One of the favourite questions folks have for me, is whether you should buy Gold (Au) to hedge against disasters? I think Gold looks nice on my wife’s finger, and in medals, but I have never been a big believer in Gold for building wealth, but here are some fun stories about Gold.
What with all the rage about Gold (Au) and it being a great safe haven for your money let’s run through some of my most favorite stories or tales (or movies) that have Gold as its thematic premise and maybe try to figure out what lesson we should learn from the story:
- The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde : this one is a little less known but a story of a selfless gold covered statue that gives until it has no more and is repaid by being torn down for being ugly. The lesson to be learned here is that wealth is fleeting, especially if you give it away, so keep your Gold Leaf and everyone will love you.
- King Midas: The Golden Touch in Greek Mythology: given the power to turn whatever he touches into Gold, Midas learns that sometimes you should be very careful what you wish for (or possibly no good deed goes unpunished).
- The Goose that Laid the Gold Eggs from Aesop’s Fables: A farmer who has it made, gets greedy and instead of being patient and enjoying a slow income, kills the source of income wanting money right now. Seems to imply that patience is a virtue rarely seen when Gold is involved.
- Rumplestiltskin a fairytale: A nasty magical creature spins gold from straw, and thus the concept of alchemy and the ponzi scheme are born (getting something for nothing, or better still nothing from nothing). I learned from this if someone says they can spin gold from straw, don’t believe them, and if they say they can have sustained growth of 15% a year, they may actually want your first born male child.
- Jack and the Beanstalk: another fairytale: Jack falls for another Ponzi scheme trading his cows for magic mutual funds, that his mother throws out, which finally turns in a bond ladder that Jack climbs and he tries to steal Gold from a Giant. The message seems to be if you have been screwed out of your money, it is OK to steal from tall people.
The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare: gotta love a story where you have a money-lender, a pound of flesh and a gold casket. Best line about Gold: “… the world is still deceived with ornament …“, which may be a commentary on the new Gold rush as well. We also learn that no matter how good a contract you think you might have, it may still never pay out.
- The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien: in this interesting tale, we learn that no matter how many other rings you have, if you don’t have a Gold one, you don’t have any of the power. Here we learned The Golden Rule, he who has the Gold, rules.
- Paint Your Wagon a film: lots to be learned here, not just that Clint Eastwood can sing (sort of), you can try to make a business out of dropped gold dust in a casino? Well not quite, but it is set in the California Gold Rush, so lots of Gold here. I think the producers should have learned don’t let Clint Eastwood sing, and also, sometimes you can have too many tunnels.
- Goldfinger by Ian Fleming (and a movie): when someone becomes so obsessed with Gold that they concoct insane plans to steal gold by blowing it up, there are some issues here. A useful thing lesson for all SuperVillians Bond always gets the girls, but if you want him to talk fire a gold laser at his private parts.
These stories and others have taught me a great deal about Gold in specific and money in general. Any other tales of Gold out there that I am missing for our Gold Rush Thursday?