When it comes to investing, gold is a safe bet. It’s also something that many people are drawn to as a way to protect their money in turbulent times. That’s because many see gold as an asset that won’t lose value when other investments dive. However, there are plenty of shady operators who want to take advantage of this interest in gold and unsuspecting target consumers with a new type of gold-based investment product: the self-directed Gold IRA.
There are many legitimate Gold IRA companies out there, but some scams are waiting to take your money and leave you with nothing in return. Here is everything you need to know about Gold IRAs and whether they’re right for you or not.
What is a Gold IRA?
A gold IRA is a type of self-directed Individual Retirement Account (IRA) where investors can choose to invest in physical gold bullion as part of their retirement account. The idea behind a gold IRA is that the gold will appreciate, and the investor can sell it at a profit whenever they want to access the money in their account. There are two main types of gold IRAs: Traditional Gold IRAs and Self-Directed Gold IRAs.
Traditional Gold IRAs: You can buy gold as an investment through a traditional Gold IRA, but you’ll need to find a financial institution to let you do so. The downside to this type of Gold IRA is that the values of the gold pieces you purchase are set by the IRS and are much lower than what you’d pay for the same gold bar at a store.
Self-Directed Gold IRAs: Self-directed Gold IRAs allow you to choose your gold investment and decide how much to purchase. However, selecting your gold bars and coins takes a lot of research, and you must store them at a third-party facility that the IRS approves.
How Does a Gold IRA work?
With a Gold IRA, you take the money from another retirement account, such as a 401k or an IRA, and you buy gold in that account. This isn’t a new account; you simply use one retirement account to purchase gold for another account. Once you have done this, you have to store the gold in a secure place and wait for it to increase in value before you can sell it and access the funds in the other account.
The advantages of a Gold IRA include the fact that it can increase in value and help you diversify your retirement funds. You can also access the funds at any time, so they are a good option if you need cash in a pinch. The disadvantages of a Gold IRA include the fact that you will pay taxes and fees every time you sell some of your gold investment. This also means that you might need to sell a larger amount of gold to access the funds when compared to other retirement accounts.
Why Are There So Many Gold IRA Scams?
Part of the problem is that individuals suddenly want to invest in gold, and many don’t know what to look for or how to do it. However, scammers have taken advantage of the sudden interest in gold and have created fake companies that promise to set up a Gold IRA for you. They then collect your money but never actually set up the account for you. The other issue is that the government has made it easier for people to open an IRA account and invest in gold. This means that more people have access to the funds in their retirement accounts and the ability to invest in gold. It also means that scammers have a wider audience to target with scams. It’s important to know the warning signs of a Gold IRA scam so you can protect your money.
Spotting Gold IRA Scams
The following are the potential scams:
- Unrealistic promises
Scammers will often overstate how much your gold investments can be worth and promise you a huge return on your money. However, it’s important to remember that no investment is 100% risk-free and you can make money but also lose it when investing in gold. Make sure to do your research, invest only what you can afford to lose, and talk to a financial advisor before making any major financial decisions. Unregulated brokers operating outside of the U.S. may seem like an attractive option, but they’re often scams and you risk losing all of your money.
- Unrealistic costs
Another sign that a company is a scam is if they charge you a low set-up fee but then charge higher monthly fees once the account is open. The monthly costs should be low or non-existent. You also want to make sure that the company is not charging you unreasonable rates on the interest that they are charging you on your savings. You want to make sure that the company you choose is competitive with other companies out there. One way to do this is to look at the interest rate that they are offering on the savings account. You want to make sure that this is competitive with other companies out there. If it is not, then it is likely that they are trying to scam you out of your money.
- Poor or non-existent customer service
If you ever have a question or concern, you want to be able to reach a real person who is helpful and knowledgeable. If the Gold IRA company you are speaking with only has an automated system that puts you on hold for long periods, it’s a good sign that you are dealing with a scammer. Stay away from companies that do not offer live chat or do not have regular hours of operation. If they are open 24/7, it is most likely a sign that they are not legitimate. You also want to be cautious about any company that does not offer a money-back guarantee.
- Guaranteed returns
No legitimate company can guarantee that you will make money from your investment. There are just too many variables to be able to promise a particular outcome. However, when you are investing in a company that is offering a guaranteed return, you should be very wary. There are no investments that can guarantee a particular rate of return. What you can get is a guaranteed minimum. This is what a company offering a guaranteed return is offering you. What you cannot get is a guaranteed maximum return.
- High-pressure sales tactics
A legitimate company won’t pressure you into making a decision. If you feel like you are being hounded into signing up, it’s a good sign that you are dealing with a scammer. Always take some time to think things through and make sure that you are comfortable with your decision. If you feel pressured in any way, you should be wary. If you are being pressured into making a quick decision, it’s a good indication that you are dealing with a scammer. Be cautious if you are told that an opportunity will not be available for too long or that the offer is only valid for a short period.
Scammers and Frauds to Watch Out For
- Checking if an IRA company is legitimate
To find out if an IRA company is legitimate, you can check with your state attorney general’s office. You can also check if an IRA company is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission by using the SEC’s website. You can also look for signs that the company might not be legitimate, such as unlicensed workers, high upfront fees, or the company offering something that seems too good to be true. You can also visit websites such as the Better Business Bureau to see if people have reported any issues with an IRA company.
- Ask for a written contract
Make sure that you get a written contract that includes the details of your investment and the company’s contact information. Never invest in a company that doesn’t offer a written contract. This contract should outline the details of your investment and the company’s contact information. The contract should also outline what happens if the company ceases operations or if you want to sell your shares. A contract will offer you some protection if something goes wrong with the company. Your contract will outline how you can sell your shares and the expected timeline.
- Make sure that your contract gives you the ability to terminate the contract
Make sure that your contract gives you the ability to terminate the contract if you are unhappy with the service. Most businesses will offer a contract with a non-renewal clause, but you must read the contract thoroughly before signing to make sure that you can leave the contract at any time. Additionally, make sure that any early termination fees are reasonable in case you do choose to cancel the contract.
- Protect your account details
Don’t give your account details to anyone unless you are sure that you are speaking with the correct person. Be especially cautious if you are approached over the phone or by someone you don’t know; it’s much easier for scammers to pretend to be someone they’re not over the phone than it is in person.
- Be wary of uninvited offers
If you receive an unsolicited offer to set up a Gold IRA from someone, be very careful. It may be a scam. It is against the law for a financial advisor or broker to solicit you for an IRA if you are working with them. However, it is not illegal for them to advertise their services. Therefore, you may receive a phone call or email from a company offering to set up a Gold IRA for you. The advice is the same here as it is about email scams. Do not send them any money, and do not give them any of your personal information.
3 Legitimate Reasons to Invest in a Gold IRA
- Build a diversified portfolio
Gold can help build a well-balanced and diversified retirement portfolio. This means that your money is spread across a range of different types of investments. This helps to reduce risk because if one investment performs poorly, others will offset the loss. Diversification also helps you to smooth out the bumps in the road of the markets. It provides a range of different types of assets that respond differently to the ups and downs of the financial markets. It reduces the risk of putting all your eggs in one basket.
- Insurance against inflation
Gold has historically been a good investment in times of inflation because it keeps its value even when other investments are falling. This means that your money will be worth more when it comes time to access it in your retirement account. It also means that you will have a secure retirement even if prices are rising. You may need to make larger withdrawals to meet your expenses in a situation of high inflation, but you will have a portion of your retirement savings that maintains its value even in times of high inflation. Even a small amount of gold in your retirement account can help you to hedge against a disastrous situation of high inflation.
- Protection against economic crises
While no investment is 100% risk-free, gold has proven to be a good hedge against economic crises. This is because when economies falter, gold prices often surge in value. Gold has often proven to be a better investment than stocks during economic crises. This is because gold is a non-productive asset that cannot be easily manipulated by governments or banks. As such, it often acts as a safe-haven asset during times of economic turmoil. During these periods, gold often sees a surge in demand, and its price often rises as well. Gold often increases in value during periods of economic crisis, as it is considered to be a safe-haven asset.
Important Things to Consider Before Investing in a Gold IRA
- Do your research
Before investing in a Gold IRA, make sure you do your research and understand how the investment works. Make sure you know the risks associated with gold and that it is a good fit with the rest of your retirement portfolio. Make sure the company you choose for your IRA has a solid track record and reputation. Keep your eye on the market and make sure you re-evaluate your investment if the market changes. The value of gold may go up, but it can also go down.
- Consider other options
Before investing in a Gold IRA, make sure you explore all of your options. You might also consider Silver IRAs, which are less expensive and often appreciate faster than gold. You can also diversify your retirement savings by investing in stocks, bonds, real estate, or a combination of assets. Additionally, think about how you might reduce your retirement expenses to save money. For example, you might consider contributing to your retirement account through a Roth IRA. With a Roth, you pay taxes on your contributions now rather than later in retirement when they would be taxed as regular income.
- Protect your account
Make sure you store your gold in a secure place so that others can’t access it and make withdrawals from your retirement account. Make sure you set a strong password to keep your account secure and don’t share your login credentials with anyone. You also need to keep a close eye on your investments. Keep track of how much money you’ve put into your retirement account, and when it’s time to start taking money out, you might want to make sure that you take it in a regular, fixed amount each month. This will help you to make sure that you’re not taking out too much and bumping up against a tax threshold.
- Avoid leverage
Some Gold IRA providers allow you to use a small percentage of your account to purchase gold futures. This is called leverage, and it can be very risky. It’s better just to buy the gold outright. If you do decide to go with a gold futures contract, make sure you have enough money in your account to cover the contract’s value if the price of gold drops significantly. You’re likely to have to sell the contract at a loss if the price drops below the contract’s value. You can also lose money if the price of gold rises above the contract’s value. Even if you have the funds to cover the contract’s value, you may have to pay transaction fees if you want to sell the contract before its maturity date.
As with any investment, there are risks associated with investing in gold through a self-directed Gold IRA. However, gold is a tried-and-true investment that is proven to perform well in times of economic uncertainty. It’s also a good option for people who want to diversify their retirement portfolio and reduce the risk of losing money. Just be sure to do your research, be wary of scammers, and only invest what you can afford to lose.