Asset Trip with Collin Plume: Big Wins With Gold and Silver
An Investing Journey with Collin Plume
Published Feb 24, 2022•Updated Mar 3, 2022
To start off, could you just tell our readers a little bit about what you do?
I've been an entrepreneur pretty much since I was 15 years old. I started on the internet, just constantly starting new businesses. Sixteen years ago, I ended up working in a commercial real estate space, helping investors buy apartment buildings, shopping centers, and then I transitioned into more non-traditional investments, including precious metals, which I've been in for about 13 years. I got into cryptocurrency trading and buying about four years ago. So I've been in a number of different spaces in terms of investing. I have a pretty wide range of experience in a lot of different sectors. But my main two businesses today are Noble Gold and My Digital Money.
Businesses that went to zero
23 years old
Self directed IRA
Currently Investing In:
Precious metals, stocks, crypto, businesses, real estate
Real Estate Investments of Choice:
Apartment buildings and shopping centers
Nice. And were precious metals your first foray into alternatives?
Well, my father had been collecting silver for a long time. His grandfather also did, so I had some that I inherited and had been exposed to it to a small extent. But I was not aware of how extensive it was. I fell in love with precious metals because of the simplicity in the way the transaction works, the control—the buyer actually gets the investment. We sell the physical metal. It's not a fund or an ETF, so it's a very clean transaction. They're in control of it, the consumer. I think that there was a big void in precious metals. A lot of people didn't talk about it. A lot of people even today ask me if it's even legal to own it because at one point it wasn't.
So there are a lot of people that aren't aware of it. It's a very niche sort of market. I like the idea that we can educate people, which we've been doing at Noble Gold. That's been our number one focus, educating them on the different metals, how to buy it, how to store it, whether to do it in an IRA or not in an IRA. There's a void in the education space with precious metals. So we've been providing that, and I think it's been helpful.
I've never seen projections this aggressive. …BlackRock predicted $2,180 this year, and at the beginning of the pandemic, Bank of America predicted gold hitting $3,000 an ounce...and these are from places that typically would recommend other investments, not gold.
Nice. And for these investors, particularly more traditionally oriented investors, what kind of a role do you see adding precious metals to their portfolio playing in the long run?
Gold has a very limited supply. There's only enough gold in the whole world to fit in two and a half Olympic size swimming pools. And if you think about all the demand by central banks in the last 10 years, I mean, every large country has been buying gold—Russia, China, a lot of European countries, Great Britain. They're buying gold in bulk as a hedge against their paper money. It's a very strong staple of their portfolios. So you have those buyers that are long-term holders, and they have no reason to sell. And then, in the last 10 years, the industrial uses for gold have really grown.
So it has something unique in that it can be used as a currency, it can be used as a hedge or insurance, but then it also has industrial uses. So that makes it a very unique metal in the market. And I think that's part of the reason that the demand has been really high and the projections this year...I've never seen projections this aggressive by BlackRock or Bank of America. I mean, typically companies that wouldn't project gold to do what they think it's gonna do. BlackRock predicted $2,180 this year, and at the beginning of the pandemic, Bank of America predicted gold hitting $3,000 an ounce. These are very aggressive projections, and these are from places that typically would recommend other investments, not gold. So we've seen a big shift, and even financial advisors now are calling us and recommending clients to us because they believe that having some physical gold is a good thing. I think there's been a big shift from where it was when I started 12 or 13 years ago where it was still sort of seen as fringe, or maybe not something as important as it is today.
And what are the benefits of these platforms that allow people to invest more directly in metals versus just buying shares in a precious metals ETF?
There's no way to know with an ETF how much gold and silver that fund has. So you're always held to making sure that ETF is doing the right thing. And I can tell you that during the beginning, the pandemic, the demand for silver and gold was so high, ETFs were selling at record numbers, and it was literally impossible to get physical gold and silver. Most of the major companies were dry. We were lucky that we had some products that we had availability on. So it always makes me wary when ETFs are selling, they're supposed to be backed by physical gold and silver, I know there's no physical gold and silver being delivered during the pandemic. They were selling ETFs, I guess, just hoping that they would get delivery at some point. With what we do, you never have to worry about that because you're always in control of the asset. So you never have to worry if they're actually holding any of the gold and silver that they're supposed to. So I think there's a level of comfort there in our product, in owning the metal, that an ETF is never gonna offer an investor.
As these alternative assets become more popular and investing outside of the stock market becomes more popular, do you think alts like precious metals, like crypto, have some sort of place in just about any investor's portfolio? Or are they more for a particular type of investor?
I don't think they're for any particular type of investor. I think anyone can invest into it and feel confident, especially right now with inflation. I think gold and silver are gonna do really well with inflation over 7%, they projected last month. Crypto is a little different because it's still new. It's very volatile. So I do think you need to have a certain type of investor that has that risk appetite where they can feel comfortable with volatility. But I think that if you're a younger person and you're looking at spreading some money out in different investments, I don't think buying some of the cryptos out there is that different than buying an IPO. I think that some of the cryptos out there have the potential to outperform a lot of the IPOs that are out there.
But also with an IPO, there's significant risk. So it's a similar sort of risk level to some of the riskier stocks. So it's for a certain type of investor. But I think that everyone should be exposed to it because I do believe the way our banking and our money is, and the way that we transact business, is never going back to the way it was. I do think that the major banks are gonna be gone in the next 10 to 15 years. I don't think people see the need for them or trust them. And so I do think that there is gonna be some of these cryptos that will survive and they will replace some of the traditional banking.
So both My Digital Money and Noble Gold work with self-directed IRAs, correct?
Do you tend to get more investors who are already kind of familiar with alternatives and want to start investing in them through an IRA? Or do you get more people who know what an IRA is but haven't really branched into alternatives?
That's a great question. I would say we get a little bit of both. I mean, I think we do deal with a lot of first-time investors in precious metals and in crypto. I think a lot of times they're looking to hedge their bet on some of the other assets that they have, and they feel gold is a good part of that. So we get a little bit of both. We get seasoned investors. I have some hedge fund traders out of New York that buy physical goal from us to diversify too. I have some bond trader clients. So I've had some really sophisticated clients and then, you know, newer investors.
The nice thing about the IRA and the way that we do it is...let's say you bought gold when it was at $1,300 from us a few years ago. And when it broke $2,070 during 2020, you can always liquidate with us and move back some of that money into the stock market or other investments. So it's not like you're stuck there. And I think that's another reason why investors like it. I think people typically feel with the stock market they're sort of there forever, wherein metals it's so liquid, they can get in and out of it really quickly. So I think it gives them some flexibility on switching from some of the assets they've been in for a while to something different. And with bonds paying 5% to 6% lower than inflation, I think a lot of the traditional investments have sort of been wiped away because you can't keep up with the cost of goods. So people are looking to try to buy assets that can keep up with inflation.
How do you provide guidance to people who know that they want to invest in alternatives like precious metals or crypto but they're not quite sure if they want to do it through a self-directed IRA?
So, we don't advise anyone on anything. We just give people information about the products. Ultimately, whether they buy it in an IRA or outside, it's up to them. If you do a crypto IRA with us, the great thing is if crypto goes up a lot, you can shelter the gains from taxes. But the downside is that money is in there until you retire. So it doesn't give you that liquidity that some people want. So it really just depends on the investor. Some people like to have access to their money, so they're not gonna do it in an IRA.
I'm curious about your own personal investment goals and strategy and how you allocate assets accordingly.
I look at everything year to year and quarter to quarter. I set goals of investments and things that I wanna invest in. The thing that I've always bought, no matter what, is I've always bought gold and silver every quarter. Sometimes I buy it every month because I'm in the business, and I feel really comfortable with it. And I think in the long term, it's a no-brainer investment. But I also invest in the stock market. I do the same thing there. I have money coming out every month. I invest in real estate—apartment buildings and shopping centers. And then I'm younger and an entrepreneur, so I do invest in a lot of different businesses. I have the two businesses here, plus I have a few other businesses that I invest in.
So, that's another way that I look at investing and creating cash flow is investing in and running businesses. I think that that's another way that I can control the money flow is if I put my blood, sweat and tears into a business and it creates an income flow, it's another way to help myself for retirement. So, those are the ways that I've always looked at it. And you know, I'm in my mid-forties, so right now I'm hungry and I'm enjoying it.
Do you happen to remember how old you were when you started investing and what your first investment was?
I started my IRA when I was 23. I had a 401k, I worked someplace, I can't remember, and I rolled it into a traditional self-directed IRA. I wish I had rolled it and turned it into a Roth IRA, probably would've been smarter, but I didn't have the wherewithal. I think that was the first thing. It wasn't a lot of money then. So I had this 401k with like $1,200 and then I just kept investing, investing, and now it's a pretty good chunk of change.
Can you think of any big investment lessons that you learned at that young age when you first started investing?
I invested in some businesses that I wasn't in control of, and I think being a passive investor in a business, for me has never worked out. You always have to be active in any business that you are gonna invest in. So that would probably be the first thing that I would recommend is, you know, really be an active participant. And then the other thing is I look at all my investments and my funds, and I calculate it every month. And I think that has kept me in line with what my goals are. And when I make a mistake in investment or I make a bad decision or I've invested in businesses that I've started that failed, you know, I can see it right there. I list all the businesses that I own, and I put what they're worth, and there are some businesses that were worth zero and now they're off the list and they're worth nothing. Those lessons you learn pretty quickly. But I think it's part of the journey as an entrepreneur, that you have to be willing to take some risks, and you have to be willing to make mistakes. And then you wipe 'em away, you learn from 'em and you move on.
To close it out, can you think of your biggest investing win and your biggest investing loss?
Well, I had a few businesses. I had an internet business I invested in in my 20s that went to zero. That was definitely my biggest loss. My biggest win, I'd have to take a look at all the percentages, but I have to say silver's been great for me. I've been buying silver since it was like $6 an ounce, and I sold some. I actually usually don't sell any of my personal, but I did sell some when it broke $50 an ounce in 2011. So that was a pretty big win. There might have been other wins that were bigger, but I think that win was great because the downside risk was so small. Even today with silver, I continue to buy more. I love it. I think the risk of silver is so low because of all the green energy that's going into silver. So I think that's probably been my biggest win in terms of investing.
Take your own Asset Trip
If you're interested in investing like Collin, you can check out these platforms:
- OneGold: OneGold is an online platform for digital assets backed by precious metals. We select the best digital assets in terms of liquidity, security, and vault locations and provide a convenient, easy to use platform for your digital metal trading needs.
- Kraken: Buy, sell, and trade digital currency. Kraken is consistently rated the best and most secure cryptocurrency exchange.
- Unifimoney: The only multi-asset investing app in the market with active and passive investing in stocks and ETFs. Invest in 30+ cryptocurrencies including Doge and Bitcoin as well as precious metals like gold and silver.
Click an asset to learn more