by Nick Barisheff
For thousands of years, gold has been used as money, a store of wealth, fought over and sought after. Over the last 45 years, Western populations have had a mixed impression of gold. A minority of the population understands that gold is a monetary asset that should be held as wealth insurance. A larger percentage of the population is confused about gold because of mainstream sources of information. Many people consider gold a risky investment when in fact gold bullion is not an investment at all, but rather money itself. Just like any fiat currency held in a vault, gold does not pay interest or dividends. Investors often look upon gold mining companies in the same light as physical gold bullion. Gold mining shares are investments, and can be good tactical investments from time to time. However, the characteristics of gold bullion and gold miners are very different. In some ways, those differences are similar to the difference between an insurance policy and shares of an insurance company.