Gold received a lot of attention over the past four years as its price per ounce more than tripled from a low of about $610 per ounce in 2009 to a high of about $1890 in 2011. Since then it’s dropped off quite a bit, but investors are still inquiring about including gold and other precious metals in their portfolios.
Kevin O’Reilly, a fee-only financial advisor with Phoenix-based Foothills Financial Planning, is not a big fan of the shiny stuff, although he acknowledges the interest has been there.
“Certainly, a few years ago, for a short period of time in 2009, a large percentage of people who came to see me asked about including gold in their portfolios. My clients wanted to know why they were not invested in gold,” he says.
But that interest has dropped off along with the price of the yellow metal. “I feel now as I felt then,” O’Reilly says. “Gold is basically speculative. There’s some intrinsic value, but not enough to ensure that it will remain steady next year or the year after. So you’re definitely subject to the whims of the market, which,” he admits, “is true for many investments. However, there’s true intrinsic value in a stock, for instance, that you don’t have with gold or other metals.”
O’Reilly will, however, try to accommodate clients who are adamant about investing in precious metals. “If you’re going to own gold, you’re including it in a portfolio to hedge inflation,” he explains. “It should be a very small portion of the overall portfolio. I try to talk clients down from putting 50% of their portfolio into gold and to steer them into something else. Gold can go way up, but there’s no reliable reason that it might increase.”