Buying Platinum Jewelry As an Investment

Investing in a precious metal like platinum can be a good long-term hedge against the volatility of the stock market, and there are many ways to invest in it. One of the best ways is to buy jewelry made from pure platinum. This allows you to hold a valuable commodity as well as wear a beautiful piece of jewelry – sort of like having your cake and eating it too!

Here are some great reasons to buy platinum jewelry as an investment:

  • The strength of platinum allows jewelers to make quite intricate, yet extremely durable, pieces without mixing in other metals. Thus, you can have a piece that is practical both as jewelry and as a bullion-type investment.
  • Platinum is about 30 times more rare than gold, yet is usually valued in the same general price range. Since it is so rare and so useful, many people believe that platinum could drastically increase in value in the coming years.
  • Platinum is stronger and more durable than either silver or white gold, and is impervious to rust or tarnish, and so is a great alternative to these metals as jewelry.
  • Platinum is important in the auto industry, for use in anti-pollution devices. As environmental regulations get stricter over the years, the value of platinum should continue to rise. And as emerging markets like China and India continue their explosive growth (car sales in China grew by more than 50% in 2009), the demand for platinum will continue to grow as well. All these factors point to a steady increase in the value of platinum jewelry in the coming years.

Financing Your Business With Vendors

Vendors are critical partners having the ability to seriously help or hinder your business. A good relationship with a vendor will help with cash flow, assist in quality service with your customers, and help you reduce the struggles of managing inventory. A bad relationship with a vendor can cause several headaches including seriously hurting the lifeblood of your business, your cash flow. Most business buyers never consider partnering with their vendors to finance their purchase. Here are a few ideas on how to work with vendors in financing a new acquisition.

1. Extend your terms – If you purchase a business that has a heavy need to work with vendors you maybe able to get your vendors to extend your terms after your acquisition. This can allow your business the ability to free up critical cash flow. Don’t be fooled into thinking that an increase in cash flow will pay for you acquisition. It may help with the temporary lull in business that naturally occurs after the change on ownership. One of my students got a primary vendor to extend his terms from net 30 to a one year, no payment no interest relationship. This worked well for my student and the vendor had established a relationship that can potentially last a lifetime.

2. Sharing a letter of credit – Depending on what type of vendor you have (and your relationship with them) occasionally vendors will be willing to extend or share a letter of credit with a client to help them. For example, a construction company that needs materials such as granite countertops maybe able to go to a granite wholesaler and in lieu of a profit they could share a portion of their letter of credit to finance a portion of the construction. Obviously the vendor would be compensated by future business and a spread on the letter of credit.

3. Trade services for materials or like-kind services- A general contractor could offer to trade services for materials. A grocery store could share space for warehousing with a food supplier in lieu of product. The possibilities are endless.

4. Equity investors – Vendors frequently become squeamish of investing in clients because there can be a change in the perception of the relationship. I think that this can be a perfect marriage between two businesses if it is done correctly and with consideration. For example, a struggling business has past due debt to a smaller vendor. A new party could acquire the business and share a portion of the stock in the company to resolve the past due debt. Vendors are not in the habit of investing in their clients; however there can be a time and a place where it is necessary for the survival of all parties.

5. Leaseback strategies- This is a strategy you can use with equipment vendors. An existing business owns $200,000 in equipment. You sell the equipment to the equipment vendor and in turn leaseback to you. Consequently you free up cash to assist in your business purchase.

Find Your Investing Soulmate on the Jersey Turnpike

As a followup to a previous column, “Irreconcilable Differences,” I received an e-mail from a reader asking how she could ensure, ahead of time, investment compatibility with a future spouse.

Unfortunately, like most issues in life, the direct approach does not work. Asking him, “Sweetie, how will you invest our 401(k) funds?” will only result in getting the answer he thinks you want. “Honey, whatever you think is best,” will be the answer you will hear. The thought that different investment strategies could result in irreconcilable harm to your future relationship seems remote to him. But we know better. He will say whatever you want in order to move the conversation to supposedly more important questions like, “How many kids do you want, five or six?” Or, “What religion should we raise the kids in?” We all know, however, as index investors, that our Investment Gestalt (IG) is the key predictor of future happiness. Fortunately, I have developed a test that will increase the probability of matching your IG with that of a prospective partner.

This is the scenario: Your friend (and I would keep the relationship at a platonic stage until after this first test of compatibility) is driving and you approach a toll on the New Jersey Turnpike. It’s 5:30 p.m. and traffic is backed up a quarter mile. Now watch carefully as your friend selects one of 10 lanes to approach the tollbooths. Does he scan the mass of opportunities and abruptly cut across eight lanes of traffic to get into the shortest lane? So far, so good, correct? No, don’t jump to any conclusions yet. Wait and see his behavior as his lane stops dead. Does he pull out and squeeze into the fastest moving lane two rows to your left? Even worse, does this behavior continue for the next 10 minutes as he chases the best performing lane? Stay away from this person. Don’t give him a kiss goodnight and don’t take his calls in the future. His approach is strictly short-term. He chases short-term performance (and he is rude too).

Still confused? The most suitable mate, the one with a similar IG would have randomly selected a lane and not wavered. He realizes that the lane that moves the fastest cannot be determined ahead of time and that short-term performance has no statistical significance to the final outcome. Your Mr. Right would have selected a lane and stayed in it. He would have used the extra time to find your favorite CD and ask how your mom is feeling.

Stay close to this guy. (Please note: With the introduction of express toll booths the validity of the above test has been challenged.) My question to our readers: what are the habits, quirks of personality that help you identify a person with a similar IG? Please share your perspectives with us.

Is it the kind of car he drives? Or the kind of dog he walks? Or how neat he keeps his apartment? Is it important that he calls his mom each night? Or is it totally counterintuitive? Are Indy 500 or Formula One drivers more likely to be index investors, while librarians take very large positions in hedge funds?

Please e-mail me with your insights so that I can share them with our readers.