I had a buddy ask me about "red neck gold" - ie - investment alternatives to gold because, well, frankly people can't afford $1,400 an ounce. I presumed he had gotten the term from the internet, but when I went on the internets I could not find the term nor any article about it. It actually surprised me because I would have thought "red neck gold" was a logical next step in the evolution of investing given our chaotic economic times and the prohibitively expensive prices of gold. But then again things that seem "logical" to me are horribly super-advanced complex things doctorates in econometrics need super computers to model and figure out, so permit me once again to lay down some serious old school, blue collar economic genius.
First you must ask yourself why does gold have value or become a refuge during dire economic times. The answer? Simple - it's money. Not in the "fiat" paper dollar bill, sort of money. It IS money. And what I mean by that is it has the qualities and traits that make it a good money;
1. It has an intrinsic value. Most men scoff at gold as merely a mineral that looks shiny and pretty. Well who likes shiny, pretty things? Women! Who likes women? Men! And so history is filled with instances where men slay other men for gold because of..ahem... let's just say "biology."
2. Gold is divisible. You can divide it, mint it, press it. Cars aren't. You can't just come into Whole Foods with a Prius and get a bag of groceries and use a car as payment. It would not be fair to you. You need something that can be a smallish or smaller unit of measurement (ergo a dollar, a shilling, a yen).
3. Gold sticks around for a while. It doesn't degrade or mold or deteriorate. Is it any surprise metals were the original money? Copper, gold, silver, nickle. You can put a bar of gold in the ground and because it's half life is something like 40 billion years, you're still going to have 99.9999999999% of it 10 years later.
4. It's universally accepted. You of the highest alpha-male bachelor order may have no practical use for gold (technically, nobody does), but you're no schmoe to turn down a free bar of gold. It's worth something to somebody. So you may not use it, but you could use it to buy yourself something that is valuable like an X-Box 360 or a trip to Vegas or the Captain's super awesome book on the housing crash that not only guarantees you will be smarter than whenst you started it, but chicks will dig you too.
These traits (and others that have escaped my mind) is what makes money MONEY. It is not necessarily the physical atoms that make an item an excellent candidate for money, but other traits that make it a good currency of exchange.
Ergo, the question for those of you wishing to invest in something to avoid a collapsing dollar, but can't afford gold, is what things can you buy that have those same traits, but doesn't cost $1,400 an ounce?
Well, here are a couple ideas from the ole Captain;
1. Bullets - I do not mean this in a "prepare for the collapse of society type way" (although they would definitely come in handy), but they are the perfect candidate for money. They are divisible. They have intrinsic value (you can shoot prey with them). They store well. And if times get super bad everybody would certainly accept them more than gold bracelets. Even if times AREN'T super bad, you can sell them for more when inflation goes up 50% next year because the bullets have value, Obama-dollars don't.
2. Booze - In the Wiemar Republic with hyperinflation running rampant, the Germans would use bottles of booze as a means of currency. A high end cognac would be the rough equivalent today of a $100 bill. Windsor Canadian would be the equivalent to a quarter. Regardless, again, the same traits. Divisibility. Store of value. Universally accepted. Intrinsic value. And if the world is in that bad of shape, how COULDN'T booze be in higher demand?
3. Salt - This would be more along the lines of "oh crap, the world really is collapsing." Good news is you can stock up for free essentially at restaurants by stealing salt packets.
4. Matches - Come on! Tell me how matches aren't the perfect money? AND FREE TOO! Of course if the economy doesn't DESTROY itself, then people will look at your fine match collection and say, "What, are you kidding me? I can get matches for free at the bar." But when the economy does collapse, and the lefties have shut down all the sulfur mines due to environmental concerns, boy, tell me that isn't going to be a great investment! Not to mention who are the ladies going to want to cuddle up with? Thor, the wise and mighty economist who saved up matches and has a nice warm hut, replete with roaring fire and a full arsenal of guns to protect his compound? Or Jayden, the sensitive 90's man who majored in philosophy and is now an icicle in breadline at some government feed station along with the rest of the losers who shut down the sulfur mine?
5. Tools - If you get a good set of tools think about how great that is. YOu only need one set of good tools to repair the Mad Max car you have to fight off the roving bands of marauders. But you could sell a wrench or a screwdriver for BILLIONS of Obama-dollars come 10 years from now. Regardless, tools do keep their value and are something that does have intrinsic value and would definitely be something that would hold its own against inflation.
I'm sure there are more, and if you think about it, you'll start to see them. But in the meantime if you can't afford yourself some gold, I'm sure you can afford yourself some of the items above.
This public service announcement brought to you by Cappy Cap.