When precious metals come off highs as they have in recent days, the logical question in the minds of gold and silver owners is when is the right time to sell?
Should I have sold gold when it hit $1,000? Should I have sold some silver when it passed $20? Every owner is probably asking himself or herself those very questions.
I thought of this at lunch yesterday. I was transiting through the Miami airport. I met a couple from a small town outside of Tulsa, Okla.
We were thrown together in a crowded restaurant. We got to talking. Neither was a collector, but they owned some coins that they had acquired or saved years ago.
The husband said he had about 30 silver dollars. He wondered what the price was. I replied that they were currently probably worth about $15. Then he told me a story about 1980. He had had them then. When the local coin dealer was offering $30 apiece, he decided he would sell them when they reached $35. He said he checked every day. They inched a bit higher, but never made $35. Then the plunge started and no sale occurred at all.
Here we are 28 years later. Bullion is making headlines but silver dollars are still not as high as 1980. He can always keep them, but the one thing that has changed is that he has worked for 40 years and is nearing retirement. He is older. Does he have the time to wait?
That is the question.
Gold may be eternal, but its owners are not. The time to sell is dictated as much by personal circumstance as it is by the long-term outlook. It pays not to forget that.