A self-directed IRA (Individual Retirement Arrangement) gives you many more investment options than an employer-contributed 401k. You can buy individual stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and alternatives like gold and silver. With more options available, you should talk to a financial advisor about meeting your investment goals, but a few tips can help you get started on a plan.
Asset allocation and risk tolerance are the two most important factors to consider when you’re planning an IRA.
Asset allocation is simpler than it sounds. It simply means how your money will be divided between different asset classes: stocks, bonds, alternatives, and cash. Equities come with more risk, but promise bigger growth if it all goes according to plan. Equities (stocks) should be balanced with bonds and alternatives that are comparatively safe.
Mutual funds should make up the bulk of your IRA, as mutual funds provide a level of diversification that can result in better long-term growth. Unless you want to make your investment portfolio your full-time job as you research stocks, plan, and constantly update your portfolio, mutual funds are the best way to invest in equities.
Alternatives – Gold & Silver
A balanced IRA portfolio should also feature some percentage of alternatives. Did you know that you can buy gold coins and gold bars as part of your IRA? Physical gold bullion is now available as an option for your IRA and it’s definitely one worth considering as you save for retirement, especially given the long-term possibilities of gold as a hedge and its long bull and bear market cycles.
Gold is a great addition to an IRA. It’s a tangible asset that will always hold value (gold has had value for millennia), there are no risks with 100% insurance on storage, it’s a simple investment, and the growth of gold prices is only taxed on disbursement.
There are many opinions about how much gold you should keep in your portfolio. One estimate is that the ideal percentage of gold you should have matches gold’s share of the global stock, bond, and gold markets: 4 percent.
Others recommend going as high as 20 percent due to gold’s role in a non-ideal and abnormal economic regimes, especially stagflation and deflation. In an economic situation like the Lost Decade of Japan, gold makes much more sense than stocks, and it would make sense to invest a higher percentage into gold.
One important thing to note is that you must buy gold from a gold shop that lets you make purchases with your self-directed IRA. Gold shops such as Silver Gold Bull allow you buy gold online as part of your IRA. It simplifies the process and gives you an important tax advantage on gold. Go online and see what Silver Gold Bull has to offer in terms of IRA-eligible gold.
How much are you willing to risk? Bonds and alternatives are generally less-risky assets with smaller returns. Making them part of your portfolio is a smart idea if you have low risk tolerance. Generally speaking, as you get older, your risk tolerance decreases. The closer you get to retirement and the need to cash out your IRA or draw income from it, the more conservative your IRA should become.
With these simple principles in mind, you can begin to plan for your IRA.