Gold bangles sit inside a display case. (Photographer: Billy HC Kwok/Bloomberg)

What Should You Buy This Akshaya Tritiya?

There’s bound to be consternation this Akshaya Tritiya for some people. It’s a toss up between a premium movie ticket for Bahubali 2, with all the frills, and a nice piece of gold jewellery.

If you do choose to scout for gold though, you might want to consider all your options.

But first, let’s address why you would want to purchase gold in the first place. “In the word Akshaya, ‘kshaya’ is to destroy or diminish. Akshaya is something that does not diminish,” said Gaurav Mashruwala, a certified financial planner, and student of Hindu mythology.

“That is Lakshmi, who is the consort of Vishnu. Vishnu, in turn, is the lord of ethics. Any wealth that is acquired ethically does not diminish, and wealth acquired today, on Akshaya Tritiya, is wealth that will stay with you perpetually,” he said.

This day, is one of four in the Hindu calendar, when making an investment is considered auspicious. According to Mashruwala, this investment can be anything from gold, jewellery, real estate, equity, or even a business venture.

Traditionally, Indians have preferred gold because it has been a symbol of wealth.

However, Kartik Jhaveri, another certified financial planner believes gold should have a limited presence in one’s portfolio.

Gold has traditionally not created enormous wealth for people, it is at best a hedge for inflation. So, that’s what we’ve always been saying. Keep it at 5-6 percent of your portfolio.
Kartik Jhaveri, Certified Financial Planner

A great alternative to gold, both planners said, is the government’s gold bond. The government opened the latest tranche of gold bonds for subscription on Monday, and it closes on Friday. The bonds, which give the holder returns that are linked to the underlying value of gold, also bear a coupon of 2.5 percent which is payable semi-annually.

The bonds, which will be listed on the exchanges, will be redeemable after five years, but will be exempt from capital gains tax only once they mature in eight years.

The bonds have been priced at Rs 2,901, Rs 50 cheaper than the average closing price published by India Bullion and Jewellers Association for 999 purity gold last week.

The gold bond, Mashruwala said, is a good option for those looking at gold as an investment rather than for consumption, because it gives more returns than gold on account of the 2.5 percent coupon.