Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The price of gold

I noticed on the news the other night that gold is becoming increasingly valuable, and one online article reported that gold is now valued at "$1,619.30 an ounce at 1:48 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price fluctuated between gains and losses. The August contract reached a record $1,624.30 yesterday." (Yesterday in this case was the 26th July.) Phew!

This is good news for those with an IRA (Individual Retirement Account), especially if it's a gold IRA. It's not so good news for those who (a) don't have gold and (b) don't have a retirement plan.

I've written about IRAs on a previous occasion. It was a couple of months before I retired, when I was forced to admit that I didn't have much in the way of a retirement plan, having chopped and changed jobs over my working life, and often been in jobs where there wasn't any retirement plan. If it ain't there, you can't do much about it.

Ways of planning ahead such as the gold 401k approach are fine if you have money to invest, or have stayed in a job for a long period of time. For those of us who don't or haven't, then we just have to take what comes, and count the pennies a bit more carefully than we used to do. This takes some doing, actually, as the tendency, I've found, once you retire, is to keep functioning at the same level as before. Because we had a bit of money still in the bank when I finished up, and have had a bit more come in via things like Trade Me, we're okay. If those dried up, we'd really have to turn off the heat pump and stay in bed all day. (Well, in winter at least.)

I really missed out in my younger days, by not buying gold, either as bars or coins. So shortsighted of me.
Seemingly, if I had purchased $25,000 of gold bullion coins in the early 70’s and held on to it during the oil crisis, inflation, devaluation of the U.S. dollar, Savings and Loan scandal, recession, tech and internet bubble, cooked books, 911, and a real estate bubble - after that lot I'd be lucky to holding onto anything - I could sell my gold today for $524,999.00.

And if I had purchased $25,000 of limited mintage investor gold coins over the same time line, I could sell that gold today for $1,377,257.00. Now that probably would have allowed me to keep the heat pump on over the winter at full bore...! Or move to somewhere where it's always warm.

This is always the issue: in order to make money from investments like a gold IRA transfer you have to have something to invest in the first place. If I had managed to put anything aside in the 70s, there would have been no chance of holding onto it during kids' schooling, clothing, eating food, going occasionally to the movies, paying various unexpected bills, replacing the wrecked car with a not-so wrecked one, let alone oil crises, devalutions, recessions, bursting bubbles and anything else you might care to name.

Some of us just have to keep holding in faith to our Father who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, as he reminds us in one of the Psalms. (I think it's more likely he actually owns the cattle on a billion hills, but that's pushing the poetic licence.) In the long run, he's the only one who'll get us through all the crises etc. If you think that's being a bit naive, then you'll just have to believe me that He's done it so far and there's no reason not to think that he won't in future.

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