Harry Gross: Safe-deposit box: Good place to store gold, etc.

Dear Harry: I have been seriously considering putting a portion of my investments in gold. I think the gold bugs actually have a weak case in linking gold prices to inflation, but our exploding national debt practically mandates printing more dollars. Even at the current record prices, holding some gold seems prudent as an asset-preserver. I'm not sure of the best way to invest in it. ETFs (exchange-traded funds) charge hefty fees, and I don't like the idea of sleeping on a bunch of gold coins or bars. Bank fees for their vaults are expensive. There is an Internet company that charges minuscule fees for safekeeping that are less than a fifth of 1 percent. Is this too good to be true?

What Harry says: When I taught classes in auditing many years ago, I emphasized that the only person who can steal from you is a person you trust. If you don't trust me, you'll have me watched like a hawk. I therefore hesitate to allow a company I don't know to hold my valuables. Safe-deposit boxes are not very expensive, and you can put valuables other than gold in there as well (your will, deed, car title, etc.). The easiest way to have control over the gold itself is to own gold coins. Your stockbroker can direct you to places where you can buy gold coins. If possession of the gold is not essential to you, consider owning stocks in gold-mining companies, gold mutual funds, ETFs.

Again, I think you've overestimated the cost.

Write Harry Gross c/o the Daily News, 400 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19130. Harry urges all his readers to give blood - contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.