Time to buy gold?

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With the stock market causing many of us pain this year, you may have heard commercials advertising the benefits of investing in gold. Gold is considered an excellent investment during rocky financial times because it has historically held its value well.

Gold is particularly attractive right now as the dollar's value is low and interest rates are low too. It gained 31% in 2007 and is showing impressive numbers for 2008 as well. Yet experts disagree on the future of gold. Some say its value is just going to keep rising and the sky is the limit. Other's say the value of gold can't keep rising and a "price correction" (a drop in value) should be coming soon.

Should you invest in gold now? With gold at a historic highs of $900 per ounce, some experts are saying consumers should buy because in the long-term, the price will only go up further. Other experts are saying that the stock market is a much better investment in the long term.

I say that as with any investment, diversification is key. I think it is good to have some of your money invested in gold, but to have other types of investments as well, including real estate, stocks, cash accounts. Never put all (or most) of your eggs in one basket, and you will probably be best prepared to weather difficult financial times.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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