Accuplan offers gold IRA custodial services to individuals in the US. Though they have been operating for several years, they are a smaller business in the industry. In addition, they have a host of terrible reviews from their prior customers. In fact, out of fourteen Yelp reviews, not a single one offers more than 1 star.
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The company reputation is bad.
That's basically it. It's just bad. Either there's no information about how they operate, or there's a lot of information - and none of it is good.
One of the biggest things to keep in mind with gold IRAs is that you will have a relationship with your custodian for as long as you have the account. Unless you choose to shift your assets, that means you'll be working with them until retirement and then some.
These representatives do not have a reputation for treating consumers fairly throughout the years. Here are just a few of the complaints cited on Yelp:
Now, all of these observations come from Yelp, which doesn't have the best user verification system. So they can be taken with a grain of salt. But when a company fails to have any reviews higher than the lowest possible rating, that's a major red flag.
On Trustlink, the company has zero reviews. They are not accredited with the Better Business Bureau. As of April 2021, the company has chosen not to participate in BBB reviews or findings. That means that the BBB cannot keep track of relevant complaints or information.
There's no real reason for refusing to participate with the BBB except if you need to cover something up. People with grievances are encouraged instead to talk to lawyers, because the company will not try to help if you lodge a BBB complaint.
The BBB has no reviews of the business or any past complaints recorded. According to a blog post from Accuplan, the company refuses to listen to complaints because they don't like the BBB. They also say something about how they handle too much confidential information as a financial institution to communicate through third party websites.
There are dozens - if not hundreds - of gold IRA brokers, precious metals dealers, and financial services experts who are accredited with the BBB. This reasoning makes no sense. Combined with the company's bad reviews, it's extremely suspicious.
To offset the unrelentingly awful reviews, the company seems to have poured a wealth of money into advertising. Their goal is to make sure that their own website comes up first when a person searches anything to do with them. The website is filled with trustworthy-sounding copy that can easily fool anyone without a lot of media literacy.
While it's difficult to find information about official complaints due to confidentiality, the Yelp page does indicate that some people have sought legal action. Existing complaints aren't available for the public to view, and complaints can no longer be filed with the BBB now that Accuplan refuses to work with them.
This indicates that the company is purposefully trying to obfuscate their practices and bury bad reviews.
People say they have filed complaints about negligence, unnecessary time delays, purposeful confusion, and incompetence. In addition, people have noted that the company charges significantly more monthly fees than many other precious metals IRA brokerages.
Some heartbreaking accounts detail how the company's mistakes led to the account holder being locked out of their account. When they couldn't take money out of their account, it caused them to miss important mortgage payments and fall behind on bills.
So based on all of this, even before looking at the services offered, we have to recommend that you seek a different gold IRA provider. There are many much more reputable companies that have friendly, trustworthy customer service teams.
Now that that's established, let's take a look at the actual services offered.
About the Company
According to Accuplan's marketing materials, the company is made up of a team of experts who help people set up precious metals IRAs. In addition, they have real estate investment services for investors who want to retire.
On top of facilitating the buying of residential properties, they will help with:
All of these types of real estate can be secured in an IRA account through Accuplan. You can also combine a precious metals IRA with a real estate IRA. This is a solid investment choice because the value of precious metals tends to behave inversely to real estate. When one market is in trouble, the other flourishes.
There is something to be said for a company that deals in both real estate and precious metals IRAs. These are two types of alternative asset that are subject to strict IRS rules. If you don't have a background in tax law and financial investment, you might be intimidated by the setup.
But there are better self-directed IRA companies out there. Since Accuplan doesn't appear to offer accurate education about their services, it doesn't matter that a dual investment process is theoretically sound. You might end up losing money anyway.
Accuplan was first founded in 1993 and has been operating out of Utah since then. Their client base has grown to cover much of the surrounding area, but the customer reviews haven't been encouraging.
What Self-Directed IRAs Are
Self-directed IRAs are retirement accounts in which investors choose their investments. They are often favored by people with investment and financial expertise. You have the opportunity to invest in alternative assets like real estate, cryptocurrency, and precious metals.
Alternative assets are a popular way to diversify your retirement investment portfolio. Precious metals offer protection against inflation and stock market crashes. Real estate is popular because it always has some value. Cryptocurrency is one of the hottest and most volatile investment trends today.
With Accuplan, investors can't seek out advice on their investments. The self-directed aspect of the IRA means that people need to make their own investment choices without a third party broker. So people without a strong background in investing and business won't benefit from the company's setup.
Precious Metals Investment
This company is one of several that offers precious metals investing services for people who want to self-direct an IRA. According to IRS tax codes, you can invest in platinum, silver, palladium, and gold. These materials must be coins or bullion that adheres to a certain purity level.
Collectible coins are not available to put in a self-directed IRA. You have to make sure that the assets are compliant with IRS regulations first.
The majority of people use Accuplan to buy precious metals. The company doesn't offer every self-directed asset available. For example, you won't be able to purchase cryptocurrency like Bitcoin by using Accuplan's materials.
When you do invest in precious metals, you have to pay ongoing fees for storage. The IRS requires you to house your assets in specialized storage facilities.
Usually the fees will cover the cost of your vault, your account custodian's work, and an insurance policy. The insurance covers your precious metals in case they are lost, stolen, or damaged in a natural disaster.
Opening a precious metals IRA with Accuplan includes a starting cost of 50 dollars. That's to cover all of the paperwork and streamlining that your precious metals dealer does, and it's fairly standard in the industry. After that, you'll be paying 195 dollars per year for custodial storage fees.
That's a little pricier than some other options on the market, but still within industry standard. Unlike some other companies, Accuplan does have a 12 dollar ongoing monthly fee for taking care of your assets. That adds up to another 144 dollars per year. Many other investment companies do not do this, so that's an unnecessary fee to keep in mind.
If you purchase metals as investments outside of an IRA, you can store them wherever you want. It's a good idea to get storage outside your home, though, as your home is vulnerable to damage, theft, and loss.
Benefits of Self-Directed IRAs
Self-directed IRAs can seem intimidating if you don't have a strong background in finance. That's why so many companies help people set them up. You get an expert in tax documentation who takes care of nearly all of the paperwork and communication for you. In return, you can purchase assets for your new account from your precious metals dealer.
One benefit of a self-directed IRA account is that it saves some money. Having a managed IRA means needing to pay an account manager to take care of your assets. Even though your compound interest usually covers this, you could still save this money.
That said, you still need a custodian when you use a self-directed IRA. This is an entity that takes care of your physical assets. If you have physical assets like gold and silver, they have to be stored in IRS approved vaults.
Self-directed IRAs are favored by people who already know a fair amount about investment. They're a good choice for people who want to diversify their accounts as well. Sometimes having savings and stocks isn't enough to protect against a volatile economy.
If you're nervous after witnessing two of the most major economic crashes in history in just a 15 year period, a self-directed IRA may offer a sense of security. But we recommend choosing a company other than Accuplan to help you set it up.
Is the Company a Scam?
Accuplan has been in business too long to qualify as a scam. They have almost 30 years of experience with serving the industry. However, they're not a very good company.
They refuse to participate in the BBB's programs and have no accredited reviews on Trustpilot. Of the 14 reviews on Yelp, every single one is negative. Customers have extremely bad things to say - including customers who have worked with the company for years.
Because of this, despite not qualifying as a scam, we'd be wary about using Accuplan as your go-to option. There are a lot of better resources out there that can help you diversify your retirement accounts. These companies also won't confuse you or make your life more difficult when you want to be paid dividends from your account.
Accuplan doesn't offer much transparency regarding their products. They also don't offer transparency about their company practices. Their blog posts are written with intentional misinformation designed to confuse you. All in all, they're a lot more shady than many alternative options.
After all, if a company isn't trying to save their reputation with trusted watchdogs, how can they be expected to save their reputation with individual customers? Accuplan's refusal to cooperate with the BBB and other organizations has left people with no choice except to seek legal counsel.
You don't want to risk that kind of headache when it's not necessary.
You might still decide that you want to take your chances with Accuplan. But we hope that instead, you'll consider one of our more highly rated investment options.
There are good reasons to diversify your retirement account by using a self-directed IRA. These types of retirement accounts allow you to hold cryptocurrency, precious metals, real estate, and other IRS-approved assets.
Because the process of getting one set up is complicated if you don't already understand tax codes, hiring a third party company is ideal. Accuplan tries to be that third party company.
However, the firm is also plagued by accusations of poor practices. They refuse to cooperate with the BBB, don't have any trustworthy reviews on Trustlink, and have literally no Yelp reviews higher than one star. Past customers on Yelp accuse them of maliciously trying to confuse the elderly, having poor customer service, and defrauding people.
Due to this, we can't in good conscience recommend this company to handle your retirement assets. It's a better idea to invest using a trusted precious metals IRA company.
Although we do think that Accuplan is a somewhat decent company, we believe that there are way better companies out there to make your investment with.
Or, continue with Accuplan...