By step-by-step consideration, a gold-backed IRA, which is also referred to as a precious metals IRA, can safeguard your savings from market volatility and serve as a safeguard against inflation. Furthermore, precious metals like gold and silver provide excellent diversification from conventional assets like stocks and bonds.
After conducting a thorough evaluation of various factors such as precious metals selection, fees, storage options, customer service, and reputation, we have analyzed the top gold IRA companies to determine which ones offer the best value for precious metal IRA accounts.
Goldco, the leader in the precious metals industry, is a well-regarded dealer that provides products to improve your retirement savings strategy. It has earned multiple awards and recognitions for its exceptional services.
Goldco holds an AAA rating from the Business Consumer Alliance and an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau.
Goldco offers assistance in safeguarding your assets in various retirement accounts by facilitating their transfer to a precious metals IRA. Regardless of possessing an IRA, TSP, 401(k), or 403(b), one of Goldco’s experts in precious metals can guide you through the necessary procedures to relocate the funds from your existing account to a precious metals IRA.
Additionally, this business provides the option of directly buying gold and silver. You have the opportunity to acquire physical gold and silver with the intention of utilizing it for your retirement portfolio or investing funds from your other savings accounts.
To open a precious metals IRA with Goldco, you must transfer or roll over your assets from your current retirement account to your new IRA. Goldco simplifies and alleviates this process for customers by guiding them through the subsequent steps.
- Open your IRA: Sign an agreement to state that you understand Goldco’s terms
- Fund your Self-Directed IRA: Roll over assets from your existing 401(k), 403(b), TSP, or IRA by contacting the company that manages your account.
- Purchase your precious metals: Choose the precious metals you’d like to include in your investment
Goldco offers a variety of gold and silver coins, including:
- Silver American Eagle
- Gold American Eagle
- Silver Great Barrier Reef
- Gold Australian Striped Marlin
- Silver Military Guinea
- Gold Marlin
Gold and silver bars of varying sizes are also available for purchase, with a fineness of .9999.
Goldco, in addition, has a buy-back program in place. In the event that your situation changes and you require selling the valuable metals held in your account, Goldco ensures the purchase of them at the highest buy-back price.
If you are unsure about investing in a precious metals IRA, you have the option to request a complimentary kit from Goldco. This kit contains informative resources in various formats, such as print, audio, and visual, that will help you understand more about making precious metals investments.
#2. American Hartford Gold
American Hartford Gold, a family-owned and operated company based in Los Angeles, CA, is a trustworthy gold IRA company that provides opportunities for silver and gold investments. Notably, it has been honored with various accolades, such as being recognized as the top Gold Company on the 2021 Inc. 5000 list.
If desired, you can include silver investments in your retirement account in addition to the gold IRAs that American Hartford Gold offers. To invest in a gold IRA through American Hartford Gold, follow these step-by-step instructions.
- Call American Hartford Gold to speak with a specialist and complete the necessary paperwork.
- Transfer an existing IRA to a new, self-directed gold IRA.
- Select the gold or silver products to add to your IRA.
- Purchase your IRA-eligible precious metals.
American Hartford Gold provides the opportunity to invest in precious metals IRAs with the assistance of Equity Trust, a trusted custodian for gold IRAs. After selecting the desired precious metals as an addition to your account, you have the option to store them with secure storage companies such as Brinks, Delaware Depository, or International Depository Services Group.
In addition to its gold products, this gold IRA company also provides a diverse range of silver and gold options that can be purchased directly. Examples of the company’s gold offerings include:
- Saint Helena Sovereign Gold coin
- Canadian Gyrfalcon Gold coin
- 1-ounce gold bar
- Valcambi Combibar
In the meantime, products such as silver products are included.
- Australian Wildlife Silver coin
- South African Krugerrand
- 1-ounce rounds
- Pre-64 circulated coins
- 10 oz and 100 oz bars
- Valcambi Combibar
When you buy precious metals from American Hartford Gold, you will be provided with continuous access to an account representative who will keep you updated on your investments. The contact information for your representative can be found on the company’s website, and you can reach out to them at any point in time.
#3. Lear Capital
With over 25 years of experience in the industry, Lear Capital, based in Los Angeles, is considered one of the best gold IRA companies. After analyzing the gold IRA reviews, the company’s BCA AAA rating, and its recognition as an Authorized Dealer by the Professional Coin Grading Service, we have concluded that Lear Capital is a reliable and trustworthy provider of gold IRAs.
If you decide to invest in a gold IRA with Lear Capital, you will receive assistance from a dedicated expert, benefit from a pricing structure with a fixed fee, have the assurance of a 24-hour purchase guarantee, and have fees waived for large deposits.
Lear Capital holds the ratings and accreditations as listed below.
- 4.8 stars on Trustpilot
- AAA and 5 stars from Business Consumer Alliance
- Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) Authorized Dealer
- Precious Metals Association member
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation member
To ensure that your funds meet IRS requirements, it is important to invest with a certified provider like Lear Capital, a Gold IRA company that values seamless experiences, easy access to supportive teams, transparent pricing, and all the important aspects you seek in an investment.
Lear Capital offers gold, silver, and platinum coins and bars that are eligible for IRAs. There is a range of options available, including popular choices like the American Gold Eagle or Canadian Silver Maple Leaf. Alternatively, you can opt for a simpler option such as a 10- to 100-ounce bar of your preferred metal. The prices for these precious metals are regularly updated to reflect market changes, allowing you to easily determine the anticipated costs.
To begin with Lear Capital, you can initiate the process by following these sequential steps:
- Establish a precious metals IRA account by completing the simple 10-minute online application.
- Hear back from your personal IRA custodian within 24 hours on how to conduct the tax-free rollover process. The funds transfer can take up to five days.
- Purchase precious metals, then allow Lear Capital to ship them to a secure depository with full insurance included.
- Receive free IRA setup and storage if you meet the investment minimums ($25,000 to $50,000 required for one year free, $25,000 to $50,000 for two years, and $75,000+ for three years free).
Lear Capital provides a range of important features which include:
- Free IRA setup and storage services on new gold IRA accounts over $25,000
- $50 setup fee reimbursed on investments over $10,000
- 24-hour purchase guarantees
- Flat-fee pricing
- One-on-one support from gold IRA investing experts
- Ample gold, silver, and platinum options
- Excellent reviews across platforms
- Frequent price updates for cost transparency
#4. Birch Gold Group
Birch Gold Group, an established company since 2003, is a reputable leader in the field of precious metals trading. They specialize in providing physical purchase options and IRA investment accounts, and have gained a positive reputation among numerous satisfied customers.
Having an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, an AAA rating from the Business Consumer Alliance, and receiving 5-star ratings from various websites, Birch Gold Group assures a secure and reliable experience when investing in precious metals through their company.
Birch Gold Group provides a variety of precious metals products, such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. You have the option to either buy these metals directly or utilize them to finance a precious metals IRA.
With the assistance of a qualified Precious Metals Specialist, you can easily transfer your retirement assets to a precious metals IRA by following these five steps.
- Create your account and choose your funding source: You can transfer an IRA or roll over a 401(k) to fund your new, self-directed IRA through Birch Gold Group.
- Choose the precious metals for your account: Your Precious Metals Specialist can help you determine which metals to invest in to maximize tax benefits.
- Purchase your precious metals: Your Specialist will review your order and provide confirmation once your purchase has gone through.
- Choose your storage option: Your Specialist will walk you through your storage options. Birch Gold Group works with several depositories, including Delaware Depository and Brink’s Global Service, to store its customers’ investments.
- Watch how your IRA performs: You can call your Specialist at any time to monitor your account’s performance or make any changes.
Birch Gold Group offers customers the option to directly buy gold, silver, platinum, and palladium products, including a diverse selection of IRS-approved coins.
- American Gold Eagle
- American Silver Eagle
- Canadian Gold Maple Leaf
- Silver Rose Crown Guinea
It is also possible to buy bars and rounds made of gold and silver.
#5. Augusta Precious Metals
Augusta Precious Metals is a renowned provider of precious metals that specializes in offering gold and silver IRAs and cash purchases. Additionally, this company offers a wide range of complimentary resources on its website to assist individuals in gaining knowledge about investing in precious metals as well as establishing a gold or silver IRA.
Augusta Precious Metals is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau and has a customer review rating of 4.97. The company has also achieved impressive ratings on various platforms including TrustLink, Google My Business, Facebook, and the Business Consumer Alliance.
These steps will guide you on how to create a precious metals IRA through Augusta Precious Metals.
- Create your new IRA through Augusta’s self-directed IRA custodian.
- Fund your account using money from your existing retirement account.
- Purchase gold or silver through Augusta’s order desk.
Augusta Precious Metals partners with Equity Trust, a prominent self-directed IRA provider, to assist customers in establishing their precious metals IRAs. With a track record of over 30 years and managing a portfolio worth over $25 billion, this IRA provider caters to customers across all 50 U.S. states.
After buying the precious metals for your retirement account, Augusta Precious Metals will handle the storage of the physical gold and silver on your behalf. The Delaware Depository, a secure and private depository, is used by the company for storing all their precious metals.
If you prefer, you can also buy physical gold and silver from Augusta Precious Metals by transferring cash to your Augusta account and choosing the gold and silver items you wish to buy. Augusta will then ship the selected products to your address, requiring your signature upon delivery.
Augusta Precious Metals offers gold and silver bullion as well as premium coins, including a variety of coins such as:
- Gold American Eagle
- Silver American Eagle
- Gold Canadian Maple Leaf
- America the Beautiful silver coin
You have the option to buy gold bullion bars ranging in weight from 1 to 10 oz, as well as silver bullion bars ranging from 10 to 100 oz. Additionally, you can purchase bags of 90% silver.
#6. Oxford Gold
Oxford Gold Group is a company that provides gold IRA services, allowing customers to purchase gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. The company has received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and has also garnered positive ratings on platforms such as Trustpilot, Consumer Affairs, and Google My Business.
Oxford Gold provides resources to guide you in opening silver and gold IRAs. On their website, you can find information about transferring funds to a precious metal IRA, understanding their functioning, exploring various types, and recognizing their investment value.
Oxford Gold provides a platform for customers to directly buy gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins and bars. The website offers a diverse selection of well-liked silver and gold coins, as well as various other products.
- Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coin
- Guinea “Rose Crown” coin
- America the Beautiful Silver coin
- Gold Canadian Polar Bear & Cub coin
- PAMP Suisse Silver Bar
- 1-oz and 10-oz gold bars
Additionally, the company offers a limited range of platinum and palladium coins and bars.
Oxford Gold Group aims to surpass other precious metals companies by actively listening to its clients’ unique requirements and equipping them with the necessary resources for making wise financial choices. To aid in your purchasing journey, the company provides an extensive learning center on its website.
Included in this learning center are a variety of resources, which consist of:
- Precious metals investment guide
- News and articles about gold investing
- Glossary of terms
Throughout your duration of working with Oxford Gold Group, you will gain an advantage by directly interacting with one of the company’s Managing Partners, who will be available to address any inquiries related to your gold IRA investments or storage.
#7. Noble Gold Investments
With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Noble Gold is considered to be one of the top gold ira companies. It offers a wide range of IRS-approved precious metals and provides valuable educational resources for investors. Noble Gold allows individuals to establish an IRA with them, regardless of their preference for gold, silver, platinum, or palladium. Despite being in operation for less than a decade, the company has garnered a five-star rating from its gold IRA reviews on various platforms.
When making the decision to open a gold IRA account, it is important to choose a precious metals investing company that values its clients’ ratings and affiliate accreditations. Noble Gold has the following ratings:
- 4.9 stars on Google Reviews
- 5 stars on ConsumerAffairs
- A+ rating from BBB
- 5 stars from Yelp (based on a few reviews)
Regrettably, Noble Gold receives a 2.9-star rating from Trustpilot due to two reviews that specifically mention hidden fees as their main concern.
Noble Gold, much like other gold investment firms, offers the opportunity to finance your IRA by utilizing a range of precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins and bars. The assortment of IRS-approved precious metals includes well-known choices like the Australian Gold Kangaroo Coin as well as more uncommon options like the 1oz Austrian Silver Philharmonic Coin. All purchases of precious metals for the IRA are delivered to trustworthy facilities in Delaware, Texas, or Canada to comply with IRS regulations.
The amount of money you need to pay for storing your physical precious metals will vary depending on how much you purchase, but you should anticipate an annual cost of approximately $80 to $200. In order to open an IRA with Noble Gold, most individuals are required to invest a minimum of $20,000.
To begin using Noble Gold, you can follow these steps:
- Complete the online form to request a personalized consultation, or open your gold IRA account online. The free consultations allow you to speak with an in-house expert about your options.
- Speak with a Noble Gold expert to begin the gold IRA rollover process for your account. You may face tax penalties if you withdraw money from another retirement account to fund your gold IRA instead of rolling it over, so be sure to consult a tax advisor first.
- Fund your precious metals IRA account, then purchase your preferred precious metals.
- Choose your depository, then allow Noble Gold to ship your physical precious metals to the secure location.
The key features offered by Noble Gold are as follows:
- Excellent customer support channels
- All types of precious metals to choose between
- Five-star reviews from numerous channels
- Free access to expert advice
- Ample educational resources for investment support
- A “no questions asked” buy-back policy for when you’re ready to sell
#8. Patriot Gold Group
Patriot Gold Group, a gold IRA provider located in Los Angeles, has an exceptional track record of being recognized as the nationwide Top Rated Gold & Silver Dealer by Consumer Affairs for five consecutive years.
Patriot Gold Group may be more suitable for experienced precious metals investors who are already familiar with the market and wish to allocate a significant portion of their portfolio to a gold IRA. This is because it provides discounts for substantial investments but lacks educational resources for beginners. However, if you are seeking a reliable IRA dealer that offers standard silver and gold choices along with exceptional support channels, Patriot Gold Group might be the right choice for you.
Patriot Gold Group has obtained the subsequent ratings, accreditations, and titles:
- 5 stars on ConsumerAffairs based on 770 ratings
- 5 stars on Google Reviews
- Voted #1 Gold IRA Dealer from ConsumerAffairs from 2020 to 2023
- Voted America’s Top Rated Gold IRA Dealer from 2016 to 2020
- A+ rating and accreditation from BBB
- Certified Professional Coin Grading Service
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation member
When it comes to reviewing gold IRA, certifications, and awards, Patriot Gold Group is hard to beat. This company puts its clients first by offering support channels, clear pricing, and effortless experiences that meet IRS requirements.
Patriot Gold Group provides gold and silver coins and bars that are eligible for IRA accounts. The pricing of bullion on the website is constantly updated, enabling you to easily assess the risks, benefits, and expenses associated with your investment. You have a selection of 10 gold coins to choose from, including options from the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia. Additionally, there are unique silver coins available that have a history dating back up to 50 years.
Patriot Gold Group is better suited for experienced investors due to its high minimum account requirement of $50,000. In addition, there is a storage and maintenance expense of $250 for the first year, followed by an annual cost of $200. It is probable that you will also encounter additional fees, including an account setup fee.
To begin your journey with Patriot Gold Group, simply follow these steps:
- Fill out the online application to open your account.
- Meet with a customer service representative to initiate your fund transfer or account rollover.
- Purchase precious metals and choose your preferred storage option.
- Enjoy free delivery to the secured vault.
Patriot Gold Group presents investors with the following notable features:
- Positive gold IRA reviews across platforms
- Waived account fees for investments over $100,000
- Free gold IRA investment guides
- Helpful customer support access
- Real-time pricing updates
AdvantageGold may be the right choice for you if you value convenient online procedures and access to top-notch educational resources. They proudly assert themselves as a top-rated gold company in the U.S., having received the Best of TrustLink award for seven consecutive years.
The company grants you the ability to apply for an account without the need to communicate with a representative, all while offering access to an abundant knowledge base containing various tools, videos, and additional resources.
AdvantageGold has the following ratings and accreditations:
- #1 Trusted Gold IRA Company by TrustLink for seven years
- American Numismatic Association member
- Industry Council for Tangible Assets member
- 4.83 stars and an A+ rating on BBB
- 5 stars on Google Reviews from over 700 customers
- 5 stars on Trustpilot from over 1,400 customers
AdvantageGold’s ratings indicate that you will receive exceptional customer service, excellent support, and clear pricing during all interactions with the company.
When using AdvantageGold, you have the ability to establish an IRA with various precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, or palladium. Some commonly chosen options consist of the Gold American Eagle Coin, Canadian Palladium Maple Leaf Coin, and American Silver Eagle Proof Coin.
The storage fees for IRA purchases can range between $100 and $150 per year. In addition to that, investors will be required to pay a $50 fee for setting up their account, as well as annual maintenance fees which may vary. The good news is that AdvantageGold does not have a minimum investment requirement.
To begin using AdvantageGold, follow these steps in order:
- Fill out the online application and choose your preferred account custodian. AdvantageGold allows you to complete this first step on your own, or you may call the customer service team for individualized support.
- Agree to all of the company’s policies and terms, then upload your financial statements. You may need to provide various IRA or tax-related documents.
- Choose your preferred account funding method. A gold IRA rollover specialist will help you roll over funds from a previous account.
- Purchase precious metals and select your depository for secure vaulting. You must sign the disclosure form as the final step.
AdvantageGold provides the following essential characteristics:
- A convenient buy-back program for when you’re ready to sell
- A free gold IRA investment guide to get you started
- Ample educational resources
- No minimum investment requirements
- Convenient rollover assistance
- Awarded #1 Trusted Gold IRA Company by TrustLink for seven years
- Step-by-step educational resources on withdrawing funds
- Excellent gold IRA reviews from customers across platforms
What Are Some Reasons for Opening a Gold IRA Account?
In order to achieve a fulfilling retirement, various obstacles such as economic downturns, excessive debt, and increasing inflation need to be considered. To safeguard your financial future, one option is to include a gold IRA account in your investment portfolio. Is it advisable to add a gold IRA to your portfolio? Here are some compelling reasons to open a gold IRA account.
Owning precious metals in an IRA is highly praised for its ability to properly diversify a person’s retirement portfolio. The advice of not putting all your eggs in one basket is applicable here, as you should also apply this mindset to your retirement portfolio.
The primary issue with long-term savings plans such as simple IRAs and 401(k)s is their susceptibility to market volatility. On the other hand, opting for a gold IRA account allows you to build a diversified portfolio and safeguard your retirement savings against market decline and volatility.
Gold IRAs are particularly appealing to older individuals due to their capacity to diversify retirement portfolios effectively. By having a gold IRA account, you have the opportunity to distribute your retirement investments. Consequently, if a market downturn were to transpire, not all of your retirement savings would suffer adverse consequences.
A gold IRA, like standard IRAs, offers the same inherent tax advantages. It functions as a tax-deferred investment for income. The gains and income from your gold IRA will be returned to your account without being taxed, allowing for tax-free growth. However, you will be required to pay taxes only when you decide to withdraw the funds obtained from selling your gold, which occurs after converting your asset into cash.
Given its inherent tax advantages, gold is a suitable investment for IRA accounts, which are typically intended for long-term holdings. Comparable to conventional IRA investments, physical gold is not highly liquid and thrives when a buy-and-hold strategy is implemented. Consequently, this aligns well with the preferences of older adults and seniors who tend to retain their assets for prolonged periods until retirement.
When you are about to retire in one year, experiencing losses in your retirement savings due to stock market volatility and fluctuations can be extremely disappointing, especially considering that it may take a long time to recover from them.
Physical gold has successfully safeguarded savings from different economic upheavals, such as the Great Recession and the recent impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many investment options like bonds may deteriorate during financial difficulties, precious metals maintain their inherent worth and have the capacity to substantially increase in value.
One benefit of having a gold IRA account is that it can reduce the impact of factors such as inflation, financial crises, and stock market declines. Older individuals, in particular, are advised to consider safer and more secure investment options like gold IRAs for their retirement funds. While a gold IRA account may offer lower earnings, it also substantially minimizes the possibility of jeopardizing one’s retirement savings.
Full Control and Flexibility
Gold IRAs are individual retirement accounts that allow you to have direct control over managing your holdings and making investment decisions. While the IRS has guidelines regarding the kinds of precious metals one can buy, a gold IRA account still offers more control and flexibility compared to a traditional individual retirement account.
There are certain gold coin products that have been approved by the IRS for gold IRAs.
- American Eagle Gold Coin 1 oz
- American Buffalo Gold Coin 1 oz
- Canadian Maple Gold Coin 1 oz
- Australian Kangaroo Gold Coin 1 oz
- Austrian Philharmonic Gold Coin 1 oz
- American Eagle Silver Coin 1 oz
- Mexican Libertad Silver Coin 1 oz
- Australian Koala Platinum Coin 1 oz
- American Eagle Platinum Coin 1 oz
By having a gold IRA account, you have the advantage of capitalizing on the market through purchasing at a low price and selling at a high price. Conversely, if the value of gold begins to decrease, you can choose to sell your coins and bullions to prevent or reduce losses in your investment.
Gold IRAs are well-suited for older adults who prefer a more active and involved approach to managing their retirement investments, offering a high degree of control and flexibility.
Buyer’s Guide to Investing in a Gold IRA
Step 1: Speak with a Financial Advisor or Lawyer
If you find gold IRAs attractive, it is important not to rush into buying them immediately. We recommend proceeding cautiously and seeking trustworthy advice beforehand. Along with discussing your choices with family and friends, it is essential to seek independent financial guidance, unrelated to a company specializing in metal sales or IRA management. If you don’t already have a person you rely on for retirement planning, engaging a lawyer or financial advisor is likely the most reliable option for assistance with this matter.
When discussing the inclusion of a precious metals IRA in your retirement portfolio with a professional, ensure that you address the following inquiries throughout your conversation:
- Is this a good diversification option for me?
- Can you share how you’ve seen gold IRAs work out for other people over the years?
- If I diversify with a precious metals IRA, what percentage of my retirement should I convert to this investment?
- Are there specific types of deals and transactions that you consider investment red flags in gold IRAs?
Your advisor might mention that a gold IRA does not generate dividends or interest. Although it is possible for the value of gold to increase, resulting in a profit upon selling it, this outcome is not guaranteed. In fact, you could experience a loss if the market value of gold has declined when it is time to withdraw from your IRA, typically around age 70 ½.
Step 2: Review Current News for Fraud Alerts
Gold investment scams are quite common, unfortunately, in the market. When investing in gold or other precious metals, it is important to exercise healthy skepticism towards every company. It is advisable to refer to the articles on gold investment scams occasionally posted on the website of the Federal Trade Commission as a precautionary measure.
To gain a comprehensive understanding about gold investment scams, it is advised to not only consider the information provided by government agencies but also to conduct research on major news outlets. This research should include looking into companies or practices that are suspected of engaging in fraudulent activities, even if they have not been formally prosecuted or proven to be illegal. To conduct this research, search for terms such as “gold IRA” or “gold investment” followed by keywords like “scam,” “scheme,” “fraud,” “lawsuit,” or any other relevant terms. It is important to click on the “news” tab of your search engine to access recent articles.
When searching for scams in news reports, it is advisable to prioritize identifying red-flag sales tactics rather than solely focusing on the names of companies. Scammers tend to frequently switch company names, relocate, and target various groups of investors. Although the names and individuals involved may change, it is important to train yourself in recognizing scams regardless of their given names.
There are several common red flags that are often observed.
- Promises of guaranteed profit
- Scare-tactic statements about the state of the economy and world
- Company history, location, and other key details that cannot be found
- Pressure sales tactics: “act now,” “don’t wait,” “this deal won’t last,” “it’s never been better,” “you’ll regret it if you don’t…”
- Someone urging you to convert your entire retirement to a gold IRA
- Unsolicited sales offers over the phone or online
- Unclear or contradictory fees
- Companies that recommend investing using a personal loan
- Companies that claim that they don’t have to report your transactions to the IRS
Step 3: Find a Custodial Company and Establish the IRA
After receiving guidance from a financial advisor and becoming acquainted with the dangers of scams, the next step is to select a trustworthy custodial company that will manage your IRA. It is imperative to have a custodian as it is mandatory for all gold investments to be held by an IRS-approved custodian such as a bank or trust company. Although some individuals argue that creating an LLC allows them to hold their investments wherever they want through the LLC, the IRS has explicitly stated that this alleged loophole is not valid.
When searching for a reliable custodian, it is important to remember the following tips:
Examine the History and Associations
It is important to always research a company’s history. This can be done by reading the “about” or “our story” page on their website. Key information to look for includes the number of years the company has been in operation, any brands they have acquired or been acquired by, the names of the founders and investors, as well as any professional associations or awards within the financial industry. Companies that are members of RITA or have high BBB ratings are particularly recommended.
Take into consideration the range of services provided.
When comparing companies, it is crucial to determine the extent of assistance desired from them. At the very least, all companies should maintain records, follow your instructions to release IRA funds for investment purchases, fulfill reporting obligations to the IRS as mandated by law, and facilitate mandatory distributions (although you may be responsible for calculating the exact amount).
Some companies provide additional services by recommending metals brokers and coordinating the shipment and storage of precious metals on your behalf. In order for the metals to be included in your IRA, you are not allowed to physically possess them at any time. Instead, they must be handled by qualified companies and stored at a location approved by the IRS.
Examine fees systematically and sequentially without introducing additional details or omitting any information.
If a company does not provide its fee details on its website, you will have to either contact them and make a note of all the fees or ask for the complete fee schedule to be sent to you via email. It is advisable not to be content with just examining the fee structures of one or two companies. Aim to analyze and compare the fee structures of at least four companies or more in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of your choices.
Included below are explanations of the most frequently utilized fee structures employed by custodians.
- Custodial fees: The custodian isn’t affiliated with the metal dealer and doesn’t directly profit off of the sale of metal to your IRA. Instead, the company makes all of its profit through a startup fee, flat annual or quarterly fees, and vrious transaction fees that occur when the company performs a variety of services on your behalf. In more rare cases, some of the fees may be charged as a percentage of the value of the IRA (for example: 0.1% or less).
- Commissions: The custodian makes a commission or charges a brokerage fee to you when you buy metals from a company that the custodian has a contract with. The custodian receives a percentage of the cost of the metals that you purchase. In these cases, the company may be able to offer you very low annual or transaction fees because the custodian has already turned a large profit off of the deal.
There can be significant variations in annual administration fees, ranging from approximately $50 at certain companies to over $200 or $300 at others. The reason behind high annual fees is often attributed to the inclusion of storage, shipping, and security costs. It is typical for companies to impose around ten separate fees for transactions or services, such as transfers, check writing, expedited transactions, account closure, and other specified actions. Account closure fees are typically in the range of $100 or $200, while other transaction fees are considerably lower, sometimes as low as $10-$30.
Step 4: Establish and Fund the IRA
To initiate the opening of an IRA, it is possible to complete the majority of applications online in a relatively short amount of time. In order to successfully set up an account, it is probable that you will require the subsequent items:
- Driver’s license
- Social Security number
- Information about beneficiaries (you must list who will inherit the IRA if you pass away)
After you have opened an IRA account with a company, you must provide funds before being able to make precious metal purchases through it. We have provided a list below of several methods for funding your account.
- Bank transfer
- Rollover funds from another retirement account
If you plan to use funds from another retirement account, you must specify this at the beginning of the application process because financial institutions may view rollover accounts as a distinct IRA category.
When you create your account, the custodian may inform you about your annual contribution limit, or you may need to determine it yourself by referring to the IRS website. The limit is influenced by your age and is subject to annual adjustments for inflation and other factors.
Step 5: Invest in Precious Metals Via the IRA
Once you have created and funded your account, you must instruct your custodian to use the funds to purchase gold or other valuable metals. To accomplish this, you will need to investigate dealers of precious metals, obtain a price quote from them, and then complete a form for the custodian that contains all pertinent purchase information. In accordance with legal regulations, the custodian will then transfer the IRA funds to the dealer on your behalf. If you have chosen a custodian that collaborates with a specific dealer, the purchasing process may be simpler as the terms of the transaction are likely already established.
When consumers purchase gold, they frequently encounter scams. Here are some instances of deceitful activities:
- Selling metals that aren’t as pure as they are labeled to be
- Selling metals disqualified for use in an IRA due to their collectible status or purity
- Surprise fees or huge markups over actual value
- Nonexistent products
In order to prevent fraud during the metals purchasing process, it is advisable to choose a dealer from the authorized dealers list of the US Mint. By reviewing this list, you can also educate yourself about the various coins available for investment in the Bullion Coins section of the US Mint website. Additionally, you may refer to the IRS publication on IRA rules, which includes a segment dedicated to identifying coins that are exempt from being classified as collectibles.
How to Protect Against Precious Metals Scams
Precious metal scams thrive by exploiting the emotions of their targets. Scammers will assert that the stock market is on the verge of collapse or that the economy is about to plummet, leaving seniors with no choice but to safeguard their savings by investing in gold or other valuable metals. As an alternative strategy, they will dangle the enticing opportunity of guaranteed profits without any risk, but only for a limited period that is about to end. Continue reading to uncover the indicators of precious metal fraud and learn the necessary measures to undertake if you have fallen prey to it.
Common Precious Metals Scams
In order to protect their savings, seniors must invest in gold and other precious metals exclusively from trustworthy companies with established records, as this will enable them to steer clear of prevalent scams associated with precious metals.
Senior citizens are often targeted by fraudsters who exploit their anxieties about economic instability in order to persuade them to buy gold and silver. These scammers sell them coins and/or bullion (bars or blocks of metal that are 99.5% to 99.9% pure) at significantly inflated prices, far beyond their actual market value. As a result, these unsuspecting investors suffer substantial financial losses.
It is important to be cautious of advertisements claiming that coins are “plated in pure 0.999% gold” as they can be deceptive. Although this statement may be technically accurate, the actual quantity of precious metal present is very minimal, leading dishonest individuals to overprice the coins, suggesting they hold greater worth.
Fraudulent Fees and Theft
Senior citizens can fall victim to scammers who deceive them into making a precious metals purchase, but then fail to carry out the agreed transaction. These scammers might also offer nonexistent loans to seniors, charging them fake interest in the process. Furthermore, fraudsters may dishonestly levy ongoing fees for storage, despite not actually storing anything. Their primary objective is to unlawfully acquire seniors’ money by any means possible.
Seniors will be approached by salesmen who will present them with the opportunity to invest in a mining venture focusing on gold, silver, or platinum. The salesmen will sell unprocessed soil to the seniors, assuring them that it contains significant amounts of valuable metals and can be sold at a profit. However, the seniors will eventually discover that the soil contains almost negligible amounts of precious metals.
Precious Metals Scam Warning Signs
Make sure to read the following warning signs in order to understand what to avoid when researching a gold IRA company.
- You receive an unsolicited phone call with heavy pressure to act now or the ability to buy precious metals expires.
- Dealers ask about your retirement portfolio in the process of trying to get you to buy precious metals.
- Companies selling precious metals state that transactions are not regulated by the CFTC or National Futures Association.
- Company licensing cannot be easily verified and representatives cannot help find proof of government agency licensing.
- Where the physical metal is located is not specified or deliveries are made to an overseas storage facility.
- The only company contact is a P.O. Box.
- Critical documents that should reasonably be included are missing.
- Sellers are guaranteeing high-returns for no risk when investing.
Tips to Protect Against Precious Metals Scams
Seniors can ensure their protection against scams by taking certain precautions. These precautions encompass seeking advice from experts, thoroughly conducting research on a business, and requesting clarification regarding business practices and products.
Stay Calm and Become Informed
- Fraudsters prey on seniors’ emotions and hope that you will act quickly and not think things through
- Always take time to get a second opinion from a trusted expert
- Contact your state securities regulator for informed answers to investment questions
Research the Business
- Call the Commodity Futures Trading Commision (CFTC) at 866-366-2382 or the National Futures Association (NFA) at 312-781-1410 to get details on a business before completing any transaction.
- Both of these organizations can verify a company’s registration and provide background information as well as disciplinary history.
- The NFA has a free BASIC tool that allows you to perform a background search online.
Ask the Right Questions
- Ask for written materials that explain their business, services, and/or products.
- Ask about policies for unsatisfied customers and make sure to get copies of warranty or refund policies in writing.
- Ask the company representative you are in contact with about his or her qualifications.
- Ask for clarification about how what is being sold helps you financially.
Steps to Take If You are a Victim of a Precious Metals Scam
Seniors should attempt to reclaim their money if they have fallen prey to precious metal scams. Experts can aid them in reporting the deception and accessing supplementary resources for assistance.
Try to Recover Lost Funds
If you made a payment to the scammer, there is a possibility of getting your money back depending on the method of payment. In case you used your credit or debit card for payment, reach out to the company that issued it. If you made a wire transfer, get in touch with the wire transfer company.
- MoneyGram can be reached at 1-800-666-3947
- West Union can be reached at 1-800-325-6000
- For wire transfers made through your bank, contact your bank to report the fraud and request a reversal of the transfer.
If you have utilized a money transfer app, get in touch with the company that is providing the service.
- If your credit or debit card was linked to the app, also report the fraud to the card company or bank. Request a reversal of the charge to get your money back.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has the ability to intercept payments sent by mail.
Call the National Elder Fraud Hotline
When you contact National Elder Fraud Hotline representatives at 833-fraud-11 or 833-372-8311, you will be assigned a case manager who will provide support and help you report scams at the federal, state, and local levels. Additionally, case managers will assist seniors in accessing resources that are relevant to their specific circumstances.
Find Additional Resources
Seniors can utilize the Office for Victims of Crime website to find services in their vicinity specifically designed to assist victims of fraud or financial crimes. Such services encompass legal support, assistance from the justice system, victim support groups, and counseling.