An IRA is highly preferred for its tax-deferred benefits that enable your contributions to grow freely until you are required to begin taking them as distributions after your 72nd birthday.
However, like many other retirement plans, your IRA portfolio is subject to fluctuations in overall value due to the stocks, bonds, and other financial securities often contained in it that are more sensitive to various changes in the market. Hence, it can affect your confidence when it comes time to retire.
On the other hand, a gold IRA enables you to purchase physical gold and other precious metals as part of your retirement plan for greater diversification and to hedge against inflation while also providing you with the same tax benefits, depending on the type of IRA you choose.
And all you have to do to convert your IRA into a gold IRA is complete the following steps:
Table of Contents
- Determine Where You Want to Open Your Gold IRA Account
- Set Up a Self-Directed Gold IRA Account and Choose A Custodian to Manage It
- Decide if You Want to Convert Your Current IRA Into a Gold IRA Via a Distribution or a Rollover
- Use the Proceeds From Your Previous IRA To Fund Your Gold IRA Account
- Find a Reputable Precious Metals Dealer to Purchase Your Gold
- Choose a Secure Storage Facility
- Taking Gold IRA Distributions
- Gold IRA Fees
- Why a Gold IRA
- Final Thoughts on Choosing a Gold IRA
Determine Where You Want to Open Your Gold IRA Account
The IRS requires you to work with a gold IRA company to purchase physical gold as part of your retirement account.
However, not all gold IRA companies are alike or offer the same prices, so be sure to research various companies until you find one that you are comfortable working with.
You should also check their customer reviews online and with various consumer protection agencies, such as The Office of Consumer Affairs. The Better Business Bureau is also a good place to check a company’s ratings to ensure they are both reputable and professional.
It’s also a good idea to choose a gold IRA company that has been in business for many years because they will be experts in the field and able to answer all your questions and provide you with the best gold selections.
Gold IRA Account Types
Roth Gold IRA
With a Roth gold IRA, you initially pay taxes on the contributions you put into it, but then you are not required to pay taxes when you make a withdrawal.
In the meantime, the contributions are also allowed to accumulate without being taxed.
You are also not limited from withdrawing the contributions like other IRAs.
Traditional Gold IRA
Traditional gold IRAs allow you to deduct the money you contributed to your retirement account from your income taxes. However, you pay income tax on the contributions when they are withdrawn.
Meanwhile, the main benefit of a traditional gold IRA is you get to lower your taxes in the year that you make contributions to your account.
SEP Gold IRA
A SEP gold IRA is like a traditional gold IRA; however, it is to help small business owners and those that are self-employed save for retirement.
Small business owners may also use a SEP gold IRA to contribute to their staff.
Set Up a Self-Directed Gold IRA Account and Choose A Custodian to Manage It
A gold IRA is a self-directed individual retirement account, which means you have sole control over choosing the gold that goes into your portfolio.
However, as per IRS rules, you have to appoint an account custodian to actually purchase the gold for your account on your behalf.
The custodian will also handle all paperwork required for the IRS, and they will make sure that the documents are also available to you.
In most cases, the gold IRA company you choose will have its own experienced custodians to choose from, or you can simply find one on your own.
Just be sure they are highly knowledgeable and skilled at what they do to be able to provide the best help. They must also be IRS-approved to ensure your account remains compliant.
Decide if You Want to Convert Your Current IRA Into a Gold IRA Via a Distribution or a Rollover
To convert your IRA to a gold IRA can be done by taking a distribution from your current IRA account, or you can roll over the funds from the existing account to the new gold IRA account to get started.
An IRA distribution is when you withdraw the funds from your account to purchase physical gold in a gold IRA. However, if you have not yet reached age 59 1/2 when you do so, it could also come with a tax penalty of 10 percent for early withdrawal if you do not redeposit the funds into the gold IRA account before 60 days.
The funds will also be considered income and subject to income tax, which, if it pushes you into a higher tax bracket, you could end up paying more for your IRA distribution.
Transfer Funds to the Gold IRA
According to IRS rules, you can also simply have the custodian of your current IRA account transfer the tax-advantaged funds directly to your gold IRA custodian without facing any tax penalties or consequences.
This is because no cash was withdrawn from your IRA account and given to you to handle the transfer yourself, so there’s no risk of it becoming an early withdrawal.
Use the Proceeds From Your Previous IRA To Fund Your Gold IRA Account
Once you have determined the best way to transfer your current IRA funds to your gold IRA, the next step is to get the money into your new account.
Therefore, you will need to contact the administrator of your current retirement account and inform them that you would like to roll over or transfer all of or some of the proceeds in your account to your gold IRA.
After this time, you will also need to provide your current IRA account manager with the details of your new account, so they transfer the funds, which they will typically have you do by completing the proper paperwork.
You need to also be very specific about the amount you want to transfer to your gold IRA, how you want to move the funds, which type of account you have, etc., to prevent delays in funding your gold IRA account.
It also helps if you enlist the aid of your current account custodian when filling out the paperwork to help prevent complications with your IRA conversion and with the IRS.
Find a Reputable Precious Metals Dealer to Purchase Your Gold
The IRS requires the physical gold in your IRA account to be of the purest form because it helps ensure it maintains its value up to and during your retirement and beyond.
IRS-Approved IRA Gold Standard
When purchasing gold bullion for your IRA, it must have a purity level of 99.95% or better. This is also true when buying gold coins for your retirement portfolio.
However, American Eagle coins are also eligible for gold IRA, but they must contain at least 91.6 percent gold to qualify.
The gold purchased for your retirement account must also be produced by an IRS-approved source, such as a national government mint, to receive the tax advantages of an IRA.
Where to Purchase IRS-Approved Gold
In many cases, it is possible to buy precious metals directly from your gold IRA company. Or the company may also provide you with a list of precious metals dealers they work with to help you choose one.
Your account custodian may also have certain precious metals dealers they work with since they are responsible for overseeing your account and ensuring it meets IRS regulations.
However, no matter which precious metals dealer you choose, be sure they are an experienced dealer that offers IRS-approved gold to avoid complications with your IRA later.
Choose a Secure Storage Facility
As part of IRS rules, the gold you purchase from your precious metals dealer for your IRA must be held in a secure gold depository where it will be stored until you sell or withdraw them.
This is because it offers more security and protection than a home safe or a bank deposit box, and your custodian will supervise it to ensure it remains safe.
Your gold IRA company may also provide you with online tools to monitor your gold’s performance.
However, there are a few things to consider before choosing a depository to store your gold, such as its location, which will dictate how far you must travel to visit it if you choose.
What to Consider Before Choosing a Depository
The fees also vary from facility to facility; hence, you may also consider choosing one with the lowest fees. Some also have a minimum investment, which will also affect your choice.
It is also important that the storage vault provides maximum security of your gold inside and out for the greatest protection.
A good depository will also conduct regular audits of the facility and also insure your gold while it’s in their possession.
Again, choosing an experienced storage facility helps ensure it is IRS-approved. And, also be sure to check out their ratings with the Better Business Bureau and more to make sure they have a good reputation.
Taking Gold IRA Distributions
Distributions from your gold IRA can occur in the form of a cash payment or physical gold once you retire or at any time you’d like, but not without tax penalties and fees if you are under age 59 1/2.
However, you may also be eligible for early distributions if you are no longer able to work due to a disability or you have some other life circumstance that is considered an economic hardship by the IRS.
You can also prolong your IRA distributions until you turn age 72. However, after this time, you will be required to start taking contributions from your retirement account or face penalties.
When you are ready to make a withdrawal or take your retirement distributions, simply alert your custodian, and they will sell your gold and have the money in your account, typically, within a few business days.
Or they will contact the depository, and you will receive your gold usually within a few business days or longer, depending on the circumstances.
Gold IRA Fees
Various fees come with choosing a gold IRA, including an account set-up fee and a transfer fee, which some gold IRA companies and custodians charge to open your account and transfer your funds.
Your account custodian will also typically charge a management fee for maintaining your IRA.
There is also a storage fee charged by the depository for the safekeeping of your gold. And some may also charge an additional fee to insure it while it’s under their protection.
If at any time you choose to sell your precious metals back to the gold IRA company for cash, you will also usually be charged a buyback fee.
Gold IRA company, custodian, and depository fees run far and wide based on various factors, so be sure to compare the prices of each to help better manage your costs and feel good about your investment.
Why a Gold IRA
Gold has a history of repeatedly outperforming stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other equities when market prices plunge or when inflation hits, which makes it worth considering as part of your retirement plan for hedging against market risks.
Since it maintains its intrinsic value over the years, it also offers shelter in times of world crises, which can also make it a savvy investment to add to your IRA.
Final Thoughts on Choosing a Gold IRA
In the end, your investment is only as good as the skilled gold IRA team you partner with. So be sure to do your due diligence when choosing a gold IRA company, precious metal dealer, custodian, and depository to ensure they are experienced in what they do.
This means taking time to research their customer ratings with various review sites and consumer protection businesses, such as the Better Business Bureau and The Office of Consumer Affairs, to see what both satisfied and unsatisfied customers have to say.
It is also a good idea to ask for required licenses, registrations, and other verification to ensure they are IRA-approved and to help protect yourself and your investment. This is also true for 401k rollovers to gold IRAs.