It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day action of gold prices in the commodity futures market. It can also be tempting to try to buy low and quickly make a profit by selling high. But, trading in and out of gold futures is a risky speculator’s game.

The same is true of any of Wall Street’s financial instruments, including gold Exchange Traded Funds and gold mining stocks. Most individual investors who try to make a quick buck, end up losing money.

A smart approach for investors saving for retirement is to buy physical gold and hold it for the long term. As financial markets zig and zag in response to trader sentiment, gold remains a secure store of value. Through the ups and downs of economic cycles, physical gold maintains its inherent worth.

The spot price of gold has fluctuated substantially during 2017, trading between $1,147 and $1,365 an ounce, according to Bloomberg. In early December, gold prices dipped as investors took a “risk on” approach to the markets. Even so, as of this writing in mid-December, gold is still up better than 8 percent for the year.

It is impossible to perfectly time the financial markets, including the gold spot and futures markets. So, the best approach for investors is to gradually accumulate gold. Invest a bit at a time, on a regular basis. Sometimes the price will be lower, sometimes a bit higher, but over time this dollar cost averaging approach offers assurance of purchasing at reasonable prices that should deliver long term appreciation. Accumulating physical gold in this fashion and holding it for the long term adds security, safety and stability to retirement investment portfolios. That’s how to keep your eye on the prize of retirement by investing in physical gold.