What you need to understand is that we have become accustomed to saying we "buy stuff" whenever we part with our hard earned currency.
We go to the store and buy food, we buy cars, toys, clothes and most anything else.
Have you ever heard someone say the went to the bank and "bought" a savings account? Me neither. Sure, the term is sometimes used for other investments. We do "buy" an IRA or a CD. I know that. But my point is that when we "buy" a silver coin or a ten-ounce bar of silver (yes - gold for the wealthy folks!) we aren't actually buying anything. We are investing currency into the precious metals market. We are trading a piece of paper (or a bunch of 0s and 1s in a computer) for a piece of silver. We are betting that the piece of silver is a better store of value than a piece of paper.
As with all bets, it is possible to lose! It is possible that those computer 0s and 1s will outperform silver. It is also possible to lose everything on a stock or, on an IRA as well. ALL investing is risky. Life itself is risky!
But ask yourself this: WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF SILVER GOING DOWN TO ZERO? What is the possibility that precious metals will "tank" like a stock or bond can do? Everyone knows that investments are risky. We all know investing is almost like gambling. In the Market, we are gambling that this stock or that one will "perform" well.
In the entire recorded history of mankind precious metals have ALWAYS been of value.
So, when and if you trade dollars for metals, think about what you are doing. You are betting that precious metals will always retain value and hopefully outperform dollars. Stop thinking about "buying" metals. You are investing in the future.
PS: Worst case is if everything goes well and the dollar stays valid for our lifetime - you still have a store of value to pass on to your family.