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.

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17 Comments

  1. Gold will be valuable at least in other countries that have stability in their currencies. Would you rather pay for a plane ride to that country with large stockpiles of food, water, bullets etc. or 1 or 2 coins of gold

    • Who says you are getting out of town when SHTF? I can sell my large stockpile of food, water , etc. Find someone to take that gold for anywhere near what you bough it for.

  2. lol “food ammo or gold” You people must be poor. Most people can do everything. Stop having kids and you wouldn’t have to worry about food or gold.

  3. People who think precious metals will have no value after a societal collapse have no clue how economies function or regulate themselves.

    No, people will not go around trading nothing but food, water and bullets. Those things are highly important RIGHT NOW, but there is a reason nobody accepts them as a currency. Bartering has no parity and it is BASIC math and economics that dictate you need a placeholder to facilitate trade.

    Let’s say SHTF for real and blah blah blah. Alright, you try to trade with people, only to find out very few people want your bottled water or ammo as a direct trade, because they have enough of their own already, but those people also have a lot of firewood, which you lack. Derp a dee dee dumb. What the hell are you going to give them when they do not want or need the only items you have to barter with? THAT, my friends, is why gold has been the basis for all systems of trade for thousands of years, it establishes value in the face of trades which otherwise can not be completed. It REPRESENTS purchasing power and value, which allows the person you give gold to for 10 pounds of food to, in turn, take that gold and have the ability to purchase anything they want with it, and the person THEY trade with won’t snub them.

    Bartering with resources only works if people need your resources at that exact time, which is going to be completely hit or miss. Gold guarantees they will want to trade with you, because they know the gold can be used for their own trades.

    And the reason gold, silver, etc. made such a great currency is because there is only a fixed amount of it in existence on the planet, it doesn’t recreate itself in nature, it is also impossible to counterfeit gold, basic scientific methods can determine is gold is real or not within a few minutes. That’s why it displaced more primitive currencies like shells.

    Gold’s value was never about how ‘useful’ it was and never will be. There are very few things in nature that are rare and impossible to duplicate, that is what makes it perfect for being a trade medium. This is why no society survived by using stones or clam shells as a currency, those things do not hold a fixed value because they’re too common.

    So, yes, precious metals will maintain their importance in a possible collapse. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stock up on ammo, food, water, clothing, gear, etc. It just means that only an idiot would assume that those things alone will facilitate trade in a post-collapse society.

    And spare me the idea that it wouldn’t matter just because someone else could kill you and take your stuff, that can happen right now in society, but it doesn’t make money worthless. The naysayers fail to realize that post-SHTF will not be some kind of every man for himself scenario, it is human nature to form groups and tribes, we are social and that is the only way we survive. Nations in the modern world are just enormous tribes, and having economic power is every bit as important as having defensive power. Gold won’t see you through every scenario, but neither will a gun. If you truly want to prepare, you need to prepare for everything, not just your Rambo fantasy where you think you’ll go around gunfighting your way to survival.

    • I agree. Seems to me one third of the US want a breakdown of society, the next third want a Jesus rapture and the others don’t care.My God the social engineering has worked.

  4. A. You can’t eat bullets either.
    B. Gunshots can be heard from miles away, in reality someone would likely hear your gun and follow you back to your camp so they could either kill/rob you or avoid you.
    C. Who would trade for water?? You can boil water to kill bacteria.
    D. As long as there are women alive gold and gemestones will always have value.

  5. Sorry for the lat reply, but everyone is hinting around at the real situation.

    Gold can be good to hold in the event of a near collapse, or recession, if you are willing to part with it for that “worthless” paper money. For example, if in 1990 you bought gold for $400 an ounce, you could have sold it for $2400 an ounce in 2008. $400 inflation adjusted between 1990-2008 is only $659.

    But since we are talking survival, in the case of a true collapse, as in the United States doesn’t exist anymore, we only have to look to the Walking Dead for guidance.

    In a true collapse, gold has no worth. Do you think any of the gang in the Walking Dead would go fight zombies for gold? Trade guns or bullets for gold? Give medicine for gold? Nope. They can go to a bank, jewelry store, or rummage abandoned houses and get all the gold they want. I’m sure the zombies didn’t empty out the Federal Reserve banks.

    But in that scenario, here is where gold does have value. Let’s say the zombie outbreak only effected the US. Then in Europe, gold would still have value. You can throw it in a sack, steal a boat, and head off for Europe to live out your days. Your paper money would have been worthless, and probably most of your stock (for any US company).

    The other place gold is valuable is in the post-collapse society that emerges after the collapse. Most civilizations will start out with a currency based on a gold standard. So lets say you have a million bucks in the bank and the US dissolves. It’s just toilet paper now. But a new society/government will eventually arise out of that collapse. Their currency will initially be based on a gold standard (to trade with the rest of the world).

    So maybe before the collapse, you were paying $600 US a month for rent. Right now, for two months rent, you can buy an ounce of gold. But that paper money is leveraged against the amount of physical gold. So after a post-collapse gold-standard economy emerges, that one ounce of gold will now pay a years rent. So if you had a significant amount of Gold, you might be the next Donald Trump when a new economy emerges (assuming you survive).

    So how you invest in gold, sort of depends on how you think the world ends. If you think it is a total global economic collapse (all governments dissolve), like in the Walking Dead, then trade goods & security are the only way to go.

    If you just want to benefit during a really bad recession or depression, you buy precious metals cheap and sell when the dollar is weak, but that isn’t “survival” unless you are just protecting against job loss (lost revenue).

    If you want to protect against one country collapsing, gold is a better transport currency than money or trade goods.

    And if you want to survive a total collapse, and maybe be better off afterwards, you stock a mix of trade goods to get you through the collapse (gold may be worthless), but once a new financial systems takes root, your gold will be worth more emerging from the collapse, than it was before or during the collapse.

    So pick your poison.

  6. In SHTF, gold will not be the common currency. Everything will revert back to barter economy of goods and services.

    Here’s the thing, the economy always goes the way of the majority. What this means is that while a prepper thinks they’re going to be king of the hill by having a lot of gold (or pennies, or nickels) saved up when SHTF, and then use it to get what they want afterwards… nobody else is doing that. So, nobody else is going to have any hard currency, shops that used to deal in it are going to close and thus make people lose touch with what value it might have. Since other things become more important, like food, water, clothing, medical aid… people will seek to barter and trade what they can for that.

    A person can’t eat a gold coin. They can’t shoot it out of a gun. They can’t defend themselves with it.

    A form of currency evolves over time as a market economy matures. When SHTF, you strip away all maturity of society… all advanced market economy dealings (like currencies), all laws (like it being illegal to kill someone or steal from them) … you basically revert back to basic instinct. People have needs, they will do what it takes to fulfill them.

    That’s what the majority of people are going to be faced with, since they’re not prepping. So, they will revert back to primitive forms of barter-and-trade as well.

    The only way hard currency could benefit you is if there was a local SHTF scenario, like your country collapsed, but the countries around you were still ok. You would have to use barter-n-trade to work your way to a border, and could then possibly use your hard currency to bribe someone to help you across the border and then use the hard currency to survive over there.

    Problem … if a person has a flexible moral constitution that they will take a bribe from you, then chances are they don’t mind going even further and take advantage of you. They may act like they’re helping you, but what they’re really doing is taking you off some where to rob you blind (best case scenario) and then just leave you penniless, or hand you over to the local police or (worst case scenario) murder you and dump the body.

    You would be a refugee / immigrant, and history has shown natives to a country treat refugees / immigrants like shit.

    The other issue we’d have if our country collapses is that it creates a vacuum. While our hard currency and resources (like mines, factories, etc), may not have much worth to us while we’re living hand-to-mouth surviving, any surrounding countries that do exist will quickly swoop in to take control.

    That means outside armies will be steam-rolling in with tanks, automatic weapons, highly-trained solders… maybe they’re friendly and come in peace and offer aid. But… they may decide that our country is now free real estate for the taking… just have to either evict (kill) the last tenants, or round them up into camps to quickly get them reconditioned and realize that they are now second class citizens in a take over.

    So… hoarding hard currency for a SHTF situation is just … it’s not completely dumb. It’s good to have a bit of fall back like some coins here and there in case something happens. But, people hoarding buckets upon buckets of coins or what-not in their house… your time would be better spent learning a skill. Or, teaching your neighbors a skill.

    Why teach your neighbors? Because SHTF goes a lot easier if you prep your neighbors ahead of time as well. If your neighbors already know how to protect themselves, grow their own food, etc, then they won’t come over to your place banging on the door wanting your stuff.

    The best preparation for SHTF is a proactive community… b/c if you don’t have a community, then you’re going to be a solo prepper fending off the wolves when the SHTF rather then a community member working with a group of people to coordinate farms.

    It is hard to survive when you’re spending all your hours looking over your shoulders, trying to hide where you are to keep people from robbing you, you can’t get a farm going b/c you’re too worried about being raided.

    When you have a community of people, you can divvy out work. A few people can stand guard. The others can fortify structures, create farms, repair things… people can specialize in labor.

    That’s kind of the problem with some preppers… they have a “I’m gonna laugh at everyone struggling when SHTF and I’m doing just fine, and if anything happens I’ll deal with it myself” attitude. Some go so far as the dehumanize non-preppers.

    What this does is set them up to become the very thing they fear… a raider. They will be the one with all the guns, a shelter, etc. Then when supplies run low they will be heading out to scavenge. They will come across people farming or doing some activity they could benefit from… and instead of being peaceful and bartering or joining them to create a better community they will simply decide that “I’m the guy with the gun” and take what they want and essentially become a local bully.

    That kind of person usually gets hunted down and put out of the community’s misery early on, b/c without laws about murder people won’t mind killing someone if it makes everyone’s life easier. If a prepper gets flushed with power and turns into a raider / bully, then the local community will track them and kill them. Joe Blow prepper thinks he’s safe in his bunker. The local residents will pile cement and rocks in front of his door to keep him from ever coming out again… then let him starve to death… or light his place on fire. The cost of potentially going in and confronting him is too high if he’s got guns and stuff. It’s cheaper just to light him up and let his entire place (and his supplies) burn to the ground and never worry about him being a problem again then it is to try to deal with him and then scavenge his stuff.

    People will be drastic decisions. Hard currency is overrated in SHTF. Prepping to be an isolationist is prepping for failure.

  7. King Herod had Masada built as a refuge in fear of revolt from his own people. I’ve been there and it was brilliantly constructed. A self-sustaining, impenetrable yet comfortable and beautiful fortress that the very paranoid Herod never laid his eyes on. If humanity and the world goes down, I’m not going to worry and find a way to get on Titanic’s lifeboats, I’ll let God and Love decide my fate.

  8. In my opinion, the most likely senerio is one of the collapse of the U.S. government due to the national debt. This will need welfare, SS, etc. The government will impose a wealth tax and take your bank and brokerage accounts or so large percentage. People will riot like in Venezula now. Many business will go bankrupt.

    But, wealth is not destroyed. Those with debt will be destroyed, but their wealth in business will just get picked-up for pennies on the dollar and the wheels will start to spin again. The debt will be gone and many will be wiped out. No hunger games, no Z nation.

    If you hold gold, the government can not impose its wealth tax on you. The sun will come out again and you will be holding wealth if you hold gold. If you hold 100 grand in gold, and we have hyperinflation as part of the collapse, its value in dollars will rise, but be aware your 100 grand might be worth one million in the end, but its purchasing power will still be 100 grand.

    Ok, I could be wrong. Maybe it will be the hunger games, but if that is the cause most will not survive anyway and that includes YOU. Remember, GErmany once had its hyperinflation and we still have a Germany today. We had a great depression and thousands of businesses were wiped out, but here we are today. I believe we will collapse from the Socialist Policies and Welfare State of the past 50 years all paid for with debt. There will be a reckoning and then the pieces come back together all in different hands. Gold will allow you to hold some pieces and come out he other side.

  9. I saw a movie a long time ago.one man had lots of gold the other food and water.what do you think was worth more?they were in the mountains.

  10. Id stock up on some decent alcohol actually not only would it maintain value as a luxury item but also as a important medical supply also stock up on anti biotics and various other drugs like painkillers and will always have value that will be easier to turn a profit on than gold

  11. I think it is worthless to invest in gold. Because only a few people have access to it. It sits in piles doing nothing. You need something that can be traded freely and anything can become currency. Bottle caps rocks and even shells can become currency. Nation have not even touched gold and even tea was a currency. Why would people want to deal with gold if any a few stingy people own all of it and hoard it? And what is stopping people from painting coins into gold or forging fake gold.

    Second why would people even want to trade gold. Sure it does not rust but it does noting. It cannot feed you, it cannot be made into tools. Cooper is more useful than gold and can be collected for free. Why would a hungry scared family want to trade meat and guns for a small sliver of gold when the could get a cow from a farmer? Trust is at an all time low and why would they trust you on the value? In the fyre festival. The rich people started to hoard supplies and I saw no one trading in gold only in supplies. Mugging you at night would be better and stealing would be rampet.

    Second you do realize it would be easy to mug you. If you have gold and supplies someone can just ambush you. Having gold and looking to trade would just make you target. Movies betray reality and one person would lose against a team of 20 raiders.

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