For the first time in a decade, Americans think that gold is a safer bet than stocks for long-term investment, according to the results of a new Gallup poll. In fact, even as 2022 proved a brutal year for the stock markets—the worst since the financial crisis in 2008—Americans’ favorable perception of gold nearly doubled.
Quartz Smart Investing: Anna Han
Gold now runs a clear second place in American perceptions of investment options, behind real estate, the perennial leader since 2013.
The Gallup poll, run in its present version every April since 2011, asked respondents to rank real estate, gold, stocks and funds, savings deposits, and bonds. Gold wasn’t a part of this menu of choices until 2011, just after the subprime crisis and the accompanying recession, when it began rising in popularity.
As markets recovered after the crisis, gold dipped back down in the rankings. But its resurgence last year shows that Americans are feeling a distinct lack of confidence in their their traditional investment options—a mood not dissimilar to that prevailing in 2008.
Worries about rising prices and geopolitical tensions have dogged the US economy. “Is inflation still too high? Yes,” a Federal Reserve official admitted this month, after many months of ratcheting up interest rates. Gold is often touted to be a good hedge against inflation, although its short-term utility in this regard is sometimes unconvincing.
The heightened American interest in gold echoed that of monetary policymakers in many countries. Central banks around the world bought more gold in 2022 than they did in any year since 1967.
Do Americans still want to invest in crypto?
Last April, 8% of Americans surveyed picked cryptocurrency as their favored investment option, placing it even ahead of bonds. But the fall of the crypto exchange FTX, the crypto bank Silvergate, and other entities has eroded that faith. This year, crypto ranked dead last.
“The belief that cryptocurrency is the best investment…is down particularly sharply with young and middle-aged adults,” the Gallup release said. “The percentage of adults aged 18 to 49 choosing cryptocurrency has fallen eight percentage points, from 13% in 2022 to 5% today.”.