Gold has been an important part of many investors’ portfolios for decades. It’s also a popular topic right now, thanks to the recent rise in news coverage and social media chatter around the metal. But where should you invest your money if you want to own gold? With both Gold ETFs and Gold Bonds available as investment options, it may be difficult to decide which is best for your situation. While both products offer some level of protection against economic downturns, they are structured and designed differently, offering different benefits and risks. To determine which may be right for you, consider your financial goals, risk tolerance, and budget. Both financial instruments offer exposure to gold, but they are very different products with unique advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we explain the main differences between gold ETFs and sovereign gold bonds so that you can make an informed decision on which one might suit your needs better.
An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a type of fund that owns assets and divides ownership of those assets into shares. ETFs have many advantages over other types of funds, including lower costs, ease of trading, and passive investment strategies. The most important feature of an ETF is that you can trade it on an exchange, and the price of the ETF will change throughout the day as the value of its underlying assets changes. This is different from mutual funds, where the price of the fund doesn’t change throughout the day; it’s set at the end of the day when the fund closes. Some gold ETFs track the spot price of gold and will increase in value as gold rises in price but may also fall if gold’s price drops. Other ETFs track gold mining stocks, which means that the ETF will increase in value as gold miners’ stocks rise. If you want to buy gold but don’t want to buy gold bullion and take on the risk of storing and insuring it, then a gold ETF is an easy and accessible way to gain exposure to the gold price.
A sovereign gold bond is a debt security issued by the government of your country. The government promises to repay the full amount of the debt (i.e., the principal) after a specified number of years and to pay a fixed interest rate on top of that amount each year until the bond matures. When it comes to gold bonds, you have the choice between a “Standard” and a “ Premium ” version. The standard version is a fixed-rate bond that pays interest in Indian Rupees, while the premium version pays a fixed amount of gold per year. A sovereign gold bond is an investment that’s issued by the government, has a fixed maturity date, and promises to pay a fixed interest rate. These instruments were launched in India in September 2018 but have been around in other countries for years. When you buy a gold bond, you’re essentially lending money to the government in exchange for receiving interest payments and the promise of getting your initial investment back after a certain period. A gold bond is a great option for fixed-income investors who want to add some gold to their portfolio without actually having to own the physical metal.
Buying gold with an ETF is very straightforward. You’ll purchase shares in the ETF and as long as the ETF owns gold bullion, you’ll effectively own the gold. ETFs generally buy gold bullion so that they can own a pool of the entire gold market. For example, the largest gold ETF—the SPDR Gold Trust—owns more than 10% of all the gold in the world. Gold ETFs are liquid investments, so you can buy and sell them quickly. These instruments are highly traded and have very low fees, making them a very simple and cheap way to get exposure to the gold price. Most gold ETFs are also very safe investments and are backed by the full amount of gold that they’re holding.
When you buy a gold bond, you’ll be given an amount of gold at the time of purchase that’s equivalent to the amount that you’ve paid. In other words, you’re essentially buying gold at today’s price and getting it delivered to you at a future date. This amount will depend on the interest rate and the maturity period of the gold bond. The price of gold fluctuates, and this means that the value of your gold holdings will also change. If gold rises in price, then you’ll profit, but if it falls, you’ll lose money. Buying gold bonds is a good option if you want to own gold without taking physical delivery of the metal. However, you should also understand that gold bonds don’t always promise to deliver the same amount of gold that you’ve paid for.
- Ownership: ETFs are essentially open-ended funds that own gold bullion and keep it in a vault. Gold bonds, on the other hand, are debt securities that the government issues, promising to pay the full amount of gold after a certain period.
- Storage: ETFs are fiduciary funds, which means that they store the gold on behalf of their investors. Gold bonds, on the other hand, are debt securities whose papers state that the government will repay the full amount of gold after a certain period.
- Returns: ETFs have straightforward advantages when it comes to returns. They’ll increase in value as the price of gold rises, and their structure means that they’re very tax efficient. Gold bonds, on the other hand, have potential advantages and disadvantages as well.
- Tax efficiency: Most gold ETFs are very tax efficient and therefore make a good choice for taxable accounts. Gold bonds, on the other hand, are a good option for tax-deferred accounts.
- Liquidity: ETFs are very liquid investments and can be traded throughout the day, which means that you can buy and sell them quickly. Gold bonds, on the other hand, are usually issued with a three-year maturity period. This means that it will take a long time to redeem them if you decide to sell them before the maturity date.
- Gold amount: Some gold ETFs promise to deliver the same amount of gold that you’ve paid for while others will deliver a different amount that’s proportional to the current price. Gold bonds, on the other hand, always promise to repay the exact amount of gold that you’ve paid for.
There are several things to consider when you’re evaluating the best gold investment for you. Some investments are riskier than others, and you should be aware of the level of risk involved before you dive in. Looking at historical gold prices can be a good indication of what may happen in the future, but investing in gold isn’t a sure thing. You can increase your odds of success by doing thorough research. One of the best ways to start is by understanding the basics of gold investing. First, you’ll have to decide whether you want to actually own the gold or just benefit from its price movement. Then, you can choose between gold ETFs and gold bonds based on their advantages and disadvantages. While both investments offer exposure to gold, they are very different products with unique advantages and disadvantages. When you’re making your decision, make sure to consider the factors listed above so that you can choose the best gold investment for you.