“Gold is stupid. But selling stocks to buy gold is beyond stupid; it’s historically insane.”
While we would be hard-pressed to call anyone stupid, we do share in the general sentiments of author and speaker, Nick Murray: that the recent gold rush may be over-extended and not the most logical move for investors playing the long game.
Let us share some context to help explain.
Fiscal and monetary policies that were enacted this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have sparked a growing concern with how these large amounts of debt will ultimately be repaid. A rise in tax rates is certainly possible, but a more prominent fear we hear among investors is an uptick in inflationary pressure. This is leaving many to seek a safe haven beyond the traditional stock market.
This year alone gold has seen an increase of 30%, but as recency bias would show us, many seem to have forgotten the dismal performance of the 80s and 90s. During this 20-year stretch gold had returned -2.8% per year while inflation rose at a steady 4%. Not much of an inflation hedge especially when compared to the S&P 500 Index that returned almost 18% per year over the same period. When we look at even longer periods of time we find that by participating in the stock market an investor would have earned almost 3 times as much as gold.* How’s that for an inflation hedge?
Maybe Nick’s words are a little harsh for some, but you can see why we’re not ready to abandon our philosophy for the hot investment du jour.
*From January 1970 – June 2020
Not everyone talks about inflation, but they should. Why? Inflation is the quiet monster taking away our purchasing power. Over time, inflation slowly happens, effectively reducing the power of the pennies in your piggy bank.
We can’t prevent inflation, but we can – and should – dull its appetite. How do you do that? Evidence-based investing is our recommendation.
While volatility in the markets can flame our fears, taming inflation is the bigger challenge. This is why we invest to begin with. To keep the inflation monster from feasting on your assets, invest in market factors, and stay invested in them over the long-haul. We know you understand this fundamental concept, but now you have a cartoon as a reminder.
There’s a common misconception that cash is a risk-free investment. Some investors find emotional comfort in building cash stockpiles even though they’re ignoring the daily effects of inflation. On the other hand, no one denies the increased cost of living that we each witness over our lifetime, as the example of milk pricing demonstrates above. The challenge? Avoid acting on emotion and leaving large sums of cash on the sidelines. Trust in a well-designed investment plan to provide for your future and offset the effects of inflation.