retirement

6 surprising IRA investment options

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Heads-up on coins
Heads up on coins | Paul Bradbury/GettyImages

Heads-up on coins

You can buy coins with your IRA:

  • U.S. gold coins in 1-ounce, half-ounce, quarter-ounce and one-tenth-ounce denominations.
  • 1-ounce silver coins minted by the U.S. Treasury Department.
  • Certain platinum coins are also allowed.

Gold and silver coins have been measurements of value for thousands of years. They tend to be stable or go up when stock markets crash or inflation soars. Gold and silver have been through ups and downs in recent years.

But that doesn't necessarily mean they're good for every IRA. For one thing, they don't pay interest or dividends, so you won't be compounding returns between purchase and withdrawal. And many mainstream IRA custodians, like banks and mutual funds, don't offer this investment option.

So, coins may be problematic, says Meg Green, founder and CEO of Meg Green & Associates, a wealth management firm in Miami. "Where are you going to find a custodian to keep them for you?" she asks. IRS regulations require that coin storage be overseen by a custodian, but custodians don't have to offer the service.

The second problem is cash flow. "You need things that provide income," she says.

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