Retirement

What Are the Pros and Cons of Gold IRAs?

A Gold IRA is a type of retirement savings account that uses physical gold as the savings vehicle for the account and features unique benefits that aren’t often found in conventional IRAs. There are pros and cons of Gold IRAs, as there are with any type of retirement account, but the Gold IRA benefits may be preferable…

A Gold IRA is a type of retirement savings account that uses physical gold as the savings vehicle for the account and features unique benefits that aren't often found in conventional IRAs. There are pros and cons of Gold IRAs, as there are with any type of retirement account, but the Gold IRA benefits may be preferable if you want the security of gold and its safe haven attributes.

A Gold IRA is considered a self-directed IRA due to the fact that the IRA custodian can give the account owner the opportunity to invest in a wide variety of assets, including gold. There are Gold IRA pros and cons to consider before opening an account, but for those who want to diversify their investments and own a tangible commodity, a Gold IRA meets these needs. In this article, we'll look at the benefits of a Gold IRA and its drawbacks to help you make an informed decision for your investment strategy.

What Is a Gold IRA?

Gold IRA, also called a precious metals IRA, is a self-directed individual retirement account (SDIRA) that allows you to choose beyond additional assets offered by conventional IRAs. Of the assets you can buy and place in a precious metals IRA is gold. With the ability to select from a larger pool of assets, you can diversify your retirement savings instead of relying on the limited options provided by other financial institutions. The tax advantages and rules regarding your maximum annual contribution and withdrawals are the same as a conventional IRA, but you get physical ownership of the gold that you purchase through your Gold IRA.

Similar to conventional IRAs, Gold IRAs can have different tax structures. Some of the common types of Gold IRAs you can open include:

  • Traditional Gold IRA: A Traditional Gold IRA allows you to make pre-tax contributions and deduct them from your tax liability for that year. Your investments grow tax-free until you withdraw them at your time of retirement. You'll pay taxes on what you withdraw at ordinary income tax rates. One of the limitations of a Traditional Gold IRA is that the account holder has to comply with the required minimum distribution when they reach 72 years of age.
  • Gold Roth IRA: Gold Roth IRA taxes your contributions as they're made, but your distributions aren't taxed when you take them. You can't use your contributions to lower your tax liability, but you won't pay taxes when you make withdrawals from the IRA, and the funds you contribute grow tax-free.
  • SIMPLE Gold IRA: A SIMPLE Gold IRA, or a Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE), is a type of precious metal IRA that is available for companies with 100 or fewer employees. Employees are given the option to contribute to their own IRAs and purchase assets of their choice, including gold. Both employers and employees can contribute to the IRA.
  • SEP Gold IRA: A Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) Gold IRA allows employers to make IRA contributions for themselves and their employees as long as it stays within a certain percentage of their income. Only employers, not employees, are allowed to make the contribution to the employee's SEP IRA account.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Gold IRAs?

Gold IRA pros and cons primarily consist of the financial benefits and the different types of taxes on gold in these SDIRAs. A Gold IRA operates the same as conventional IRAs, has the potential for a good return on investment, and underpins your IRA with ownership of precious metals like gold. The cons of a Gold IRA tend to come in the form of small inconveniences such as the IRS' requirement that the gold has to be stored at a third-party storage facility, it takes more time to convert the gold into cash, and it has contribution limits. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of Gold IRAs in more detail below.

Pros of Gold IRAs

Here's a look at the potential benefits of a Gold IRA and what makes it an attractive option for safeguarding your retirement savings.

Gold IRAs Pros

  • Hedge against inflation: One of the top benefits of a gold investment is its ability to serve as a hedge against inflation. Historically, gold’s performance has tended to correlate inversely with assets that are economically sensitive. When the purchasing power of the dollar goes down, the price of gold historically increases, allowing you to stabilize your savings over time.
  • Retirement savings diversification: It's important to diversify your retirement savings as not all assets are going to perform the same across the board over time. Some types may have explosive growth for a while, then never again. Others may do the opposite, but you can never predict the performance of any given asset. Investing in different types of assets, including gold and other precious metals, adds a steady performer to your retirement portfolio and gives your money another avenue for growth.
  • Physical ownership: You have actual ownership of the gold that's held in your account, and it's a tangible asset as opposed to a printed promise or IOU. The tangible value of gold helps to increase its demand, holding its value over the long term even when prices tend to fluctuate daily.
  • Tax benefits: A Traditional Gold IRA features tax-deferred benefits, while a Gold Roth IRA features tax-free growth. Both have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to their disbursements, but ultimately, both have the potential to deliver reliable financial returns. It's a good idea to discuss with a financial expert the type of IRA that makes the most sense for you.
  • Safe haven asset: The U.S. dollar is subject to fluctuations in value that cause it to increase and decrease in value with little warning. Inflation also erodes the purchasing power of the dollar over time, making the dollar an unsteady currency. In contrast, gold has always been seen as a desirable metal due to its finite nature. Over time, gold increases in value and is less likely to be subject to big swings in value. This means a Gold IRA can do a great job of delivering a return on investment for those who are patient.

Cons of Gold IRAs

The cons of Gold IRAs can chip away at the gains you realize from increases in value, but the IRS rules regarding the Gold IRA make them unavoidable. Other downsides of owning a Gold IRA are ones that apply to all IRAs and generally won't affect your ownership unless you make an early withdrawal.

Gold IRA Cons

  • Storage and custodian fees: As previously mentioned, the IRS rules for any IRA, including Gold IRAs, require the role of an IRA custodian to manage your funds and administer the account, resulting in custodian fees. Your gold will also be placed in an approved depository, which will safely store your gold and charge a storage fee.
  • Contribution limits: As a general rule, the IRS has contribution limits for all retirement accounts, and they apply to Gold IRAs as well. The contribution limit for individuals under 50 is $6,500 and $7,500 for individuals over 50 in 2023. The maximum contribution tends to increase over time, which means you can potentially buy more gold with each passing year and improve the size of your Gold IRA by the time of maturity.
  • Early withdrawal penalties: Withdrawing from any IRA, as well as most retirement accounts, before you reach the age of 59 1/2 means you're making an unqualified distribution that may be subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty from the IRS.
  • Slower access to funds: The fact that you have physical possession of precious metals means that your assets are not as liquid as other types of assets. This relative illiquidity means it can take some time to gain access to your funds. However, for those who purchase gold from Birch Gold Group, we will always ask for the right of first refusal to buy back, which can help expedite the process.
  • Minimum investment amount: At Birch Gold Group, we have a minimum investment amount of $10,000, which can be a large sum if you’re just starting out with purchasing precious metals. However, if you have a retirement account that's eligible for a rollover and has at least $10,000, you can use the funds to buy into a Gold IRA. If you're looking into how to buy gold with a 401(k), you can roll the funds in your 401(k) account into a Gold IRA as well.

What IRS Regulations Should You Be Aware of with Gold IRAs?

The IRS has regulations on Gold IRAs the same as it does with all other types of IRAs, and they have to be followed in order to avoid fines and penalties on your investments. Here's a look at the IRS rules and regulations that come with owning a Gold IRA.

  • Purity requirements: All physical forms of gold are required to be 99.5% pure, with the exception of the American Eagle coin. The American Eagle coin has a purity of 91.67%.
  • IRS-approved custodian: The IRS requires the gold you own to be held by a Gold IRA custodian who is responsible for managing and administering the account. The custodian takes care of the paperwork associated with handling the gold, receives new deposits, stores them on your behalf at an approved depository, and maintains a relationship with the gold depository.
  • Storage requirements: A depository is a secure facility where gold and other precious metals are stored and monitored. The IRS requires the gold to be stored by a third party, and keeping your gold at home is typically not allowed. Home storage Gold IRAs can pose several risks, such as limited security, non-compliance penalties, and more.
  • Contribution limits: The contribution limit for individuals under 50 is $6,500, and $7,500 if you're over 50 for 2023.
  • Withdrawal requirements: If you're under 59 ½ years of age and you take a distribution from your Gold IRA, you may be subject to a 10% penalty and income taxes on any gains you realized after you opened the account.

How Can You Open a Gold IRA

Once you've decided that investing in precious metals makes sense for you, it's time to open up your Gold IRA with the help of one of our Precious Metal Specialists. You can open an account by transferring an existing IRA or rolling over an eligible 401(k) or other retirement account into a Gold IRA. Here are the steps needed to get started:

  1. Open a Gold IRA account: Determine the type of Gold IRA you’re interested in opening, whether a Traditional, Roth, SIMPLE, or SEP SDIRA, then contact us at Birch Gold Group to talk to us about the next steps of opening your Gold IRA.
  2. Fund your Gold IRA: Complete the paperwork to transfer funds from a bank account, transfer funds from a current IRA, or rollover your 401(k) or other eligible retirement accounts.
  3. Choose and purchase your gold: Once your account is open and funded, you can select the types of gold you want to put into your account, whether it’s coins, rounds, or bars. Additionally, one of the benefits of Gold IRAs is that you can buy other IRA-eligible precious metals, including silver, platinum, and palladium.
  4. Precious metals stored at depository: A selection of precious metals IRA storage options will be presented to you once you've decided on the precious metals you want in your account. Once you've selected a depository, your gold will be delivered to that depository for storage.
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How Can You Make an Informed Decision on Gold IRAs?

Before you decide to open up a Gold IRA, you need to do your due diligence and research the Gold IRA benefits and drawbacks. It's wise to talk with a trusted financial advisor to get their opinion and help you make an informed decision. Gold IRAs are typically best for those who have long-term goals, such as protecting and growing retirement savings, as well as diversifying their retirement portfolios. Here are some factors to consider when determining whether a Gold IRA aligns with your financial goals.

  • Understand your savings goals: An IRA is typically part of a long-term retirement savings strategy. With that said, it’s important to consider your overall savings goals and how precious metals like gold fit into that strategy. Gold tends to serve as a hedge against inflation, working as a safe haven asset, which means it can be a great way to protect your current savings.
  • Assess your individual risk tolerance: Gold carries the potential for risk as any other type of asset does. The benefit of a Gold IRA is that gold tends to be more stable as an asset because it becomes more valuable over time due to its relative scarcity.
  • Review tax implications: Understand the potential tax implications that come with a Gold IRA, such as contribution limits, withdrawal rules, and tax consequences that come with distributions. For example, early withdrawals also come with a 10% tax penalty and capital gains taxes on profits, which means it's recommended to leave the gold in the account for as long as possible.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of Gold IRAs: Go over the Gold IRA pros and cons and consider each one before you decide to open up an account. You need to be certain that you're engaging in an investment strategy that's in line with your financial goals for now and the future.

Wrapping Up: Should You Open a Gold IRA?

A Gold IRA offers many of the same benefits as conventional IRAs, but it has the added benefit of having the option to purchase alternative assets like gold and other precious metals. Opening a Gold IRA can help safeguard your retirement savings, as gold is a physical asset that's less prone to market fluctuations and world events. However, there are some drawbacks to owning a Gold IRA, such as storage and maintenance fees and contribution limits.

Opening a Gold IRA can be a great way to grow and protect your savings, and working with a Birch Gold Group Precious Metals Specialist can provide the information and guidance to get started. While a Precious Metals Specialist can't provide financial advice, they can explain how to open and fund a Gold IRA so you can diversify your savings.

Call our team today at (800) 355-2116 for answers to any questions you may have or to open your precious metals IRA.

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