Gold's returns over time are unimpressive - if your comparison is stocks. But that's not really the relevant comparison, and in fact, gold can facilitate your ownership of stocks.
This brief podcast (2:57) argues that it is prudent to keep another currency on hand (i.e., gold) for use when your day-to-day currency is not performing.
Disclosure: I am/we are long IAU. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.