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Gold Investment – All You Need to Know

Gold investment refers to the act of buying and holding gold as a means of preserving wealth or potentially generating a return on investment. People invest in gold for various reasons, including hedging against inflation, economic instability, or currency fluctuations. Gold is considered a safe-haven asset because it tends to retain its value over time, especially during periods of economic uncertainty. Investors can choose to buy physical gold, such as coins or bars, or invest in gold through financial instruments like gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or gold mining stocks. However, like any investment, it carries risks, and its value can fluctuate based on market conditions.

How to invest in Gold:

  • Difference between the basic gold investment methodologies –

In terms of investing in conventional forms, previously it was just buying physical gold in the forms of coins, jewelry, artifacts, or billions. But currently, the scenario has changed as the investors have more options to invest such as gold funds and gold ETF (Exchanged Traded Funds). In Gold ETFs, you don’t buy the gold physically and you don’t have to go through the hassles of storing the physical gold, instead, you have to store it in a Demat (paper) format. Whereas, gold funds deal with investing in gold mining companies.

Let’s go in-depth about the differences between the basic gold investment methodologies –

  1. Physical Gold:

  • Here you have to invest in physical form.
  • You don’t need a Demat account here.
  • Other than the physical gold itself, no additional charges are levied.
  • When you’re having physical gold, you need to be careful of theft and burglary.
  • In terms of physical gold investment, you can avoid the hassle of paperwork.
  • The price of gold is proportionate to market fluctuations.

2. Gold ETFs (Exchanged Traded Funds):

  • Here you don’t purchase gold in physical form but in proportionate form.
  • To invest, you would need a Demat account.
  • Gold ETFs include brokerage fees and asset management.
  • Since you don’t possess this in physical form, there’s no risk of theft and burglary.
  • To invest in ETFs, you’ll need paperwork.
  • Gold ETFs are directly affected by the price of gold.

3. Gold Funds

  • Gold mining companies are involved here and the investment is done in the form of bullion.
  • To invest, you don’t need a Demat account.
  • To manage the funds, a minimum charge is applied.
  • It doesn’t involve any risk of burglary or theft.
  • For Gold Fund investment, paperwork is required.
  • The changes in the price of gold don’t fluctuate the Gold Funds.

4. Sovereign Gold Bonds

  • These are issued by the Government of India to encourage investments in gold.
  • Available in specific tranches with fixed tenures.
  • Here, the redemption value is based on the prevailing gold prices at the time of maturity.
  • Sovereign Gold Bonds can be traded on stock exchanges if the investor wants to exit before maturity.
  • It is offered as an alternative to physical gold, providing security and returns.

Taxation of Sovereign gold bonds –

  1. Capital Gains Tax: If you sell the Sovereign Gold Bonds before the maturity period (usually 8 years), capital gains tax may apply. Short-term capital gains tax is applicable if you sell within three years of purchase, and it is calculated as per your income tax slab. Long-term capital gains tax with indexation benefit applies if you hold the bonds for more than three years.
  2. Interest Income: The interest earned on Sovereign Gold Bonds is taxable as per your income tax slab. Interest is paid semi-annually, and you need to include it in your income while filing taxes.
  3. Wealth Tax: Sovereign Gold Bonds are exempt from wealth tax.

All you need to know about Gold Investment

1. Risks Underlying Gold Investment

  • Storage issues –

When it comes to gold investment, storage can be a crucial aspect to consider. Physical gold requires secure storage to protect it from theft and damage. Common storage options include safes, bank safety deposit boxes, or specialized vaults. Alternatively, you can invest in gold through digital or paper gold, where storage is managed by t he financial institution. Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of each storage method before making a decision.

  • Security Issues –

Physical gold carries the risk of theft or loss if not stored properly in a secure location, such as a safe deposit box or a reputable storage facility. Additionally, there is a risk of counterfeit gold products in the market, which can lead to financial losses if not carefully authenticated. Online scams and fraudulent investment schemes related to gold are also prevalent, making it crucial to conduct thorough research and only deal with reputable and regulated dealers.

  • No higher returns –

Gold investment, like any investment, carries risks and may not always provide higher returns. The value of gold can fluctuate depending on various factors, such as economic conditions, inflation, and market demand. While gold can act as a hedge against inflation and market uncertainties, its returns may not always outperform other investment options like stocks or real estate in the long run.

Liquidity of Gold Investment ­

  • Physical Gold –

The liquidity of physical gold refers to how easily it can be bought or sold in the market without significantly affecting its price. Physical gold, such as gold bars or coins, generally enjoys high liquidity as it is a widely recognized and sought-after precious metal. Gold’s liquidity is influenced by factors like demand, market conditions, and the availability of buyers and sellers. However, it’s essential to consider the cost and time associated with buying or selling physical gold, as it may involve transportation, storage, and potential dealer fees.

  • Sovereign Gold Bonds –

Sovereign gold bonds are typically considered liquid investments. They are traded on stock exchanges and can be bought or sold during trading hours, providing investors with the flexibility to exit their positions if needed. However, it’s essential to note that the liquidity of these bonds may vary depending on market conditions and demand.

Taxation of Gold Investment Options

  • Short-term Gains

The short-term gains of gold investment can vary depending on market conditions. Gold prices can experience fluctuations, and if the price increases during your short-term investment period, you may realize a profit when selling. However, keep in mind that short-term investing can be risky, and it’s essential to carefully analyze market trends before making any investment decisions.

  • Long-term Gains

Investing in gold can offer several long-term benefits, including:

Hedge against inflation: Gold tends to retain its value over time, providing a potential safeguard against the erosion of purchasing power caused by inflation.

Portfolio diversification: Gold is often considered a safe-haven asset, and adding it to an investment portfolio can help reduce overall risk by diversifying across different asset classes.

Store of value: Throughout history, gold has been regarded as a store of value, and it has been used as a form of currency and wealth preservation for centuries.

Global demand: Gold has a widespread global demand, both for investment and industrial purposes, which can contribute to its long-term value.

Economic uncertainty: During times of economic uncertainty or geopolitical instability, gold may perform well as investors seek safe-haven assets.

Investing in gold offers several benefits. Firstly, gold is considered a safe-haven asset, providing a hedge against economic uncertainties and inflation. Its value tends to remain stable or even rise during market downturns, protecting investors’ portfolios. Secondly, gold is a tangible asset with intrinsic value, making it a store of wealth over time. Additionally, gold investments are easily accessible through various forms like physical gold, gold ETFs, or mining stocks, offering flexibility to suit different investor preferences. Overall, gold investment can enhance diversification, safeguard wealth, and serve as a reliable long-term asset in a well-balanced investment strategy.

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