In this edition of The Motley Fool's "Ask a Fool" series, Motley Fool analysts Jason Moser and Brendan Mathews take a question from a reader who asks, "Realizing gold is a risky and volatile investment, do you still have any recommendations for certificates or funds?"

Investing in gold is quite a controversial subject. On one hand, it tends to be relatively uncorrelated to other assets in your portfolio. Thus, it offers some diversification benefits. But, on the other hand, it hasn't historically produced very good returns. If you want to invest in gold, the best option for most retail investors, according to Brendan, is the iShares Gold Trust ETF (NYSEMKT:IAU) because it has the lowest fees. If you're a very large investor, then SPDR Gold Trust ETF (NYSEMKT:GLD) could be a better choice, as it's the most liquid gold ETF.

However, at present, none of The Motley Fool's premium services recommend holding gold. We prefer to invest in stocks, which represent a fractional share of a business. Businesses create products, provide services, and generate value for shareholders, customers, employees, etc. Gold, meanwhile, just sits around incurring storage costs. So by far our preferred investments are stocks.

Why shares in businesses can do what gold can't
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Brendan Mathews and Jason Moser have no position in any stocks mentioned, and neither does The Motley Fool. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.