Today’s Wall Street Journal profiled two precious metal investors. The first was an out of work Thirty Something who “hoped to use gains from silver to finance a move to New York City and to pay down student loans.” Needless to say, he was miffed after this week’s swings. “I don’t understand,” he told the Journal. “Silver is supposed to do very well this year.” The story also introduced us to a retiree that has 60% of her net worth in silver.
These stories are not reserved to the pages of the Journal. Just last week, a friend who is an asset manager told me of a client who had 50% of his portfolio in gold. The client has obviously done well over the past few years. However, he wanted more, even though my friend suggests keeping no more than 10% of a portfolio in gold, which is still aggressive by most managers’ standards.
Whenever I hear these stories, I’m reminded of the famous Warren Buffett quote:
“Gold gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their heads.”