I'm quite young; only 22. However, I have a penchant for planning for the future... I want to start investing in gold; buying a good safe, some bars of gold, and having it grow in value over time is what interests me.
First, it is important to know why do you want to invest in gold? If you are fearing the end of the times, and you want to make sure you have some bullion to escape the country and pay people off... Then silver and gold are options for you. Silver is at a historic low vs the price of gold. This may signal that gold is in a bubble, or that silver is just lagging...
If you want to invest in gold, as a store of value, and you are not worried about the end of times, then you could invest in an ETF: GLD. Every share is about 1/10th of an ounce. It is easy to exchange, just go to your investment house dot com open an account transfer funds and buy and sell as you desire. Where as gold bars requires you to find someone willing to pay you for your gold, typically leading to diminshed returns on your end.
If you are looking for appreciation over time, gold is a horrible choice. Gold will always be worth gold and will never make you rich. The cheaper your currency becomes, the more that SEEMS to be worth, but it's still only worth one ounce of gold. If one ounce of gold will buy you $1000 worth of stuff in today's world, in 30 years it may be able to buy you $30,000 worth of stuff, but that still may only be a nice TV. It is not a historically good performer for making a profit as it is known as a "storage of value".
If you are afraid that the currency of the US is being devalued and inflation will make saving cash difficult, there are a lot of options. TIPS are inflation protected securities by the US government. You could invest your money in an ETF of a currency of your choice such as the swiss frank or english stearling. I would shy away from the EU...
There are plain old stocks that are very attractive. The nice thing about stocks is you own part of a company. If you buy IBM stock, and in tomorrows world the dollar is wroth less, IBM is worth more as exports boost earnings and the company is still valued in US dollar terms so an inflation of it's assetts also inflates your assets...
I've looked up some websites about gold and savings bond, but those are websites filled with general facts yet void of personal experience. Knowing that there are quite a few knowledgeable people here, I figured someone might have some sort of experience on this issue.
Gold and most commodities are very volitile. This means the price is subject to high price flucuations. Look at a 30 year gold chart and you will see in the early 80's gold was around 900 an ounce, and in 2 years it was around 300 an ounce. Check out the history on why this happened and you'll realize that people were anxious that the US dollar would lose value because of the recent movement off the gold standard 70's and increased debt in a recession, potential of war US vs USSR, a housing slump... Well you can see how things are setting up in a similar way today.
There is no game of just winners, and there is nothing which only goes up in value.
Is it wise to invest in gold, or is it truly just a waste of time and money?
That is for you to decide. But if you are 22, and looking to do more than maintain
value, I personally do not feel that is a sound investment strategy at your age and wealth. This is not to say a diversified portfolio should not have some precious metals in it, but for a 22 year old to use gold as the primary investment, is most certainly a mistake.