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In today's modern world, it's possible to buy almost anything online. That's even true with major investment products like precious metals. But just like being cautious with pawn shops, you also need to be cautious with online precious metals dealers. Not all of them have the best reputation.
There's a niche in the precious metals industry that focuses on precious metals IRAs. It's possible to hold gold and silver in a retirement account, but you have to comply with strict IRS regulations. Some precious metals dealers have become experts in the paperwork required, so they can help streamline the entire setup.
Goldco and Augusta Precious Metals are two of the best-known companies that specialize in gold IRAs. But what services do they offer, and which one is actually better?
Goldco was founded in 2006 and serves customers throughout the US from its headquarters in California. In addition to selling IRA-compatible gold and silver, the company also sells platinum and palladium.
When you invest with Goldco, you'll speak to a dedicated representative who will learn about your needs. This person is available to answer questions and to make suggestions. None of Goldco's salespeople use pushy tactics, since their main goal is to help you invest in whatever products are right for you specifically.
Goldco has thousands of reviews from past customers online. The vast majority of reviews are positive, with ratings of nearly 5 out of 5 stars on websites like Trustlink, Trustpilot, and the Better Business Bureau.
About Augusta Precious Metals
Augusta Precious Metals was founded in 2012, but many of the top executives have much longer industry careers behind them. They specialize in streamlining the IRA setup service and in providing ongoing client care.
After you create an IRA, you'll receive ongoing customer service. This even includes client education tools like individual sessions with expert business analysts. You'll always be able to ask your account representative for updates on your holdings or the economy.
Similarities Between the Companies
There are many similarities between the companies. Both offer many of the same services and specialize in the same niche areas. They also have features within their niche that help them to stand out from the competition.
The main focus of both of these companies is on precious metals IRAs. It has been legal to put precious metals into an IRA since 1997, but there are certain regulations. You must use a self-directed IRA account, have a licensed custodian, use an approved depository, and only purchase metals that meet IRS quality standards.
It can be difficult to adhere to all of these rules or to know where to start. And that's without even getting into how complicated it is to set up a self-directed IRA in the first place. Many people aren't familiar with the paperwork and are worried about making mistakes, so precious metals IRAs seem inaccessible to them.
Companies like Augusta Precious Metals and Goldco exist to make gold IRAs accessible. Their experts understand all of the paperwork and red tape so you don't have to. All you have to do is sign documents and let them do the work. They'll also be able to answer whatever questions you might have.
Online forms are available through both websites to get started. Alternatively, you also have the option of calling and speaking to a customer service representative over the phone.
It's also possible to make cash purchases from both companies. Since these are for your personal investments and not for a retirement account, they aren't subject to the same IRS regulations. You won't have to do complicated paperwork, and you can have the metals shipped either directly to you or to a depository that you've chosen.
Both of these companies have excellent reputations. They have both been endorsed by a variety of celebrities, podcasters, and talk show hosts. They have both been featured in a variety of publications and television networks, and they are run by precious metals industry experts. Their leadership is widely respected and acknowledged in the precious metals industry.
In addition to endorsements and quality leadership, both companies have good reviews from past customers. There are hundreds of reviews online, with the vast majority of being positive. The Better Business Bureau gives both companies an A+ rating, which indicates that they provide the highest quality customer service. Augusta has no complaints as of writing, and Goldco has worked to resolve any complaints filed.
Another similarity between the companies is their fee structure, which is different from some competitors. In the industry, it's common to use percentage-based fees. These take a portion of your account holdings based on how much you have saved.
But Goldco and Augusta both use flat fees. You pay the same amount every year, no matter what. This helps to make the cost of maintenance more predictable. It also means that no matter how much you save, you won't lose more of your wealth. Percentage-based structures tend to punish people for saving more.
Both of the companies use a flat fee model, but the flat fees that you can expect to pay are different. Both companies use reasonable charges and work hard not to have "hidden" fees. The price that you're quoted for setup and ordering is the price that you can expect to pay.
Goldco has a flat fee for setting up an IRA with them. You'll pay $50 to have their expert walk you through everything. That's an astonishingly small amount, considering they'll set up all the paperwork and talk to your custodian for you. You'll never need to speak to your custodian or depository yourself.
Most competing companies have setup fees that are either percentage-based or in the $150 to $200 range. Goldco keeps their fee low because they make the majority of their money through their precious metals sales.
In addition to the $50 fee for setup, you will need to pay a one-time fee of $30 for the wire transfer. This is when your funds are transferred from your account to Goldco, and your items are released to the depository.
If you want to invest in an IRA with Goldco, you must also meet the company's minimum investment threshold. Goldco recommends that people have a minimum of $25,000 to get started. While that may seem like a hefty price tag, it's actually lower than Augusta Precious Metals's minimum investment.
You will be charged $80 annually for maintenance, which is paid to your custodian. You are legally required to have an account custodian in order to maintain an IRA.
There is a choice between segregated and non-segregated storage. Segregated storage is separated totally from everyone else's items, while non-segregated is not. Both options are fully insured and held in depositories with strong security systems in place.
For segregated storage, you will pay $150 per year. For non-segregated storage, you can expect to pay a lower price of $100 per year.
Goldco marks up its precious metals to slightly more than the spot price of precious metals. However, their markups are significantly lower than most of the competition.
Augusta Precious Metals
Many of Augusta's fees are very similar to Goldco. You'll pay $50 to set up the account. Unlike Goldco, though, there doesn't seem to be an additional charge for a wire transfer.
Like with Goldco, you'll pay a custodial maintenance fee of $80 per year. This is much less than with a lot of competitors. Storage costs $100 per year, rather than there being multiple options depending on whether you choose segregated or non-segregated storage.
One of the most major fees is the minimum investment. In order to open an IRA using the services of Augusta Precious Metals, you are required to invest a minimum of $50,000. Many people don't have this much saved up in their retirement accounts. That's especially true since precious metals are often only a small percentage of a balanced portfolio.
So Augusta Precious Metals will not be an accessible option to everyone. It will work best if you've been saving for retirement for a while. They do make an offer to cover your first year of fees if you're a new customer. Additionally, if you meet certain investment thresholds, they might cover several more years of fees on top of that.
Augusta is very transparent about how they calculate their prices. When you purchase your precious metals, you will be charged the spot price and an additional 5% markup so the company can turn a profit. Shipping and transportation are both available at no extra charge.
As mentioned, both of these companies focus most chiefly in precious metals IRAs, but both also have cash purchases available. They will sell precious metals to people living in the United States. Augusta Precious Metals offers popular gold and silver investment items, while Goldco also offers palladium and platinum.
Goldco has a very solid reputation in the industry, and for good reason. Since they've been operating since 2006, they've had time to refine and perfect their approach. They have been endorsed by a variety of celebrities, including Sean Hannity.
One of the advantages of Goldco is that the company has a huge network of depository and custodian partners. This means that there's a wide range of depository options to choose from. All depositories are compliant with IRS regulations regarding insurance and security.
Goldco handles all of the communication with your custodian for you when you get started. They'll help you with the account application paperwork and the rollover transfer. You'll never need to talk to a representative from your custodian or your depository, which helps to further streamline the entire process.
Goldco has great ratings not just from past customers, but also from third party watchdogs. The Better Business Bureau gives the company an A+, and the Business Consumer Alliance gives them an AAA, which is the highest score available. There have only been a small handful of complaints, all of which Goldco has tried to resolve to the customer's satisfaction.
When you go to the Goldco website, you'll find varying educational tools. You can learn more about precious metals investing, retirement accounts, and the global economy.
Goldco has a buyback program for your metals as well. When the time comes to sell, you can contact them for a buyback offer. Assuming you accept the offer, they can coordinate the entire transfer with your custodian for you. If you choose not to accept the offer, you are free to choose any other buyer or have your precious metals sent to you without liquidating them.
Goldco will sometimes run promotions for new customers. For example, new customers that invest at least $50,000 may be eligible to have their setup and first year of fees waived. Some customers might also qualify to receive 10% of their investment value back in free silver, which is held outside your IRA.
Goldco's customer service team is not pushy. All representatives are available to answer questions and connect you to resources, whether or not you choose to use Goldco's services. The company is committed to helping customers make the best financial decisions for their futures.
Augusta Precious Metals
Though Augusta Precious Metals hasn't been part of the metals industry for as long as Goldco, they still have a respectable decade of experience. Many of their experts joined the company after decades-long careers in finance, precious metals, and other relevant industries.
Augusta Precious Metals operates with values involving transparency, education, and convenience. They have one of the most solid customer service teams in the business. In addition, their whole company setup is unique.
There are multiple dedicated departments within Augusta Precious Metals. Each department focuses on just one key part of the IRA process. Experts within these departments know absolutely everything there is to know about their niche, so there's always someone available with answers to obscure questions.
At the same time, customers receive a dedicated account representative. This is the main person that you'll talk to. After your account is created, you can always reach out to this person with questions or requests for updates. They will establish a rapport with you, and you'll continue to work with them for as long as you have an account with Augusta Precious Metals.
Transparency is key. There's a lot of information accessible about who runs Augusta Precious Metals, the history of the company, and the company policies. They even explain how they calculate their product prices around the spot price of precious metals, which many companies don't explain.
Augusta Precious Metals also has a very impressive array of client education resources. Their client education is more robust than Goldco's, with an entire dedicated learning center on the website. No matter whether you learn best through videos, articles, or one on one interactions, Augusta Precious Metals has you covered.
You will even be able to have individual meetings with some of the trained analysts that run the company. They'll explain different aspects of the precious metals market, as well as things to watch for with the current global economy. Quarterback Joe Montana chose to endorse Augusta Precious Metals following one of these sessions, because he was so impressed by the client education.
One advantageous feature of Augusta Precious Metals is that they offer price matching. If you get a written offer from a different precious metals dealer that's lower than Augusta's, they will match the price.
Augusta Precious Metals also has varying promotions. They are willing to waive the fees of new customers for up to several years, depending on how much you're investing. You can talk to your account representative about whether there are any current promotions that you might qualify for.
Like Goldco, Augusta Precious Metals offers to buy back your products when you're ready to liquidate.
Who Is the Winner?
Both of these companies are leaders in the industry for a reason. They both have such good customer feedback that either is a positive choice to work with. Each has a variety of advantages and disadvantages compared to the other.
Ultimately, though, we have to choose Goldco as our winner. There are several factors influencing this decision:
While Augusta Precious Metals might have a more streamlined setup with their departments, it can't quite outcompete Goldco. But their offer to waive your account fees for a certain number of years may be lucrative if you have a large enough amount set aside to invest.