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Investors have so many options regarding retirement savings accounts. The most common account available through employers today is the 401(k) plan. Investors place pre-tax income into these plans for use in retirement.
However, investors want more diversification today. Paper assets, including stocks and bonds, are vulnerable to stock market dips. Interest in tangible assets is growing strong.
Gold and silver are good examples of assets that can be used as retirement savings. Learn how to convert some or all of a 401(k) to gold and silver today.
Before we get started, investing your savings is a serious task. When it comes to adding precious metals to your portfolio, how do you know which companies to trust?
That is why we have researched every company in the industry and selected the very few with the highest customer service standards.
This way you can easily compare the best companies in the business, and choose one that fits your needs and investment goals.
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Defining a 401(k) Plan
A 401(k) plan is a retirement account set up by an investor's employer. It allows investors to contribute pre-tax dollars into the account for withdrawal at a later date. Essentially, these contributions reduce an investor's overall income in the eyes of the IRS.
As a result, investors can enter a lower tax bracket during income tax season. Any taxes due on the contributions are paid out when distributions occur during retirement.
These plans usually fund stocks, bonds, and other paper assets while the investor remains employed. The account's balance can fluctuate, depending on the economy's conditions. There's often a limitation on which paper assets can be purchased too.
The IRS sets limits on contributions. Currently, investors can add up to $22,500 to the 401(k) within the calendar year. For investors over the age of 50, they can add catch-up contributions of $7,500.
To encourage saving in the 401(k), employers can offer contribution matches up to a certain percentage. Investors benefit from contributing at least to the match amount, such as four percent. Because of employer matches and pre-tax dollars in play, 401(k)s continue to be the main retirement account for most investors.
Breaking Down the Benefits of a 401(k)
Once a paycheck is deposited into the bank, it's often hard to save any funds afterward. It takes a lot of willpower on the investor's part to save some of the funds for retirement. A 401(k) forces savings into the account.
The investor selects a savings percentage, and it's taken out of every paycheck. There's no worry about manually saving when it's done for the investor automatically.
The company match is also a big advantage over other retirement accounts. No other account allows another depositor to add funds to it. In essence, investors have a financial partner in their employer. However, investors remain largely in control of how they invest the funds after receiving them.
Although 401(k)s have limitations when it comes to asset choices, investors have a chance to mix up the selections over time. As a young investor, choose a more aggressive stance in the marketplace.
These investors have more time to recoup any losses if the stock market dips. In contrast, try a conservative approach as the investor nears retirement. There might be small gains right now to avoid any major losses.
Investors also appreciate tax-free growth. Any gains made over the years won't be taxed until they're withdrawn. This benefit is one of the best motivators to invest in a 401(k).
Investors must remind themselves that taking any distributions from the 401(k) before retirement is frowned upon. Along with taxes, the amount is subject to an early withdrawal fee. Although there are some exceptions to the rule, it's a best practice to never touch the funds until there are no penalties.
Understanding 401(k) Limitations
When investors look at the benefits behind 401(k)s, it's easy to overlook some glaring disadvantages. Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds may be in abundance for 401(k) investors, but diversifying any further is often a challenge.
At any time, the stock market can plunge, leaving investors with little savings left over. With a mixture of investments, however, any downturn can be survived with only a minor loss.
A major limitation of standard 401(k)s is the lack of tangible assets. Investors are welcome to buy paper assets, but tangible products aren't allowed. Gold, silver, palladium, platinum, and other precious metals have real value. They can be investment choices, but not for a 401(k).
Investors do have the option of potentially buying gold ETFs or exchange-traded funds. It's essentially a paper asset that follows the current value of physical gold. Some standard 401(k)s offer this asset type. For some investors, it's a way to dabble in the gold market without actually owning the physical metal.
In fact, ETFs never allow investors to buy the gold. It's simply a fund based on gold's value. Savvy investors want to really own gold, silver, or other precious metals.
Luckily, there is a way to convert a standard 401(k) to gold and silver. After going through the process, investors will literally own tangible gold that they can sell, trade or even physically take possession of in retirement.
Explaining a 401(k) Gold or Silver Rollover
A rollover is an industry term for transferring funds from one account type to another. Most investors choose a rollover from a former employer's 401(k). For example, the investor changed jobs and the 401(k) needs to be moved from the former employer anyway.
This scenario is the perfect time to roll over the funds into a gold or precious metals IRA or Individual Retirement Account. It's within this account where gold and silver can be purchased for investment purposes. This process is called a 401k to gold IRA rollover.
If an investor is still with an employer offering the 401(k), verify that the funds can be moved at all. Some plans are limited in their motility. Some or all of the funds may need to remain with the plan. In these cases, investors might open a precious metals or self-directed IRA on their own.
They would need to directly fund it, however. A rollover wouldn't be possible. Investors end up funding the self-directed IRA with dollars that are already taxed. This scenario isn't optimal for investment purposes.
Alternatively, some investors might cash out of their 401(k)s. This scenario should be avoided at all costs. There are severe tax penalties and additional fees in most cases.
A rollover is the best choice because the investor never takes ownership of the funds, such as holding them in a checking account. They're simply moved from one retirement account to another.
Before investors roll over any funds, they must pick a gold IRA custodian. This individual becomes the account manager. Investors work with the custodian to purchase precious metals that are IRS approved.
The metals might come from the custodian's company or a separate dealer. The custodian will discuss options with the investor before a rollover goes through.
IRS approves for a gold IRA
There are a select few products that the IRS approves for a gold IRA. These items include American Gold/Silver Eagle, British Gold/Silver Britannia, and Canadian Gold/Silver Maple Leaf coins.
An experienced custodian can walk the investor through all of the options. Aside from coins, other precious metals include rounds, bars, and specific bullion products.
The IRS remains strict with these choices because investors gain real tax incentives from holding physical gold. As a result, the products must be of the highest quality.
None of the investment metals can be of low quality or collectible items. The value of these questionable products won't remain steady over time.
Relationship between Custodian & Investor
Because the relationship between the custodian and investor is so important, thorough research must be performed before hiring anyone. Investors should look over a custodian's experience, any online reviews, and common fees, for example.
Reputable custodians have been in the financial business for many years with satisfied clients voicing their praise through many reviews. Look through both the good and bad reviews.
Analyze them for any patterns. Experienced custodians should have largely positive reviews. A few negative reviews can happen to even the best professionals.
It's a reality that investors will always pay extra fees when it comes to a gold IRA when compared to a traditional IRA. The custodian charges setup, maintenance, and shipping fees. There may be other charges as the account becomes funded and converted into precious metals.
Fees should be reasonable along with a minimal commission rate. Investors should realize that they're moving real, tangible assets around. These aren't paper assets with digital values associated with them.
With a chosen custodian, investors are ready to roll over their funds. The custodian administers the process with all the necessary paperwork. Investors are welcome to move all or some of their 401(k) funds into the gold IRA. Once the gold IRA posts the money, investors and custodians buy gold or silver at the current rates.
Shipped & depository
Investors never touch the purchased precious metals. They'll receive a tracking number for the goods being shipped to a chosen depository. This secure location is where the precious metals remain stored until they're withdrawn at a later date.
Many custodians suggest depositories to be used for the investor. However, the investor always has the option of selecting a depository based on his or her research. It must simply be an IRS-approved depository.
The shipped precious metals are always secured and accounted for at the depository. Investors might add to the account over the years after the rollover too.
The depository will have its fees as well. It must maintain a secure facility while performing administration duties with the custodian. Investors might receive quarterly statements with fees due, for instance.
Shipped & depository costs
The costs are often minimal compared to the investment's value. The depository ensures security 24 hours a day. Investors cannot have the same peace of mind with precious metals stored at home. Theft is always a concern.
In addition, investors don't have any tax incentives for precious metals housed at home. The depository and custodian ensure an official process of rolling over the funds and protecting the gold or silver assets at all times.
Laying Out the Benefits to a 401(k) Gold or Silver Rollover
Gold and silver are tangible assets. They can be physically held in the hands, traded, or sold for any services or goods. In short, they're a great way to hedge against inflation. Paper assets don't have this kind of value.
The dollar, for example, will always have a specific value in the global marketplace. It will rise and fall as economies improve or fail, over generations. In contrast, gold and silver keep their value with potential gains in the future.
Precious metals are simple assets. They're easily sold if an investor feels the need. Gold and silver can be sold even if there's a catastrophic event impacting the world's banking system.
It might be sold to a dealer or another person. This fact makes precious metals an important retirement resource for any investor. It's always important to be prepared for any type of future economy.
Paper assets rely on stocks and bonds from ethical businesses. If there's a major lawsuit, bankruptcy, or other legal issues at play, these paper assets are vulnerable to loss.
They can lose most or all of their value. Gold and silver assets aren't tied to a particular business. They will always remain a tangible asset that never loses real value.
Another benefit to a gold or silver 401(k) rollover is the diversification opportunity. Investors should vary all of their investments. In fact, owning stocks, bonds, mutual funds, gold, and silver are safe ways to protect those retirement accounts.
If any single business fails, there are plenty of other assets that remain stable. Investors don't lose everything in one economic downturn.
A unique benefit to investing in gold is the inheritance factor. As the investor reaches retirement age, the physical gold can still remain in the account. Minimum distributions must be made after age 70-1/2 years old, but the precious metals don't have to be sold for cash in every instance.
Investors can withdraw the actual gold or silver from the depository at this point. It can then be passed down to loved ones. This type of generational wealth is highly attractive to many investors.
Investing in gold is just as easy as buying stocks or bonds. Once an investor has a custodian and depository set up, the account is practically maintenance-free. The custodian takes care of every detail on the investor's behalf.
There might be quarterly statements regarding fees and other charges, but the account is otherwise a safeguard for the future. Investors only take time out of their schedules when they want to add more precious metals to the account or take a distribution in the future.
In the end, gold and silver investments cannot lose substantial value because they don't break down over time. Nearly any other asset can lose value over time, including paper assets and even real estate.
Gold and silver will keep their form for generations to come. This reality gives investors peace of mind when adding it to their retirement portfolios.
Standard rollovers won't have any tax implications right now. As long as investors allow the funds to move from one account to another without taking ownership of the assets at any time, taxes are only due when the investor withdraws money during retirement. Converting a 401(k) into gold or silver continues to offer solid returns as long-term investments.
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