The Importance of Reliable Asset Preservation: Exploring Stores of Value


A store of value is an asset, commodity, or currency that maintains its value without depreciating. Discover what makes an item a reliable store of value, its significance for economies, and examples of effective stores of value.

Understanding the store of value concept

A store of value is essentially an asset, commodity, or currency that can be saved, retrieved, and exchanged in the future without deteriorating in value. In other words, to enter this category, the item acquired should, over time, either be worth the same or more.

Gold and other metals are quintessential examples of stores of value. Their shelf lives are essentially perpetual, making them dependable assets for preserving wealth. Additionally, interest-bearing assets like U.S. Treasury bonds (T-bonds) qualify as they retain their value while generating income for investors.

Conversely, items like perishable goods, such as milk, are poor stores of value because they decay and become worthless over time.

Examples of effective stores of value

Currency: A reasonably stable currency is essential to a healthy economy. A nation’s money must be a credible store of value in order for its citizens to engage in labor, trade, save money, and spend it. A monetary unit that serves poorly as a store of value destroys all incentive to save or even earn, and reduces the ability to trade.

Precious metals: Throughout history, many economies have used gold, silver, and other precious metals as currencies due to their ability to store value, relative ease of transport, and ease of exchange for different denominations. The United States, for instance, was on a gold standard, meaning that dollars were redeemable for a specific weight of gold, until 1971.

President Richard Nixon ended dollar convertibility to give the Federal Reserve (Fed) greater power to influence employment and inflation rates, among other factors. Since then, the U.S. has used a fiat currency, which a government declares as legal tender but is not tied to a commodity of value.

It’s important to note that any physical asset may be considered a store of value under the right circumstances or when a base level of demand is believed to exist.

Special considerations

What comprises a store of value can vary among countries and cultures. In most of the world’s advanced economies, the local currency can be counted on as a store of value in all but the worst-case scenarios.

Stable currencies, such as the U.S. dollar, the Japanese yen, the Swiss franc, and the Singaporean dollar, greatly enhance their home economies. They are resistant, though not immune, to hyperinflation.

In instances of economic turmoil, other stores of value like gold, silver, real estate, and fine art have proven their worth over time. Gold, in particular, often surges in value during national crises or financial shocks, earning its reputation as the ultimate safe haven.

While the relative value of such stores of value may fluctuate, they can typically be counted on to retain some value in almost any scenario. This is especially true when there is a finite supply of the store of value.

Frequently asked questions

How does a store of value differ from an investment?

A store of value primarily preserves wealth and purchasing power over time, while an investment is typically made with the expectation of generating a return or profit.

Are cryptocurrencies considered stores of value?

Some cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, are considered stores of value by certain investors due to their limited supply and growing adoption. However, they are also highly volatile.

Can real estate be a store of value?

Yes, real estate is often considered a store of value because it tends to appreciate over time and can provide rental income.

What are the key characteristics of an effective store of value?

An effective store of value should maintain or increase its value over time, have a degree of stability, and be widely accepted for transactions or trade.

Why is gold often referred to as the “ultimate store of value”?

Gold is often called the ultimate store of value because it has a long history of retaining its worth, is resistant to inflation, and is viewed as a safe haven asset during economic crises.

Do all currencies serve as reliable stores of value?

No, not all currencies serve as reliable stores of value. A currency must have stability and credibility to function effectively in this role. Inflationary pressures can erode the value of a currency.

What role do stores of value play in economic stability?

Stores of value play a crucial role in preserving wealth and maintaining stable economies. They provide a means for individuals and nations to save and protect their assets over time.

Can the concept of a store of value change over time?

Yes, the concept of a store of value can evolve. With advancements in technology and changes in economic systems, new assets or forms of value storage may emerge.

Key takeaways

  • A store of value is an asset or currency that maintains or increases its value over time.
  • Gold and other precious metals, stable currencies, and interest-bearing assets are examples of effective stores of value.
  • Perishable goods like food items do not make good stores of value as they deteriorate over time.
  • Stores of value play a crucial role in preserving wealth and maintaining stable economies.
View article sources
  1. Money, Capital, and Other Stores of Value – JSTOR
  2. Back to Basics: What Is Money? – Finance & Development … – International Monetary Fund
  3. Store of Value: A Comprehensive Guide – Bitcoin Magazine