How Gold Mutual Funds Work: Investor’s Guide

In the realm of investments, gold has long been hailed as a valuable asset, often sought after during times of economic uncertainty. With gold prices hovering around all-time highs, investors are increasingly considering gold mutual funds as a means to capitalize on the precious metal’s potential. These funds offer a more manageable and cost-effective approach to investing in gold, presenting an attractive option for those looking to hedge their bets in the unpredictable economy.

Understanding Gold Mutual Fund Portfolios

Gold mutual funds are a type of investment vehicle that primarily focuses on companies involved in gold mining, processing, or trading. While mining stocks make up the core of these portfolios, some funds also allocate a portion of their assets to physical gold or other precious metals like silver and platinum. This allocation allows investors to benefit from the performance of gold-related activities while diversifying their exposure to other precious metals.

These funds often span across the globe, with major firms headquartered in countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, and South Africa, where significant deposits of precious metals can be found. As with most commodity funds, gold and precious metal mutual funds tend to carry more volatility compared to traditional equity or stock funds, reflecting the inherent price fluctuations in the precious metal market.

Top Gold Mutual Funds

For investors seeking access to gold mutual funds, several options are available. Let’s explore some of the top-performing gold mutual funds in the market:

Allspring Precious Metals Fund

The Allspring Precious Metals Fund, previously known as the Wells Fargo Precious Metals Fund (EKWAX), focuses on long-term capital growth. Managed by Michael P. Bradshaw, this fund invests 80% or more of its assets in companies actively participating in gold exploration, mining, processing, and trading. Additionally, it may invest up to 40% in equities from emerging market countries and up to 25% in metals-related debt securities. The fund boasts an impressive five-year total return of 6.80%, and its major holdings include Barrick Gold, Wheaton Precious Metals, and Franco-Nevada Corp.

Fidelity Select Gold Portfolio Fund

Established in 1985 by Fidelity Investments, the Fidelity Select Gold Portfolio Fund (FSAGX) aims to provide investors with capital appreciation. Managed by Steven Calhoun, this fund invests a minimum of 80% of its total assets in the common stocks of corporations engaged in various gold-related operations, including gold bullion and coins. The fund also diversifies into additional precious metals and related instruments, as well as securities of businesses distributing products containing precious metals. With a five-year average total return of 6.73%, some of its significant holdings include Newmont, Barrick, and Franco-Nevada.

USAA Precious Metals and Minerals Fund

Issued by USAA Investments in 1984, the USAA Precious Metals and Minerals Fund (USAGX) seeks to preserve purchasing power against inflation and reduce portfolio volatility. Managed by Mannik Dhillon, this fund invests at least 80% of its assets in foreign and domestic companies primarily involved in gold, silver, platinum, diamonds, and other precious minerals’ exploration, mining, or processing. The fund boasts a five-year average annual total return of 8.18%, with major holdings including Newmont, Barrick, and Agnico Eagle Mines.

Invesco Gold and Special Minerals Fund

Established in 1983, the Invesco Gold and Special Minerals Fund (OPGSX) targets long-term capital appreciation. Managed by Shanquan Li, this fund invests in mining companies with a focus on gold and other precious metals. With a net expense ratio of 1.05% and an impressive five-year average annual return of 12.57%, the fund’s primary holdings include Barrick, Northern Star Resources, and Newmont.

Gabelli Gold Fund

The Gabelli Gold Fund (GLDAX) has a primary objective of long-term capital appreciation, managed by Caesar Bryan. This fund invests 80% or more of its total assets in U.S. domestic and foreign-issued equity securities of corporations engaged in gold-related operations, as well as gold bullion. The fund boasts an impressive five-year average annualized return of 9.20% and holds significant positions in Franco-Nevada, Newmont, and Barrick.

Analyzing Fund Objectives and Strategies

Understanding the investment approach and objectives of each gold mutual fund is vital in making an informed decision. Some funds focus on capital appreciation through aggressive growth strategies, while others prioritize income generation and capital preservation. Assess the fund’s exposure to gold assets and other investments, ensuring it aligns with your risk appetite. Additionally, evaluate the risk management strategies employed by the fund to understand how it aims to mitigate potential risks and navigate market uncertainties effectively.

Reviewing Historical Performance

Analyzing a gold mutual fund’s historical performance is akin to delving into its track record and understanding how it has navigated various market cycles. By examining past returns, investors can gain valuable insights into the fund’s potential for the future. However, it’s essential to look beyond mere numbers and consider the context in which those returns were achieved. Comparing the fund’s performance with relevant benchmarks provides a benchmark to gauge its relative success.

During different market conditions, such as periods of economic growth, recession, or geopolitical uncertainty, a gold mutual fund’s performance may vary. Assessing how the fund has weathered these varying conditions helps investors understand its resilience and adaptability. A fund that has demonstrated consistent performance across diverse market environments is more likely to provide stability and long-term growth potential.

Diversification and Portfolio Alignment

Diversification is the cornerstone of a well-structured investment portfolio, and incorporating gold mutual funds can be a strategic move to enhance overall stability. As gold typically exhibits low or negative correlation with other asset classes like stocks and bonds, it can act as a hedge against market volatility. By spreading risk across different investments, investors can reduce their exposure to individual company or sector-specific risks. Balancing gold mutual funds with other assets, such as equities, fixed income securities, or real estate, contributes to a well-rounded portfolio. This blend of investments can mitigate the impact of market fluctuations on the overall performance of the portfolio. The allocation to gold mutual funds should align with an investor’s risk tolerance and long-term financial goals, reflecting their unique investment preferences and objectives.

Monitoring and Reviewing Your Investment

Establishing a robust monitoring system for your gold mutual funds is essential to stay informed about their performance and market dynamics. Regularly reviewing fund performance ensures that it remains on track to meet your financial goals. Monitor macroeconomic indicators, global events, and other factors influencing the gold market to make well-informed investment decisions. Staying aligned with your long-term objectives and capitalizing on potential upswings in the gold market can help maximize the benefits of your gold mutual fund investments. By diligently monitoring your gold mutual fund holdings and their alignment with your investment strategy, you can make prudent decisions to optimize your portfolio’s performance and achieve your financial goals.

Remember that investing in gold mutual funds requires a thoughtful, disciplined approach that considers both short-term market movements and long-term objectives.


Gold mutual funds present an opportunity for investors to participate in the growth potential of gold and other precious metals while mitigating risk through diversification. Before investing, individuals should conduct thorough research and consider their specific financial goals and risk appetite. With proper due diligence and a well-informed decision-making process, investors can add gold mutual funds to their portfolio strategically and align them with their long-term financial objectives. Regularly reviewing the performance of gold mutual funds and making necessary adjustments to the portfolio can ensure that it remains well-balanced and optimized for the investor’s financial journey. By taking a proactive approach and seeking professional advice when needed, investors can maximize the benefits of gold mutual funds in their investment strategy.


Q : What are the benefits of investing in gold mutual funds?

A : Gold mutual funds offer portfolio diversification, potential for higher returns, and more affordable access to gold investments compared to owning physical gold.

Q : How do I choose the right gold mutual fund for my investment goals?

A : To select the best gold mutual fund, consider factors like fund objectives, risk profile, historical performance, and expense ratios that align with your financial objectives.

Q : Can gold mutual funds provide a hedge against inflation?

A : Yes, gold mutual funds can act as a hedge against inflation due to gold’s historical reputation as a store of value during economic uncertainties.

Tim Schmidt


Tim Schmidt is an Entrepreneur who has covered retirement investing since 2012. He started IRA Investing to share his expertise in using his Self-Directed IRA for alternative investments. His views on retirement investing have been highlighted in USA Today, Business Insider, Tech Times, and more. He invested with Goldco.