Is Investing in Gold a good idea in India?
A large proportion of the Indian population considers Gold as one of the best options to invest in India. Here, gold is not only treated as a satisfactory long term wealth creator but also auspicious and a symbol of social status. As per the World Gold Council, India ranks second in the globe in Gold consumption, after China. Up to 20-25% of the world’s Gold is consumed in India in the form of jewellery, bars, coins etc.
Ironically, a few years back, the fixed deposit was considered more promising investment options for the middle-class Indians. However, nowadays, the interest earned on FDs has gone substantially down, because of which FDs don’t seem to be as genuine potential wealth generating option like earlier. These days, people are again revealing a lot more inclination towards Gold investment.
Anyways, Gold is a long term investment option and not suitable for earning short term gains. Moreover, the prices of Gold fluctuate in a cyclical manner. Therefore, one cannot expect Gold to perform well all the time.
Why should you invest in Gold?
Indians have been investing in gold for thousands of years and it has so far proved to be a solid investment option. Here are a few best reasons why you should invest in gold:
— Gold acts as a hedge against inflation: History states that Gold has performed relatively better compared to equities or other investment options in the scenarios of high inflation. Stock prices do not have any functional relationship with inflation. However, as Gold belongs to the commodity market when the economy witnesses rising inflation, the Gold price goes up.
(Image credits: Goldsilver.com)
— Investing in gold won’t cost you a fortune: Unlike investing in real estate (which requires a bigger investment amount) or equities (which require paperwork to open your trading account), investing in gold is easier for most of the average Indians and does not require a big amount to get started.
— Investment in gold offers high liquidity: If you own a Gold coin or jewellery, you can easily liquidate it as you can sell your physical gold at a local jewellery shop anytime. Although stocks and mutual funds can also be converted into cash fast. However, such instruments do take a few days time to process the redemption and the selling amount to get credited in your bank. As compared to these securities, Gold offer higher liquidity.
— Gold investment can help you to balance the risk in your portfolio: In order to reduce the portfolio risk, it is important to diversify your investments. Gold, having a negative correlation with Equities, can help you in diversifying your portfolio in a convenient way. Whenever your equity portfolio is going through a bear phase, a notional loss on the same can be absorbed by your gold investments.
How to invest in gold?
First of all, Gold investments do not only mean investing in physical Gold like gold coin or jewellery. There are various other ways available for investing in Gold in India.
Although investing in Gold via jewellery is decent in terms of generating long term wealth. However, keep in mind that when you purchase Gold jewellery, you have to pay the making charges too. Despite, when you sell that jewellery, you will only get the price for the Gold (and not the making charges that you paid earlier). Instead of investing in Gold jewellery, opting for Gold coins or bars seems a better choice. The latter is more profitable because here you do not need to pay the making charges.
Anyways, you can also invest in gold via Gold Mutual Funds. These funds invest in those companies which carry out extraction and mining of Gold or marketing of the same. The Gold Fund schemes are managed by skilled and experienced Fund Managers and are highly liquid. Therefore, investing in these Funds is a convenient option if you are looking to invest in gold. Nonetheless, the cons associated with the gold fund is that you might have to pay an exit load on your investments. Apart from that, you also have to pay an expense ratio which is deducted from your NAV every year for management and operational expenses.
Further, Gold ETF is another option while investing in gold. It works in a similar manner like Gold Mutual Funds but the same is traded on a stock exchange. However, you need to have your own Trading and Demat Account with a broker to invest in a Gold ETF. In addition, Gold ETF does not allow you to invest via SIP mode, unlike Gold Mutual Funds.
Lastly, if you want to invest in gold via the direct stock market, you can opt for investing in Gold mining companies. Investing in Gold mining stocks means investing in companies engaged in the mining and marketing of Gold. The performance of these stocks is not only related to the fundamental factors of the companies but is also dependent on the Gold rates.
Cons of investing in Gold
No investment option is perfect and gold investing also have some limitations. Here are a few key pointers which you should keep in mind while you invest in Gold:
— Gold does not generate sufficient returns like stocks or bonds: Gold is not a passive investment option. Investing in gold does not offer dividends or interests. Therefore, the only way to make a profit from Gold investment is by selling off.
–– Your Gold investment may demand safety against theft or robbery: Gold is a valuable asset. If you are planning to keep physical Gold, storing the same might be a matter of concern. Alternatively, you may store your physical gold in a bank ‘locker’ but this may cost you periodical maintenance charges.
— Investing in Gold is not tax-free: When you purchase physical Gold, you will be charged GST on the same. Moreover, Gold is treated as a capital asset. Therefore, whenever you sell Gold for profit, a tax on short term capital gain or long term capital gain is applicable. You can read this blog to know more about taxation of Gold in India.
— Gold investing is cyclical: As we discussed earlier, the prices of Equities and Gold usually move in the opposite direction. When the stock market witnesses a bearish (downward) trend, the Gold price goes up and investors find Gold an attractive investment option during these times. However, when the cycle changes and the stock market goes in a bull run, the gold price starts going downwards and gold investing may be ignored by the investors.
In this post, we covered the basics of investing in Gold. If you are seeking a regular source of income through your investments, Gold may never serve this purpose. However, if you want to hedge your existing investments in Equities and Bonds, you should consider investing in Gold. Further, if you are planning to invest in Gold for the very first time, it is recommended to start investing via Gold Mutual Funds or Gold ETF.
Apart from acting as a hedge against inflation, Gold comes in handy during the situation of financial crisis. Nevertheless, you should not treat Gold as your only choice, but consider it as one of the investment options in your portfolio. Ideally, you should allocate up to a maximum of 10% of your portfolio in Gold.
Whether you invest in Gold or not is solely your choice. However, what matters more is the clarity in your mind regarding why you are investing in the same.