Did you notice the holiday displays while you bought Halloween candy? If you are like me, I started to panic about what was the best candy and what would be the best gifts for family and friends this season.
Over the past several weeks (years, actually), Ive heard radio advertisements telling me no, urging me to hedge my bets with the upcoming financial, social, political apocalypse by purchasing gold. Gold over the years has appreciated in value by approximately four thousand percent. This amazing return on investment has far outpaced stocks, bonds, real estate and commodity futures.
So, why not wrap gold presents this holiday season?
Im having a hard time trying to figure out what this massive investment will get me and my loved ones. Sure, Ill have some purchase certificates, and perhaps even some tidy monthly statements informing me of how my paltry investment has grown to Murdochian proportions.
But this begs the first question I have: How will I get my gold?
Am I to assume that, even though civilization will be crashing down around me, I will be able to mosey over to an investment place, calmly wait in line, surrender my receipts and get my yellow treasure? Its hard to fathom a place with so much gold is going to be the model of organizational security when life as we know it is coming to an end.
But fine, Ill bite say I receive my precious yield. Then what? Do you know how much gold weighs? One gold bar, like in the movies, weighs twenty-seven pounds. Thats like three bowling balls or twenty-seven bottles of water.
Given golds weight, I understand that during a time of complete chaos, Im going to have to adapt fast. How am I going to be able to carry a few gold bars around in my knapsack? I can barely get my briefcase to and from my office on a day-to-day basis.
How will I get all this gold around? The heck with actually carrying food and water I would have to throw out a majority of my canned goods just to get the bars in my pack. I wouldnt be able to eat, but Id have approximately seventy pounds of gold to buy food and water.
Fantastic. I can junk the food, clothes, water and other survival tools because I would have so much money I could purchase these things while on the go. But how in the world would I actually pay people? Heres a gold bar, can I get about six smaller gold bars in change, please? Or would I have to carve some flakes off of the bars and hope theyre accepted as Visa? I can think of a number of issues with that particular strategy.
See, if Mad Max and The Road Warrior have taught me anything, is that in the post-apocalyptic world, people will sell you things, see how you pay and how much money you have left after the transaction. Theyll then take your money and give you the goods. A few hours later, theyll murder you and take the rest of your money. With all that gold on my back I wont exactly be able to outrun the leather-clad hooligans in their dune buggies and motorcycles. I would be an easy target, and all that gold I bought to save me, would be the albatross around my neck.
Instead of buying gold for your family and friends this holiday season, I suggest obtaining a more practical article coal (another rousing holiday favorite). You dont need a whole lot of it to be effective, so you can outrun the leather-clad dune buggy drivers. You can make fire with it to warm yourself, cook food and boil water. Everyone can enjoy the dinner parties you put on, because youll have the only hovel with edible food, pure water and a roaring fire. Sure, it wont look as pretty and cost as much, but in the long run, it will allow you to make a much more comfortable life in the wasteland.
Chris Markham writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.