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Gold: safe haven or hysterical trend?

October 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Wall Street's sinking stock prices have some worried investors thinking about buying gold as a secure way to save their money. But is gold a good way to go? It may not be the best alternative.In these uncertain times, more and more nervous investors are pulling their money out of the stock market and buying gold.

"People are fleeing to the safety of something that they can track over the last 5,000 years, that always has its value, which is gold," said radio talk-show host John March.

John March and Carl Lacey host a financial radio talk show. They insist that gold and other precious metals are the best investment now and over time.

"People often think that they've done very, very well in the stock market, and for a time, they have, but what many people don't realize is that they're now at a point where they're giving back those profits," said Carl Lacey. "Flight to safety and quality is precious metals because that preserves your assets."

That's not the same advice you'd hear from most financial planners who, even in the face of a falling stock market, will tell you to diversify.

"Buy low, sell high. Is gold high or low? It's high," said wealth planner and author Louis Barajas. He said too many people invest with emotion -- either greed or fear -- not common sense.

"The problem is, because of the fear of the market, somebody is out there saying, 'Hey, let me show you a better way.' The better way is, look at what's happening to gold: It's going crazy, it's going up. Now you're making another mistake based on greed. So you're 'double-dipping' into this madness," said Barajas.

Lacey and March suggest a substantial portion of your portfolio should be in gold.

"I would recommend in the area of 30 to 40 percent into precious metals," said March.

Barajas disagrees.

"That's ludicrous. What you're doing is the same thing everybody else is doing: You're following hysteria. You don't need to go out and buy gold, but if that makes you sleep better at night -- 5 to 10 percent. You go to 30 to 40 percent, or how some are doing 100 percent, you're not going to be sleeping well when this gold comes down, when the market starts turning up. We're going to see that," said Barajas.

Gold has long been seen as a hedge against risk, a talisman for everything from inflation to tyrants for thousands of years, and in recent times more and more investors feel gold is worth its weight in history.

 

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