MONEY: AS GOOD AS GOLD

When inflation threatens and the dollar drops, investors think gold. But who's got room for all that bullion in the basement? There's a new fund on the street promising to deliver the same shine. The streetTRACKS Gold Shares Trust (stock symbol GLD) is organized like a mutual fund but backed by actual bars of the shiny stuff, held by sponsor State Street Bank. It's priced at one tenth the price of an ounce of gold, and you can buy and sell it like a stock from any broker. For annual expenses of around 0.4 percent, it will give you access to the precious metal, used as an inflation hedge since Moses was a kid.

But (isn't there always a but?) gold prices recently brushed up against their 14-year highs, so you're not getting in at the bottom. Best to consider a small gold reserve as ballast and not bet the whole retirement on it.

MONEY: AS GOOD AS GOLD | News