Top Rated Gold IRA Companies Compared
Gold IRA Guide: Selecting a Gold IRA Company
Over the past decade or so, countless investors have lost money through the “traditional” methods of investing for retirement. A volatile stock market, coupled with historically low interest rates, have forced many to seek other alternatives for both growing and protecting wealth.
One strategy that numerous investors have turned to that offers the opportunity for growth, while at the same time also acting as a hedge against inflation, is investing in gold, as well as in other precious metals.
In addition to having a high growth potential, gold and precious metals can also offer other benefits, too, such as privacy – which can be especially beneficial in estate tax and probate situations. These types of investments can also offer the added advantage of being a limited resource – which can make them quite valuable when demand is high.
While gold and precious metals have been available to investors for many years, today investors have some added advantages. That is because in addition to the numerous benefits that this type of investing can provide, gold and other precious metals can also be placed into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). This can allow for significant tax advantages. In fact, due to tax-deferred or tax-free compounding inside of a gold backed IRA account, returns can literally be compounded exponentially over time.
In order to take advantage of these specific benefits, though, a certain type of IRA (Individual Retirement Account) account must be set up. This is known as a self-directed IRA. Unlike regular IRA accounts where you can invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other types of “traditional” and non-tangible investments, a self-directed IRA account allows you to expand your list of eligible investments by including options such as gold and precious metals.
Why All Investors Need to Take Advantage of IRA Investing
The term IRA, or Individual Retirement Account, may already be familiar to you. This is a type of personal savings account that provides you with various tax advantages for setting aside money for the future.
Today, there are two types of IRA accounts that can be established by individuals. These are the Traditional IRA and the Roth IRA. The deposits that go into a Traditional IRA account can typically be tax deductible, and the earnings that take place inside of the account are tax deferred until the time that they are withdrawn.
The means that you have the opportunity to generate a nice profit within an IRA account – and not have that profit taken away by taxes as it grows. This concept can really give you the full power of compounding, because rather than giving back a portion of your investment earnings via taxes every year, with an IRA account, your gains can always be moving forward.
In addition, because many people hold their IRA accounts for a number of years, this can essentially allow their funds to grow and compound exponentially over time because the earnings can grow on top of earnings.
There is also a Roth IRA account option. With this type of IRA account, your deposits into the account are not tax deductible. However, the growth inside of the Roth IRA account is tax-free, as are the withdrawals in the future. This can provide you with some substantial benefits – especially if you are able to take out 100% of your money in retirement without having to share any of it with Uncle Sam. There really is no other type of investment account that can provide you with such powerful tax advantages like an IRA does.
But on top of just the tax benefits that you get with IRA accounts, there are other benefits, too, that can make them very attractive. For instance, retirement plans are oftentimes given special protection from creditors – which can make them extremely useful for asset protection purposes. Also, when they are properly structured, IRA assets may even be passed on to your heirs for many generations down the line.
A regular Traditional or Roth IRA can only be funded with cash or cash equivalents. You can also transfer funds from another existing IRA account into a new IRA, and you can “rollover” funds from a qualifying retirement plan, such as an employer-sponsored 401(k).
IRA accounts are held by an entity that is known as a custodian, which is often a bank or other financial services company. There are a variety of different investments that you can place inside of your Traditional or Roth IRA, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and CDs.
But unfortunately, these custodians leave out an important asset when it comes to offering the opportunity for additional growth, as well as an inflation hedge and additional diversity in the IRA account’s portfolio. That asset is gold and other precious metals – and with the volatile stock market over the past several years, investors need these alternatives. The good news is that you can get them by having a self-directed IRA account.
What Makes a Self-Directed IRA So Much Better Than a Regular IRA?
While many IRA custodians will only allow stocks, bonds, and other more traditional types of investments to be placed inside of IRA accounts, a self-directed IRA custodian will allow more non-traditional IRA investment choices such as gold and precious metals.
In fact, by opening a self-directed IRA account through a precious metals IRA custodian, you will open up your IRA options to including eligible IRA approved:
In its overall structure, a self-directed IRA account is technically no different than a regular IRA account. This means that you can set up either a Traditional and / or a Roth self-directed IRA account and still receive the tax-deferred (Traditional IRA) and tax-free (Roth IRA) growth on your gold and other precious metals investments. You can also make tax-free withdrawals from a Roth account.
Because self-directed IRA accounts that primarily hold gold and other metals are focused on just metals, these accounts are oftentimes referred to as just simply gold backed IRAs or precious metals IRA accounts.
With the unpredictability of the stock market today, along with the low interest rate environment, it can be difficult at best to obtain the returns that you need to generate for a comfortable retirement in the future, while at the same time protecting the principal in your portfolio.
That is why, over the past decade, millions of investors have opened up self-directed and precious metals IRA accounts. These types of accounts can offer you additional control over your retirement investments, along with a wide variety of choice as compared to regular Traditional and Roth IRA account options.
Setting Up a Gold IRA
It is easy to set up a gold backed IRA account. Today, there are many gold IRA custodians in the market that offer these types of accounts, as well as metals dealers that will help you in choosing which gold and other precious metals may be right for you, based on your long and short term investment goals.
Setting up a precious metals IRA account is relatively easy. Many gold IRA companies have working relationships with custodians that offer self-directed IRA plans and provide the necessary administrative and reporting services.
Just like any other important financial transaction that you are about to embark on, prior to moving forward, you should take some time and conduct some gold IRA company reviews. This is because, while at first glance many may seem to offer the same services, this is not necessarily always the case.
As you go through and look for the best gold IRA companies, you will likely find that many of these firms have the forms that you need for opening an account. This can help to get the process started so that you can begin your investing in gold for retirement and / or other precious metals investment strategies.
Regardless of which type of IRA account you go with – or even if you go with both a Roth and a Traditional IRA – there are three primary ways in which you can make you contributions going forward into the account. These include the following:
Cash – Each year, you can make a cash contribution into your IRA account – up to an annual maximum. In most cases, investors who are age 49 and younger can contribute $5,500. If you are age 50 or over, you can contribute an additional $1,000.
Transfer – You may also transfer funds from an existing IRA account that you own. The IRS allows you to have multiple IRA accounts – and you are allowed to move money between these accounts. Provided that you do not take actual receipt of these funds, the transfer between IRA accounts is considered to be a tax-free event.
Rollover – Another method of funding your IRA account is to roll funds over from a 401(k) or other eligible retirement plan. This alone could substantially increase the amount of money in your account.
How to Find the Best Gold IRA Company
When searching for the best gold investment companies, there are a number of key items that you should keep in mind that can help you in determining which one may be the best for you and your specific needs. These can include the following:
Better Business Bureau Rating and Grade
Business Consumer Alliance Grade and Complaints
IRA Account Transfer Process
401(k) Rollover Process
Account Setup and Fees
Annual Administration Fees
Metals Storage and Cost
Minimum Purchase Amount
By learning all that you can about these gold and silver IRA companies, you will be in a much better position to move forward, knowing what they have to offer, and how you can benefit from using their services.
Rating By the Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is an excellent source of information about companies and the way that they conduct business with their customers. In order to be accredited through the BBB, a company needs to meet certain criteria, which includes making a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints that are filed against it.
The Better Business Bureau will also provide a letter grade to companies. Similar to a school report card, these letter grades are given on a scale between A+ through F. When dealing with a gold company, sticking with those that have grades of “A” or better is typically best.
When evaluating top rated gold IRA companies, you will also want to check the number of complaints that have been closed through the Better Business Bureau over the past three years.
For companies that are accredited with the BBB – and even for some that are not – the Better Business Bureau provides information on the number of customer complaints that have been closed over the past three years, as well as the past 12 months. It also offers details on what the complaints were in reference to, such as:
Advertising / Sales Issues
Billing / Collection Issues
Guarantee / Warranty Issues
Problems with Product / Service
As an example, JM Bullion has had 98 complaints closed with the Better Business Bureau in the past three years. Of these, 32 complaints were closed over the past 12 months. Within the 98 total complaints, 62 had to do with product / service issues, 15 were in regard to delivery issues, 12 had to do with advertising / sales, 8 were in regard to billing / collections, and 1 had to do with the company’s guarantee / warranty.
A quick check of the Better Business Bureau’s website can tell you a lot about a company that you are considering working with. This information can be extremely helpful prior to moving forward with a transaction that involves your retirement savings.
Business Consumer Alliance Rating and Complaints
Information from the Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) can also be helpful when evaluating the best gold IRA companies. Here you can find out information about a company, as well as review a company’s rating based on factors such as complaints, competency, and customer reviews.
Somewhat similar to the BBB, the Business Consumer Alliance shows a company’s complaint closing statistics over the past three years. These, however, are based upon the company’s response to the complaint, such as:
Making a full refund, as the consumer requested
Making a partial refund
Agreed to make an adjustment
Refusing to make an adjustment
Refuse to adjust, relying on terms of agreement
The BCA also provides a type of letter grading system. These letter grades go from a high of AAA to a low of F. There is also a letter grade of NR, which is provided if a file is under review for any reason, or if a company is not yet rated. There are a number of factors that go into a company’s overall grade, including:
Background Information (such as the business ownership and operation)
Length of Time in Business
Type of Business
An example of a company that has been highly rated by the Business Consumer Alliance is Regal Assets. This company has a rating from the Business Consumer Alliance of AAA. It also has 5-stars, based on 56 customer reviews, and there have been no complaints filed via the BCA over the past three years.
TrustLink is also a good source of information to check when researching the top gold IRA companies. This website provides a list of customer reviews, as well as complaints, if there are any. Based on these reviews, TrustLink will assign a rating of one to five stars, with five being the highest.
As an example, Capital Gold Group, Inc. has 180 customer reviews posted on the TrustLink website. Based on these – which are mostly positive – the company has a rating of 4.5 stars out of a possible five.
The IRA Transfer Process
There are several ways to place funds into a gold IRA account. One method is to directly transfer money from an existing IRA into a newly created gold IRA. In a direct IRA transfer, the money will flow from one IRA custodian to another. In doing so, the check from your current IRA custodian must be made out to the name of the new IRA account that will be receiving the funds.
Provided that the funds flow directly from one IRA custodian to the other, there will be no taxes due. This type of IRA transfer may be made as often as you want. This can be an ideal way to place a substantial amount of money into your gold IRA account.
Many of the best precious metals IRA companies will have the paperwork that is required for an IRA transfer included directly on their website. This can make it easy for investors to simply fill out the needed forms and to quickly get the process started. Once the funds have settled in the new precious metals account, you can then begin investing in gold and other IRA-approved assets.
It is important to note here that opening a new gold backed IRA does not mean that you have to close your current IRA account. You can transfer as much or as little as your want into your new IRA account. For example, if you have $200,000 in your current IRA, and you want to invest $50,000 into gold and precious metals, you can simply transfer the $50,000 into your new gold retirement account and leave the current IRA as is.
How to Rollover a 401(k) Account
Another way to fund a precious metals IRA account is through a rollover from a 401(k) or other eligible retirement account. Prior to moving forward with a gold IRA rollover, though, it is essential to have a good understanding of how the process works. This is because there are actually a couple of ways in which this can be accomplished.
One way is to directly roll the funds from your retirement plan into the precious metals IRA account. In this case, because the money is going directly from one account to the other, it will not be considered to be a taxable event.
The other option is to actually take receipt of the money from your retirement plan. If you go this route, however, you must re-deposit the funds into your new gold backed IRA account within 60 days. Otherwise, you could be liable to pay taxes, as well as potential IRS penalties, on these funds. Therefore, it is essential to be mindful of the time limit on depositing the money if you take physical receipt of these funds.
Just as with the IRA transfer process, many of the precious metals IRA companies will have the necessary paperwork for rolling over 401(k) funds available directly on their websites. This can make the process quick and easy for you to complete.
In either case, you will first need to set up a precious metals IRA account. In most instances, this will take between 1-2 business days to get your account opened after your application has been received. It can then take up to several weeks to get your account funded, depending on the funding option that you have chosen to go with.
Precious Metals Delivery
When investing in a self-directed IRA account, it is possible to purchase physical gold – and because of that, metals will need to either be shipped to you or stored in a safe and secure facility.
In some cases, the precious metals dealer will ship your items free of charge – especially if the order is over a certain dollar amount. In other cases, there will be a charge for the delivery. Typically, orders are shipped using the U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail service, UPS, or Federal Express so that a tracking number may be obtained. In addition, insurance and signature upgrade is usually available in order to better ensure delivery of the items.
As an added security, many of the precious metals dealers will not ship items to military addresses or to Post Office boxes. Some will also ship only to addresses that are located within the United States.
IRA Account Setup and Fees
Many of the gold IRA companies in the market today make it easy to get your precious metals IRA account set up so that you can start your gold 401k rollover or other method of funding the account as soon as possible.
In many cases, the metals company will have the account forms and other necessary paperwork available directly on their website so that it can be completed and then returned immediately to the company either online or through the mail. These companies also typically have customer service representatives who are available by toll-free phone line, and even immediate online chat, to help in answering questions and concerns as you move forward.
Generally, there will be a one-time set up fee for opening a gold backed IRA account. These fees can differ from one company to another – but in most cases, the set up fee will be under $100. Just like with regular IRA and other investment accounts, there will also usually be transaction fees that are due when you purchase assets for your precious metals IRA account.
Likewise, should you decide to transfer funds out of the account – including making a full distribution of funds from the account – there will typically be a fee. This is oftentimes a percentage that is based on the value of the account.
Account fees can either be paid out of the funds inside of the account. Or alternatively, many IRA companies will allow investors to pay their account set up and distribution fees using a credit card.
For example, JM Bullion uses New Direction IRA as an IRA account custodian. This company charges a one-time IRA account set up fee of $50. There is also a transaction fee of $40 that is charged upon the purchase, sale, exchange, or re-registration of any precious metals.
If an investor decides to make either a partial or a full distribution of assets out of the IRA account, then there will be a fee of 0.5% of the value of the account – with a minimum fee of $25 and a maximum fee of $95.
Annual Administration Fees
In most cases, there will be also an annual administration fee via the gold and silver IRA custodians. These fees are in most cases based upon the total value of the assets that are in the IRA account.
These fees, too, will differ from one company to another. However, in many cases, the annual administration fees that are charged will not usually be more than $200 – even for accounts that hold a large amount of assets.
As an example, JM Bullion uses New Direction IRA as an IRA account custodian. Here, the annual administration fees are as follows:
Flat rate of $75 for accounts under $100,000 in total value
Flat rate of $125 for accounts at or above $100,000 in total value
Metals Storage and Cost
In order to ensure the safety of your investment, many of the precious metals dealers will offer secure storage, either onsite or off. In fact, some of the metals dealers will provide a storage option that is even outside of the United States in order to provide diversity of allocation, as well as location.
Many metals dealers will also offer investors the option of either segregated or non-segregated storage for their items. With segregated storage, your specific metals would be tagged and stored with your name (or the name of your trust) or other investment vehicle.
Non-segregated storage refers to commercially interchangeable items that are actually co-mingled with the holdings of many other account holders. In this case, you would still own the items that you specifically purchased. However, they would be stored untagged with other investors’ holdings. Because of this, opting for non-segregated storage would not cost as much as segregated storage.
Just as with the account set up and annual administration fees, the cost of metals storage will differ from one metals dealer to another. But, as an example, USA Gold offers both a segregated and a non-segregated storage option. The cost of the segregated storage is 1.5% of the overall account value per year. The cost of the non-segregated storage runs .5% of the overall account value per year. These are both charged on a semi-annual basis.
Minimum Purchase Amount
While not all precious metals dealers will require that investors purchase a minimum amount of gold or other items, there are some that do. For example, GoldDealer.com has a $1,000 minimum phone order – which also includes free shipping and insurance.
Some companies may also have a maximum order size, especially if you are a new customer. As an example, GoldDealer.com has an order size limit of $25,000 if an investor has not already established a funded account with them. However, there is no limit to the size of the order with funded accounts.
Other Factors to Consider
There are also several other important criteria that you should consider when you are deciding on which will be the best precious metals IRA company to work with. These include the following key factors:
One of the other key factors to consider when you are reviewing a gold IRA companies list and trying to decide on the right one for you is whether or not a company has good customer service. In fact, the service that a company offers can literally make or break your decision in some cases.
When you are evaluating this aspect of a company, some of the things to look for include how accessible the customer service representatives are, as well as how knowledgeable they are about their products and services. Many gold IRA companies will have access to their customer service reps by way of:
It can also be beneficial to check the reviews and testimonials about a company in order to determine what other investors’ experiences have been like when working with the customer service representatives.
Education and Resources
When considering the best gold company to invest in, you will also want to determine which companies offer the most in terms of education and additional resources. For example, some companies will provide a great deal of information on their website regarding why gold and precious metal are good investments.
Some gold IRA companies may also include videos and other educational materials that can help investors to better understand the process of investing in gold and other metals, and how these types of investments can fit into their overall portfolio.
In addition, there are many companies that will even offer to send out a free booklet such as a gold IRA guide or other similar material to those who provide their name and contact information.
For example, Regal Assets will send out a Free Gold IRA Rollover Guide, as well as an issue of Forbes magazine, to website visitors who provide their name, email address, and a valid phone number.
There are also a number of top gold IRA companies that will provide updated market information. For example, this may include the spot price of gold, the price of silver, platinum, and palladium, all provided on charts, over a given time period. That way, investors can see how the price of the metal has moved during a certain time frame of months or even years.
Third Party Endorsements & Credentials
It is also important that the company you choose to work with have good, solid credentials and that it has proven itself to be trustworthy in the precious metals industry. In addition to having high ratings with the Better Business Bureau and the Business Consumer Alliance, the company should also, then, have other affiliations and memberships, such as with the Industry Council for Tangible Assets.
In addition, some of the best gold IRA companies may even have third party endorsements from recognized names in business or media such as:
IRA Eligible Gold and Precious Metals
When evaluating your list of IRA companies, you will also want to ensure that the entity you choose is able to offer you a good selection of IRA eligible gold and precious metals. When owning gold in an IRA account – or any other type of precious metal – it is important to understand that not all types of metals are approved for inclusion in these types of accounts.
Therefore, be sure that the company you choose to work with offers some or all of the following:
IRA Approved Gold Bars and Coins (.995%+ Purity Level Required):
American Gold Eagle Coins
American Gold Buffalo Coins
Australian Gold Kangaroo / Nugget Coins
Austrian Gold Philharmonic Coins
Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Coins
Credit Suisse Gold Bars
Johnson Matthey Gold Bars
Valcambi Gold Combi Bars
IRA Approved Silver Bars and Coins (.999%+ Purity Level Required):
American Silver Eagle Coins
Australian Kookaburra Silver Coins
Austrian Philharmonic Silver Coins
Canadian Silver Maple Leaf Coins
Mexican Silver Libertad Coins
Johnson Matthey Silver Bars
Royal Canadian Mint Silver Bars
IRA Approved Platinum Bars and Coins (.9995+ Purity Level Required):
American Eagle Platinum Bullion Coins
Australian Koala Platinum Coins
Canadian Maple Leaf Platinum Coins
Isle of Man Noble Coins
IRA Approved Palladium Bars and Coins (.9995%+ Purity Level Required):
Canadian Palladium Maple Leaf Coins
Russian Ballerina Palladium Coins
Baird Palladium Bars
Credit Suisse Palladium Bars
Track Record & History
It is also wise to consider a company that has a good, solid track record in the precious metals industry. Oftentimes, this comes with history in the business, along with a good reputation for serving customers well.
As gold and precious metals continue to rise in popularity, there are many new start-up firms coming into this business. Unfortunately, these companies do not always last very long – and in some cases, it has also even led to some gold IRA scams.
But the firms that have stood the test of time and demonstrated commitment to their investors – both through the ups and downs of the economy – are the ones that will likely still be here long into the future.
Which of the Gold IRA Companies is Right for You?
Investing in gold and other precious metals can provide a nice alternative to the more traditional equity investments that many people are using today in their retirement accounts – and, obtaining the tax advantages that you can get by placing precious metals into an IRA account can make the advantages that much better.
While there are many gold IRA investment options in the market today, all of these companies are not exactly the same, nor do they all offer the same services. With that in mind, it is important that you have a good understanding of what your specific investment goals are, and from there, you will then be able to determine which of the gold IRA companies will be the best for you.
How to Take the Next Step with Opening a Gold Backed IRA
Once you have thoroughly researched and evaluated the gold IRA companies on your list and have settled on the dealer of your choice, you will be ready to take the next step towards opening a precious metals IRA account and taking advantage of all of the tax benefits that are available to you.
Going forward, you will now be able to much better diversify your retirement portfolio, and you will also have much more control over the investments that you choose to move you towards your future.