The turning of the calendar is a perfect reminder that it’s time to save for retirement. This is when many of us take account of our finances, make charitable donations, and plot budgets for the coming year. That planning should include investing in yourself.

Federal law allows us 3-1/2 months after January 1—until the tax filing deadline—to make contributions for the prior year to tax-advantaged retirement plans, including Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), employer-sponsored 401-K plans and 403-B plans for non-profit and government employers.

Gold coins are an excellent option to add stability and security to one’s nest egg. Because standard IRA and company-sponsored retirement accounts are not authorized to purchase physical gold, you must open a self-directed IRA through an IRS-approved custodian. Funds contributed to employer-sponsored plans may be rolled over into the self-directed IRA. A wide range of IRS-approved custodians are available.

After the account is established, you then may instruct the custodian to purchase gold through a dealer like Nationwide Coin & Bullion Reserve. Under IRS rules, the IRA trustee or a bank holds the gold in a secure depository for the investor. Self-directed IRAs may hold American Gold Eagles in denominations of one, one-half, one-quarter, or one-tenth of an ounce, as well as gold bullion that is 99.5 percent pure.

The 2018 IRA contribution limit is $5,500, with an additional $1,000 permitted for those 50 or older. For 2019, the limits will increase to $6,000, and $7,000, respectively.