A reader wrote in and was posted with a letter called Converting Precious Metals Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)s to Physical Metals. This is pretty good advice but I would consider one change. I would not invest my IRA or 401k into ETFs or mining stocks as they are too volatile. Like his idea that investing in food companies wouldn’t feed his family like physical food, investing in ETFs and mining stocks guarantee nothing as far as actually getting any money out if things fall apart. Rather, what I recently did was convert them to physical metals. The IRS allows this with the metals being held by an approved storage facility. While there certainly is a chance that those facilities could be seized by the government, it may be possible to take possession of the metals if we see the end coming and move quickly at that time. In the meantime, you actually own physical metals in your retirement fund instead of stocks. The only issue for a 401(k) is that you may need to check with your plan administrator to see if they’ll allow you to choose that investment. In my case, I am self-employed and had an old 401k with a former employer that I converted so I didn’t have to work within their system of investment choices. – Dave R.
JWR Replies: Since starting SurvivalBlog in 2005, several times I’ve mentioned that Gold Eagle IRAs are available through Swiss America. I set up one of these accounts through them in the late 1990s, and have held it ever since. My largest contributions to the account were made in 2000 and 2001, which was when gold dipped to a 20 year low. While not as absolutely safe as gold in your hands, these gold warehousing IRAs are a great way to shelter dollar-denominated funds that are presently parked in 401(k)s and IRAs. In most cases you can roll these over into a gold IRA without taking a tax hit!