You can place your retirement investments in all sorts of different plans and companies. One option is a gold IRA company. These companies allow you to invest in precious metals as part of your retirement portfolio. They hold the actual metals in the form of coins or bars, meeting IRS requirements that precious metals in an IRA be held by a custodian or trustee. Precious metals act as a hedge against inflation. And, since gold prices usually rise when stock prices fall, they are an excellent way to add diversity to your portfolio.
There are a large number of gold IRA companies to choose from. But what should you look for? Here are six great tips to use when choosing a gold IRA company.
Compare Minimum Initial Investments
Most gold IRA companies set a minimum amount for the initial investment. The minimum ranges between $100 and $15,000. If you are looking to put only a small amount of your IRA into gold, make sure the company’s required initial minimum allows you to invest that amount. And, if you want to invest more in a gold IRA than allowed under the annual cap on IRA contributions, you’ll need to roll over money from an existing IRA.
Gold IRA companies charge investors for storing their precious metal. Research what each company charges for this service. Like other brokerages, they also charge a commission for transactions, so look into the fee structure of each company. Don’t forget to look at the setup fees, and watch out for other fees such as wire transfer fees. Depending on your investment style, figure out which company will be the most cost-effective for you based on their fees.
Consider Other Precious Metals
The term “gold IRA” is a little misleading. These companies allow you to purchase other precious metals besides gold. The IRS allows gold, silver, platinum, or palladium to be held in an IRA, as long as they are in forms approved by the IRS. Look at what metals different companies allow you to purchase and store.
You may want to invest in other metals in your IRA to provide more diversity. For instance, the price of silver acts differently than the price of gold. Because silver is used in industrial applications, its price rises during economic booms when manufacturing demand for silver increases. But, because gold is not used extensively in industrial applications, its price does not fluctuate dues to industrial demand. If you are interested in owning metals besides gold, be sure that the company you use handles these other metals.
Check the Quality
Precious metals are graded by their purity. A reputable gold IRA company will purchase high quality metal. Watch out for signs that a brokerage is buying less pure metal and selling it as if it were pure. Only disreputable brokers do this, so avoid them. Double check that the purity of the metal meets IRS guidelines for an IRA. For gold, the standard is 99.5% pure, for silver it’s 99.9% pure, and for platinum and palladium the minimum is 99.95% pure.
Also, check to make sure that coins and bullion are undamaged. Scratches and other imperfections lower the value of coins or bullion. Since these are tangible assets, their condition matters. Read reviews of different companies with an eye for any red flags about quality, or ask the companies how they verify that the metal they buy is pure and in mint condition.
Look at Storage Options
You can buy either coins or bars to place in your IRA. In general, individual coins are easier to store, handle, and sell than bars of bullion.
You also have a choice in how your gold is stored. An allocated depository places your metal in its own box. What you buy remains yours and does not touch other precious metals. An unallocated depository stores metal of the same kind in a single location. Your coins are placed in the depository, and when you sell you receive the same kind and weight of coins or bars. But they probably won’t be the identical ones that you purchased. Most companies will allow you to choose one type of storage or the other, but check the policies of each company.
Rely on a Trusted Advisor
A final tip for choosing a gold IRA company is to work with a financial advisor you trust. They have experience in weighing different options and working with different companies. If they know your investment goals and strategy, they can help you to find the right gold IRA company for you.