Paul Sullivan reminds us here of a little appreciated drawback to investing in gold:
And even if you invest in gold through an E.T.F. — as opposed to buying bullion — it has two significant costs. The first is that it does not pay a dividend, so there will not be a stream of income from it.
Selling it is easy, particularly with an E.T.F., but this leads to the second problem: gold is taxed at a much higher capital-gains rate. The Internal Revenue Service considers it a collectible and taxes gains at a rate of 28 percent, as opposed to the 15 percent capital gains tax for other securities. This means gold has to appreciate more than other securities to make up for a tax rate on gains that is almost double.