There are many reasons to consider a precious metal IRA in a volatile economy. Precious metals like gold, silver and palladium have held worldwide value in most cultures throughout recorded history, and since President Clinton’s Taxpayer Relief Act signed in 1997, these precious metals are now allowed in a retirement account. However, there are some special rules that apply to precious metals IRAs, and it is important to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements involved.
What Is A Self-Directed IRA?
A precious metals IRA is a self-directed IRA, which means that the owner can make personalized investment choices with non-traditional assets like real estate, stocks, mortgages and certain forms of precious metals. While a traditional IRA is monitored and controlled by the financial institution like a bank or lending company, and your money is only allowed to be invested through that institution, a self-directed IRA gives the owner the freedom to choose his or her own investment options.
How To Get Started With A Self-Directed IRA
However, a self-directed IRA requires an outside custodian, like a broker or bank, to handle all storage and transactions. And there are a few options to getting started with a self-directed IRA. If you have no IRA yet at all and you want to start with a self-directed IRA, first open an account with a custodian, then purchase your gold or silver (precious metals already owned are not eligible) and fill out all necessary paperwork to start the process of depositing assets. Also, be sure to inform yourself about all the rules and regulations that will apply to your new precious metals retirement account.
When To Rollover Existing Assets
It is also common for people who already have an existing 401(k) to want to transfer some or all of their assets into a self-directed IRA. A change in job, separation from employer or retirement may spur this desire to have more direct control and individualization over a retirement plan. If this is the case, the IRA owner must start a rollover of existing IRA assets into a new account.
Simple Steps To Starting A Self-Directed Precious Metals IRA:
- Open a precious metals IRA account with a trusted custodian
- Deposits funds into your account (initial contribution or transfer/rollover)
- Buy eligible gold, silver, platinum or palladium to diversify your investment options (not all forms of precious metals qualify)
- Your custodian handles the purchase and the precious metals are securely shipped to a holding facility only your custodian has access to
When Not To Use A Rollover
If you are simply moving funds from one financial institution to another but staying within the rules of a traditional IRA, it may be better to use the simpler transfer method, which is non-reportable and less complicated. If you are, however, changing the rules of your IRA, like moving money from an employer’s 401(k) into a self-directed IRA, you must use a rollover.
Tips For Rollover IRA
- Once you decide you want to rollover some or part of your existing retirement funds into a self-directed IRA, you have 60 days since the last receipt of funds to complete the rollover process. If you do not meet the 60 day deadline, the funds will be taxed as income rather than as IRA investments.
- For most IRAs, with some exceptions, you can only rollover funds or assets once a year from one account to another without penalty.
- The same property rule applies to rollovers, which means you can’t take cash from a previous plan, buy stocks or assets and then invest those in the rollover IRA.
Most importantly, it is essential to find a great and trustworthy custodian to help walk you through the rollover process.