Investing in gold can be a smart addition to your long-term financial strategy, but grabbing gold from the first gold seller you find likely isn't your best move. You want to determine what type of gold to get first and then research how those sales are usually done, as the seller will want to make a profit off the sales to you. How long you hold onto the gold before selling it yourself is up to you, although that does mean finding forms of gold that let you sell small amounts (and not an entire, huge coin just to get a little money) if you so desire.

The Classic: Coins and Bars

Coins and bars are a lot easier to find than many people realize. Gold sellers from corner coin stores to the U.S. Mint offer standardized sizes and types of gold coins and bars that you can keep at your home if you so wish. These sellers may have storefronts where you can pick up the gold in person, or you may be able to order it online. Note that if you want to buy coins or bars from the U.S. Mint, you can't do it directly; you have to look for sellers authorized to sell the items.

Once you buy these from sellers, you can hang onto them for as long as you want. You may want to get coins in different sizes because that gives you more leeway when you want to sell some gold but not a lot.

Is Gold Jewelry a Good Idea?

Gold jewelry can be good if you find the right gold sellers. Buying retail gold jewelry strictly for investment isn't the best move because then you're paying the retail markup. While gold prices generally go up, you still risk not making that money back when you try to sell the gold because buyers will typically pay you for the scrap value of the metal, not the retail value. But sellers offering gold jewelry at scrap value prices (which may have a percentage tacked on so the sellers can make a profit) are another matter. If you find reputable gold sellers offering gold chains at scrap prices, you may want to grab those and hang onto them for a while before selling them yourself.

These can include broken jewelry, and if you're dealing only with scrap value, the "broken" part won't matter. Do be careful about buying pieces that have other stones or metals in them as those are much harder to evaluate for later sale. And you should never assume you'll be able to sell an item with mixed metals and stones for values above scrap price.

You also have your pick of non-physical forms of gold, such as futures and investments in mining companies, but these are not nearly as fun to buy and sell as physical gold. The shimmer of pure gold is a lovely sight, making gold one of the more interesting investments.

For more information, check out posts online from gold sellers, such as this post.