Should I buy physical gold instead of gold ETFs?

Should I buy physical gold instead of gold ETFs?

There are probably more important things you can do with your time than find a place to store your suitcase full of gold and hover over it like a mother hen.

But it may be worth it to you, since owning shares of a gold ETF is not the same as owning actual gold. Gold ETFs work by holding some amount of gold in trust and then selling shares of the fund that owns it.

There is a significant discrepancy between the dollar value of the gold which is held and the total value of the shares which are sold, however, and if there were ever a “run” on the fund, no one would be able to actually get gold bricks out of fund managers.

The purpose of their gold reserves is basically to tie the value of the fund to the value of gold, but you are really only buying shares of the fund. Bear in mind that other securities derive their value from much flimsier foundations than a vault full of gold.

Now, you can definitely buy physical gold. Keep in mind that there is a “cost of carry” associated with buying gold bullions, transporting them, storing them, insuring them, and, potentially selling them. This creates a lot of logistical problems and might be very expensive.