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The Case for Silver as a Retirement Asset

Saturday, October 15, 2016 6:57
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Silver dollarFrom Sprott Money: You want to retire soon but you don’t trust debt based fiat currency paper assets. Besides, the stock market looks toppy and bonds have about run their 30+ year bull market to its inevitable and ugly end – as indicated by negative interest rates, QE, helicopter money, ZIRP, central bank insanity and more.

How much stacked gold and silver do you need to retire? It clearly depends upon your individual situation – your age, expenses, other income, medical expenses, and more.

Assume that average annual US wages indicates a rough estimate of your annual retirement expenses. Below are graphs of average annual wages expressed in ounces of gold and silver based on their average annual selling price.

Note that the US average wage, measured in both gold and silver, as I have drawn the dashed line, has been declining for the last three decades. Given that gold and silver have recently emerged from four year corrections we expect their prices to rise more rapidly than wages, so the ongoing decline should continue.


  1. Use average wages (approximately $40,000 per year) as a starting point. Adjust for your situation, taxes, life style, age etc.
  2. Hope you have other income, such as Social Security, a pension, or 401(k), that will pay 25% or 50% of your needs.
  3. Assume about 2,000 ounces of silver or 30 ounces of gold are equivalent to US annual average wages.
  4. Assume the needed ounces for retirement expenses decrease by (at least) one % per year for both gold and silver as gold and silver prices accelerate higher.
  5. If markets crash and central banks can’t prevent a deflationary collapse, gold and silver will probably protect your purchasing power as their prices will fall proportionally less than other prices and assets.
  6. If central banks create hyperinflation, gold and silver will probably rise far more rapidly than prices for what you need.
  7. If “stagflation” dominates, then gold and silver should more than cover the increase in expenses for your needs.
  8. If the powers-that-be create a nuclear war, or manage a total financial collapse, we will have other more pressing concerns than ounces of gold or silver.

Conclusions: (Showing 100%, 75%, and 50% of retirement expenses expressed in gold and silver)

# of Years Ounces of Silver Ounces of Gold
Retirement 100% 75% 50% 100% 75% 50%
Income needed (rounded to 100) (rounded to ten)
10 19,100 14,300 9,500 290 210 140
15 28,000 21,000 14,000 420 310 210
20 36,400 27,300 18,200 550 410 270
25 44,400 33,300 22,100 670 500 330

Examples: (Based on several assumptions that should be modified to fit your unique circumstances)

  1. You are retiring now at 65 and expect to live another 20 years. You need at retirement about $40,000 for annual expenses but can cover half of that from other sources. You will need approximately 18,200 ounces of silver or 270 ounces of gold for your retirement if you gradually sell to supplement other income each year.
  2. You are retiring at 70 and expect to live 10 years. You have very little other income and need about $30,000 per year at retirement – 75% of the annual average. You will need approximately 14,300 ounces of silver or 210 ounces of gold for your retirement if you gradually sell to supplement other income each year.
  3. You are retiring at 65 and expect to live 25 more years. You need about $150,000 per year for expenses and expect to receive only about $50,000 from other sources. You will need about 2.5 times the annual average, or about 111,000 ounces of silver or 1,670 ounces of gold to meet your retirement needs.
  4. You are 55 years old and expect to retire at 65. You have ten years to accumulate enough gold and silver. In that time your pension, 401(k), and Social Security could be substantially devalued and your gold and silver could be absolutely necessary. (Social Security is not in sound financial condition and private and public pensions are under increasing pressure, thanks to the Fed’s ZIRP.)
  5. You are 20 years old and can’t even imagine retirement. Good, but stack silver and gold regardless.
  6. You plan to retire in a Manhattan condo that requires $200,000 per year in condominium fees, plus you expect to spend another $500,000 per year. You need a very large amount of gold and silver and you are probably not reading this article.
  7. You expect to retire in a small town in the mid-west of the US, have few needs and simple tastes, a comprehensive medical plan, and a substantial pension. The mathematics indicates you have no need for gold and silver to supplement your retirement, but you have little faith in governments, central bankers, politicians, stocks, bonds, and election year promises. Hence you will sleep better knowing you have gold and silver safely stored outside the banking system in a private and secure vault.

We don’t know what the next twenty years will bring, but based on the last 3,000 years we can reasonably expect massively more debt, more central banker control over economies, unfulfilled promises from politicians, devalued fiat currencies, monetary crises, wars, diminishing middle class, and that gold and silver will remain money and continue as a store of value.

This article is brought to you courtesy of Sprott Money.

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