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Are you interested in opening a gold IRA? Your first step is to find the right gold IRA custodian to walk you through the process and manage your gold investments.
The IRS requires that you open your IRA through an approved custodian, but there are dozens of options across the industry. Learn how to find the right gold IRA custodian for your needs below.
How To Find the Right Gold IRA Custodian
Your gold IRA custodian will be responsible for managing the gold and silver products in your IRA and providing updates about your investment. Depending on how long you maintain your IRA, you could end up working with this company for decades. As a result, you want to choose a trustworthy, reliable custodian you can picture yourself doing long-term business with.
Follow these steps to narrow your options and find the right custodian:
Research and Compare Custodians
First, make a list of potential candidates. You can find numerous gold IRA custodians by completing a quick Google search. You can search for “best gold investment companies” for a broader selection or refine your search with a more specific query like “best gold IRA custodians 2023.”
You’ll typically find two types of options:
- Standalone gold IRA custodians that provide direct services
- Gold IRA companies that help customers set up IRAs and partner with custodians to provide comprehensive services
Many investors work with gold IRA companies to help them roll over funds from another retirement account and set up their new IRAs. Some companies work with one specific custodian, while others allow customers to choose their own custodians.
Either way, you’ll still want to take time to evaluate the custodian company that will be managing your account. Don’t assume the custodian is trustworthy or reliable just because your gold IRA company works with them.
Check Accreditation and Regulatory Compliance
Once you’ve found a few gold IRA custodians, you can begin evaluating their credentials to pare down your list to one company.
Start by checking their accreditation and regulatory compliance. IRA custodians may be banks, trust companies, or any other entities the IRS has approved to act in that capacity.
Many gold IRA custodians you’ll find online are trust companies. Still, you should check their credentials to ensure they’re legitimate custodians. Visit their “About Us” page and read about their licenses and insurance.
The IRS publishes a list of approved nonbank trustees and custodians. You can double-check your chosen custodians against this list, but because the list isn’t comprehensive, there’s a chance you won’t see your custodian’s name on it.
Types of Precious Metals Offered
Next, review the types of precious metals the custodian offers for IRA investors.
The four main types of precious metals you’ll see in self-directed IRAs include:
Most custodians at least offer gold and silver, but you may need to search a little harder to find ones that offer platinum and palladium.
Now, look closer at the actual gold and silver products a precious metals custodian offers. Many allow you to buy gold coins, bars, and bullion to include in your IRA. The IRS has approved certain collectible gold coins for IRA use, and if you’re interested in purchasing these for your IRA, see whether your custodian offers them.
Verify Storage Facilities
The IRS requires that you store the gold and silver from your IRA in an approved storage depository. This means you can’t keep it in a safe at home or even in a safe deposit box at the bank.
Most IRA custodians take care of storing your precious metals for you. They’ll ship them directly to a storage depository that uses top-of-the-line security measures and insures your precious metals for their full value.
You’ll still want to research the custodian’s storage facilities and ensure they’re legitimate before working with the custodian.
Fee Structure and Pricing
IRA custodians charge a few different fees for their services, and you’ll want to ensure your chosen custodian is affordable, especially if you plan to maintain your gold IRA over the long term. Fees may include:
- Set-up fees, ranging from $50 to $250
- Annual fees, ranging from $100 to $1,000
- Annual storage fees, ranging from $95 to $1,000
Some companies base their storage fees on the amount of gold and silver you store with them, while others charge a flat rate. You can also find some custodians that waive the set-up fee.
What Should You Consider When Evaluating a Custodian’s Storage Options?
The depository where you store your precious metals plays a major role in the safety and longevity of your investment. Because you can’t store your precious metals at home, you must ensure your depository offers the same level of care and attention you would give them.
IRA custodians typically list a few depositories on their websites that they work with for gold IRA clients. You can evaluate these storage options by reviewing the following factors:
- Insurance: Does the depository insure precious metals for their full value?
- 24/7 investor access: Can you visit your precious metals in person anytime you want? Is the depository only open during regular business hours?
- Security: What types of security measures does the depository use (e.g., 24/7 monitoring, state-of-the-art security systems, etc.)?
- Fees: Are the depository’s fees affordable? Do they cut too severely into your retirement funds?
- Co-mingled or segregated storage: Does the depository lump all its precious metals together or keep each customer’s stock separate?
Should You Choose a Local or an Offshore Gold IRA Custodian?
Another important consideration for how to find the right gold IRA custodian is location. It may seem intuitive to work with a U.S.-based custodian, but choosing an offshore company could also pose some benefits.
While your physical gold may seem safe in the U.S., remember that in the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the confiscation of all non-rare and non-collectible gold holdings. An executive order required investors to sell their gold assets at around $20 per troy ounce. If such an order came about again, your retirement plans could be thwarted.
If you do choose an offshore custodian for IRA gold investing, you’ll probably want it to be in a politically stable country to keep your precious metals as safe as possible. London, Hong Kong, and Singapore are popular offshore storage locations for investors.
What Are Their Pros and Cons?
The pros of choosing a local custodian include:
- Easy access to your precious metals
- Clear and direct communication with the depository’s employees
The cons of staying local include:
- Higher custodial and storage fees
- Lack of protection against U.S. government regulations that could lead to the confiscation of your assets
Meanwhile, the pros of using an offshore custodian include:
- Generally lower storage costs
- Lower risk of government seizure
The cons of offshore custodians may include:
- Less direct control over your assets
- Potentially less strict security standards
If you’re considering an offshore custodian, do your due diligence to find a trustworthy option that meets your needs.
Assessing Buyback Policies and Liquidity
Many custodians offer buyback programs that guarantee they will buy your gold and silver products when you decide to liquidate your IRA. They typically buy back these products at a wholesale rate, which is about 30% lower than the retail rate.
Is It Essential for the Custodian To Have a Buyback Program?
It’s not essential for a custodian to have a buyback program, but it can help you sell your assets faster when the time comes. If you’d rather not deal with finding a buyer on your own, a buyback program could eliminate the hassle of selling.
Do All Gold IRA Custodians Offer the Same Level of IRS Compliance?
If the custodian is a bank or trust company, it should automatically comply with all IRS guidelines for IRAs. If it’s another nonbank institution, you may need to confirm that it has gained IRS approval and that it sticks to the organization’s policies for self-directed IRAs.
Checking Custodial Reviews and Ratings
The final step you should take when searching for the right gold IRA custodian is reading reviews and ratings. These can give you insider information about a custodian’s practices.
Seeking Independent Ratings and Feedback
You can check a custodian’s ratings on platforms like Google Business Profile and Trustpilot. Read reviews from real customers and pay attention to details about customer service, the IRA rollover process, fees, and storage options. Check a custodian’s overall average rating — it should be at least four out of five stars.
Reviewing Complaints and Resolutions
Also, read complaints that customers have left on the custodian’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) page. Every company has at least a few complaints, but you want to pay attention to how the custodian resolves customer concerns.
Now that you know how to find the right gold IRA custodian, you can start the process of harnessing the power of gold for your retirement. Contact Oxford Gold Group to open your gold IRA today and learn more about your precious metal buying options.