If you think that investing in gold is a type of investment that is only for the wealthy investor, you may want to think again. Even though the value of gold is extremely high and rising steadily year after year, gold is still an investment that even the average investor can involve themselves with. While there are many creative ways to invest in gold, one new method uses an existing form of retirement savings and expands that savings in ways that weren’t allowable a few years ago.

This new way to invest in gold is known as a gold IRA. This is a way to use a very popular resource for retirement savings and expand its value well beyond what a traditional or a Roth IRA could ever offer.

A gold backed IRA is an investment that is based in gold rather than other typical hiring commodities. A typical IRA will have investments that range from stocks, bonds and mutual funds. The IRS, up until recently, only allowed these types of investments for individual retirement accounts. However, with the introduction of gold backed IRA’s, IRAs can also invest in precious metals such as numismatics and bullion, such as gold bars.

There are, however, a few things that you need to understand about gold IRAs. With an IRA that is backed by gold, you, as the owner if the IRA, are not permitted to physically own the gold that makes up the value of the IRA. The rules regarding gold IRAs stipulate that the gold must be physically stored by a third party custodian. This gold, while technically owned by you, cannot be physically in your possession until the IRA has reached maturity.

In addition, only specific types of gold can be held by an IRA as its source of value. Collectible coins and jewelry do not qualify as approved gold investments. If you are going to be investing in numismatics, only legal tender coins are approved types of gold investments for your gold backed IRA. In addition, if you are investing in bullion, such as gold bars, the purity of the gold must be at least .990 in order to be an acceptable gold investment.

Lastly, in order to get a gold backed IRA, you’ll need to look for companies that specialize in these types of individual retirement accounts. Most standard investment houses as well as banks won’t provide these types of IRAs. You will need to look for companies that specialize in precious metals and self-directed IRAs as a source for this type of retirement account.

Whether you are rolling over existing IRA funds into a gold backed IRA or you’re starting a new IRA with gold as the account source of value, these types of investments have a tremendous upside. As the value of gold continues to rise, the potential for profit in these simple and accessible investments are tremendous.