Gold is a solid investment that can create a strong financial foundation for your golden years. As national debts soar and currencies become less valuable, many individuals are adding gold to their IRA plans. While this is a sound investment strategy, there are many myths and rumors about incorporating gold and other precious bullion within your retirement strategy.
The internet is awash with opportunities for setting up these IRA plans. They are commonly marketed as “Self Storage” Gold IRAs, or “Home Delivery” Gold IRAs. The marketers of these plans often claim that current laws allow individuals to store at home bullion purchased as part of an IRA. It’s an enticing promise that far too many investors fall for.
In reality, the IRS code prohibits you from purchasing gold and silver bullion and holding it in trust at home. Of course, the IRS allows individuals to set up and manage their IRAs, however, your funds and assets must be held by a trustee, either a bank or qualified individual, who will hold the asset in a manner that is consistent with the requirements under Section 408(a)(2) of the IRS code.
The IRS doesn’t allow you to become the custodian or trustee of your private IRA accounts. In fact, individuals who store their precious metals IRAs at home may be subject to a penalty of 10 percent if they are under 59 1/2 years old. They may also be held liable for federal income tax on the assets. Thus, individuals who purchase “Self Storage” Gold IRAs, or “Home Delivery” IRAs can face a considerable shock if these assets come to light during an audit. That’s not even discussing the potential risk of theft or loss you can experience as these assets accumulate.
Central Banks are Selling Tons of Gold
Gold has traditionally been held as a hedge against currency fluctuations and downturns in the economy. At present, nearly $12 trillion in sovereign debt is being paid at below-market rates. Regulators throughout the world are keeping interest rates at artificially low levels in order to keep their economies from faltering. This is a practice that can’t last forever, and eventually, they will have to raise interest rates.
When this happens, the value of gold and other precious metals is certain to increase. This is why many investors are turning to gold as a hedge against the impact this will have on cash assets and the economy as a whole. We’re already seeing it as the value of the British Pound, Euro, and Yen decline. Indeed, RBC Capital Markets has recently increased their forecast for gold to $1,500 per troy ounce for 2017 and 2018. This is up $200 from their forecasts earlier in the year. Currently, the spot gold price is $1,344 per troy ounce. If these forecasts hold, there is an opportunity for investors to make a mint off of their precious metals investments.
Dutch bank ABN-AMRO is another bank that will begin offering negative interest rates starting in October. This move, coupled with trends in Japan and elsewhere, is causing demand to increase significantly. In fact, Japan’s largest bullion retailer, Tanaka Holdings, saw demand rise 62 percent during the first half of 2016. The impact of these moves, along with the strengthening dollar, drove down prices, but they have begun to rise again.
In fact, it’s clear that the central banks missed out on significant opportunities in the 1990s and early 2000s when gold was under $1,000 per troy ounce. During this time, gold was relatively low in price and central banks sold significant quantities. In 2010, they began buying gold again, ramping up their purchases from 2011 to 2015 to an average of 500 metric tons per year. This was long after the price of gold had reached its peak.
According to the World Gold Council, central banks remained net sellers of gold through the first half of 2016. These sales have reduced their total reserves an estimated 8.7 metric tons. While relatively small, it shows that gold is losing its luster with central banks. Of these, the biggest seller is Venezuela, which has sold gold not because of perceived value, but rather to simply pay the bills. The country is using its gold reserves to keep its economy afloat. However, this move will leave the nation’s economy vulnerable as it will be without a monetary anchor. Indeed, it is a move that many people hope will cause the nation to ditch socialism and fully embrace capitalism in the future.
Of course, central banks could stop buying gold. The true irony of such a move would be that gold is moving into bullish territory as the correction of the past five years comes to a close.