With gold trading at around $1,600 an ounce, this most precious of metals seems to many like a smart investment. And if you have a television, you've doubtless seen ads encouraging you to buy physical gold. But think twice: Owning bullion can be more trouble than it's worth, and alternatives exist.
Gold is on a record bull run, up from $328 in 2002 to $1,375 an ounce today. What caused that steep rise wasn't any inherent increase in gold's value to society, but a clever marketing scheme that allowed it to be traded easily without the hassle of physical delivery: The SPDR Gold ETF.