Gold IRA rollovers offer the opportunity use physical assets to diversify retirement savings. This enables the investor to benefit from an asset class that does not rely upon the volatile economy. Rolling over a 401(k) plan into a traditional or Roth IRA is a standard occurrence. For example, an individual may consider this type of rollover after finding a new employer. However, many individuals have specific questions about the benefits of gold 401k rollovers. A look how to execute a successful 401k to gold IRA rollover can help you decide if this strategy is the best match for your retirement plans.
What is a Gold IRA?
A gold IRA is an individual retirement account in which a financial institution holds precious metals for the client (also known as the investor). While gold is the most well-known metal for the type of account, an investor can also own precious metals IRAs in silver, platinum, or palladium. In addition, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has clear-cut fineness requirements to ensure the purity of metals held in a legitimate gold IRA.
The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 created provisions for the gold IRA. While previous IRAs did not permit the inclusion of physical gold, the new law enabled individual investors to conveniently hold bullion bars, coins, commodities, and other precious metals. Under certain classifications, this type of IRA can also contain gold stocks, shares in privately held gold mining companies, gold mutual funds, and gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Gold IRA plans are usually self-directed IRAs, thereby enabling greater investment diversity than the conventional IRA.
What is a Self Directed IRA?
Before deciding on a gold 401k rollover, you might ask yourself, “What is a self directed IRA?” A self-directed IRA is an individual retirement account that can hold the type of alternative investments that are usually excluded from regular IRAs. Examples of alternative investments include real estate, limited partnerships, cryptocurrencies, private equity placements, and precious metals like gold. Although the financial institution (known as the “custodian”) conducts administrative duties for the IRAs, these accounts are “self-directed” since all management responsibilities go to the account owner.
Diversifying an investment portfolio is one of the main reasons an individual might open a self-directed IRA. Some individuals also open self-directed IRA for the opportunity to garner higher investment returns.
Why Should I Invest in Gold?
Gold is the most well-known precious metal, and societies throughout history have recognized its intrinsic monetary value. In numismatics, intrinsic value or melt value is the economic worth of a precious metal in form of a bullion bar or coin. For instance, if gold currently trades in commercial markets at a price of 1500 USD per fine troy ounce, then a coin minted from 1.0 oz. of pure gold would have an intrinsic value of 1500 USD.
Recognized as currency long before the present-day monetary system, gold is a malleable metal perfect for long-term storage. Due to its longevity, some investors believe that gold is the ideal buffer against the volatility of paper money or the stock market. In addition, other investors see gold as one of the few currencies that can withstand natural disasters or geopolitical upheaval. Overall, individuals believe that gold is a solid component within a well-rounded and diversified investment portfolio.
What are the Benefits of a Gold IRA?
Before deciding to complete a gold 401k rollover, it important to determine the potential gold IRA benefits. Some of the most sought-after gold IRA benefits include diversification, growth potential, long-term hold capabilities, investor insurance, tax perks, and management control.
How Do I Open a Gold IRA?
Opening a gold IRA is usually straightforward. The first step is to find an authorized financial institution known as a “custodian.” Since the IRS does not permit investors to hold IRA-designed metals on their own, it is necessary to find a reputable custodian to hold the gold purchased through an IRA. Common custodians include local banks, credit unions, or trust companies. Another great option is to choose a reputable gold IRA company that specializes primarily in precious metals.
The next step is to find a gold broker or precious metals dealer from which to purchase the assets. Many custodians already have a list of dedicated brokers. If preferred, you can also do market research on your own to find the best gold brokers. Either way, any gold purchased from a broker must meet IRS “fineness” standards for purity and weight.
After deciding on a custodian and broker, it is now time to open the gold IRA account. Once you have established the account and purchased the precious metals, the gold IRA company can then store the assets within a secure depository. All precious metals belonging to the IRA must be in the physical possession of this trustee. Upon retirement, you can either withdraw the gold itself or liquidate your precious metals into cash. With either option, the IRS assesses a distribution tax for the IRA.
How Do I Manage a 401k to Gold IRA Rollover?
A 401k to gold IRA rollover involves moving either a portion or the entirety of your savings into a gold IRA instead. The process means that you can convert savings into a retirement account that involves precious metals as assets. If you are interested in how to 401k rollover, it is important to note that some gold IRA companies offer to do this automatically once you decide to open a new account.
To rollover monetary funds into a gold-backed IRA, the client or investor first withdraws designated amount of funds from a personal retirement account. The purpose withdrawing this portion from a retirement account is to procure precious metals for the gold IRA account. Once the investor has procured the precious metals, the gold IRA company records the assets onto the client’s new IRA account based on present market price.
How to 401k Rollover Step by Step:
- Direct Rollover
In a direct rollover, the 401k provider writes a check payable to the new gold custodian. Some 401k providers mail the check to investor (who must then forward it to the gold custodian). More commonly, however, the 401k provider mails the check directly to the gold custodian. Since the check is payable to the custodian, the gold IRA company is the only entity that can process the check. A benefit of direct rollover is that funds move straight from one major trustee to another. The process is simple, and it involves fewer risks for tax penalties.
- Indirect Rollover
For an indirect rollover, the existing 401k provider issues a check made payable to the investor or direct deposit into the individual’s personal bank account. The individual then has a maximum of 60 days to transfer the money to an authorized custodian or gold IRA company. Failure to transfer the money within the 60-day period converts the fund into a taxable withdrawal or retirement distribution. And if you are under the age of 59.5 years old, the IRS can also apply a 10% early withdrawal penalty to the transaction.
Should I Do a 401k Rollover?
To determine whether you should do a 401k rollover, consider your long-term goals. Are you interested in diversifying your retirement savings? Would you like a retirement option that is less vulnerable to the market fluctuations of paper currency or stocks? If either of these scenarios are the case, you may wish to consider a 401k rollover into a gold IRA account.
Gold IRA accounts appeal to many investors because the price of gold has an inverse relationship to stocks. This means that the price of gold usually moves in the opposite direction of the stock market. For example, if the prices of securities investments suddenly drop, the value of precious metals are likely on the rise. Because of this inverse relationship, investors like diversity in their portfolios to protect against market volatility. In fact, it is rare for investors to maintain a homogeneous portfolio consisting solely of one asset class.
Investors also open gold IRA accounts for the added sense of security. To operate legally, custodians store precious metal assets within insured, IRS-approved depositories. Regulations for fineness, purity, and weight also protect the value of your investment. And since gold is one of the most recognizable assets in human history, your physical asset will likely always have value to it (across societies). For example, some industries instantly recognize gold for its value in everything from creating jewelry to conducting electricity. Other civilizations value silver for its use as an industrial metal. Whether you take physical possession of your gold upon retirement or liquidate it as cash, the gold can retain its intrinsic value. This varies sharply from private stocks (which can become worthless if the company or business venture goes south). Overall, it is good to keep a tangible or physical asset in your retirement portfolio.
What Should I Know About Gold IRA Tax Rules?
Gold IRA tax rules are usually straightforward. When it is time to access your assets upon retirement, you can either withdraw the physical gold itself or liquidate your into cash. In the latter case, the current market value determines the price of the gold. For either option, the IRS will assess a distribution tax for the withdrawal. The IRS classifies this qualified retirement withdrawal as ordinary income for the year of withdrawal.
Prior to retirement, a gold IRA functions under the same tax rules as other self-directed IRAs. These rules include annual contribution limits, withdrawal limitations, and the required minimum distributions (RMDs). In addition, you might find that these rules are similar to those that apply to a traditional IRA. Some of the important highlights include the following:
What are the Best Gold IRA Companies?
The three best gold IRA companies include GoldCo, Noble Gold, and Augusta Precious Metals:
GoldCo Best Features:
When it comes to opening a gold IRA plan, GoldCo is among the most reputable services available. The company offers a straightforward 401(k) rollover process as well as a stellar buy-back program. In addition to maintaining some of the lowest annual fees in the industry, GoldCo is also popular for its streamlined customer service. Upon initiating the signup process, the company connects each potential investor with an IRA specialist or dedicated account executive who provides guidance on completing the application. Once IRA specialists finalizes the account setup process, the investor or client can then transfer required funds.
After GoldCo receives the funds, the IRA specialist reconnects with the investor to verify the precious metals intended for placement within the IRA. Once the investor makes the choice, the precious metals go into a third-party depository linked to GoldCo. If the precious metals are not in stock, the investor can order bars or coins with a turnaround time of about four weeks. In either case, the investor receives real-time updates throughout the process, making this company the top-recommended gold IRA custodian in terms of accommodating client needs.
We encourage you to read our full GoldCo review.
Noble Gold Best Features:
Noble Gold Pros:
Noble Gold Cons:
If you are looking for a gold IRA with a low barrier to entry, Noble Gold fits the bill. The company has the lowest minimum investment required at $5,000. New clients can take advantage of the online IRA application and quick signup process of about five minutes. Once approved, the complete account setup only takes an average of 24 hours. The company boasts rapid delivery of precious metals, and the service offers a free investment kit for beginners.
Noble Gold’s founders have 25 years of combined investment experience. As a result, the company offers an array of investment services. For example, a client can invest in a gold IRA or silver IRA as a buffer against inflation or economic downturns. Clients who want to invest in the most commonly accepted coins can choose Noble Gold’s Royal Survivor Pack. This type of account enables faster liquidation if the need demands it. Finally, people who own limited edition or highly valuable coins might consider Noble Gold’s Collectors Coins package. This kind of account allows clients to own a slice of history while investing at the same time. With its low minimum investment requirement and diverse product offerings, Noble Gold is one of the leading gold IRA custodians for beginners.
Read our full NobleGold Investments review.
Augusta Precious Metals Best Features:
Augusta Precious Pros:
Augusta Precious Cons:
Investors looking for a premium gold IRA service need look no further than Augusta Precious Metals. A favorite among celebrity clients such as Joe Montana, this company has dedicated departments to handle each IRA step throughout the life of the investor’s gold or silver portfolio. Examples of dedicated departments include the economic analytics team, the IRA processing team, and the company order desk. In particular, accounts with Augusta Precious Metals include a preliminary web conference with Devlyn Steel, a Harvard Business School affiliate who accurately predicted the financial crisis of 2008. Even more impressively, each client receives a one-one-one success agent who serves as the investor’s official personal contact.
New clients can open a gold IRA or silver IRA in three simple steps. First, the investor sets up the account through one of the company’s knowledgeable customer service agents. Next, the client should fund the account with a minimum initial investment of $50,000. Clients with an existing 401(k), IRA, or other retirement account can also rollover funds from the current account. Finally, the investor determines the preferred precious metals for the IRA. Once chosen, representatives at Augusta Precious Metals send the gold or silver to one of seven secure depositories in the United States. The precious metals arrive at the storage facility within 10 days. With its laudable customer service and A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
What Traits Should I Look For in the Best Gold IRA Companies?
The Bottom Line
Gold investing is a great way diversify your retirement plan in a way that does not rely upon the stock market or the economy. A gold 401k rollover creates a secure destination for your assets by transferring funds into their appropriate value in physical gold. Maintaining a diverse investment portfolio can help you make the most of all asset classes and minimize the adverse effects of risk.