Depending on your situation and temperament, precious metals can be a very smart investment. No matter how the stock market fluctuates, and no matter whether mutual funds stray into the terrain of bulls or bears, some things are always valuable assets. Although a large net worth on paper can vanish in a market crash, a box of solid gold bars is likely to retain its worth for the foreseeable future. This fact is intuitive, and is one important reason why people continue to invest in precious metals like gold despite the fact that these materials appreciate slowly and can be inconvenient to deal with in many cases. Gold, Silver and Platinum are the 3 major investment type metals. If you are set on investing in precious metals, gold is almost unanimously hailed as the smartest choice. Gold is often considered a good investment during times of social or cultural turbulence, but even in a steady financial climate gold tends to keep pace with inflation and retain its worth over years, decades, and even centuries. When you invest in gold bars, you can feel secure that as long as you are the owner of such valuable items, at least some part of your net worth will be tangible and reliable, no matter what the global financial market may bring in the years to come. When you transform your cash into gold or another valuable metal, you are all but guaranteed stability, as gold has stayed in step with inflation for over five hundred years. However, because gold is so stable, you are unlikely to see much of a profit from your investment. Many financial advisors recommend applying no more than five or ten percent of your investment budget to the purchase of metals, because although reliability is an important factor in a successful portfolio, there is more to investing than just protecting your money. In general, investing in physical precious metals is less speculative than investing in metals futures, but purchasing actual gold or silver bars has its own set of problems. One of the major difficulties with investing in precious metals is storage. Because these materials are so valuable, it can be difficult to create a satisfactorily secure environment for them. Many investors choose to store their precious metals in a bank vault, safe deposit box, or other area that is protected by professionals who have the most advanced security technology at their disposal. However, other metal owners prefer to have their assets close to hand at all times so that they can always be certain that they can access their investment. Depending on your personality, having your gold, silver, or platinum within reach can either increase or decrease your peace of mind.