For thousands of years gold has played a role in the monetary system. King Croesus of Lydia (now part of Turkey) produced gold coins around 550 B.C. Gold coins circulated in many countries before the introduction of paper money.
Today, gold is becoming more mainstream as investors look for investments in addition to traditional stocks and bonds. Gold has delivered long-term returns to investors. In fact, over the past decade, it has performed in line with U.S. stocks and outperformed foreign stocks, high-grade bonds, Treasuries and commodities. Many investors have valued gold as a portfolio diversifier and a tool for capital preservation in times of market stress. Increasingly, investors are discovering the benefits of gold under all market conditions.
For investors looking to access gold, there are many choices available: physical bars and coins, gold-backed securities and certificates, and a range of derivative products.