By Clint Siegner, Money Metals Exchange

Very few U.S. investors own even an ounce of gold or silver bullion, so it should come as no surprise that almost none of them know of the various options to hold bullion in an IRA account. The lack of awareness is generally compounded by financial professionals – the very people whose job it is to educate investors.

Most investment advisers tout “diversification” as the ultimate investment strategy, then turn around and limit their clients to IRAs with the traditional menu of nothing but paper investment options – stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Brokers are not anxious to promote true diversification away from these paper assets, as they would lose out on management and/or transaction fees.

Alert investors, who are concerned about a portfolio limited to paper assets, have a much better option. This option is known as the self-directed IRA. By giving yourself full authority over your portfolio, you can then invest directly in tangible assets instead of the usual lineup of Wall Street securities. You can own real estate, privately held companies, and physical precious metals, to name a few.

You can take matters into your own hands by opening a self-directed IRA.

In it, you can purchase qualifying gold or silver bullion coins or bars and get immediate protection from the risks associated with all forms of paper assets in real, tangible metal.

And, when you are ready, you can actually take physical possession of that metal through distributions from the IRA. You completely avoid exposure to the dollar or paper assets denominated in dollars.

Many investors in ETFs linked to precious metals prices have been moving out of such proxies and into self-directed IRAs holding physical bullion, stored at facilities of the investors’ choosing. While ETFs offer a few advantages for short-term or high-frequency traders, the risks of holding precious metals ETF shares are increasingly coming to light.

Now looks like an opportune time to diversify some of your retirement savings into bullion…

U.S. stock markets are becoming increasingly volatile, and weakening economic data is having an impact. Markets are struggling to move higher with large 3-digit upswings one day erased by 3-digit losses the next.

The U.S. dollars in your savings and money market accounts are not well suited to provide a long-term store of value.

Certainly the dollar has strengthened mightily relative to other major world currencies over the past year, but you shouldn’t expect that trend to continue indefinitely. The U.S. may be losing the global currency race to the bottom at the moment, but no one should count Fed officials out!

Meanwhile, precious metal prices rest very near 5-year lows. Anyone looking for an opportunity to switch paper assets for physical metal should find the current set-up in markets very compelling.

For more information about owning physical gold or silver in your retirement account, visit our IRA page.

Clint Siegner is a Director at Money Metals Exchange, the national precious metals company named 2015 “Dealer of the Year” in the United States by an independent global ratings group. A graduate of Linfield College in Oregon, Siegner puts his experience in business management along with his passion for personal liberty, limited government, and honest money into the development of Money Metals’ brand and reach. This includes writing extensively on the bullion markets and their intersection with policy and world affairs.