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44 Precious Metals IRA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Written by retirement account experts Pat Collins and John Halloran.

Table of contents

1. What is a Precious Metals IRA?

A precious metals IRA is a Self-Directed individual retirement account that can hold physical gold, silver, platinum, and palladium at an Internal Revenue Service-approved depository.

2. What is the Difference Between a Self-Directed IRA and a Traditional IRA?

A Self-Directed IRA frequently allows you to purchase alternative investment including real estate, precious metals and cryptocurrency. Most traditional IRAs limit your portfolio to paper assets like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and money market accounts.

3. What if I Already Have a Self-Directed IRA?

Depending on your custodian, you may be allowed to own silver and gold bullion coins or bars. Check out this list of Gold IRA Custodians to confirm if your current trust company permits investing in precious metals.

4. What Types of Metal Can I Hold in My Self-Directed IRA?

Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins and bars that meet IRS purity requirements.

5. Can I Hold Collectible Coins?

The IRS does not permit you to invest in 3rd party graded coins within IRAs. The only collectible coins allowed in an IRA account are American Eagle proofs issued by the U.S. Mint.

6. Can I Deposit Gold and Silver Coins I Already Own into an IRA?

No. You cannot contribute precious metals that you already own into your retirement account.

7. Can I Invest in Gold and Silver Bullion in My Roth IRA Account?

Yes. Certain gold & silver coins and bars are qualified to be held in Self-Directed Roth IRA accounts.

8. What Parties are Involved in Setting Up Physical Gold IRAs?

A trust company (IRA custodian) to ensure you are IRS compliant. A depository to safely store and insure your precious metals. And a gold IRA company to handle your buy and sell transactions.

9. Where Can I Find a List of Gold & Silver IRA Custodians?

The Certified Gold Exchange has created the following comprehensive list of Self-Directed Gold IRA Custodians.

10. What are the Fees to Set Up a Self-Directed IRA?

It depends on the trust company you choose.  But typically, there is a one-time set-up fee, a nominal buy/sell transaction fee, an annual custodial fee, and a storage & insurance fee. We recommend considering a trust company with a flat rate storage fee because it’s more cost-effective. Some will charge using a sliding scale based on the value of your assets which can be very expensive. Here is a link to the fees of the custodians we prefer.

11. Why Do Some Metals Dealers Offer “Free” or “Zero Fee” Precious Metals IRAs?

There is no such thing as a “Free” or “Zero Fee” Self-Directed retirement account. The gold company that’s offering the promotion is paying the fees on your account. They can do so because they over-charge for their metals. You always pay much more than you need to if you fall prey to free promotions.

12. How Do I Open a Self-Directed IRA?

Opening a new Self-Directed IRA is as simple as completing a basic application. Your precious metals supplier will guide you through the process. Once submitted to your new custodian, your account will typically be set up within 48 hours.

13. Can I Roll Over My Current 401k, 403b, 457b, or TSP to a Gold IRA?

You can only move funds if you qualify for an “in-service” withdrawal, which permits you to transfer a portion of your assets while still employed by the company that sponsors your retirement plan. Typically this option becomes available when you reach 59.5 years of age. Some investment plan sponsors don’t have an age limit, so contact them to confirm your options.

14. Can I Roll Over an Old Inactive 401k, 403b, 457b, or TSP to a Gold IRA?

Yes. Call 1-800-300-0715 to get started.

15. How Do I Roll Over My 401k, 403b, 457b, or TSP to a Gold IRA?

Once you’ve established your new Self-Directed IRA, you will simply call your investment plan provider and verbally initiate the rollover. They will then send a check to your new custodian or to you to forward to them. The best gold IRA companies will hold your hand through the entire process.

16. Can I Do a Partial Transfer from My Current IRA Account to a Gold IRA?

Yes. Self-Directed IRA accounts are just that, Self-Directed. You alone choose how much to transfer.

17. Can I Make Annual Contributions to My Self-Directed Precious Metals IRA?

Yes. Contribution limits are the same for all IRAs. In 2023, you can contribute $6,500 per year to an IRA account, or $7,000 if you’re over 50 years of age. Once you reach 72, you can no longer contribute to a non-Roth account.

18. Are My Precious Metals Physical or Paper Certificates?

The Certified Gold Exchange only deals in 100% real gold & silver bullion products.

19. Why Does CGE Prefer Delaware Depository for Safekeeping My IRA Metals?

delaware-depository-precious-metals-storage-ira-highlights

20. Can I Trust “Best Gold IRA Company” Review Websites?

Not normally. Most websites that “review” gold IRA companies are paid to do so. They are most likely an affiliate that will recommend precious metals dealers that compensate them 3-6% of your gross account value for having done so.

21. What About Companies That Offer “FREE” or “No Fee” Precious Metal IRAs? 

There is no such thing as a “FREE” or “No Fee” Self-Directed retirement account. The gold company that’s offering the promotion is paying the fees on your account. They can do so because they over-charge for their metals. You always pay much more than you need to if you fall prey to free promotions.

22. What’s the Difference Between a Primary and Contingent Beneficiary?

A primary beneficiary is first in line to inherit your account should you pass away. A contingent beneficiary would be next in line to inherit the account should both you and the primary pass away simultaneously.

23. Does My Spouse Have to be My Primary Beneficiary?

Only if you live in one of the following community property states. Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin.

24. If I Live in a Community Property State, Can I Still Make Someone Other Than My Spouse My Primary Beneficiary?

Yes, however, your spouse would need to waive their rights by signing a release on the application.

get-your-free-precious-metals-ira-investors-kit-1

25. Can I Have a Trust as My Precious Metals IRA Beneficiary?

Yes.

26. What is the Interested Party Option on My Precious Metals IRA Application?

This designation allows a 3rd party, such as your metals dealer, to speak with the IRA custodian on your behalf. It is safe and effective because it permits them to obtain information about your account but DOES NOT authorize them to invest or sell without your approved permission.

27. What is the Designated Representative Option on My Precious Metals IRA Application?

This designation authorizes a Power Of Attorney on your account. DO NOT give this authority to a precious metals dealer. In certain circumstances, an attorney, CPA, or family member may be issued a POA. If you’re working with a precious metals dealer that is requesting you assign them as a Designated Representative, call us at once at 1-800-300-0715.

28. What Is a Buy/Sell Spread?

The “spread” is the difference between what a precious metals dealer will buy and sell an item for. The buy/sell spread is how a gold and silver dealer makes their money.

29. How Do I Buy Precious Metals for My Self-Directed IRA?

Simply contact your gold company of choice and complete an Investment Direction. This document will outline your purchase and per-unit cost. Call CGE at 1-800-300-0715 to confirm your buying at the best possible price, it takes less than 2 minutes.

30. Why Can’t I Buy Precious Metals for The Spot Price?

The spot price is an indicator of per-ounce cost for 1,000 ounce bars on the COMEX without delivery. When the U.S. or Canadian Mints purchase gold and silver blanks, they pay a mark-up above the spot price. They then test the metal and manufacture their branded products which they sell to authorized dealers. The dealers will then set a buy/sell spread and release the coins to the public.

31. Can I Store My Precious Metal at Home?

No. Your gold, silver, platinum or palladium, coins or bars must be stored at an IRS-approved, non-bank trustee to avoid self-dealing regulations.

32. What’s the Difference Between Commingled and Segregated Storage?

Segregated storage is when you hold your precious metals in a private safety deposit box at the depository. Commingled storage is when your metal is stored in your custodians’ segregated section of the vault but commingled with other customers’ metals.

33.  What Is The Additional Cost for Segregated Storage? 

Segregated storage typically costs an additional 50 dollars per year and is only available for gold.

34. Can I Track My Account Value Online? 

Yes, your custodians’ website will allow you to monitor and track your account in real-time.

35. How Do The Custodians Value My Metal?

Self-Directed custodians use one of the three methodologies to determine the value of your account.

  • The melt-down spot price of the weight of each bar or coin. 
  • They ask the client to provide fair market value.
  • They receive a third-party depository or website pricing.

36. Why Does My Account Value Differ From The Actual Buyback?

Most precious metals coins are more valuable than the spot price. Your custodian is most likely only providing you with the melt-down valuation and not taking any buyback premium into account when valuing your assets. To get the highest current liquidation value for your metals, contact the Certified Gold Exchange.

37. How Do I Sell The Gold Or Silver in My IRA?

You simply contact your gold company to execute an Investment Direction form that authorizes them to liquidate the metals in your IRA account.

38. How Do I Take My Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) From My Precious Metals IRA?

You can sell a portion of your metals and take a cash RMD, or you can take an “in-kind” distribution and have the cash equivalent sent to your home in metal.

39. How Can I Avoid Overpaying for My Precious Metals?

Avoid the following:

  • “Best Gold IRA Company” paid review sites
  • Conservative spokesperson endorsements
  • Free gold & silver coin promotions
  • Dealers willing to pay your custodian fees
  • Buying obscure or “premium” coins
  • TV & YouTube commercials with celebrities
  • Expensive NRA or NASCAR type endorsements
  • Gold companies in Los Angeles and the surrounding area

40. What is an Obscure Coin and Why Should I Avoid Them? 

An obscure coin is any coin that you were unfamiliar with before the dealer mentioned it to you. They are more difficult to price check and are how Los Angeles gold companies hide their enormous spreads. Always call us to check the price of obscure coins before signing a gold IRA investment direction form.

41. Can I Pay Less By Purchasing Directly with Certified Gold Exchange?

Yes, on our minimum order of $50,000 or more. We search the nation for the lowest prevailing price of the day on your preferred items, and then we beat it. You get an email with the lowest-priced search results before committing to your purchase.

42. How To Save: Can I Call The Certified Gold Exchange For Help, Even If I Am Buying Under the Minimum?

Absolutely, we are here to help the public make a safe gold or silver investment for any amount. We will find the best pricing for you on both sides of the transaction and for any amount. We can also guarantee you’re dealing with a reputable gold investment company, no matter how much metal you’re buying or selling.

43. How Has Gold And Silver Performed Versus The Stock Market?

Precious metals have been allowed in IRAs since August of 1997. Since that time: 

  • Gold has averaged 20.79% per year.   
  • Silver has averaged 19.07% per year.
  • DJIA has averaged 11.96% per year.

These figures were updated on April 1st. 

Source: 

44. The Most Important Question: How Do I Find A Reputable Precious Metals Dealer?

Three stand-up firms have been in business for more than 20 years without a single client complaint. Contact us at 1-800-300-0715, and we’ll provide you with their names and contact information. CGE is one of them.

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Edward AlbertEdward Albert ★★★★★ I was looking to liquidate the precious metals in my IRA . The horror stories I had heard of about some gold and silver dealers had me very apprehensive. When I called Certified Gold Exchange and talked with Patrick, I quickly felt a sense of trust in his voice. He answered all my questions and understood my fear of getting taken advantage of. He and his team work very hard behind the scenes ensuring the transaction to go smoothly. As a result CGE has earned my 5 star rating! I will contact them again if I want to buy or sell in the future!ALAN BROWNALAN BROWN ★★★★★ Certified Gold Exchange's website really jumped out to me as I began researching precious metal IRA's. I found it to be incredibly comprehensive and informative, answering questions I did not even know to ask and alerting me to bad practices within the industry as well. So, I called and found the CGE team to be every bit as helpful as the website. They were responsive immediately and throughout the process of establishing an account and funding it. They were particularly helpful when dealing directly with my current custodian and getting funds rolled over. Pat and Mary have been courteous, personable, and very professional working with me and even helped with questions outside the immediate business at hand. I have already referred friends to CGE and will continue to do so.Alison WeinbergAlison Weinberg ★★★★★ Pat and team are very knowledgeable and professional!Ismail KenessyIsmail Kenessy ★★★★★ Customer since 2005. Professional, courteous, and helpful. CGE walked me through the process and provided the best prices available with minimum costs. Excellent service.Joe MurrayJoe Murray ★★★★★ What super service I received from the Certified Gold Exchange precious metals IRA team. Wow is all I can say! I had a large amount of coins in a gold and silver IRA for many years and decided to sell. I spent just about a whole day talking to several metals dealers about purchasing my metals. Call after call I did not feel good about what I was hearing with these dealers so I called the company that helped me set the gold and silver IRA up. Their name is Broad Financial LLC. I explained the problem I was having with finding a buyer and they said that is common in the industry. They told me to call the Certified Gold Exchange, Inc in Fort Worth, Texas. I spoke with Mr C there and was impressed that their quote was above the spot price (because I was hoping to get the spot price). They explained that American Eagles buy back at over spot and I said not with all the other dealers I called. I shipped the metals to their New York depository following the Certified Gold Exchange's instructions. Candace at CGE tracked the package every step of the way and I was updated along the way. Then when my metals arrived at the Certified Gold Exchange depository they told me that several of my coins were actually American Eagle Proof coins, not the bullion version I thought I had. They increased their original quote by $3000.00 dollars! Shocking that a company would be so honest because they could have just sent the original amount and I would have been happy. Needless to say I will never deal with a different metals dealer except the Certified Gold Exchange. Their gold IRA team is the best by leaps and bounds. I highly recommend Candice, Mr. C and the CGE team to any one looking to buy or sell metals with a great experience. Americans trusted source For Gold is not just a tagline with these folks.ted okolowiczted okolowicz ★★★★★ After searching and checking out different metals companies, I decided that Certified Gold Exchange Inc. was my choice. They have exceeded my expectations and made my IRA rollover easier than I thought.You can be very confident by the way every step was handled (very professional).So kudos to the whole TEAM and thank youJoseph GlassmanJoseph Glassman ★★★★★ I had a very good experience with Certified Gold Exchange and I highly recommend anyone considering a IRA Rollover into precious metals, talk to David White at Certified and do business with them. They are honest and will have your best interest as their concern.. David took care of my needs completely with honest and fair pricing. I shopped around and decided on Certified.Lefty and Mary JamoraLefty and Mary Jamora ★★★★★ Thank you David and Pat for educating us on the gold and silver markets. Pat especially helped us thru our first purchase of silver.M PhommahaxayM Phommahaxay ★★★★★ So glad I found CGE! Although, they don’t do business in my state, David White was so kind to take the time out of his busy schedule to educate me on precious metal investing. His advice was extremely valuable which saved me a ton of money. I would definitely recommend and refer any of my friends or family members interested in investing in precious metals in their service area. So thankful for David and this company!Rickey JohnsonRickey Johnson ★★★★★ My experience so far with Certified Gold Exchange was all very positive. Everything went smoothly and P. Collins was awesome in helping us navigate through the process.Aaron BrabhamAaron Brabham ★★★★★ I called Certified Gold Exchange to get information on a crypto currency IRA. I had a ton of questions and Steve not only answered all of them but also informed me of many things I had not thought of.I decided to invest $60k and in just three months it's over $120k! Not only that, the team at Certified Gold Exchange has excellent customer service.I highly recommend them.Mark OLearyMark OLeary ★★★★★ Philip with the certified gold exchange was incredibly helpful in helping me to setup a Cryptocurrency IRA. He knew exactly what questions to ask my existing custodian to make the rollover as seamless as possible. In just a short few months with the recommendations of Philip; I have already seen over a 250% return on my investment. Highly recommended.Gal TabGal Tab ★★★★★ The reason I give it the maximum stars is because everything happened just the way they planned it. I invested a considerable sum of money with them and as anyone would be, I was a little scared. I did my research and They came highly recommended as being ethical brokers. Their fees are very competitive and look forward to doing more business with them.Diana FincherDiana Fincher ★★★★★ I rolled over my IRA into Silver a couple of years ago and made a friend! Agent Pat C, Certified Gold Exchange, Inc., has far exceeded my expectations with continuing, careful watch over my investment. He always surprises with immediate personal response to my slightest question and inspires confidence to hold to The Plan. Pat’s personal touch and excellent recall is reassuring and has proven that he will keep me informed when any changes are advised. Ask for Pat - he’s excellent, excellent!Steve AstinSteve Astin ★★★★★ This was the 3rd company I called and by far the most professional. Thanks Patrick for the great service!Alicia O'RearAlicia O'Rear ★★★★☆ Thank you for donating 16 bibles for our foster children at Albuquerque Christian Children's Home! This is a wonderful company with a heart for ministry.Kyle SandersKyle Sanders ★★★★★ I was interested in doing a gold IRA rollover and contacted several firms after researching on the web. Certified Gold Exchange's website had the most useful information by far compared to other firms. Their representatives have been a pleasure to work with--professional, answered every question I had, and I'd recommend them to anyone looking at a gold IRA rollover.Robby BryantRobby Bryant ★★★★★ I am a Certified Financial Planner, and Certified Gold Exchange has helped us purchase gold for 16 years without a hitch for our clients and at excellent prices. We couldn’t be more satisfied!Anne SayreAnne Sayre ★★★★★ My husband and I were thrilled with the service we received at Certified Gold Exchange! Shipping our gold to us was quick and very simple. So happy we did not have to pay for the TV advertisements with celebrities like so many of the other precious metal companies. We will be buying again from CGE!Neenah PayneNeenah Payne ★★★★★ Certified Gold Exchange, Inc. is a highly professional firm that was a pleasure to do business with. It provides fast and accurate service. The firm went out of its way to be helpful on a number of key issues. I highly recommend them. I was extremely lucky for several reasons to have called the Certified Gold Exchange, Inc. when I was ready to sell my gold and silver coins. When I called the firm, Liam on the service desk explained that they scan hundreds of gold dealers to get me the best price. That was very comforting.When I spoke with coin dealer David White, he was able to give me a quote in 3.5 hours. He also explained the importance of shipping my coins via registered mail with the Post Office. David said that the Post Office requires a registered box to be sealed with brown paper tape to prevent tampering. David emailed me links to sites that showed the right tape to use and how to seal the box. He called several UPS stores in my neighborhood to try to find the tape for me. In the end, I bought the tape from the Post Office. David explained that while Fedex and UPS would ship the coins, since they are not allowed to ship gold or silver, I would have no recourse if my coins were lost. David even gave me his home number so I could reach him after hours if necessary.My experience with Certified Gold Exchange, Inc. stands in stark contrast with how two other coin brokers responded. The firm from which I had bought most of my silver coins never called me back. On November 13 when I called the broker from whom I had bought most of my gold coins, I couldn't get through on the phone. So, I emailed them and it took 5 days for them to respond! The broker didn't give me a quote until December 2 -- and then only for some of the coins! He said he would tell me what they would pay for the other coins after I shipped them!In addition, that broker explained that one of their customers had lost all their coins valued at $22,000 because the box was tampered with and they had failed to insure them for the full amount. However, I knew by then that if the firm had told the customer to ship the coins via registered mail as Certified Gold Exchange, Inc. does, the box could not have been tampered with.So, Certified Gold Exchange, Inc. is the only gold and silver dealer I recommend. The level of service is truly remarkable.Jovita GarcesJovita Garces ★★★★★ What do you do with what little you have to put away for the future? After my divorce 16 years ago, I decided I needed to find an IRA and invest my children's money into something that would retain and grow in value through the years. I found a great website called Certified Gold Exchange that intrigued me and when I called, John listened and understood my needs and helped me understand the value of investing in rare coins and precious metals before taking that all important step. I am happy I took a leap of faith knowing the prospect for growth in my precious metals IRA and children's funds for college and maybe first home some day was very real. I believe I made the best choice for our future. I can always trust CGE to give me honest and dependable service everytime I call in them.Maria SMaria S ★★★★★ Patrick Collins and Certified Gold Exchange (CGE) Team: I appreciate the support, you took me on for this transaction when I wasn’t even an existing client. (Yes I know CGE made some money). It was you manner, caring and fast response that made me feel very comfortable with you.Your interest in helping me on such short notice shows how much you care for your clients. I hope 🤞 to have you as one of my financial team in the future.Natalia ArizaNatalia Ariza ★★★★★ Certified Gold Exchange is the best metals company in the US hands down!Paul LiftonPaul Lifton ★★★★★ Piper PetersonPiper Peterson ★★★★★ It's not always the case with precious metals dealers but the Certified Gold Exchange hires the best advisors in the industry and this is the reason for their outstanding reputation.Eric BenjaminEric Benjamin ★★★★★ We have purchased from several dealers and hands down these guys have been the best. Above and beyond are the words I would use to describe their service. You will not be disappointed if you have been on the fence about buying!Josh SingerJosh Singer ★★★★★ Working with Certified Gold Exchange has been a great experience. The Certified Gold Exchange staff are very very good communicators and clearly have a lot of experience. Anytime we had a question or needed anything from them they responded the same day, if not the following morning. I would recommend working Certified Gold Exchange. Hands down great communicators and great business people.Burt DumertonBurt Dumerton ★★★★★ I have been working with Certified Gold Exchange Inc. since 2005 and have found them to give exceptional service and prices for precious metals. They have always treated me with great respect and given extraordinary personal attention to my account and to me personally. Their advice on many occasions have kept me from making some pretty serious errors in my investment decisions. They are prompt to return my calls and take special care to not be pushy or arrogant. Excellent to do business with. Give John a call.js_loader

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