Before we get started with our analysis, we want to say that our team understands just how difficult it can be to choose a company that you can trust with your hard-earned money. So, in order to help you make the right decision, we're providing some informative and useful information.
It’s also important to note that this isn't an audit about a gold IRA dealer but actually about a self-directed IRA custodian. As we go through our review, you’ll see that this is a company that specializes in several of the same areas that many IRA competitors do, although it’s perhaps not quite as well-known.
Our review of GoldStar Trust in short
Company name: GoldStar Trust
BBB grade: A+
Summary: In short, our examination of this self-directed IRA custodian is that it gets an A+ for customer service. In addition, you can bring your own personal IRA ideas to life by working with them since they specialize in a variety of alternative assets for your IRA. And, that's very unusual in most areas of the financial field.
So, whether you choose to invest in precious metals, church bonds, privately held companies, or something else, it looks like your investments will have a soft landing in a safe place with GoldStar Trust.
Our score: 4.5/5
What is a Self-Directed IRA Anyway?
We think that this is a good place to start our assessment since, similar to Equity Trust, GoldStar Trust is a self-directed IRA (SDIRA) custodian. So, you may ask, what is that?
Well, simply put, in contrast to traditional retirement accounts, self-directed IRAs are accounts that allow alternative investment choices. And, did you know that alternative investments can dramatically increase your return-on-investment potential as well as diversify your portfolio?
That’s how your investment strategy can keep up with the rapidly changing financial world. In addition, due to some recent financial instability worldwide, your traditional investment strategy might not be quite as safe as you might like to think it is. With an SDIRA, you can invest in many areas that you really understand and care a great deal about.
About the company
The company began opening IRA accounts in 1989 and actually started out as Colonial Trust Company. Then, they later became a leader in self-directed IRAs and custodianships, acting as escrow/paying agents and trustees for their members.
Today, the company has 34 employees (according to LinkedIn), and currently has its headquarters in Canyon, Texas. The company provides investors and retirees unique investing and retirement planning solutions that go beyond stocks and bonds, and even mutual funds.
They give a very unique value proposition since it’s acting as a trustee for a small bank acquired in 1990. And, it's one of the smaller IRA providers in our country, however, its executive team takes a great deal of pride in offering personalized services to its clients.
It's true that custodial work can be quite complex. On the paperwork side, most gold IRA companies use third parties to manage their retirement accounts. In contrast, this custodian seems to take on the bulk of this effort itself.
Some Additional In-Depth Info About GoldStar
Despite its name, GoldStar does not actually sell its own bullion. They specialize in self-directed retirement accounts instead since they’re a custodial firm first and foremost. And, being founded in 1989 means that the firm has more than 33 years of experience in its field.
As you know, this probably means that by now, they know quite a bit about what they're doing, which could explain how they have so many highly varied IRA offerings.
On the BBB web page, Gold Star is listed as having been open for 114 years because it is the custodial branch of the Happy State Bank, which goes back that far. Both businesses are Texan natives, with Happy State Bank (originally called First State Bank) having been in business since 1908.
Happy State Bank currently oversees $5.5 billion in assets and GoldStar Trust Company manages $2.5 billion. Combined, that really makes them a sizable financial entity.
GoldStar Trust Company's Specialties
This custodian mainly focuses on its core specialties, which include:
- IRA accounts
- Church bonds
- Church finances
- Custodial accounts
- Precious Metals IRA accounts
- Private investments
- Publicly traded securities
- and more investment-related services.
Is GoldStar Trust a scam?
Just like the name says, GoldStar Trust is a trust company and just a custodian. They’re not a scam but a legitimate business. If you invest in gold, silver, platinum or palladium, ultimately it’s completely up to you when it comes to choosing your precious metals broker/dealer as well as the optimum investment grade bullion for your IRA.
How is their customer support?
The majority of users report that this organization is a breeze to work with as custodians for self-directed IRAs.
They also say that the company is ideally suited to investment experts who want robust and varied retirement portfolios. And, they also commend their clear-cut paperwork, fast and friendly service, excellent accounts, and especially their individualized support.
Have there been any complaints about GoldStar Trust?
In the past three years, the BBB has only received four complaints against the company, and they were mainly related to advertising, billing, collections, and sales. Just to clarify, they simply holds precious metal investments as a custodian on behalf of its clients and does not trade them.
You may have read that Superior Gold Group, a dealer that utilized their services, was mentioned negatively in the media at one point in the past. In an effort to make it right for their members, GoldStar Trust Company immediately informed them that it had discontinued doing business with Superior Gold Group.
That was a big positive as was the fact that it was actually them that contacted the D.A.s for both L.A. and Santa Monica, CA, as well as the BBB about investigating Superior Gold Group’s alleged crimes. And, they’ve been accredited with the BBB since 2004.
We can definitely appreciate their manner of responding to applicants and the fact that almost every complaint appears to have been resolved in a way that was satisfactory for both parties.
GoldStar Trust Overal Ratings & Feedback
Generally, the testimonies online are mixed, however, the company’s feedback appears to be mainly positive in nature. As far as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) goes, they hold an A score, which is almost their highest grade.
However, they only have a one out of five-star rating based upon four negative testimonies and ten complaints that have been closed over the last three years. The company doesn’t have a Business Consumer Alliance profile, however, TrustPilot gives it a 4.4 out of 5-star grade (Excellent). This is based on 123 TrustPilot comments.
Setting Up a GoldStar Trust SDIRA
The firm makes it fairly simple to set up your self-directed IRA by following these easy steps:
Step #1: Choosing the Type of IRA
First, you need to choose which type of SDIRA you want. You can choose from these:
- Traditional IRA
- Simple IRA
- Roth IRA
- SEP IRA
Step # 2: Choosing How You’ll Fund Your SDIRA
Next, you’ll need to choose between the following:
- Doing a rollover from your eligible employee plan
- Transferring a current IRA account
- Funding your SDIRA with cash.
Please Note: Transfers and rollovers require you to your current provider for the purpose of facilitating the paperwork.
Step #3: Choosing Your Investments
Now all you need to do is choose which alternative investments you want to hold in your SDIRA. For example, you could choose precious metals. There’s a wide range of great options that you can choose from, of course, and here at the most common alternative investments for your SDIRA:
- Church bonds: These are a type of investment that's fairly similar to any other type of bond, however, with a bit of a religious twist. In return for investing in the construction or rebuilding of churches, you receive interest.
- Crowdfunding: This is much like being an early investor in any company that’s publicly traded. It’s an opportunity to acquire shares in an up-and-coming project, which will, hopefully, take off and increase in value.
- Precious metals: For many investors, this is the good part. A precious metals IRA allows for everything from gold to silver, platinum, and even palladium to be included in your retirement account.
- Privately-offered investments: This is an option for making stocks or even entire companies that you hold a personal stake in part of your SDIRA.
- Publicly-traded securities: You can even have your IRA act as a type of platform for trading everything from stocks to mutual funds.
- Real estate: This option lets you hold real estate or companies that are involved in the financial sector in your SDIRA.
- REITs: This is another good retirement investment option that’s real-estate-based.
Pros and Cons of GoldStar Trust
The firm is no different than any other business or financial institution of today inasmuch as it has both pros and cons, including:
- Depending on how you look at it, it has been in business for either 30+ years or more than one century. Either way, they've had plenty of years in business to become a well-established company.
- You'll be doing business with a reputable directed custodian.
- It offers a wide range of alternative investments as well as managing $2 billion in assets.
- You get a highly-inclusive IRA offering a wide range of alternative investments. And, many of them are investments that you probably had no idea could actually be included in an IRA.
The company is not really a specialized precious metals broker. They don’t exchange them and don’t appear to place much emphasis on them.
Their service may be lacking compared to many other gold IRA specialists for persons who want to invest only in rare assets in their Traditional or Roth IRA.
The vast majority of the investment process for a gold IRA is up to you if you open it through GoldStar Trust.
Some individuals have complained about high custodial fees and the fact that it could increase along with the account value.
By now, you've read this and most likely some other Goldstar Trust audits. And, you probably know that typically, investing experts agree that precious metals should make up from 5 to 20 percent of your retirement portfolio. This strategy serves two express purposes:
- Inflation protection.
- In the event of a recession or depression, it increases the value of your retirement savings.
All of this means that your retirement portfolio is a small piece of a much larger puzzle, so you need to be careful about how you invest that small piece. You have many options when it comes to choosing a custodian if you plan on investing in precious metals and/or other alternative avenues.
The company consistently ranks among the top five IRA companies because of its dedication to helping members with their retirement accounts.
GoldStar Trust's fees transparency
One other thing that we appreciate about them is how transparent they are regarding their costs. You can find their cost schedule with listings for all asset types clearly displayed on their website. From their small $50 account establishment fee to their nominal annual one, you can't really go wrong with a company that shows them to you right up-front.
In this day and age, it's refreshing to find a company that puts its fees right out there for you to see and doesn't try to hide them in the fine print so they can spring them on you later down the road. Surprise! (and not in a good way) Let’s face it, you know how, when, and where you want to invest and this corporation knows how to get it to your IRA.
You can choose your area of interest and/or expertise or even a cause that you truly believe in with your self-directed IRA. With GoldStar, you can control your investments and trust them to do the rest.