What is a Gold IRA

What is a Gold IRA?

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A gold IRA refers to a specialized individual retirement account that enables investors to hold gold and other precious metals as a qualified retirement investment.


When investors open a gold IRA, they can hold physical metals like bullion or coins. Investors can also hold precious metal-related securities within their portfolios. 


A gold IRA is held separately from a traditional retirement account. However, the rules regarding limits and distributions are the same for a gold IRA and a traditional IRA.

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Understanding Gold IRAs

A gold IRA is also known as a precious metals IRA. These IRAs can be set up with pretax funds or as a Roth IRA that is bought with post-tax money. 

Since gold IRAs require investors to purchase and store physical gold, gold IRAs require the use of a custodian. Custodians are typically at a bank or brokerage firm and they will manage your account on your behalf.

It's important to note that Gold IRA funds can also be invested in gold-related paper investments, such as exchange-traded funds, stock in gold mining companies, precious metals mutual funds, and precious metals commodity futures. However, these accounts come with higher fees since they require you to purchase and store precious metals. 

The Benefits of a Gold IRA

Saving money and maximizing ROI is a top priority for most investors. With that said, there are several benefits of investing in a gold IRA. 

One benefit of a gold IRA is that it promotes true portfolio diversification. When investors invest a portion of their retirement in physical gold and precious metals, it strengthens their portfolio by diversifying with alternative assets. 

The Benefits of a Gold IRA

What's even better is that these alternative assets have a proven track record of protecting your funds, especially when the value of currencies, governments, and markets fall. 

With that said, investing in precious metals is a great option when you need an added layer of diversification to protect your gold IRA retirement plan in the long term.

Another benefit of precious metals is that it is an excellent hedge against inflation and deflation. Inflation hurts the economy over time. Luckily, the value of gold can never fall to zero, essentially protecting your portfolio from these unavoidable fluctuations. 

Additionally, a gold IRA creates an excellent profit opportunity. When examining the historical performance of gold, shows that precious metals have great profit potential. For investors looking to maximize their earnings, diversifying your portfolio with a gold IRA is one of the best options to consider. 

The Difference Between a Gold IRA and Physical Gold

Some investors have a hard time determining whether investing in a gold IRA or physical gold is a better option for their needs. Let's take a look at the difference between gold IRAs and physical gold. 

Gold IRAs

Gold IRAs are self-directed accounts that can either be a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA. Self-directed IRAs require investors to manage their accounts with the help of a custodian. 

Gold IRAs hold alternative assets like precious metals and pose excellent tax benefits. Similar to standard IRAs, gold IRAs enable investors to take tax deductions on their investments.

It's essential to note that all IRAs include fees. But investors can expect additional costs with a precious metal IRA due to physically holding gold in their IRA account. 

Physical Gold 

Investors can purchase physical gold in many forms. It can be purchased in pure nuggets, jewelry, collectible coins, and gold bars. If you invest in physical gold, you can buy it for investing or you can wear it as jewelry. Or, you can just collect gold as a hobby. 

If you would like to invest in physical gold, there are a few things to keep in mind. For starters, you must buy, hold, and securely store the gold on your own. In contrast, when you invest precious metals in a gold IRA, you will have the benefits of secure storage to keep your metals safe. 

Additionally, buying physical gold means you'll need to learn about gold pricing and how it can fluctuate. This means that buying gold doesn't always result in profit. Along with this, buying physical gold means that you'll incur shipping and handling costs and you are responsible for learning where and how to sell your gold when it's time. 

What Can Be Added to a Gold IRA?

According to the IRS, certain precious metals can be added to a gold IRA. To qualify as IRA-eligible precious metals, your precious metals must meet the following criteria:

Purity: Gold must be 99.5% pure, silver must be 99.9% pure, and platinum and palladium must be 99.95% pure. 

Production: All bars, rounds, and coins must be produced by a refiner, assayer, or manufacturer. Additionally, they must be accredited/certified by NYMEX, COMEX, NYSE/Liffe, LME, LPPM, LBMA, TOCOM, ISO 9000, or the national government mint. 

Packaging: All proof coins must be in their complete, original mint packaging and excellent condition. Additionally, all proof coins must include a certificate of authenticity. 

Weight Specifications: Small bullion bars must be manufactured to exact weight specifications. This excludes 400-ounce gold, 100-ounce gold, 1000-ounce silver, 50-ounce platinum, and 100-ounce palladium bars. 

Coin Conditions: Non-proof bullion coins must be in brilliant, uncirculated condition and free from damage. 

Here is a list of acceptable gold products to help you get started:

  • Approved Gold Products
  • American Eagle bullion/proof coins
  • Australian Kangaroo/Nugget bullion coins
  • Canadian Maple Leaf coins
  • Chinese Panda coins
  • U.S Buffalo bullion coins
  • Approved Silver Products
  • America the Beautiful coins
  • American Eagle bullion/proof coins
  • British Britannia (2013 and newer)
  • Chinese Panda coins
  • Approved Platinum Products
  • American Eagle bullion/proof coins
  • Australian Koala bullion coins
  • Canadian Maple Leaf bullion coins
  • Approved Palladium Products
  • Canadian Maple Leaf

How to Open a Gold IRA

Opening a precious metals IRA can be a bit more challenging than opening a traditional or ROTH IRA. But with the right steps, navigating the process is quite simple. Here is what you'll need to do: 

1. Select a Self-Directed IRA Custodian

Any self-directed IRA is held by a custodian. When researching, you'll find several types of custodians. For instance, a custodian can be a bank, trust company, or another entity that is approved by the IRS. Once you find a custodian, this will enable you to invest in alternative assets like precious metals. 

2. Choose a Precious Metals Dealer

The next thing you'll need to do is select a precious metals dealer. A precious metals dealer is a person, partnership, or corporation that enables you to buy secondhand items containing precious metals.  

Once you've identified the right dealer, you will direct your IRA custodian to send money to the dealer so that you can purchase gold, silver, platinum, or palladium. 

Be sure to do thorough research before settling on a dealer. Not all dealers are created equal. It's important to find a reputable company, that has positive reviews and offers IRA-eligible coins. 

3. Decide What Products to Buy

The next step is to find what precious metals you would like to invest in. You will work with your dealer to select the best products to diversify your portfolio. Many investors choose American Eagle Bullion coins that are issued by the U.S. Mint. But there are plenty of other precious metals that you can choose from. 

4. Choose Your Depository

Next, it's time to choose a depository. Precious metals investing in a self-directed IRA must be stored in an approved depository. Your IRA custodian will likely recommend some depositories to you but you can also choose one that meets your needs as long as it also meets the Internal Revenue Code's requirements. 

5. Complete Your Transaction

After you have chosen a custodian, dealer, and depository, you're ready to complete your purchase. There's no need to worry about the transaction through. Your IRA custodian will handle the payments while your dealer will ship your precious metals to your chosen depository. 

Here are some popular depositories available:

Delaware Depository

The Delaware Depository is an IRS-approved and CME-licensed exchanged precious metals depository. This company offers up to $1 billion in "all-risk" coverage. With that said, the insurance includes up to $100,000 in coverage per package for shipments made by mail or express carrier. 

Brinks Global Services

Another IRS-approved depository is Brink's Global Services. This company's authorized depositories are in London and New York City. 

Brinks Global Services is considered a preferred depository because it offers a myriad of advantages like 100% liability to all valuables stored, an online portal that can be accessed globally, third-party inspection, and among other things. 

HSBC Bank U.S.A

Another widely recognized depository is HSBC Bank. This company is considered the world's largest bullion clearance center. HSBC Bank has continued to rank number one in gold and silver dealing and offers a variety of benefits for the customer who choose to store their metals with them. 

For instance, HSBC offers 24-hour customer care to customers around the world. It is also the largest custodian of precious metals in the world with the world's biggest commercial precious metals vault.

Withdrawing From a Precious Metals IRA

There are two options available to you when you're ready to withdraw from your precious metal IRA: In-Kind Distributions and Depository Purchases. 

In-Kind Distributions: This is when you choose to have the physical precious metals that you were holding shipped to you after distribution.

Depository Purchase: You can also choose for the depository to purchase the metal from you to give you your investment in dollar value. 

Regardless of which option you choose, you will need to contact your custodian to help you begin the process. Keep in mind that once you withdraw your precious metals from your account, you may owe taxes and penalties. But this will ultimately depend on the type of account you have and your age. 

With that said, investors are required to start taking their required minimum distributions when they turn 72. 

Is Opening a Gold IRA a Good Idea?

All investments come with risk and reward. A gold IRA can be a great choice for investors who are especially concerned about inflation and market volatility. But keep in mind that precious metal IRAs are more expensive than some other investment options. They may also carry more risk when compared to a traditional IRA. 

If you already have a strong investment portfolio, a precious metal IRA is a great way to diversify by setting aside a small portion for precious metals. 

Overall, precious metals come with several benefits. By opening a gold IRA, investors gain access to the ability to invest in alternative assets and build a more secure future. 

Just be sure to thoroughly research your custodian, dealer, and depository. Choosing the right entities will make all the difference in your investment experience.

Remember to read out list of the Top Gold Companies.

>> Click HERE to read our Best Gold IRA Companies list <<

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