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Gold, for investment purposes, is usually held in the form of bullion coins or in a gold bullion exchange-traded fund (ETF). Gold company stocks can be held individually, or in a gold stocks mutual fund or ETF.

Gold investments

Bullion coins

Examples of popular bullion coins minted by the United States, Canada, and South Africa are illustrated below.

Exchange traded funds

Gold stocks and mutual funds


Gold Bullion and gold bullion ETFs are subject to the maximum 28% capital gains tax on collectibles. This tax rate is higher than the maximum capital gains tax of 15% on other investment assets. However, in some cases, such as with GTU, gains can be taxed as capital gains because the investment can be treated as a passive foreign investment company (PFIC) - see a tax adviser for details.

Gold prices

The long term real return of gold and other assets over the 1900 to 2011 is included in the following table

Real returns [4]
Asset Geo mean Arithmetic mean Std dev. Sensitivity to inflation
World equities 5.40% 6.90% 17.70% -0.52
US bonds 1.70% 2.30% 10.40% -0.74
US bills 0.90% 1.00% 4.70% -0.62
Gold 1.00% 2.40% 12.40% 0.26
Housing 1.30% 1.50% 8.90% -0.20

(View Google Spreadsheet in browser, then File --> Download as to download the file.)

The following table provides annual gold prices (including high and low prices) starting in 1970, the year gold was officially freed from government price controls and allowed to freely trade on the open market.

Gold prices

(View Google Spreadsheet in browser, then File --> Download as to download the file.)


External links