I previously wrote an article, “I Own Too Much Gold” and I’ve gotten several replies on twitter such as, “Impossible” and “No Such Thing”.
I strongly suspect (although I can’t prove it) these folks didn’t read the article. But in case they did and still aren’t convinced here are five reasons why you don’t want to own too much gold as a percentage of your asset allocation:
Reason 1: Lack of Tax Benefits
In the US, gains on physical gold are taxed as ordinary income, which could be a lot higher for you than the capital gains rate.
Even if you were an uber-gold bull and thought it was going to $100,000 per ounce would you really want to pay all your taxes on those gains as ordinary income?
Why not invest in some gold mining stocks (which would certainly go up as well if gold skyrocketed) and pay the capital gains tax rate? Why not hold some of those gold mining stocks in a Roth IRA so you pay zero capital gains taxes?
Reason 2: Diversification
It’s important to be diversified in non-correlated assets. If I owned no gold, it would be important to own some, as gold tends to be less correlated with stocks and bonds. However, for the same reasons why you don’t want to be all in one asset class, you don’t want have too much of your assets tied up in gold.
If all you own is gold you don’t own any silver! Some speculate that silver will go up in value even higher than gold. If that’s the case you’ll want to diversity your precious metal holdings into the gray metal as well.
Reason 3: Liquidity
If you’re like most people, you need to buy food, clothing, energy, and the staples of living. You want to have some money in a more liquid format so you can pay for these things. If all your money was in gold, how are you going to pay your taxes or buy food?
Reason 4: No Cash Flow
If you invest in a business or a rental property or a dividend paying stock, there is cash-flow. If you own shares of a company, that company has employees trying to grow the business and increase shareholder value. Gold doesn’t do anything of those things. This is okay, gold doesn’t need to do those things (which come with their own set of risks), but if all your money is in gold then you are by definition missing out on opportunities to invest in cash-flow producing assets.
Reason 5: Charity
Wealth is a good servant but a terrible master. Ultimately you can’t take your gold with you and one of the great perks of having extra money (or wealth) is giving it away to those in need!
Do you want to gift your gold to a charity and have them have to deal with selling it?
If you keep some money in local currency it is easier to donate to a good cause. My favorite charitable organization is Children of Hope and Faith they help feed, clothe and educate orphans in Tanzania. I know the founder and board members personally and I know they have very low overhead which means it is efficient and there is more money going to the kids who need it. You can’t get any better than that!
Of Course You Can Own Too Much Gold
I’m a big proponent of having precious metals in one’s portfolio. Please stop saying you can’t own too much gold because you can.
Here are just a few ideas of investments including and apart from gold.