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In this episode of Intelligent Money Minute, I had the pleasure of interviewing Larry Swedroe, head of Financial and Economic Research at Buckingham Strategic Wealth, on the topic of whether gold is truly a good inflation hedge.
Evaluating Gold’s Track Record
Gold and Bitcoin have often been promoted as potential shields against inflation. However, to make an informed decision, we turn to empirical evidence. Let’s explore whether history validates gold’s reputation as a reliable inflation hedge.
When scrutinizing gold’s performance in the face of inflation, we find surprising results. Take, for instance, the period from 2020 to 2022, a time marked by significant inflation. Curiously, gold ended this phase down by about 4%, while inflation surged by approximately 14%. In essence, gold’s value slipped by 18% in real terms, negating its purported role as an inflation hedge.
An even more striking example stretches over two decades, from 1980 to 2002, a period characterized by high inflation. During these 22 years, gold lost over 85% of its real value. These historical data points prompt a reevaluation of gold’s effectiveness as an inflation hedge.
Interestingly, gold’s claim to being an inflation hedge stands on firmer ground when we extend our horizon to a century or more. Across this extended span, an ounce of gold has maintained its purchasing power, reflecting its role as a long-term inflation hedge. However, this century-long hedge comes at the cost of a lack of real returns.
As Intelligent Investing, we believe in providing our high-net-worth clients with well-informed financial guidance. Gold’s questionable track record as a short-term inflation hedge underscores the importance of considering other strategies to preserve wealth and manage risks.
We’ll be interviewing Larry on several podcasts regarding markets, passive investing, and diversification, so be sure to subscribe to our Intelligent Money Minute podcasts.
Larry was among the first authors to publish a book that explained the science of investing in layman’s terms, “The Only Guide to a Winning Investment Strategy You’ll Ever Need.” He has since authored seven more books.
Larry Swedroe Bio
Since joining Buckingham Strategic Wealth in 1996, Chief Research Officer Larry Swedroe has spent his time and energy educating investors on the benefits of evidence-based investing.
In his role as chief research officer and as a member of the firm’s Investment Policy Committee and Board of Directors, Larry regularly reviews the findings published in dozens of peer-reviewed financial journals, evaluates the outcomes and uses the result to inform the firm’s formal investment strategy recommendations.
Larry’s dedication to helping others has made him a sought-after national speaker. He has made appearances on national television shows airing on NBC, CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg Personal Finance. Larry is a prolific writer, contributing regularly to multiple outlets, including Advisor Perspectives and ETF.com.
Before joining Buckingham, Larry was vice chairman of Prudential Home Mortgage and senior vice president at Citicorp.
Larry holds an MBA in finance and investment from NYU and a bachelor’s degree in finance from Baruch College.
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