"Moneywise" for Jan. 14 referred to "hard assets." What are hard assets? M. H. In the context of the article on adequacy of FDIC and FSLIC protection, hard assets referred to gold, silver, other valuable minerals, and gemstones. The distinction between hard assets and collectibles may be confusing, but the essential point is that hard assets of any time represent wealth directly, while savings accounts, stocks, bonds, and similar assets represent merely a claim on wealth. The hard-assets definition would also include the accumulation of goods likely to be used over a period of time in normal living, including long-life foods. The concept of stockpiling as one tactic for beating inflation is the key element in "The Alpha Strategy," by John A. Pugsley (Common Sense Press, 711 West 17th Street, Costa Mesa, Calif. 92627).If inflation should ever get out of control and burgeon into hyperinflation in the triple-digit range, any goods stockpiled would become hard assets whose worth would be determined by their usefulness or whatever they could be traded for.