Charles Schwab is one of the largest investment platforms and institutions in the United States. The company has operated since 1971 and has become one of the most trusted names in finance over the past fifty years. Today, there are more than 32,000 employees across more than 360 global branches. Millions of consumers have used the company's services to manage their assets.
Charles Schwab is known for providing every kind of financial and investment help. There are brokerage services where you can buy and sell different assets. In addition, there are finance professionals who can help you with retirement planning and individual wealth management. They'll create a plan to take you through retirement and help you put your money to the best use now.
Charles Schwab is actually the third-largest asset management platform in the world. In addition to servicing individuals and retailers, they also service institutions. There are financial planning services available for businesses, nonprofits, and other institutions as well as individuals.
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Does Charles Schwab Have a Gold IRA?
The answer to this question depends on what you mean by "gold IRA." If you mean a self-directed IRA that holds physical gold, then the answer is no. Charles Schwab doesn't have any gold IRA services available. You can't buy physical bullion through their platform, and they do not incorporate precious metals into their typical portfolios.
That being said, there are quite a few options that allow you to invest in gold and the precious metals industry through more traditional means. Whether any of these are right for you will depend on your needs and your priorities. If you want physical gold without any of the paper guarantees or hassle, you might want to work with one of our alternative options instead.
If your IRA is entirely managed through Charles Schwab, then you will not be able to hold precious metals inside of it. That's because all of the assets will come directly from the Charles Schwab trading network, which does not include gold or silver. If you use an alternative company to open a self-directed IRA, then you're free to use your funds to purchase whatever you want.
Precious Metals Industry Offers Through Charles Schwab
Even though physical precious metals aren't available for purchase, there are multiple ways to invest in the precious metals industry. In fact, Charles Schwab has many more investments related to precious metals than most of the other competing financial institutions.
A mutual fund is created when investors pool their resources in order to invest significantly in certain companies or industries. Your assets are just a tiny percentage of the total fund. The funds are typically directed by an investment manager, and all of the information about their exact specifications is public.
If you invest in a gold mutual fund, you will be investing in precious metals and the precious metals industry. Most commonly, this involves buying stock in mining companies or refineries. Mining companies tend to have a steady stream of revenue, especially large operations with many projects occurring at once.
When you go to the Charles Schwab Select List, you can view all of the available mutual funds together. When you invest in these funds, you don't have to pay any additional fees. The solidity of them has been vetted by the managers behind the company in order to ensure that customers are getting a relatively safe, stable asset.
There are three mutual funds on offer that have to do with the gold industry. These are the US Gold and Precious Metals Fund, the First Eagle Gold Fund, and the Gabelli Gold Fund.
All three of these are dedicated exclusively to precious metals or to companies in the precious metals industry. Comparatively, many other "gold mutual funds" put only a small percentage of the holdings into precious metals.
Exchange Traded Funds
You might have heard of a gold ETF, or exchange traded fund. An ETF is traded on the regular market similarly to company stocks. But instead of being a share in a company, it's a share in a quantity of precious metals.
This is similar to a mutual fund in that you only hold a small percentage of the total ETF value. But it's different from mutual funds in that you can sell and buy it similarly to a stock share.
When you buy shares of an ETF, you are buying into a fund that is backed by physical gold. But the shares are being traded, rather than the gold itself. This means that you don't have to worry about storing the physical gold, and there's more room for growth. But there's also a great deal more risk involved.
Because you don't fully own the physical gold, the ETF could lose its value if it loses the gold backing. There's a level of risk there that you don't get with a basic physical purchase. In addition, ETF values are subject to the whims of the market. So they may drop if the economy goes through struggles, while physical precious metals prices tend to rise in these circumstances.
Three gold ETFs are available through Charles Schwab. These are the SPDR Gold Shares, SPDR Gold MiniShares, and iShares Gold Trust. In all cases, the funds are exclusively dedicated to physical gold, rather than to precious metals companies.
Stocks are another option if you want to invest in the precious metals industry. But there are several factors to keep in mind.
First, people usually buy physical gold when the stock market is crashing. There's no guarantee that your company will succeed during this kind of volatility.
Second, stocks are subject to even more external factors and risk than physical precious metals. The price of gold is fairly standard and calculated based on a minute-to-minute trade on the open market. But the price of a stock share is calculated based on a company's revenue, growth, current projects, size, PR, and a whole host of other factors.
So if you invest in the wrong precious metals company, you could end up in trouble. For example, maybe you invest in a mining company that only has one active mining project. If that project then needs to be delayed or scrapped due to unforeseen circumstances, the value of your investment will plummet. Stocks are much more speculative in value than physical assets.
The most common stocks in the precious metals industry are with mining companies. If you do buy stock in a mining company, it's best to look for one with a number of global projects active. There should also be several projects in development. That way, if one project fails, the others can cover the lost revenue. And when the mines eventually reach the end of their lifespan, the in-development projects will be ready to start.
Charles Schwab operates as a full-service trade broker. This means that clients have access to any stock that's publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. There are several mining companies with publicly traded stock, including Barrick Gold, Kirkland Lake Gold, Agnico Eagle Mines, Freeport-McMoRan, and Newmont Goldcorp.
There's also the option to invest in something called a gold futures contract with Charles Schwab. This is not a go-to traditional asset. When you buy a gold futures contract, you agree to buy a certain amount of gold at a certain pre-set price at a certain date in the future.
The majority of gold futures are used by gold companies themselves, as this helps hedge against price volatility. If you're an investor who believes that the price of gold might rise shortly, then you might invest in gold futures to take advantage of the current lower price.
This is slightly different from buying physical precious metals because you never actually come in contact with the gold. Your contract is just promising to buy the gold at a certain date in the future.
Gold futures with Charles Schwab are traded on the NYMEX and the ICE exchanges, for national and global reach. There are three contract sizes available. You can buy 32, 50, or 100 ounces of gold. The futures are traded continually even when the normal markets are closed, with transactions taking place 23 hours out of the day.
If it's time to take possession of your gold futures contract, you have to go to the COMEX warehouse. That's where you'll be given the package containing your purchase. Comparatively, if you buy physical gold for an IRA, you can simply have the package shipped to whatever depository you choose. You don't have to worry about showing up to a warehouse in person, which is a major pain.
Charles Schwab Gold Trading Fees
One of the appealing things about Charles Schwab is that the company doesn't charge any account fees whatsoever if you have a standard account. In addition, there's no minimum balance required to open an account. You may need to meet minimums for some of the mutual funds, but owning and managing a portfolio is free.
When you're determining the trading fees, you'll have to factor in whether you're trading by yourself or using a broker on the platform. If you trade by yourself online, then you'll pay a much lower amount in fees. It's also possible to trade ETFs and stocks without any cost, since they are freely traded on the open market.
For stocks, ETFs, and Charles Schwab mutual funds, there's a cost of $0 to trade online. The cost is $25 to use a broker, as a service fee. Trading options costs $0.65 per contract if you trade online. If you trade with a broker, it's that plus the $25 service fee.
Non-Schwab mutual funds have a variety of costs depending on the exact fund, but they max out at $49.95 online. With a broker, you get the same online pricing plus the $25 service fee.
Futures are the only option that have an equal fee whether you're trading online or using the brokerage. It's $2.25 per futures contract.
As mentioned, you can't purchase physical metals. So you won't be able to have your purchases shipped to a depository, and you won't be able to factor in the depository fees. If you want to do that, then you need to work with one of our alternative companies instead.
Alternatives for Buying Physical Gold
Our favorite company for buying physical gold is Goldco. If you're making a personal investment with your savings, then they can help you determine which products are best for diversifying your portfolio. And if you're using your retirement funds, then they can manage all of the paperwork and regulations for you.
We also like Augusta Precious Metals. This company has a unique setup. Instead of having every employee focus on everything, there are five different departments. Each department specializes in one niche aspect of the purchase process. So there's always someone around who can answer even the most in-depth and technical of questions.
If you don't have a lot of cash on hand, but you still want to invest in gold or silver, we recommend American Hartford Gold. They have super reasonable pricing and will even price match any lower offers for their products. When the time comes to liquidate your holdings, they'll buy back your items with no questions asked. They have a great reputation and consistent policies.
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Currently our #1 recommendation is offering up to $10,000 in free silver!