My response should give you an idea why it may very foolish to obtain this type of advice from a msg board.
Futures (Financial and Commodities) and Section 1256 investments can be in a self directed IRA. A US issued gold coin can be in a self directed IRA__can have numismatic (collectible value). Investment plans through an employer would probably restrict these.
There are nine (yes nine) ways to withdraw money from an IRA without penalty (normally 10%) before 59.5 years of age. Most like medical expenses are common knowledge. Within that nine is a lesser known distribution method of annuitization. There are three different methods to do this. They all require a contractual agreement of sorts with the IRS. The easiest and most common is reaching agreement with the IRS on your own life expectancy and equal distribution over that life expectancy. This almost anyone can achieve. The other two are referred to as “fixed amortization method” and the “fixed annuitization method.” These are more involved and will probably require a tax professional.
These are glossed over in Publication 590 but the meat is in Revenue Ruling 2002-62, Internal Revenue Bulletin 2002-42.
Also it is not necessarily correct that all distributions become ‘ordinary income’ If you never took a tax deduction for contribution amounts that you were entitled to there is a method to keep some of that coin out of the IRS hands. I get paid very well to implement these strategies. It is this hidden gem in the Treasury Regulations that was basis for Roth IRAs.
Also, the comment ask the IRS. Even if you receive advice from IRS personnel (even in writing) it does not negate your responsibility if it is incorrect. That is not the same as a tax ruling.
You also have to be careful using a CPA for advance tax advice. If a CPA specializes in taxes they may provide good advice. But it is an Enrolled Agent (EA) that is the tax professional. Anyways only an EA or Tax Attorney can represent you in front of the IRS in court or hearings. They also have to be registered (a licensing of sorts) for the district and jurisdictional branch.