require you to be nomadic.

    Change your thinking about survival. Instead of thinking “how much food do I have?” Think “what can I carry in a ruck sack that will aid me in getting food in the woods” Instead of thinking “how much water do I have?” Think “what can I carry in a ruck sack that will aid me in drinking clean water that I find?” Instead of thinking “I need to maintain shelter from the elements.” Think “what can I carry in a ruck sack that will keep me dry and give me shelter?” Instead of thinking “how many boxes of ammo can I stock?” Think “how much ammo can I carry”?

    What about medical supplies? A standard “first aid” kit has a bunch of stuff that won’t need in it. Plus, which first aid kit should you get? The big one? The really big one? Which one is best? Do a little research to find out the absolute essentials needed in a survival first aid kit. Taking a Red Cross standard first aid class is worth a lot more than gold.

    In short, prepare to go mobile. Prepare as if you will need to go on foot. Plan the quickest (and safest) routes from your front door to the woods. Plan at least three routes OUT of town. This means you AND your family. Everyone on foot, quietly, expediently, and smartly. Avoiding any authorities (if any still exist at that point) and contact with other people. Survive on your own or with your immediate family.

    Now if, at some time in the future, you stumble across a well organized community of people (provided their perimeter security personnel don’t shoot you out of fear)…then maybe they’ll take you in. But if you don’t have any relevant skills to add to their community then they most likely won’t let you in. So you’ll have to be self sustaining until you come across a large enough community that can afford to be more accepting. But don’t count finding such a community.

    People say “prepare for the worst but hope for the best”. Well I just told you how to truly prepare for the worst. And it didn’t cost you a dime.

    Who am I? I was a Light Infantry Soldier that had the opportunity to get some of the best survival training that is available; also served in Iraq for a year. I was also an EMT/Paramedic for 8 years.

    If you have any doubt as to whether or not the survival information that I have provided for you is correct or not…don’t ask the peddlers of gold, seeds, solar generators. Ask an Army or marine Corps Infantry Soldier, an Army Ranger, Army SF Soldier, Marine Corps Force Recon, Navy SEAL, Air Force Combat Controller, or Air Force Para-rescue. They’ll all tell you the same thing.

    • Hill billy
      December 23, 2013 at 3:02 am

      Koresh had to deal with flame throwing tanks. You are obviously the smartest person on the planet. I kneel in your presence.
      Surely the other 300MM people in America won’t interfere with your hunt. You will always find plentiful game. You soldier worshippers crack me up.

      • Bob
        January 8, 2018 at 6:47 pm

        Martial law will be imposed and if you wait for the collapse all Artie’s to get out will be chocked off. The movie the hunger games were made for a purpose. One bullet can end it all. I have scouted my area for over a month and it would be very easy to choke off all exits

    • DerHeff
      January 4, 2014 at 4:57 am

      You said watch videos on Bear Grylls, that guy did things that would kill a normal average person. He also did things that disposed to much energy. His survival skills will get people killed. Les Stroud is a better source, but Bear Grylls was a moron and should not be listened to. Plus the military does not really do things in the woods that involves survival. If SHTF I bet majority of the military would be what you just said not to do. That is be a combatant or in a stationary defense position. The most likely option, go into a breakdown and mostly likely die. I hunt every year and most of the military have not experienced hunting before. Hunting a deer or any other animal is a whole different story than hunting a human. I also know a good deal of survival skills. Being in the woods on a hunt gives you an edge majority of the people don’t have, that is how the forest lives or works.

    • Crystal
      August 12, 2015 at 7:29 am

      I really want to start training myself in all survival areas. I’m hoping I can do do with little money. I’m going to first focus on firearm training and practice my shooting. Your advice is wise, but it will take a while to learn survival. I’m going to utilize the library and internet, but I would love one on one training. Do you know where I could get that training other than the military?

    • Bob
      January 8, 2018 at 6:16 pm

      You hit the nail on the head

  12. Mary
    August 30, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    The bible states do not store up the things of this earth that will rust or be stolen. So the way I see it gold will be of no use when everything collaspes. But food and clothing, water anything that you can use for bartering purposes should be what you store and above all be spirituley ready and be right with God because he will be the only one that can put protection around us. I have stored food and water. but not bullets as I don’t know how to hunt and am to old to learn now. But I know that I can trust God to help me and that he expects me to stock what I can afford to do and he will do the rest through faith in him. Food and clothing will be the best bet for trading for what you will need. and also to have enough to help your neighbors who didn’t beleave we should be ready. Get to know your neighbors well as we can all help each other. all neighbors will have something to contribute to get each other through the tough times. Such as the ones who can hunt meat, or the ones who can plant gardens and so forth this is the way to go.

    • Bob
      January 8, 2018 at 6:56 pm

      There is a guy named gray Wolfe? Google him. When in a group there is always that one person that panicked and everyone gets hurt. It boggles my mind how much we have digressed as a society from the old west to the Great Depression ..

  13. Scott
    August 31, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Smitty is right and kudos for speaking up with authority. Gold is the ultimate in “The Emperor has no Clothes” stories. This in not theoretical people. We have war torn countries to look at and guess what; gold, diamonds, and the like are almost worthless when survival is on the line. So participate in the bubble if you must but my survival is on skills (bullets and weapons are good too!).

    • Bob
      January 8, 2018 at 6:58 pm

      I have to disagree a 1/10 an ounce of gold could get you passage in WW11

  14. jnhks007
    September 13, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Smitty is right—–to a point. His entire post assumes that the water supply, the soil, and all wildlife will be free from radioactivity. At some point the bombs will rain down…..count on it. Right now I have Jesus Christ in my heart, and about $60 to my name—-life’s good.

  15. AJ
    March 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Gold will still have value. The one thing you guys have not mentioned is that trade will still be important at some point, sooner or later. The value of gold is not its shininess or edibility or whatever. Gold’s value is that it facilitates trade. Unlike sea shells, gold is durable. This is why sea shells are worthless and gold remains valuable. Currency has a place in any market, no matter the size. Gold will always be there. Bartering is inefficient, which is why currency evolved, so the bartering period will not always remain.

    Survival skills are most important, to be sure, but goods, including currency/gold, are also important. Trade is in people’s own self interest. There are varying degrees of chaotic scenarios that could last for varying amounts of time. Preparing only as if it will be Jericho or Zombieland only prepares one for two possible scenarios of many.

  16. Derek
    March 19, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Smitty, have you read Patriots:Surviving the coming collapse?

    After your G.O.O.D. packs are stocked and stored, and your exit strategies are in place. And you and your family are educating themselves on wilderness survival. The next step is establishing a place to meet your fellow survivalists to defend the surrounding area.

    You can’t just wander around for the rest of your life. You can if you’re alone, I guess. Patriots is a must read. It will explain my feelings a helluva lot more articulate than I can. :)

  17. Derek
    March 19, 2012 at 10:18 am

    LOL. And as for the actual topic of gold. Buy silver coinage, instead. Cheaper, and easier to make change! Also .22 ammo. Consider canning jar lids, socks.

  18. Bongstar420
    April 11, 2012 at 9:21 am

    There is no way any of this stuff will save you from SHTF! Billionaires are the only ones who could effectively plan for SHTF and they still will need people who are ultimately not motivated by money.

    In fact, SHTF is very unlikely since billionaires command through the price of money. As soon as money looses its price, than loyalty to the billionaire is gone and their enclave is worthless.

    If SHTF actually occured, the entire planet would become uninhabitable by anyone who did not have a space station or something that would function like it. This is the case because nuclear meltdown would be gaurenteed. You see, our energy infrastructure includes nuclear energy extraction which requires constant control. This control is exerted only through active input. SHTF eliminates active control inputs in the nuclear industry. Guess what happens after this- ubiquitous radio toxicity. Even if the population were thinned enough (billions would have to die) for some people to be able to subsist off of 18th century survival techniques, radio toxicity would likely kill most since our nuclear industry exists on all continents and one cannot stop the mixing of winds and waters.

    Face it, SHTF will only happen due to extraneous circumstances outside the control of people. Like Yellowstone blowing after a 5 mile wide meteorite impact with multiple nuclear meltdowns without any real foreknowledge at all.

    • G
      December 25, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. They need the paradigm somewhat intact to have their wealth and power mean anything. This is encouraging to me believe it or not. If they are willing to sacrifice that, then that probably means the bombs are dropping and we are starting over. I don’t know how to filter radioactive water. And I don’t know how to protect from nuclear fallout. I’m prepared for anything else though.

      • bongstar420
        December 26, 2013 at 10:38 am

        Ya. Thats why I have no worries over nuclear Armageddon. There is a way to survive that situation, but like I said earlier. They need to spend a century in a sealed container in a group where there are no deviations in social strata. Highly unlikely to work out or be more desirable than what exists now.

  19. Willie
    August 16, 2013 at 6:08 am

    Here in Ireland very few prepare in anyway shape or form, personally I have fire steels lighters water filters water purification tablets food and emergency blankets for trade. The gold I will have my rings and the gold i accept in trade. I also have a lot of coins for buying at trading posts as I think paper money will only be useful as toilet paper

  20. jennifer
    September 2, 2013 at 11:12 am

    in reality, the people with guns and bullets can take anything from anyone that do not have guns and bullets. you can live 3 days without water.

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