Letter Re: Cashing Out of a Retirement Fund and Buying a Retreat Without a Tax Bite?

Mr, Rawles,
Greeting from Kentucky. I read your page very often, and have been doing so even more so lately. I read the articles, and your concerns of what is going on, and what you think will happen in the future of this great country. I try to look around and see my daily routine with family, church, work and normal everyday activities and say “no, no this can’t be happening.” Just look around! Everybody is so oblivious, everything continues as it always has, I don’t see the worry on anybody’s faces, much less in their actions. So I keep trying to tell myself, it “won’t happen to me!” But deep in my heart, and with all the articles I have read here, and now these things/stories are starting to end up in the mainstream news if you watch for them, I can not fool myself any longer. I agree it is just around the corner.

I read your advice about getting into tangibles. I have tried very hard to save, and save, and be a investor for “the long haul”. I want to take out and invest in that piece of land somewhere, but how do I get my hard earned years of Army Flight Officer pay that I dutifully put away, and all the 401(k) items, and other investment tools liquidated to be able to invest in a retreat property without getting whacked by the tax man?

I no longer store away as much as I use to, but spend that available cash on other tangibles you have so often mentioned. Gold, silver, ammo, and other supplies that will be hard to get when it all goes. But my biggest purchase evades me because of the taxman shadow looming over me. I have three growing teenage kids, and a strong 20+ year marriage, I can’t just pack up and head for the hills. But I want to be prepared to do it. Any hint of some advice? Thanks, – Zed

JWR Replies: Life is full of compromises. If you plan on staying in Kentucky after your ETS (I assume that you are at Fort Campbell), then you might look for retreat-worthy properties in Montgomery County with shallow wells or better yet with gravity-fed spring water–but still in reasonable commute distance to your duty station.

In today’s dead real estate market, sellers are desperate, so you might get a seller to agree to sell you a purchase option on a house on acreage with a monthly lease. This agreement would credit the lease payments to the purchase price. This protects you three ways: 1.) If the dollar starts to inflate, you will have a locked-in purchase price, and 2.) If you move (PCS, or decide to settle elsewhere after ETS), all you are out is the cost of the option, and what you paid on the lease.3.) If house and land prices collapse, you can simply not exercise the option, and buy another property elsewhere.

Regardless, you should roll your 401(k) into a Gold IRA. (Talk to Swiss America.) There is no tax hit for a simple rollover.

If gold zooms up past $2,500 per ounce, and the economy simultaneously flashes the master warning light and starts to autorotate, you then pay the penalties and cash out part or all of the gold IRA and exercise your land purchase option with gold or cash.

This is not a perfect solution, but it is something that will provide you a safe haven, yet you won’t have to take a tax hit. YMMV.