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Picture a knight in shining armor. Now picture him in gold armor. He just became 10 times more awesome, right? He probably even has super powers, beyond the typical majestic wielding of an equally golden sword.
In fact, I know that this particular knight is one of the few who regularly battles a particular dragon -- a terrible beast known as Inflatiator. This crafty creature creeps around each night, feeding on any money it can find. Innocent townspeople wake in the morning with no idea what's happened, knowing only that they can no longer afford a loaf of bread with yesterday's wages.
Except, of course, for those who've put their faith in our golden knight. Each morning, he swings his sword overhead, and with a bolt of lightning from the heavens, he grows larger and larger, seldom shrinking back. He's able to protect the townspeople's cash gallantly, even against Inflatiator's expensive appetite.
Now, back to reality
It might be cheesy, but I think the above fairy-tale metaphor is a good way to think about gold in today's economy. Stocks are still volatile, and as far as commodities go, oil is dirty, and silver is common. But gold remains the heroic standard.
Until recently, I'd never really paid much attention to commodities. They seemed like a very old-school way to invest, and where's the fun in that? But they are a promising prospect right now, especially gold.
The price of gold has gone up 350% in the last 10 years. It's true that over longer periods of time, gold averages a pretty slow growth rate of about 1%. But that just proves that investors really should want to get in on this boom while it's still happening.
Let's get back to that 350% for a moment. That number is insane, and honestly, when I see it, I don't know what to do with it. Pat it on the back? Stare at its luster?
I mean, yes, it proves that gold has done much better than most stocks over the past decade. But to really push me over the edge and make me want gold, I need a number that I can still be a part of.
So I also like that gold has gone up 8% in 2011 alone. I like that it hit multiple record highs this year, dropped 2% in May, and is currently back on the rise -- making now a great time to buy. ETFs provide a particularly easy way to invest in gold as a commodity, and both the SPDR Gold Trust ETF (NYSE: GLD ) and ETFS Gold Trust (NYSE: SGOL ) are currently outperforming the S&P 500 by more than 5.5% over the past year.
With all the talk out there about another recession, high unemployment rates, and the inevitable bite of inflation, it really does look like gold could be the safe-haven savior investment that many are projecting it to be.
And honestly, who doesn't want a dragonslayer in their portfolio? That's just awesome.