Most people think of stocks, bonds, mutual funds and the like when deciding where to invest their individual retirement account, or IRA, funds. But you have many other choices.
You might want to try a nontraditional approach with at least some of your IRA assets. Saving for retirement can be done via a number of unusual investments, including real estate or a closely held business. Likewise, a physical stash of gold coins may appeal to you if you worry about financial calamity or runaway inflation.
Before using your IRA to dabble in investments that are out of the mainstream, however, be aware that along with potential rewards are, in some cases, higher-than-average risks. Nontraditional investments typically are done through what's known as self-directed IRAs. You'll need a custodian to handle the account, who may be tough to find, because major IRA custodians such as banks and mutual funds typically stick to basic offerings. So do your homework, don't rush -- and don't do anything that makes you uneasy.