There are many benefits to Self-Directed IRAs, the chief of which is allowing you to invest in many ways. One excellent example of this is the Self-Directed Gold IRA. Although certain other precious metals can be used in this type of Self-Directed IRA, gold is by far the most common.
Perhaps you have heard the old saying “good as gold” when referring to something that is both secure and valuable. When it comes to investing, that old saying can certainly be true. In times of uncertainty, gold has always been the ultimate safe harbor.
Your investment can be held in either gold company stock or exchange traded funds that track a gold index as well as physical gold. Holding the actual metal provides the ultimate amount of control, eliminating any risk of the fund getting into trouble.
Advantages of Self-Directed Gold IRAs
There are a number of advantages to using Self-Directed Gold IRAs. The most important is the security that comes with gold, perhaps the planet’s oldest store of value. Like all investments, gold prices will fluctuate, but having a portion of your assets invested in gold is perhaps the safest bet. Gold prices frequently move in the opposite direction of paper assets, meaning if much of your portfolio falls in value, it will provide a cushion against those losses. Since the financial crisis of 2008 and the resulting Great Recession, Self-Directed Gold IRAs have become much more popular. Self-Directed Gold IRAs also provide an insurance policy against inflation.
The Regulations Governing Self-Directed Gold IRAs
Self-Directed Gold IRAs can are subject to the same regulations as other types of Self-Directed IRAs with some additional rules specific to gold or other precious metals. Some of these regulations involve the trustee requirements, types of metal permitted and storage plans.
Trustee Requirements for Self-Directed Gold IRAs
Just like all other Self-Directed IRAs, in order to comply with IRS requirements, a Self-Directed Gold IRA must be held by a U.S. trustee. Therefore, legally speaking, precious metals in a Self-Directed IRA are in the custody of the trustee or custodian, not the IRA owner. According to the IRS, “A trustee or custodian must be a bank, a federally insured credit union, a savings and loan association, or an entity approved by the IRS to act as trustee or custodian.”
Types of Gold Which Can be Used for Self-Directed Gold IRAs
If you choose to hold gold in physical form, it may be either in bullion or coins, and there are specific requirements for each. These regulations are set by everyone’s favorite organization, the Internal Revenue Service. Gold held as bullion must meet certain requirement standards. It must be a fineness level of .9950% and come from a COMEX or NYMEX approved refiner. Certain types of gold coins are also permissible. Only the certain coins are allowed, which excludes a number of “collectable” coins. The permitted coins include:
- American Gold Eagle bullion coins
- American Gold Eagle proof coins
- British Gold Britannia coins (from 2013)
- British The Queen’s Beasts (coin)
- British gold Shēngxiào Lunar Series (British coin)
- Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins
- Austrian Gold Philharmonic coins
- Australian Kangaroo/Nugget coins
- Chinese Gold Panda coins
- American Gold Buffalo uncirculated coins (proofs not allowed)
Types of Storage Plans for Self-Directed Gold IRAs
There are two types of permitted storage plans for gold which is held in the Self-Directed IRA. They are known as either national storage plans or local storage plans.
When using a national storage plan the gold is sent directly to an approved national depository. When using this method, the national facility is responsible for security, but you never see your gold because it is sent directly to the facility and not your trustee.
When using a local storage plan, your gold is sent to the manager of the Self-Directed IRA and you choose where to store it, provided the site meets certain requirements.
Costs Involved When Using Self-Directed Gold IRAs
Owning gold in a Self-Directed Gold IRA does come with some special expenses, in addition to those associated with all other types of Self-Directed IRAs. Some of these charges that an investor will have to pay include the seller’s fee, custodian fee and storage fees. The seller’s fee (or markup) can vary depending on what type of gold you purchase, such as bullion or coins. The custodian fees are an annual expense which may be higher for Self-Directed IRAs than other types of accounts. There are also the annual storage fees which are charged by the storage facility where your gold is kept.
Required Distributions from Self-Directed Gold IRAs
Just as with Traditional IRAs, an investor must start to take required minimum distributions, or RMDs, once they turn 70½. Account holders are required to remove a portion of assets from their Self-Directed IRAs each year as a distribution, so the government can begin collecting taxes on your savings. If you have multiple Traditional IRAs you can “aggregate” your distributions from different accounts, possibly allowing you to keep more in the Self-Directed Gold IRA provided you remove a sufficient amount in total.
When you begin making distributions from your Self-Directed Gold IRA, you can sell some of the gold and withdraw the money as cash. You can also take a “distribution in-kind” and receive the physical gold itself and be taxed accordingly.
For more information on Self-Directed IRAs or Self-Directed Gold IRAs, call us today at 866-7500-IRA (472) or visit us at www.AmericanIRA.com.