If you want to buy gold, the easiest and cheapest way is to buy an ETF, GLD to be specific. It's traded like a stock, for what it's worth. There are those who suggest that this is not like buying gold, it's just “paper”. It's a fully backed, unleveraged ETF.
I try not to question the political or religious beliefs of others or, as far as this ETF is concerned, their conspiracy theories. He doesn't mention what he expected to get from his investment in gold, but the bonds yielded a very good return during those two years. NerdWallet does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell certain stocks, securities or other investments. These investments are exclusively for professionals and are not suitable for the buy-and-hold strategy preferred by many investors saving for retirement.
If you buy gold, you run the risk (low, in my opinion) of suffering large losses if, for some reason, gold prices plummet. Gold bars and coins are foolish ways to invest, due to enormous transaction costs, taxes, and the risk of theft. The difficulty of investing in mining and gold company stocks is that they are subject to the same market forces as any other stock, although they may think that those forces are better in a crisis than other stocks because they are related to gold, which has always been a means of fleeing to safety for investors. The reason people choose mutual funds is because their money is distributed in a basket of stocks, so if a company in the fund takes a hit, all of its investment is not lost.
Some investors buy physical gold, although the metal itself doesn't need to actually be delivered. Now, gold fanatics include not only day traders and old survivors, but also conservatives seeking a hedge against inflation or a long-term investment. ETNs are guaranteed debt obligations that don't actually own the underlying gold (unlike ETFs) and have a higher risk of credit default. That way, if you leave the gold in the hands of the broker (someone with a good reputation, of course, like APMEX or Monex), you can sell it quickly if you want to, just like when you want to sell a stock.
Gold ETFs are exchange-traded funds that expose investors to gold without having to directly buy, store and resell the precious metal. As gold prices rise, investors may be interested in gold-traded funds instead of buying ingots themselves. Investors buy shares in the fund, whose value rises and falls with the underlying price of gold or the value of the company's shares. Most (but not all) gold ETFs are linked to the spot price of gold, so returns should align with gold price movements.