Sure, the price of gold can be volatile in the short term. However, gold has preserved its value over the long term.
In fact, investing in gold is one of the best ways to hedge your portfolio against economic meltdown and inflation.
Still, buying gold can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-timer. Many investors, for instance, equate buying Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) that invest in gold to owning the physical gold.
One of the best ways of buying gold is through a gold IRA — which takes us to the next point.
What is a Gold IRA?
First of all, IRA stands for Individual Retirement Account (IRA). A gold IRA is a specialized Individual Retirement Account.
The primary purpose of a gold IRA is to enable you to buy gold and other precious metals like silver and platinum in the form of bars, coins, and bullion as part of your retirement investment.
Think of it as a strategy to ensure you have something to fall back on when you retire while protecting your investment against inflation and other market crashes.
Setting up a gold IRA account can be cumbersome if you don’t know where to start.
That said, this post explores how to leverage gold IRAs to purchase gold in five steps.
1. Understand How an IRA Account Work
Before you open your gold IRA, you’ll want to determine which IRA account is the best option for you and your financial situation.
Traditional Gold IRA
A standard gold IRA is a tax-deferred retirement saving account. It works more or less like a traditional IRA regarding taxes.
With a traditional gold IRA, your contributions and accumulated interest aren’t taxed. Often, your contributions are tax deductible too.
The IRS caps the annual contribution to $5,500 if you’re 50 years or younger and $6,500 for people of 60. And because this is a pre-tax IRA, you must pay taxes on your contributions during retirement,
Roth Gold IRA
A Roth gold IRA is an after-tax retirement savings account. It functions like any other Roth IRA. Your contributions aren’t subject to an upfront tax deduction. Better yet, you won’t have to pay taxes when you start to withdraw your contributions during retirement.
SEP Gold IRA
SEP gold IRA targets people in self-employment and business owners. A SEP gold IRA operates like a standard pre-tax traditional IRA — your contributions aren’t taxed and allow higher contributions. You can contribute up to 25 percent of your earnings or $53,000, whichever is less.
2. Pick a Good IRA Company
After you’ve decided which gold IRA account is best for you, the next step involves choosing a good gold IRA company.
A gold IRA provider’s tasks include helping you open your account, transfer funds, and purchase precious metals.
Of course, there are many gold IRA providers. However, not all of them are worth your attention. The best gold IRA companies have the following distinguishing qualities:
A Good Reputation
The last thing you want is to deal with a gold IRA company with a tainted reputation. Therefore, you’ll want to check what other people say about the organization.
Ideally, you’re looking for a highly rated company, whether by individuals or platforms like Better Business Alliance.
The higher a company’s ratings, the higher the probability of a good experience. You’ll also want to check out negative reviews about the company. Get a 360-degree view of the gold IRA company you wish to engage with before committing further.
Reasonable Account Fees and Policies
Choose a company with fair account fees. Remember, the primary reason you’re opening a gold IRA account is to diversify your retirement portfolio, so you’ll want to take advantage to save on fees.
Pick a provider that charges a flat rate. That way, you can always know how much you’ll spend on account fees until retirement.
You should also consider storage and withdrawal fees. The point is that you want to deal with a company that offers the lowest fees. At the same time, ensure you aren’t compromising on service quality.
Further, ensure that the company has flexible policies. You wouldn’t want, for instance, to hold your gold investment with a company that can’t allow you to offload your assets whenever you want.
Excellent Customer Service
Choose a customer-centric gold IRA provider. You’ll probably invest a significant amount of money with the company, so you want your questions answered quickly and your concerns addressed swiftly.
A good gold IRA company should have several communication channels, including live chat. The customer support desk should be available within short notice. You can read independent reviews to have an idea of what customers say about the support desk’s competence and professionalism.
3. Fund Your Account
At this point, you have chosen the right company based on your financial situation. The next step is to fund your account.
Below are three ways that you can use to fund your gold IRA:
Cash: This is the most common method of funding gold IRA accounts primarily due to its flexibility.
Transfer: You can channel your existing retirement account funds to your gold IRA. Your current IRA custodian will send funds to your gold IRA custodian, and you don’t have to add any more cash.
Rollover: As the name suggests, this involves rolling over a portion of your retirement account into a gold IRA. With this method, your current IRA custodian will grant the money you want to roll over, and you’ll be allowed 60 days to transfer the cash to your gold IRA account.
4. Choose your Precious Metals
After funding your account, it’s time to select the precious metals you want to buy. You can invest in gold coins and bars or other metals like palladium and platinum.
Your gold IRA provider should guide you in this process based on your objectives. On top of that, that provider will ensure you’re choosing IRS-approved precious metals.
5. Buy your Desire Metals
The last step, of course, is buying the precious metals that you’ve chosen. Again, your gold IRA company will step in to ensure the process is safe and secure,
It is crucial to note that the buying process may vary depending on your custodian. Some custodians will allow you to purchase your precious metals directly from them, while others will require that you buy from a separate gold broker, and they’ll play the facilitation role.
The Bottom Line
Opening and operating a gold IRA doesn’t have to be cumbersome. You only need to follow the right process. With the tidbits above, you now have everything you need to kick start your retirement investment journey.