In the middle of an economic crisis, it starts to look like 1849 all over again as investors run for gold exchange traded funds (ETFs).

Depending on your portfolio, gold can either be a tool used as a hedge against inflation, or it can be a risky bet against the dollar or just something pretty, says Jeff Benjamin for Investment News.

Some are so convinced that our currency will soon be worthless that they’re turning to gold just to have something of value, a quality that makes gold particularly attractive to investors.

Part of the appeal of gold is that it can be purchased and held in a variety of ways: coins, bullion or via an ETF. But gold prices don’t always go up when the markets are bad. It can be an emotional investment, because it’s good-looking or it’s a symbol of wealth.

Because most advisors try to remove the financial component from their investing style, an allocation to gold can be tough to justify at times.

SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) is down 6.4% year-to-date.

Gold Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.