If there's one thing that I've discovered in my careers as a hedge-fund manager, investment advisor and financial columnist, it's this: Whenever you pitch a stock that has something to do with mining or metals, you'll always hear the argument that "physical metal is better."
As my experience has demonstrated, however, that's not necessarily true.
Wealth protection in hard economic times is driven by asset diversification. In good times, an investor should concentrate their investment bets on profitable enterprises, in hard times you want to diversify your assets across different asset classes. You will lose some money, but if you choose wisely, you will have real assets and value on the other side.
That's not always the case when you concentrate your assets during a period in which there's substantial market risk.