Long-Term Investing: Gold Versus Stocks

Whew…what a week….! We had a bad cold last week, but we had to keep going.

Half the world’s work is done by people who don’t feel very good, so we soldiered on… We were very busy.

We don’t approve of busy-ness. People who are very busy are usually wasting their time. Or, they are wasting your time. Politicians, for example. They’re on the go day and night – especially at election time. Shaking hands. Appearing at rallies and town hall meetings. Giving interviews. Meeting the voters. Meeting with their staff. Go…go…go… gone!

We would all be better off if they stopped…and thought. A little reflection might help us all.

That’s true of people in business too. Busy-ness feels productive. It feels effective. It looks dynamic and hard-working. But without solid thinking behind it, it is as empty as a whirlwind.

But what are we talking about? What’s this got to do with money?

Well, not much. So let’s move on.

What happened on Friday? Not much. Nothing worth comment.

Gold and stocks both up a little. But so what?

Should you buy stocks? Definitely not. Well, not definitely not. Maybe not. US stocks are likely to underperform over the next 10 years. As we keep saying, they still haven’t yet fulfilled their rendezvous with bear market destiny. When that happens, stock market investors will wish they had their money somewhere else.

Probably the only exceptions are those who take a very, very long-term outlook. Right now, there are some good US companies available at reasonable prices. Altria. Johnson & Johnson. Diamond Offshore Drilling. Today’s price is probably NOT the best price you will ever get. But maybe you don’t care. If you take a long enough perspective, you could be very happy with the kind of returns these companies are likely to deliver. They pay good dividends – and they’re growing. Many US companies are not only US companies. They’re world leaders. With brands that are known all over the globe. Many of these companies are enjoying spectacular growth in their foreign sales.

So, if you’re willing to look far enough into the future…maybe some of these US brand-name companies are worth buying.

Well, what about gold? While US stocks have gone nowhere since 1998, gold has gone up every year. This year it’s up again – 15%. And last week, gold hit record highs on three days.

So, should you buy gold? Again, it depends on what you’re trying to do. Here at The Daily Reckoning, we don’t encourage speculation. So if you buy gold in the hope of making a lot of money, you’re on your own. We don’t recommend it. Gold could go up…or down.

But gold is money. It’s the world’s more reliable money. You could use it to buy stuff during the reign of Caesar Augustus. You can use it to buy stuff now (after converting to paper currency). What’s more, you get about as much stuff per ounce (relatively) now as you did 2,000 years ago.

If you want to save money, save gold. It might go up. It might go down. But it won’t go away.

Bill Bonner
for The Daily Reckoning