Planning for retirement can invite a lot of questions. Headlines warn us about market volatility, and we can never be sure what the state of Social Security will be from year to year, let alone what it will look like when we retire.
Many people have chosen the route of an Individual Retirement Account, or IRA. There are several different forms of IRA. What they all have in common is that you can decide your own retirement strategy. With a precious metals account, or a Gold IRA as it’s also called, you can store precious metals in your retirement portfolio just as you would with cash or stocks.
A Gold IRA has several specific rules of which you should be aware. The first and most important is that it is a different and legally separate account from a traditional IRA. That means that if you have an existing IRA and want to start adding precious metals like gold into your portfolio, you need to establish a self-directed precious metals IRA.
These self-directed IRAs are held in trust by a manager, or broker, and can be used to keep everything from real estate to intellectual property as retirement assets. These assets cannot be withdrawn or altered except under very specific conditions. And altering or withdrawing the assets opens you up to taxation.
With a Gold IRA, you set up a self-directed account with a broker who will help you navigate the purchasing, storing, and managing of precious metals. You can hold silver, gold, platinum, or palladium in a precious metals IRA. Because gold is the most common metal stored, many people refer to these accounts as Gold IRAs.
How to Establish a Rollover Gold IRA
If you are not starting from scratch, if you already have an IRA, and wish to diversify into precious metals, you can roll your existing retirement account into a self-directed Gold IRA. All forms of IRA (Traditional, Roth, Simple, or SEP) can be rolled into a Gold IRA.
To execute a Gold IRA rollover, first establish a self-directed Gold IRA with a custodian or broker. Most gold investment companies or banks can help you find a custodian or broker. After your Gold IRA is established, you simply fill out a transfer request form and any amount of money you wish to move will go from your traditional IRA to your new self-directed IRA. You can then use those funds to purchase precious metals for the Gold IRA.
Because the money never comes to you, and because the gold is never in your possession, none of this process is taxable.
But what if you don’t have an IRA? Some people have retirement accounts, like a 401(k), through their employer. These accounts are also good candidates for rolling over into a Gold IRA. Most employer provided programs are eligible, like 403(b)s or TSPs, provided you no longer work for the employer with whom you began the account.
If you still work for the employer, check with the representative of the account management to see what the penalty is for transferring funds into a new account. Some retirement plans allow for penalty-free transfers if the person is past a certain age. For instance, if you have a 401(k) through a job where you’re still employed, but you’re over the age of 60, you can apply for a partial Gold IRA rollover.
In any case where you are no longer employed by the persons or company with whom you established the retirement account, the process to transfer into a Gold IRA is relatively simple. First, like above, establish the self-directed Gold IRA with a custodian. Then contact the custodian of your 401(k) (or similar account) and have them directly transfer funds to your new custodian of the Gold IRA. Because the funds never pass into your possession, the money is not taxed.
No matter what your retirement goals, having control of the direction you’re headed can be invaluable. If you’ve decided to diversify into precious metals like Gold, but already have a retirement account, you don’t need to start from zero. You can begin investing in gold or other metals with the funds you’ve already accrued through your retirement planning.
Remember, the first thing to do is establish a self-directed IRA for precious metals, and select a trusted custodian of that account. If you’ve done that ahead of time, you can avoid taxation and penalties when you decided to rollover your IRA or other account into Gold.e