Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Unique Considerations When Owning Gold

While more investors find gold to be a good investment in today's uncertain economic climate, they are learning how to deal with the unique considerations for gold investment like finding a safe place for storage. Tom Dyson explains some of the ways in which to transfer and store physical gold and how to invest in gold with your IRA through a custodian. See the following from Daily Wealth.

"Keep moving," said the TSA agent...

Two years ago, I traveled from Las Vegas to Baltimore with five gold coins – worth $8,000 – in my pocket. I wanted to know if the gold coins would set off the airport security systems.

I put my bag onto the belt and threw my shoes into a plastic bin. I kept the coins in my pocket. The security officer beckoned me through the metal detector.

Nothing happened. The gold coins did not set off the metal detector.

I love owning physical gold bullion. With gold bullion, I have an asset that'll never lose its value or its utility, no matter what happens in politics or the economy. I can't always buy the gold I want at the shop around the corner, so I've spent some time researching the ins and outs of transporting and storing my gold...

For example, if you're moving gold out of the country, keep it in your pocket, not your hand luggage. Only ferrous metal (which contains iron) sets off the detectors in airports. So pure gold coins in your pocket will not set off airport metal detectors. If the gold is in your hand luggage, it will show up in the x-ray machine.

Last week, I sat down with Michael Checkan, an international gold investment specialist who's been in the business for 30 years. I asked him to discuss the different ways to store your gold once you've bought it...

A bank safety deposit box was the first solution Michael mentioned. It is the easiest. Boxes cost as little as $50 a year. If you're already a customer of the bank, they may even offer it to you for free.

But I have a problem with banks. What if they go bankrupt? You don't want to get stuck banging on a locked door when you need your coins in a hurry. Second, Michael says the Feds can force banks to divulge information about your security box. They can force the bank to tell them whether or not you own a box. Then the Feds can issue a subpoena and force the bank to open it.

So Michael suggested keeping gold bullion in an IRA...

To qualify for inclusion in an IRA, the gold must by pure, 24-karat gold. The Feds make one exception to this rule: They allow you to put the U.S. Eagle, a 22-karat gold coin, in your IRA. (Here's a good FAQ about including gold bullion in an IRA.)

I see a couple of big problems with buying gold in your IRA. First, you can't put coins you already own into an IRA. You have to make a fresh purchase. Secondly, you don't have access to the coins. A qualified custodian must keep them on your behalf.

Another option is to send your gold overseas to a private security vault. I like this idea. You keep your gold where it's out of reach of the U.S. government. These private vaults don't qualify as financial institutions, so you don't have to report them as foreign accounts when you file your taxes. Michael recommends Safes Fidelity in Geneva and Das Safe in Vienna. These are the two safest, most confidential vault businesses in the world. You can send them your gold through the mail. Just make sure you use registered insured mail. Or you can take it there yourself.

But of all the places Michael suggested, hiding gold on your property was my favorite solution. You have instant 24-hour access to your gold, and you don't pay any storage charges. The key is, it has to be safe.

One option is to install a safe or a gun locker in a discreet part of your house. Make sure you secure the safe to the floor so a thief can't carry it out of your house. Or you can bury the gold in your backyard or a friend's backyard. You can buy waterproof coin tubes online or go to Home Depot and buy a PVC tube and caps to seal the ends.

Just make sure you tell one person where you hid it... in case something happens to you. And don't tell anyone else.

This post has been republished from Daily Wealth, a contrarian investment site.

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