Some students of the economy have been known to insist that the best investment you can make is to buy gold. They go so far as to say that you should not settle for making that investment in a mutual fund or some other financial vehicle. Rather, you must purchase the metal itself and personally hold it for safety and security.

If you have a sentimental attachment to a hunk of metal, I can see that approach. However, for most investors many other investment options glitter more than gold. You can occasionally point to periods in which holding gold had merit, but taking all factors into consideration (among them, diversification of your holdings) gold is not the wisest investment for the long run.

I think it makes much more sense to put your investment dollars to work in the numerous and diverse ongoing enterprises of our economy. James K. Glassman summarizes the matter (“Investments You Can Do Without” Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. July 2017, pp. 18–20):

Gold, silver, platinum and the like may be precious metals, but they aren’t precious investments. It’s fine to wear them but not to rely on them for retirement. . . . When you buy commodities, you are betting on things. But when you buy shares in a software developer or a restaurant chain, you are betting on the human imagination, which is the force that has added value to companies (and their shares) for centuries.” (p. 18)

Indeed, all that glitters is not gold, and that’s a good thing.

About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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