An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a special type of retirement plan that lets the owner of that plan make certain contributions that are considered “tax-advantaged”. Simply put, they can invest pre-tax dollars or post-tax dollars into their IRA. If they invest post-tax dollars, then they don’t need to pay taxes on the withdrawals they make at a later point.
In the past, IRA investments were limited to stocks, bonds, and things of that nature. There was often quite a bit of risk associated with using the account. If the stock market plummeted, then the retirement plans of the individual could plummet as well. That all changed in 1997 with the passing of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. This allowed new types of investments within the IRA. Most notable was the option to invest in gold and other precious metals.
Gold is often viewed as safe and owning gold is a type of security. If the stock market was outlawed for some odd reason, gold would still be worth something. If the economic structure of the country were to collapse entirely, gold would still be valuable. Gold has always held a great value and most believe that it will continue to do so long into the future.
Albeit, most people don’t focus all of their investments on gold. The value of gold doesn’t seem to increase too much. Instead, it’s seen as a way to eliminate the risks associated with other forms of investments. The value of your gold could cover the potential losses of the stocks in your IRA.
Gold IRA investing can be a bit of a tricky business for newcomers. Gold investment companies often praise gold as being the best possible investment. In some cases, they may even try to get investors to spend money on gold that isn’t approved by the IRA. This can be easily avoided by working with reputable investment companies that have a proven track record.
A good first step towards gold IRA investing is making certain that you have an IRA that allows such. Not all IRAs will allow it from the start. Some people have to roll over their existing funds into a new IRA that is set up to allow gold investing. Likewise, some 401k retirement plans can be moved into a gold investing IRA.
From there, it’s time to start researching the available investment companies. There are dozens upon dozens of them. Unfortunately, not all of them are trustworthy businesses that deserve your time or money, but many of them are.
The IRS has very strict outlines regarding what sort of gold can be used in your IRA. For example, gold coins must have a fineness of at least .995. It also permits certain gold bars, but these are more expensive, harder to store safely, and aren’t generally recommended. A few gold coins that are commonly used are the American Gold Eagle, the Australian Gold Kangaroo, and the Canadian Maple Leaf.
Gold IRA investing is a great way to protect yourself from the risks associated with the stock market. Just make sure to prepare and research or you may wind up adding even more risk to the equation.