Planning for retirement might not be the most exciting way to occupy your time. But since the prospects of Social Security are pretty grim, it's important to do your own retirement planning and saving to ensure there's money for you to spend when you can no longer work for a living. When it comes time to choose what investments comprise your IRA, you might be perplexed. In most cases, it's best to have a variety of investments in your portfolio -- and one of those investments should be in gold. Here's why.

1. Gold is a liquid asset.

Some assets are rather difficult to liquidate. For example, if you own an apartment building, it can take you months to sell it and get your hands on the actual cash from the sale. Gold, on the other hand, is incredibly liquid. You can sell it at a moment's notice, and there are always people around who are looking to buy -- either online or in person. This gives you a way to cover big emergencies when you are retired. If you suddenly have a huge medical bill to pay, for example, you can sell the gold and have the necessary funds within days.

2. Gold will always be worth money.

Gold has been used as currency for centuries. It is the metal used to back currencies in most countries, and it is used to make actual coins in other nations. There is very, very little chance that gold will suddenly be seen as worthless. Other investments, however, could plunge into uselessness overnight. For instance, if you invest in a tech company and their technology becomes obsolete due to new inventions, you may lose your entire investment! The price of gold goes up and down, but it will always have value.

3. Gold can be kept physically in your home.

These days, so many investments are non-physical. When you buy stocks, you may not see anything other than a number on your screen! This can make you feel disconnected from your investments. They might not have a lot of emotional value to you. Gold, however, is an item you can physically keep in your home. This will give you a sense of comfort and confidence in your retirement plan. You can also physically access the gold without the need for a computer, phone, or other device. In an emergency situation, this could be beneficial.

4. Gold has uses in industry.

Gold is not just used to make jewelry and coins. It is also used in industries, such as those that make electrical devices and computers. These are growing industries, which means the need for gold is only going to increase. According to the law of supply and demand, as demand for gold goes up, its value should increase. Of course, there is always a risk of value going down on any investment, but with gold, trends seem to suggest its value should climb.

5. Gold's value tends to rise when inflation increases.

Many people fear that when they retire, inflation may rise, making any money they have saved worthless. Gold can be a good guard against this problem. Historically, when inflation picks up, the value of gold increases. So if you have gold as a part of your portfolio, you won't have to worry about losing everything if inflation picks up. Your total portfolio should hold its value.

Talk to a financial advisor at a company like McAlvany ICA to learn more about including gold in your IRA. They can tell you what percent of your portfolio should be gold, based on your goal retirement year, income, and other factors.