I’m a middle aged male, but have very little in my retirement because I never really see myself retiring in today’s America. I have around $7500 in my 401k. Should I pay the penalty, which would give me about $4500 afterwards and put this money toward gold and silver? I believe a monetary reset has to happen within the next five years when I’ll be in my early 40s. — Jarod
Jarod: If — and this is a big if — you’re absolutely certain that a reset will be here within five years, and that the reset will result in 401k losses of 40% or more (based upon the numbers you gave me), then the 401k withdrawal penalty and taxes you pay now to convert your funds into precious metals would probably be worth the risk. Of course, to be absolutely sure, you also need to take into account your current and anticipated future state and federal tax brackets.
For completeness, if you believe the reset is still five years away, you might also want to consider any potential market gains you might lose by pulling that cash out early. Then again, that assumes you’re willing to try your luck, time the market, and (hopefully) get out before the financial fireworks start — a dubious strategy for anyone who is absolutely sure that an outright currency failure is relatively close at hand.
As I mentioned in a previous mailbag, there is also another potential option that will avoid withdrawal penalties: Rolling over the funds in your 401k to a precious metals IRA — but only if it is a precious metals IRA that actually allows you to keep the physical metal in your possession. Otherwise, you’ll still be exposed to counterparty risk.
Going off (your previous) mailbag regarding bullion storage, if you don’t rely on a third party to store and secure it, how would a person go about doing this themselves? Are we talking special safes, burying it, or something else? Thanks in advance! — Joe
My pleasure, Joe. Thanks for your question.
I believe that fear of theft is the biggest reason why people refuse to buy gold and silver bullion. And that’s too bad because, the truth is, it’s much easier to securely store and hide gold — whether it’s at home or somewhere else — than an equivalent amount of currency. For example, 20 one-troy-ounce gold coins — worth $25,000 based upon the current value of the US dollar — will fit in a 3-inch by 1.5-inch tube. For silver, at current prices, it takes one dozen 100-troy-ounce bars of silver that are 6.5 inches long by 2.5 inches wide by 1.25 inches high to store the same amount of wealth. With that in mind, let’s now talk about how most people store their precious metals:
Since gold and silver don’t rust, some people are comfortable burying their precious metals, usually at an out-of-the-way location, inside sealed PVC tubes or other specially designed caches that you can buy online. They’ll usually also “seed” the general vicinity with shallow buried nails or other metal objects as a means of misleading anyone who may wander by with a metal detector. Other folks prefer high-quality concealed safes that are securely fastened to a building foundation. Then there are those who confidently hide them “in plain sight” — for example, inside a paint can, a hollowed-out table leg, or even a box of frozen peas.
If you think about it — and just use a little imagination — the number of potential hiding places for something so small is endless. After all, it’s almost impossible for any thief to find something quickly if he doesn’t know where to look. And let’s face it, when it comes to playing “hide-and-seek,” the world is a very very big place.
If you have a question you’d like me to take a crack at answering, send it to: Len@LenPenzo.com — and please be sure to put “Mailbag” in the subject line.
Photo Credit: gajman