All that glitters is not gold
Merriman does not include a specific allocation to gold in our standard portfolios. This article, by Bryan Harris of Dimensional Fund Advisors, discusses why gold has not been an ideal long-term investment. It includes the following key concepts:
- Gold has done well since the year 2000 and in the 1970s, and can potentially be a safe haven during times of political and economic stress. However, for the entire period of 1971 – 2011 gold performed worse than the S&P 500, U.S. small-cap stocks and non-U.S. stocks on an inflation-adjusted basis.
- From 1980 – 1999, gold experienced a negative return after inflation of -6.5%, vs. strong positive returns for stocks.
- While gold has held its value against long-term inflation, there have been extensive periods when gold did worse than inflation. Gold is also much more volatile than inflation, and can add substantial volatility to a portfolio.
- Unlike stocks, which are productive assets which generate growing levels of income and dividends over time, gold has no cash flow and costs money to own.
For more detail and some illuminating graphs, please see the article.