Posted 03 August 2011 - 09:26 AM
Physical is the only way to start.
I can't remember who said it, but the best advice I ever saw on a gold-following forum was "Everyone should have an ounce of gold". Now look in your pockets for four 10p coins. That's almost exactly the same size as four sovereigns (but nowhere near the same weight!) which is just a fraction under 1 troy ounce of gold. You can't tell me that you wouldn't be able to find a hiding place for that. If those four coins were gold, you would have a guaranteed preservation of £1020 (at today's date 3/Aug/2011) of your wealth. That buying power will, for all practical intents and purposes, remain the same for the next thousand years, which I think is an adequately long time to be concerned about. The likelihood of losing it is infinitely lower than the guaranteed debasement of the rest of your money.
If you want to take the small but significant risk that institutionally-held gold might be confiscated by the government in a crisis (and we may look for our moral compass to Gordon Brown's example with the British pension funds and the sale of OUR gold - excuse me while I wash my mouth out with soap) then I reckon these companies are as safe as they can possibly be;
GoldSavers (Baird, London), Goldmoney (London, Zurich or Hong Kong), Bullionvault (New York, London or Zurich), and for truly-allocated amounts The Guernsey Mint. The first three act like bank accounts, GoldSavers is the easiest to get small quantities out, and the GuernseyMint act as a safe-deposit box for PMs only, that is, your stash is actually labelled and separated from other owners, so you can actually turn up with five days' notice and look at your individual lump of metal. Goldmoney and Bullionvault are the traditional ones for traders, but I'm going to open a GoldSavers account soon and will report back. Silver stored in Guernsey has no VAT liability at the time of writing, ditto Palladium.
"They'll print money until we run out of trees."
- Jimmy Rogers