Comparing Gold IRA Companies
Sifting through the many Gold IRA Companies out there and choosing a trustworthy, reliable and reputable one to work with is the next step once you’ve made the decision to invest in a Gold IRA to protect and enhance your retirement. You’ve worked hard to provide for your latter years and it’s essential to safeguard and grow your savings and investments.
It is equally as important to understand the criteria for choosing the right company to work with and to make enlightened and informed decisions about the company that is right for you as it is to understand the process for setting up your Gold IRA.
10 Top Tips For Comparing Gold IRA Companies… and For Identifying Ones You Can Really Trust
It is essential that you choose a Gold IRA Company that is reputable, trustworthy and reliable, and one that is able to give you the comprehensive service that you require.
As part of your research and due diligence we recommend that in addition to reading third party reviews and ratings you also call some of the companies yourself in order to get a feel for how they operate and to assess how comfortable you feel with them.
Here are some important considerations and questions to ask:
#1 – Are They Experts In Retirement Funds as Well as Precious Metals?
If you choose a Gold IRA Company that has a specialised department and/or staff with expertise in retirement funds it will make the Gold IRA set up, transfer or rollover process much quicker and simpler for you since they will be able to take care of everything for you in-house.
Recommendation: IRA rules and the associated tax implications and benefits can be a bit of a minefield at the best of times, and even more so when a specialised type of IRA such as a precious metals one is involved. For this reason it is wise to work with a company that has expertise in these areas.
#2 – How Accessible Are They?
It’s best to choose a company that is responsive over the phone and is available to answer your call whenever you feel the need to speak to someone (during normal business hours of course). Your retirement is important to you so it is essential that you are able to get a feel for, and feel comfortable with, both the company and the personnel. It’s difficult to do that by email alone.
Some of the better Gold IRA companies will allocate an account representative to you once you become a customer. This is the ideal scenario because they will be acquainted with your account and your individual circumstances.
Recommendation: Select a company that you can talk to and which has a good track record for customer service. Steer clear of any who appear to be ‘pushy’. You should also be wary of anyone who cold calls you and tries to lure you with all sorts of offers and ‘special deals’.
#3 – How Are Their Fees Structured?
Do they offer flat fees or scaled fees?.. Many new investors realise too late the impact that scaled admin and storage fees have over time. Scaled fees are a percentage of your fund (typically 0.1%).
This will not be so relevant if your account is a smaller one of say, less than $100,000 but if you are investing more than that it is essential. Bear in mind that even if your initial investment is smaller, with inflation and appreciation your account will grow naturally – and so will your fee if it is scaled. Plus you may decide to add further funds at a later date.
A retirement account such as a Gold backed IRA is normally a long term investment, and over a period of 10 to 20 years you could end up paying thousands of dollars in fees unnecessarily if they are scaled. The table below gives examples of this:
Note: Some of the top Gold IRA companies will waive set up fees and storage/admin fees in year one for certain minimum investment levels.
Recommendation: Choose a company that charges low flat rate admin and storage fees and be wary of any companies who tell you that they offer flat fees just to lure you in, then slip in additional fees later on in the process. Check whether the company you are considering using will waive their set up and first year’s fees.
#4 – What Is Their Account Set Up Procedure and Timescale?
You want the account set up to be as effortless as possible on your part, and without it taking any longer than necessary. Some companies will do pretty much everything for you including completing all the Gold IRA paperwork on your behalf and just sending it to you to check and sign. This is the ideal scenario!
Recommendation: When speaking to a Company ask them how much involvement is required by you, what their set up process is and how long it takes. The least you have to do is obviously the better (provided of course you are entrusting an expert to do it for you) and you don’t want it dragging on for too long. Be wary of any companies who are unable or unprepared to give you a timescale. Between two and four weeks is reasonable. This will vary according to your particular circumstances and whether it’s a new IRA, a transfer or a rollover.
#5 – What Are Their Delivery Timescales?
An important part of the process is the delivery then storage of your metals. You want the delivery to be prompt and seamless so that you can then relax in the knowledge that everything has been completed and taken care of.
One of the biggest topics for customer complaints about precious metals companies is delivery times. Some can take many months. There have even been incidences of unscrupulous dealers offering lower prices to lure customers away from their competitors by speculating on future spot prices. Then when their gamble went wrong they had to wait (and pray) for the spot price to get to where they projected in order to fulfil the contract.
Recommendation: Ask the Company what their delivery times and terms are. Some of the more trusted Gold IRA companies offer guarantees backed up by compensation schemes for late deliveries.
#6 – How Are Your Metals Stored at The Depository?
With Gold IRAs the IRS rules dictate that up to the age of 59½ you cannot hold the metals yourself and that instead they need to be stored on your behalf at a depository.
You should always opt for segregated (dedicated) storage at the depository to ensure that your metals do not get commingled (mixed) or damaged with inferior products that have been sent there by a different company for their customers. Segregated storage is far more safe and secure.
Taking it a stage further there are some depositories that will allow segregated storage of gold but not of silver. This is relevant information you need to know from the Gold IRA company that you select because you may decide to include some silver as well as gold in your Gold IRA either from the outset or at some point in the future. (Note that the term ‘Gold IRA’ is often a generic term for a Precious Metals IRA). It may surprise you to learn that some Companies are unaware that their preferred depository differentiates between gold and silver when it comes to segregated storage!
Beware of unscrupulous dealers who try to hook you in with lower prices based on commingled storage, then try to up sell you on the benefits of (higher priced) segregated storage later on.
You also want to check whether the metals are allocated or non allocated whilst in storage. Allocated means that in effect they have your name on them. This would be vitally important in a situation whereby the storage company went out of business because metals that are allocated personally to you could not be grabbed by their creditors.
Recommendation: Choose a Gold IRA company that that offers segregated and allocated storage as standard for all metal types and which includes this in their storage fees as a matter of course. Make sure that their preferred depository is of high repute.
#7 – Are They Trying To Promote a Particular Type of Coin or Product?
There are pros and cons with both bullion and rare coins. Bullion coins are valued in accordance with the market price of gold. Rare coins are valued in accordance with their rarity and the demand for them. This makes bullion coins a less risky investment even though you could make more profit with rare coins.
It is important to be aware of this and not be railroaded into buying a particular type of coin by the Gold IRA companies themselves or by any of their representatives who have their own interests (higher margins and/or commissions) at heart rather than those of their customers. Typically such companies will use the ‘bait and switch’ sales/advertising approach, i.e. they hook you in with promises of special deals and low dealer fees then use clever, influential sales tactics to persuade you to buy higher priced rare coins which give them much higher profit margins.
Recommendation: Choose a Gold IRA company that has a strong reputation and one that does not try to push you into buying one particular type of coin, particularly after advertising a different type. Different types of gold coins
#8 – Do They Have a Buyback Program?
There may come a time when you want or need to liquidate your precious metals investment. In these circumstances you will want to get a fair value for them and you will want the procedure to be quick and straightforward. It will obviously be easier if you already have a relationship with the company you use for liquidation and if they are familiar with your account and circumstances. You will want them to take your best interests into account rather than taking advantage of your situation to make a quick profit.
Recommendation: Start with the end in mind. Check prices and delivery times for selling your metals back to the Company at the outset when you are doing your initial research and reviews.
#9 – Are They a Well Established Gold IRA Company With a Solid Reputation?
Only give your business to a company that has a good public reputation and has been in business for a number of years, and one that has been endorsed by independent, reliable sources such as investment magazines and consumer advocacy sites.
Recommendation: Choose a vendor who is accredited by some sort of trade association or consumer protection organization. This is because they will have had to be vetted by the organization before being accredited and it demonstrates that the particular vendor is showing transparency. This includes disclosing publically full details of any previous customer disputes and an update on if and how they have been resolved.
There are 3 independent resources that have an excellent reputation for providing company performance data and consumer reviews, namely the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) and Trustlink.
These are all third party, neutral websites which promote honest reviews from genuine customers and which have certain security measures in place to detect and prevent fraudulent reviews.
For more information about these companies and how they operate you can click on the links below:
Our reviews, ratings, comparisons, recommendations and conclusions regarding all the Gold IRA Companies referred to on this site take all of the information posted on these independent sites into account, as well as, amongst other things, comments, both positive and negative, posted online by consumers who have used the companies in question.
#10 – Keep Yourself Updated On Any Gold Scams Operated By Unscrupulous Gold IRA Companies
Our final tip is not in the form of a question to ask the various companies that you’re considering using. Instead it’s a recommendation that you give yourself the maximum protection against fraudsters.
Gold scams have been around for centuries, and with advances in technology and more complex rules and regulations to exploit, nowadays they are harder than ever to detect. For that reason it is essential that you guard against complacency and prevent yourself from being tricked into thinking that all the offers being made to you are legitimate and safe.
Some of the scams around today could put a serious dent into your finances by luring you (unwittingly) into an instant and significant loss.
Recommendation: The best way to bullet-proof yourself from any scams operated by unscrupulous Gold IRA companies is to be aware of them in the first place. This informative and useful video will help you with that:
Choosing the right Gold IRA company to work with is vitally important. Unfortunately there are many unscrupulous gold dealers around waiting to prey on inexperienced investors. There have been many scandals and horror stories surrounding the precious metals industry and associated with investing in gold. We hope that if you follow all the guidelines on this page you won’t get involved in one!
We recommend that you don’t rely just on third party reviews and ratings for your research and that you call some of the companies yourself in order to get a feel for how they operate and to assess how comfortable you feel with them. Ask them the questions we have brought to your attention above plus any others you can think of that might be relevant to your personal circumstances. If you do that you will soon get a gut feeling about which company or companies you would feel comfortable trusting your retirement to.
By knowing the relevant questions to ask it will be easier to flush out the less professional and less equipped ones and those who have their own interests rather than yours at heart. You may well discover that when you ask some of the detailed questions referred to above some of the Gold IRA Companies purporting to be experts won’t know what you’re talking about. That of course should raise some flags.