Why choose a Gold IRA?: One of the aftermaths of the most recent stock market crash was that a lot of consumers in the United States faced the stark realisation that the value of their pension funds had diminished considerably. Most were at a loss to know what to do and whether there was any remedial action that they could take.
Investment brokers and IRA custodians have traditionally insisted that index linked funds are the safest forms of investment, but regular people are now beginning to realise that this is not always the case.
It might be okay for commissioned brokers to say that, but the average person needs his or her retirement plan to keep pace with inflation if they are going to make ends meet throughout their twilight years and enjoy the quality of life that they were anticipating.
This is where the idea of a Gold IRA came into play.
Between 1933 and the mid-1970s gold could not be purchased by regular citizens as a form of investment. Two decades after this confiscation was lifted gold also became eligible as an IRA investment, even though few people were aware of this at the time. Thanks to the internet and many TV and radio commercials that has all changed. The news is everywhere these days that just about anyone can hold a Gold IRA.
Everyday folk now know that owning gold can be a way of hedging and protecting their investments against inflation. While backing an IRA with gold entirely is not advisable, gold could be – and many experts now recommend that it should be – an important part of your investment portfolio.
In this scenario you buy real, physical gold which is retained in an IRS approved depository until you sell it and take your distribution. This gold is owned by you but you cannot touch it until taking your pension. Early withdrawals are subject to tax penalties.
**A Gold IRA Enables You To Invest In Gold With No Money Down!
One big advantage of a Gold IRA is that it enables you to invest in gold even if you don’t have any surplus cash available. As long as you have an existing retirement fund you can use some or all of that to buy gold or other precious metals.
This is the way that many Americans have been able to add gold to their investment portfolios without having any out of pocket expense. They have been able to use funds that were otherwise locked away and unavailable to them and which in a lot of cases were performing poorly and not as well as they had anticipated.
The Benefits of a Self Directed IRA
One of the challenges is that many IRA custodians will not work with clients who want to invest in non-traditional products, and gold falls into this category. If this is your experience and you still want to back your retirement with gold or other precious metals, the solution is to open a Self Directed IRA.
In this case your custodian is still there to report to the IRS, but you as the account holder are at liberty to decide what to buy. You can hold multiple IRA accounts as long as your contributions to all of them combined does not exceed the maximum annual allowance overall.
What Can Americans Put into Their Gold IRAs?
A Gold IRA is not limited to just gold as it can also contain other precious metals, namely silver, palladium, and platinum. There are restrictions, however, as to the forms that these items can take. Only 7 gold, 6 silver, 5 platinum, and 1 palladium products are eligible.
Those items include but are not limited to gold, platinum and silver American Eagles, gold, platinum, and silver Canadian Maple Leafs, Credit Suisse and Pamp Suisse gold bars, and the Silver Mexican Libertad. The reason for the restrictions is that gold coins and bars produced in some countries and in certain forms are not considered to be pure enough. Find out more
Other precious metals such as rare coins can be useful investments, but cannot be included as part of an IRA. They would be eligible for personal investments, they can be stored in a safe at home or a bank deposit box, and they are not subject to IRS reporting. Numismatic coins tend to be more appealing to someone who wants to be able to take immediate possession of his precious metals whenever he pleases.
Can a Gold IRA Contain More Than Just Physical Precious Metals?
Yes! Not only the physical metals themselves, but other precious metals related items can become part of a (Self Directed) Gold IRA. These include shares in companies that mine for these metals and gold ETFs. Ironically, such investments tend to rise and fall in opposition to actual precious metals.
There is also a host of items that can be included which traditional investors never normally consider such as livestock, certain real estate investments, and a number of different funds. They tend to be products off the beaten path.
You can also include your traditional types of investments in a Gold IRA. So, as you can see the main difference between a Gold IRA and a traditional Self Directed IRA is that you can include physical metals in it.
How to Open a Gold IRA
A customer approaching a Gold IRA custodian is normally in one of three situations:
• He has already got a retirement plan but he wants to switch to an IRA
• His IRA is not backed by gold and he wants to transfer
• He has never opened an IRA before
For the person with a 401k or some other employment related account from a previous job, all he or she has to do is conduct a rollover. This entails cashing in the 401k and immediately using those funds to open a Gold IRA with a custodian. As long as this is done within 2 months (which is easily achievable – setting up a custodian, buying gold, having it deposited in an approved facility), there are no penalties from the IRS. Retirement funds are tax-deferred until you start to receive payouts and if you fail to meet the deadlines the IRS will think you are taking your distribution early.
In the next situation one IRA custodian will hand the reins over to a new custodian. These two professionals make arrangements; stocks, shares, or funds are sold to release money for the Gold IRA, and the new fund is set up. Again, there are no penalties.
The third situation is easy. Americans only have to research potential Gold IRA companies; trustees as they are often known.
In all three cases there is a set-up fee, but it is not astronomical. Custodians then take an annual fee in return for reporting to the IRS and any other services the customer requires (additional reporting, for example).
It is very important to understand the relevance of how different precious metals companies set their fees. If you don’t you could end up paying thousands of dollars more than you need to over time. More information.
It is not necessary to move all monies into gold or to transfer all monies out of existing accounts.
How Can Gold Protect Your Retirement?
Why are people choosing gold and other precious metals to back their retirement funds? For one thing, history shows that gold is stable when other markets and the US dollar are weak. This is the case universally, worldwide. Gold is not just useful to Americans alone as it is internationally recognized for its rarity and beauty.
If the dollar crashes, gold is still money. Then again, if the value of precious metals goes down, that is because the economy is recovering. Precious metals are best treated as a means of balancing or hedging an investment portfolio, not dominating it.
Watch this video for a more in-depth explanation of how investing in gold can protect your retirement:
Assessing Precious Metals IRA Companies
If you decide that investing IRA funds in gold is wise, you must then choose a company to work with. We recommend that you watch this independent video, placed here with the video creator’s permission. We recommend it because in our opinion it gives some very relevant tips:
The Role of Gold and Precious Metals Traders
Some firms specialize in helping consumers arrange a Gold IRA. They sell the gold, but they are not custodians of it when their customers make a transaction. Associates within the firm will therefore suggest a company or companies that administer Gold IRAs and other alternative investments. Once arrangements have been made for the customer’s previous custodian to hand over their account to the new custodian, the customer buys gold from the trader who then corresponds with the new custodian.
The advantage with this arrangement is that two organizations work together to do a lot of the work on the client’s behalf.
The Role of Precious Metals IRA Custodians
Clients open IRA funds with the help of a custodian. This is a legal requirement since consumers cannot administer their own pension funds. There are many regulations, particularly reporting to the IRS, which IRA custodians handle from their end.
A Gold IRA custodian is the same as any other custodian except for one thing: he is willing to take custody of an IRA backed by non-traditional funds. He does not sell precious metals but works with customers who prefer to invest in niche funds and stocks rather than selecting mainstream investments. Gold is considered to be an alternative investment.
Our Top Recommended Gold IRA Company
We recommend Regal Assets because they are a ‘One Stop Shop’. They are a Gold Dealing Company who have a dedicated department for precious metals IRAs, staffed with experts who understand the precious metals market, retirement funds and all the associated IRS procedures and tax benefits.
They have an excellent reputation for first class customer service and their staff will handle the entire Gold IRA set up, rollover or transfer process on your behalf.