(This column was first published on Value Research India.)
With Diwali on its way, have you felt déjà vu upon getting bombarded by ads of brands telling you to buy something from them as a part of your Diwali celebrations? I’m sure you have. These ads are hard to miss; they’ve turned our daily newspaper into a glossy magazine that comes with a dozen pages of ads before the actual front page. Diwali ads are on the telly as well. This year, the competition has been intense between some e-commerce websites and they’ve been relentless, almost ruthless, with their promotions.
That said, you can actually get some good deals for stuff you’re genuinely looking to buy. But what most people usually go to buy during the festive season is gold. Now, Diwali or not, that’s not really a good idea. Gold is like a tablet, not the ones that have medicinal values, the ones that have little value. A tab, as it is commonly called, is an electronic device that is bigger than a smartphone and smaller than a laptop. It won’t fit into your pocket, it won’t justify carrying a bag. For all practical purposes, a tab has no purpose. If one has a smartphone and a laptop, there’s hardly any reason to get a tab. The reason and purpose isn’t there, but the need has been created to make them sell.
Ditto for gold. Gold doesn’t work as an investment because what drives the price of gold is the supply and demand for it. You don’t need to buy gold if you’re not buying it for consumption. Gold came into the limelight in the past few years because equity and fixed income weren’t doing so well. The need to invest in gold was created just like the need to have tabs was created. It was also made an easier buy through ETFs and funds. Don’t want to hold physical gold? Here, hold paper gold? There was no why, just a why not.
Of course, as far as not buying tablets are concerned, that’s just my opinion. But as far as gold is concerned, not investing in it is good sense. Gold is best when used in the jewellery you’re buying to wear. To keep it in your bank locker as an investment doesn’t make as much sense.
Look at it this way, with equity, you get ownership; with fixed income, you’re providing a loan; with gold, you’re just hoping that someone will buy it at a higher price sometime in the future. That doesn’t sound so great, does it?