Investing in gold could be answer to financial crisis

17 October 2008 / by None
Gold has seen a surge in popularity in recent months, perceived as a safe haven by nervous investors seeking somewhere more secure for their money as other markets and commodities plummet.

While the stock market's falling, gold has had significant surges in value lately, with gold futures trading at almost their highest ever last week, climbing $34 in one day.

In the past, people thought that property investment was as safe as houses, but one couple, David and Maureen Somers, say they saw the problems in the housing market and wider economy coming, driving them to sell their house and decide that investing in gold was a safer bet.

"I was worried about the health of the financial markets at that time, I was worried that something like this credit crunch could be on the way," Mr Somers told the BBC. The couple would not reveal how much they invested in gold, but they did divulge that they have almost doubled their money since they cashed in their house for gold.

As in the past, when the global financial markets start seizing up and shares crash, investors have been seeking refuge in the precious metal, with bullion traders announcing an increase in business.

As Mr and Mrs Somers watch their friends struggle with rising mortgage payments and head towards negative equity as property values plummet, they say they are relieved to have avoided the recent turmoil.

"Over thousands of years gold has never reached zero. The price is a risk, but at the end of the day I will still have the same amount of gold," Mr Somers said.

While gold is a commodity and therefore subject to capital gains tax, Mr Somers buys and sells gold each year in order to take advantage of tax allowances.

Investors can track their investment's value on the internet, with buying gold online becoming a common way of investing, where customers can buy, sell and choose a vault in which to store their gold without ever having to see it or be responsible for its security.

Paul Tustain, founder of BullionVault.com – an online gold broker based in West London – said that the company was selling three times as many accounts per day at the beginning of October as it was at the beginning of September.

Mr Tustain stresses the value of gold as a long-term investment. The appeal of gold is its ability to hold value over time, he told the BBC.

Mr Somers is glad he traded in his house for gold. "What's happening at the moment is like a financial blitz, and I feel like gold is my tin hat at this time." he said. "I wouldn't want to be in a bombed-out economy without it."

© Fair Investment Company Ltd