The most standardized way to own physical gold directly is by acquiring bullion. Be sure to do business with a reputable dealer and check the purity, shape, size and weight of the bars before purchasing. The two most common places where you can buy precious metals are from an online dealer, such as JM Bullion, or at a local coin store. Local coin stores have been around almost as long as money.
They went from being pawnshop establishments to becoming a more specialized form of resale stores. Local coin stores offer customers a place where they can view their items in person before making purchases. Online dealerships, on the other hand, are obviously a more recent development. They serve as a virtual showcase for precious metals companies and allow customers to shop online.
The easiest way to buy gold is through an app called Vaulted (full review of Vaulted here). Vaulted is an application run by McAlvany Financial Group and International Collectors Associates (short name is McAlvany ICA) based in Colorado. The app allows you to buy fractional gold that is then stored in the Royal Mint of Canada. By buying it fractionally, you don't have to buy it by currency (which is expensive per ounce) or wait until you can buy an ounce (which is expensive, period).
When you receive up to one ounce, you can request delivery for a small fee. You can buy physical gold from retailers such as JM Bullion and APMEX, as well as from pawnshops and jewelry shops. Mutual funds or mutual funds that are traded on the gold exchange have more liquidity than owning physical gold and offer a level of diversification that a single share does not offer. There are many ways to invest in gold, from exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to gold stocks, but the easiest way is to buy physical gold or bullion directly.
The problem with that, of course, depending on why you're buying your gold, is that you can't take physical possession of it (or rather, you can, but it will cost you dearly) and you have to have the utmost confidence that whoever holds your gold has it safely. Gold futures are a good way to speculate on the rise (or fall) in the price of gold, and you could even receive physical delivery of gold, if you want, although physical delivery is not what motivates speculators. Gold futures are more liquid than physical gold and have no management fees, although brokerages may charge a trading fee (also called a commission) per contract. This gives you exposure to gold as an investment without the risk or headache of handling physical gold.
Bullion is physical gold of high purity, usually in the form of bullion, bullion, coin or round (which are often confused with coins due to their circular shape, but are closer to gold bars because they are not legal tender and do not differ from year to year). Investing in mining stocks is riskier than buying gold bars or physical currencies, but the benefits can be more significant and include dividends that you won't get when you buy a piece of gold.