Every year, millions of Americans are faced with the challenge of managing their finances and making critical choices about how to plan for retirement. If you have a 401k plan provided by your employer, many financial experts recommend rolling over part of it into an Individual Retirement Account, or IRA.
With an IRA, you can invest in a wide variety of financial instruments – from traditional stocks, bonds, and mutual funds to more exotic investments like oil or gas leases. One attractive option is to diversify your retirement portfolio by investing in precious metals, like gold or silver. For many investors, doing a 401k rollover into a gold IRA can be an interesting and advantageous choice.
Why Should You Rollover From an Existing IRA or 401k Into A Gold IRA?
First off, why should you consider an IRA or 401k rollover? Well, it’s always a good idea to have a diverse investment portfolio. But investing in gold has some specific properties that make it attractive to those saving for retirement.
Gold preserves its value over time. A gold bar minted a hundred years ago would be worth thousands of dollars if melted down and sold today. And it would still be worth roughly the same amount a hundred years from now. Because of the way it retains value, gold is protected against inflation, and unlike stocks or bonds, its value does not fluctuate widely. In fact, with gold mining slowing down, the value of gold is only expected to rise.
Gold’s liquidity is also an attractive quality to many investors. If you have an emergency, withdrawing money from your 401k means getting hit with a hefty tax penalty. On the other hand, many gold investment firms have a buy-back option, in which they will purchase your gold from you at a fair price.
A gold IRA also has tax benefits. The highest tax bracket on a 401k is 39.6%. Since the IRS considers gold a collectible, with a gold IRA, you will only be taxed 28% on your capital gains.
If you are a conservative, cautious investor concerned with instabilities in our financial system and preserving your wealth for your heirs, investing in gold through a 401k rollover is an excellent choice.
How to Pick a Reputable Firm for Your Gold IRA Rollover
Before you convert part of your IRA or 401k to gold or other precious metals, carefully research the background and practices of any potential gold IRA company. This is to safeguard your savings, and confirm that they are being handled by a trustworthy custodian.
Here are some things to look for:
1. The company should have expertise in IRAs, as well as gold IRAs.
2. The company should be accessible and easy to reach. If you have questions, you should be able to get an answer in a timely manner.
3. The fee structure should be clear and low. Be cautious of companies that only charge a flat fee, as there may be a multitude of hidden costs.
4. The delivery times should be prompt, and there should be guarantees of reimbursements for late deliveries.
5. Your gold should be stored in a separate storage facility, in an area assigned with your name on it.
6. Avoid companies that seem to want you to buy certain coins or products.
7. The company should offer a fair value for your gold if you want to sell it back.
8. The firm should be reputable. Check the Better Business Bureau. Don’t just look at the rating: pay attention to what complaints have been lodged and how the company has handled them.
How to Perform a Rollover Into a Gold IRA.
OK. You’ve decided to roll over part of your 401k or existing IRA into a gold IRA, and you’ve found a reputable firm to handle this. What’s the next step?
A firm like Regal Assets, who we recommend, provides what is called a self-directed IRA account. This is what it sounds like—an investment account in which you make the essential decisions. The firm essentially acts as a custodian – storing and protecting the gold you direct it to buy.
You are allowed one tax-free rollover from an IRA or 401k each year. The rollover of the full amount must occur within sixty days of removing funds from your current IRA to avoid a penalty.
A reputable custodian will provide all the necessary paperwork and contact information to process the rollover. After you’ve filled out the paperwork, the next steps are as follows:
- Shop gold and silver dealers for the products you wish to purchase. You might consider authentic gold coins such as the Maple Leaf of Canada, the American Eagle, or Credit Suisse Gold Bars.
- After you’ve made the purchase, the dealer will invoice the custodian firm for payment.
- The gold or silver will be shipped to an approved depository.
- Your IRA custodian firm will provide you with regular statements and updates in regard to your precious metal holdings.
Is Now a Good Time For a 401k to Gold IRA Rollover?
The primary purpose of investing in gold is to diversify, preserve your wealth for future generations, and shield yourself from economic uncertainty (such as that created by the 2008 recession or the Eurozone’s continuing sovereign debt crisis).
Unlike stocks, gold does not depreciate in value. No matter what state the economy is in, there will always be ready buyers of gold. Also, in case you didn't know it yet, gold bars protect an economy against inflation and other economic mood swings. In other words, economies always have gold bars on hand to match the money that is being circulated in the market.
Unlike other investments, such as stocks or real estate, timing is not the issue. If you think investing in gold is right for you, now is as good a time as any.
Is Investing in a Gold IRA Right for You?
Maybe you are intrigued by the benefits of investing in gold, but still have more questions. For the visual learners out there, we made this infographic showing you why and how to rollover your existing IRA or 401k to physical gold.
If you’re looking for a 401k to gold IRA rollover guide, consider downloading our free gold IRA investment manual. Click on the form below to get started and see if investing in gold is right for you.