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There has never been a better time to switch to gold. By that I mean to choose gold as your unit of account, your personal money. To hold your savings in gold. To measure your investment returns in gold. To keep your books in gold. In fact, it's not just a "good idea", it is vital to your future!

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Since I published Gold101 there have been some wonderful articles giving additional details on buying and storing physical gold.

The first, called "Gold coin shortage likely to become chronic" by Michael J. Kosares, outlines the reasons why gold bullion coins have been so hard to find at reasonable premiums, and why these forces will probably keep premiums high in the future as well. BTW, Michael's book, The ABCs of Gold Investing: How to Protect and Build Your Wealth With Gold is well worth reading if you are new to buying gold.

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Gold is a type of money, just like Dollars, Euros, Pounds and Yen. Unlike these other forms of money, gold has been around for thousands of years, while many fiat systems have come and gone. Because the amount of gold in the world cannot be increased without finding and mining more of it, its value is fairly constant. This is in stark contrast to the fiat monies which can be created on command by governments and central banks.

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Recently I was in Vancouver, BC for the Agora Financial Symposium, which carried the tagline "A View from the Peak". There were many peaks discussed and analyzed: oil, food, water and debt, to name a few. The price of gold and silver got a lot of discussion, and forecasts abounded. Discussions and opinions were not limited to the speakers, of course – the hallways, restaurants and sidewalks were filled with animated discourse, colorful scenarios and useful information. As you can guess, I loved every minute of it!

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I realized yesterday that it is easy to calculate the price of an ounce of silver in gold grams if you know the gold-silver ratio (Duh!) You just divide the ratio into 31.1035 (the number of grams in an ounce.) And the ratio is well documented throughout much of history. For instance, the website Measuring Worth provides annual values for the gold-silver ratio going back to 1687. I've used this data to create a new long term chart showing the price of silver from 1700 to today, and added it to the Silver chart page.

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Another story that caught my fancy, restated in terms of gold for your entertainment. Enjoy!

From a March 11, 2008 story in the Financial Times:

As stated in dollars:

Wall St enjoys best one-day rise since 2002
By Chris Bryant in New York
Published: March 11 2008 13:01 | Last updated: March 11 2008 20:41

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Here are excerpts from three news stories from 7-Mar-2008 Marketwatch.com, as they were written, and as I would read them. In each case, I have simply taken the USD figures given in the story and converted them to gold grams, then reworded the story to fit the new numbers. In some cases, I've added YTD data to put the reported figures in a larger perspective.

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With the US Dollar making new lows, and the stock market in disarray, 2008 is off to a shaky start. The Fed is faced with few options, none of them very pretty. If they cut rates to try to soften the recession and prop up asset prices, they further lower the value of the currency those assets are priced in, hurting their true value. But the political consequences of doing the right thing – letting a recession wring the weakness out of the economy – are just too painful to seriously contemplate, especially in a presidential election year.

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Twenty years ago, on 19 October 1987, the stock market took a terrific drop… 22.6% as measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  But look at the chart of the DJIA since 1900 and see if you can find the crash.  It's there, just a bit over 2 years before 1990… but it's a pretty small hiccough in the long bull market from 1980 to 1999.

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The Charts section has been updated with a new chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, this one from 1900 to present.  The three big bull markets of this 107 year period, and the following bear markets, are easily seen.  It is clear that a lot of money can be made – and lost – investing in stocks over the long run.

From 1904 to 1929 the Dow grew 12 times in value from 47 to 568 gold grams, then gave up 89% of that gain, ending at 64 grams in 1933.  In the next phase, the Dow grew almost 14 times, to 893 grams in 1966.  This was followed by a long decline, losing almost 96% of it's value, finally bottoming around 37 grams in 1980.  Then the next bull market emerged, growing over 37 times to 1,393 gold grams in 1999.  The 8 years following this all time peak have been a downward march, representing a loss of almost 56% to the August 31, 2007 close of 618.262 gold grams.

What will the future hold?  I would love to hear comments from technicians on this topic… But if the last two market cycles are any guide, I suspect we will see the Dow trading below 200 gold grams sometime in the next 5 to 10 years, and it may not be until around 2035 that a new high is made.

There are many roads that could lead to the 200 gram level; the Dow could move sideways as the value of the dollar shrinks, or the Dow could keep making "new highs" in terms of a plummeting dollar, or the dollar could stabilize or even strengthen while the Dow collapses in nominal terms.

But if your goal is to build your real wealth, the key is to keep your eye on the ball: investing in assets that are growing in gold value, regardless of their price as viewed in the fun-house mirrors of fiat currencies.  The Custom Chart service can help you identify those opportunities, and we will be bringing more tools online in the future as well.

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