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With recent stock market performance, its only natural for you to be questioning the best investment options. You may be looking to precious metals—specifically gold and a Gold IRA—as an opportunity to save for retirement. However, if you're not too familiar with Gold IRAs or investing in gold in general, you may have some questions about whether a Gold IRA is the best investment decision for your financial future.
Today, we're going to take a look at what Gold IRAs are and some of the benefits and drawbacks of opening a Gold IRA. By the time you've finished reading through this article, you should have gained the knowledge you need to decide whether you're ready to open up a new Gold IRA or rollover your existing retirement account.
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What Is a Self-Directed IRA?
A Gold IRA is a type of Self-Directed IRA. So, let's start by discussing what a Self-Directed IRA is and how they work.
Self-Directed IRAs are a type of retirement account that gives you more freedom and flexibility with the type of assets you can hold in your account. When most people think of an IRA, they think of a retirement account holding stocks or bonds.
ERISA, the Employee Retirement Security Act, was passed in 1974. It opened the doors to allowing American workers to start saving for retirement through an Individual Retirement Account, or IRA. What many people don't realize is that Self-Directed IRAs were established at the same time that ERISA allowed for traditional IRAs.
However, it wasn't until the Taxpayer Relief Act passed in 1997 that individuals were allowed to hold precious metals in their retirement account. Today, with a Self-Directed IRA, you're able to hold the following (among other options) in a retirement account:
What Is a Gold IRA?
A Gold IRA is one version of a Self-Directed IRA, where you are able to hold gold bullion coins and bars in a retirement account. As with most other types of IRAs, individuals can contribute up to $6,000 to a Gold IRA each year (or $7,000 for individuals over 50 years old).
There are a few different types of Gold IRAs. Let's take a look at each type so you can decide what is right for you and your financial situation:
According to IRS regulations, gold coins or bars must be at least 99.5% pure in order to be held in a Gold IRA (with the exception of the American Eagle Gold Coin that is 91.67% pure). Below are some of the IRA-eligible gold coins and bars that you could decide to add to your account:
What Are the Benefits of a Gold IRA?
You may be starting to see some of the benefits of opening a Gold IRA already. In the next few sections, we'll take a closer look at why setting up a Gold IRA is seen as a smart investment by many financial experts.
One of the biggest reasons to consider opening a Gold IRA is that it can help you diversify your investment portfolio. Diversification means that all of your investments aren't held in the same type of asset, such as stock and bonds.
When all of your funds are invested in the same type of asset, you are at a much greater threat of losing a higher percentage of your portfolio in the event of a market downturn.
For example, if you have all of your money invested in stock, but the stock market crashes shortly before you're ready to retire, the consequences could be dire. Would you still have enough money to retire as planned? Would you need to adjust your plans and continue working longer than you were intending to?
When your investments are diversified and some of your money is invested in alternative assets, such as gold, the threats against your total wealth are lessened and your overall portfolio can be much more stable.
Take the example above. If the stock market crashes right before you're ready to retire, your overall outlook won't be as bleak if you have some of your money invested in gold or other precious metals. You would be more likely to retire as planned thanks to the balance that your Gold IRA adds to your overall portfolio.
Gold Holds its Value Well
Historically, the value of gold has remained stable, even during times of inflation. For example, during the recession and crisis between 2007 and 2009 when the stock market suffered a major crash, the value of gold increased significantly. Those who had gold in their portfolios suffered lesser impacts than those who were solely invested in the stock market.
Hedge Against Inflation
Some/ financial experts see investing in gold as an opportunity to hedge against inflation. The relative value each dollar in your bank account decreases during inflation. However, with gold, you could be able to outpace inflation with your investment at times.
There are Limited Supplies of Gold
Gold is a rare precious metal. Its supplies are limited. When you combine this with the fact that gold has been a highly sought-after and desired precious metal throughout history (and continues to be so today), you can see why adding some gold to an IRA sounds like a good idea to many.
With its limited supply, gold is also easy to liquidate. When you are ready to retire and ready to begin taking disbursements from your Gold IRA, if you decide to liquidate your holdings for cash, finding a buyer should not be difficult.
Gold is a Tangible Asset
Gold coins and bars are tangible assets. This means that you can physically hold them in your hands. This is not the case with stocks and bonds which are, in effect, just pieces of paper. If something happens to the stock market those pieces of 'paper' may lose their value. But, the physical coins and bars in your retirement account will still hold onto their value and offer you protection and security.
Earlier, we shared information about the different types of Gold IRAs (traditional Gold IRAs, Roth Gold IRAs, and SEP Gold IRAs). Each of these IRA types can help you save on your taxes, though they work in slightly different ways.
Traditional Gold IRAs allow you to decrease your taxable income. Any money you contribute to your IRA in each year is subtracted from your income, which lowers your tax liabilities. In some cases, contributing to your Gold IRA could even decrease your income enough to push you down a tax bracket.
Because you'll pay taxes on the funds you withdraw from your IRA upon retirement, traditional IRAs are often seen as the best option for those who anticipate being in a lower tax bracket when they retire than where they currently are.
With a Roth Gold IRA, you pay taxes on your Gold IRA contributions initially. This allows the money in your account to grow tax-free, meaning you won't be charged any taxes when you make a withdrawal after retiring. With the potential growth of an IRA, saving the taxes on a larger sum of money in the future can be a smart move. Roth Gold IRAs are also often seen as the better option for those who anticipate being in a higher tax bracket when they retire than where they are now.
SEP IRAs, which are for self-employed individuals or small business owners, offer similar benefits to traditional Gold IRAs. The amount you contribute to your IRA will decrease your taxable income. SEP IRA holders can contribute more than the $6,000 maximum for a traditional or Roth IRA, as well.
Self-employed individuals and small business owners can contribute 25% of their net income, or a maximum of $61,000 for the 2022 tax year.
Opportunity to Hold Other Precious Metals
Despite the name, you aren't limited to only holding gold in a Gold IRA. Another term for a Gold IRA is a Precious Metals IRA. With a Precious Metals IRA, you can also add silver, platinum, or palladium to your retirement account.
This provides you with the opportunity to further diversify your retirement account and may offer you greater financial stability.
Below are some of the different silver, platinum, and palladium coins and bars that you may be able to add to your Gold IRA depending on the precious metals provider you choose to work with.
Earlier we mentioned that you are not allowed to take possession of the precious metals in a Gold until you are old enough to retire and begin taking disbursements from your account. The IRS requires that all gold and precious metals for IRAs be held in an IRS-approved depository.
While this may sound like a bit of an inconvenience, it is actually a good thing. The depositories that have been approved by the IRS must satisfy the strict requirements that the IRS has in place to keep your precious metals secure.
This means that whichever approved depository you choose will have top-notch security in place. On the exceedingly rare chance that your metals get damaged, lost, or stolen, they'll also be protected by a full insurance policy.
Here are some of the IRS approved depositories that you may use. In many cases, the depository where your metals will be held will depend on the precious metals provider you choose to work with.
Converting an Existing Retirement Account to a Gold IRA Is Easy
If you're still on the fence about whether opening a Gold IRA is right for you and are worried that the process of transferring an existing retirement account will be too much work, don't be. The precious metals provider and IRA custodian company will help you through the process and keep it as simple as possible.
They'll help you know exactly what forms need to be filled out, how to give permission for your funds to be transferred, and when it is time to select the specific precious metals you'd like to add to your account.
You'll be impressed with how simple and straightforward everything is and will wonder why you didn't open a Gold IRA earlier.
Potential Drawbacks of a Gold IRA
While there are numerous benefits, as described above, to opening a Gold IRA, there are a few potential drawbacks as well. These include:
However, we believe that the benefits associated with Gold IRAs outweigh these drawbacks.
Gold IRAs offer an excellent opportunity to save for retirement while diversifying your portfolio and enjoying the many benefits of owning gold. When you work with a reputable company to set up your Gold IRA and add coins and bars to your account, you can feel confident that your investment is secure and will continue to grow in the years between now and your retirement. Do you think a Gold IRA is right for you? Contact your preferred precious metals provider today to get your account set up!
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