Is Gold or Silver the Better IRA Investment?

Gold and silver climbed as much as 500% between 2001 and 2011 before falling like the dense metals they are for most of the last two years. Despite the pullback in metals’ prices demand for physical gold and silver remains strong. One of the most popular ways to buy gold and silver is through the use of one’s IRA or inactive 401(k). The U.S. government allows its retirement account holders to buy precious metals instead of stocks or bonds, and countless Americans have taken advantage of the Precious Metal IRA program since it was first authorized in 1997. One of the most common questions asked of gold and silver dealers by IRA owners is, “Is gold or silver the better IRA investment?”

This question does not have one clear-cut answer. Silver tends to be more volatile because of its popularity as an industrial metal, so investors who want a strict hedge that should move in an opposite parallel to a falling dollar might want to buy a gold-heavy IRA. However, many analysts have speculated that silver could eventually outperform gold in the current cycle.

The type of gold or silver matters, too. Some countries have begun confiscating assets stored within retirement accounts, and rumor has it that the United States could be the next to seize IRAs and related accounts. The U.S. Mint produces a Proof version of the American Eagle coin in both gold and silver, and these Proof Eagle coins are classified as collectibles. Our government charges a substantial premium for these coins because in the event of a gold confiscation historical and legal precedent says Proof coins would not be seized.

It is also important to know whether you are buying physical metals or stock. Silver mining stocks have a better track record than gold stocks over the last 10 years but if you are investing in gold to diversify away from paper assets then you may want to insist on bars and coins for maximum portfolio protection and bulletproofing.

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