Gold Investments

Gold is not only a great way to diversify an investment portfolio, but has also been a reliable investment commodity for throughout history. Take a look at why many investors choose to include gold in their investment portfolio:

History

Over the decades, gold has generally been trusted as a wealth-preserving commodity holding its value during financial upsets. This is because gold can not be created like other currency with an assigned value. While currency fluctuates and weakens, gold tends to stay strong and not waiver much in value.

Diversification and Protection

Most investors stick to traditional investments such as stocks and bonds. However, a lack of diversification could put them in danger if things start to go downhill. Having a nontraditional investment like gold can help protect their portfolio from volatile times. While the value of the dollar has dropped, the value of gold has actually risen.

Types of Gold Investments

Gold Bullion– The value of a gold bullion is determined by the market price of gold at the time of purchase and it comes in two forms.

  • Bars: Gold bars are not generally kept in physical possession of the investor. The larger sized bars are usually only purchased by larger companies and organizations instead of individuals. However, there are smaller bars that are kept by individuals.
  • Coins: Gold coins are minted in several different one ounce forms ranging from 1/10 oz. to 1 kilo. The smaller coins are most popular among individual investors.

Jewelry/Coins with Artistic Value– Numismatic coins and jewelry made of gold are also purchased for their cultural, historical, or aesthetic appeal. Generally this leads to their value increasing faster in a bull market. In a bear market, they will decrease faster.

Gold Mining Stocks- With this, investors are buying a share in a gold mining company. Share prices are subject to a variety of factoring including performance of company management, auditors and geologists, cost basis, and the environmental and economic risk of the company.

Gold ETFs– Gold Exchange Trade Funds are products that track the price of gold and are traded on major stock market exchanges. They are not all backed by physical gold.

To learn more about investing in gold using a self-directed IRA, contact Mountain West IRA or visit their website. It breaks down what types of gold investments are allowed in a self-directed IRA and how they are handled.

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Best and Worst States to Retire in for 2016

In the past, Florida and Arizona have been at the top of the list when it comes to the best places to retire in the United States. However, in 2016, this has changed. In a surprising turn, Wyoming has beaten out all other states on Bankrate.com’s list of best places to retire.

The strange jump to number one by Wyoming is due to its low cost of living, below-average crime and strong well-being scores in the region. States from the western region make up most of the top five:

  1. Wyoming
  2. South Dakota
  3. Colorado
  4. Utah
  5. Virginia

There are many factors evaluated to analyze how well retirees will do in a state. Some of these are weather and climate, nearby amenities, cost of living, taxes, and more. Since retirees have a fixed income, looking at the cost of living is an important factor.

The five lowest ranked states for retirees are:

  1. New York
  2. West Virginia
  3. Oregon
  4. Arkansas
  5. Louisiana

The reasons for the infamous retirement haven, Florida, getting dropped down to number 28 on the list relates to high crime and lower-than-average healthcare ratings. Arizona, the retirement haven in the west, did okay and ranked in at number nine.

Retiring to the beach always seems like a good idea in theory, but nine out of the worst 12 boarder an ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. Virginia is the only coastal state in the top ten states. Apparently retirees are focusing more on cost of living rather than scenery when looking at potential states for retirement. High cost of living could really take a toll on retirement savings.

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Five Threats to Retirement Savings

Saving for retirement does not always go as planned. Retirement savings are subject to threats, both direct and indirect. Some of these threats are just unfortunate circumstances, while others are deliberate actions trying to take advantage of the investor.

  1. Boomerang Children

These are the children of the Boomer Generation that are still being supported by their parents by living at home. According to a study by Hearts & Wallets, only 21 percent of Boomers still supporting their children are fully retired, compared to the 52 percent who are not supporting their children.

To avoid this threat, investors need to teach their children how to properly handle finances and be self-sufficient. This way they are less likely to move back in with their parents due to money issues.

  1. Caring for Parents

As investors’ parents age, they often need help either with personal care or finances. Helping them financially can make it more difficult for the adult child to save for retirement. Also, 25 percent of adult children younger than 65 help parents with chores, personal care, etc. This may lead to less time spent at a paying job, causing them to earn less than they otherwise would earn.

Although difficult to avoid, there are assistance programs and other means for children to help their parents get what they need without sacrificing their time at work.

  1. Spousal Death without Life Insurance

For those who have a mortgage, debt, or children to support, life insurance can be critical. It can also be critical to those in their final years of saving for retirement. The loss of that second income can hit a spouse hard financially, making saving next to impossible.

Spouses should evaluate life insurance options and have a clear plan if something were to happen to one of them.

  1. Medical Crisis

In the US, medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy. Those with injuries or a chronic illness might not be able to work, causing investors to dig into savings to pay for medical bills. Long-term care is also very expensive and can derail even the most stable retirement plans.

Health Savings Accounts are one way to battle this issue. With this account, investors can use it to pay qualified medical expenses tax-free at any time.

  1. Scams

There are plenty of people attempting to scam people out of their retirement savings. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority advises people to be cautious around schemes that promise returns of 12 percent or higher. Often these scammers use early retirement seminars to pitch their strategies.

Being aware of potential threats is the first step to avoiding them. Meeting with a financial planner can also help to address concerns investors might have about their retirement savings. To maximize potential retirement savings, contact Mountain West IRA to learn about their self-directed accounts and investment options.

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The Balancing Act

Many younger workers have the task of balancing debt reduction with retirement savings. Often the debt they have accrued is related to student loans and credit cards. Many of these workers believe they need to pay off their debt before they begin actively saving for retirement.

However, to be able to save a sufficient amount for their golden years, young workers are going to need to save while also paying off debt. Here are some ideas on how to do that:

  1. Focus on High Interest Debt

Getting out of high interest debt should be a priority. Credit cards are usually the main culprit with interest rates as high as 18 or even 25 percent. Once rid of high interest credit card debt, try to stay out of it. When these debts are out of the way, there will be more funds available to allocate to retirement savings.

  1. Be Smart with Loans

Often, loans are just a necessary evil in life. This is especially true when making large purchases, such as buying a new car. Try to find the best deal possible, with smaller payments. Sometimes this means buying a used car or a less expensive option. The larger the down payment, the smaller the monthly payments. With smaller payments, more money can be put toward retirement.

  1. Set Realistic Goals

Instead of having an illusion of spending very little in retirement, plan for spending more. The average annual spending for those age 65 and older is $40,938. Workers need to realize they will probably spend more and account for that in their savings.

This is especially true of spending money on healthcare. Many retirees do not account for medical needs when saving. One way to be cognizant of upcoming healthcare costs is to start a health savings account. These accounts help retirees cover the medical costs rather than dipping into their retirement savings.

Often, younger workers are only encouraged to take advantage of a 401(k) match plan through their company. While this is a great tool, opening a separate account in addition to a work-sponsored one can bump up their savings potential. Visit Mountain West IRA’s website to learn about their retirement plans and investment options.

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