Charles Hugh Smith in his recent article talks about holding gold or real estate in an IRA or 401k. As Wikipedia notes: "Legally speaking, precious metals in an IRA are in the custody of the trustee or custodian, not the IRA owner." Seems to me this could be a problem. Banks can be trustees, and the IRS also lists 60 or so approved non-bank trustees here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/nonbank_trustee_list.pdf
I know there are debates about whether gold confiscation could occur. That can be argued elsewhere, but I would think gold in an IRA would instantly convert to a small amount of cash should the government decide they want it. But I don't really know much about holding gold in an IRA. Is real estate a better option? Something I'm not understanding? Thanks.
If you have a significant part of your savings in a 401(k) plan, a Gold IRA is an option to convert from mediocre quality 'investment' vehicles to something more tangible. For most people, pulling out savings from their 401(k) to buy physical gold is a very expensive option because of the taxes involved. Rolling over the 401(k) into a self-managed P.M. IRA at least gets you into precious metals even if the tangibility is one step removed from actually holding it yourself.