The fact that you are reading this post shows that you are a focused individual who cares about their retirement. This may seem like a strange comment to make, but the vast majority of workers simply pay in money to their retirement accounts and let their chosen company manage the investment. In our opinion, this is a bad idea, even if your chosen company is doing an excellent job at the end of the day that money is still your retirement pot, and nobody else will care as much about it as you do.
With the recent volatility in the stock market, many people have been contemplating switching at least some of their investment into the relative stability of gold bullion. Although gold may not experience the huge growth potential of the stock market, it is also much less volatile and viewed by many people as the safe option. If you are considering venturing down this path, then it is critical that you switch the funds properly; do not simply transfer funds from an IRA to a Gold IRA. The most cost-effective strategy is to rollover the funds from one IRA to another, as there are significant tax advantages.
Why Choose Rollover Compared To A Simple Transfer
Many people think that transferring money from one IRA to another has the same result as performing a rollover. Unfortunately, the government views the two processes entirely differently. With a rollover, you as the owner of both products, never actually take possession of the money, and this is the key difference as far as your tax commitments are concerned. Because the money is never in your possession with a rollover, it is not taxable and remains inside the tax exempt bubble. When you withdraw money from one IRA and move it to another, although you might imagine the result is the same, Uncle Sam will take his share, as the money is considered to have left the tax free exemption during the transaction.
The Rules That Govern A Gold IRA Rollover
Whenever a rollover takes place, the entire process must be completed within 60 days. If you go over this period, then that money becomes taxable at your current rate of tax (If you are under 59 ½) PLUS an additional 10 Percent penalty. Let’s imagine you are transferring $300,000 and your tax rate is 25%. By transferring the money, rather than performing a rollover, it could potentially cost you $105.000. Quite an expensive error! Please note that you are also limited to one rollover per tax year.
Direct Transfer IRA Rules
If You are simply switching from one Gold IRA to another, then the 60-day limitation does not apply. Because the money will simply flow directly between the two providers, you are excluded from the transaction and therefore have no tax implications.
Don’t Start Anything Without Talking To Your Employer
If your current retirement plan is managed by your employer in the form of a 401k or other savings vehicle, then speak to them before instigating any changes. Some employees, for instance, do not permit gold investment within their plans unless you leave the company. As with all decisions of this importance, it is critical that you perform your due diligence before making the commitment.
Decision made? Now It’s Time To Choose An Excellent Gold IRA Provider
Hopefully, you have completed your due diligence and have come to the conclusion that a Gold IRA is a good investment strategy that you are happy with. The next part of the process is to ensure that you choose a reputable and trustworthy company with a good track record of successful investment. You can read about one of the top rated company here. Secondly as was mentioned above, you are only permitted to complete one rollover per financial year otherwise you will face tax penalties. It is therefore of paramount importance that you choose wisely who to invest your hard earned money with.
Any reputable Gold IRA provider will be able to supply you with the required documentation to complete the transfer. All of the paperwork should be fully completed before the start of the transfer process, as this will ensure that everything runs smoothly, bearing in mind the sixty-day limit imposed by the government. There is also a possibility of fees being imposed by either your old or new provider, so ensure you have a complete understanding of those fees; depending on their size, they could have a significant impact on the performance of your investments. For an in-depth review of the top gold IRA companies, read this article.
When choosing a provider, you want to ensure that they have
- A Good Long Established Reputation
- Competitive Pricing Structure
- IRA-Approved Products
Although you could visit a local gold retail outlet, in our opinion the internet offers significantly more value and opportunity. A good provider will even allow their client to choose the precious metal dealer that their gold is bought from. In general stable Asian countries such as Singapore or Hong Kong are our preferred choices.
Ensure That You Understand And Decide Your Investment Strategy
Every person is an individual in their own right and will have different tolerances for risk. As someone that is actively involved in the management of your finances, you need to have at the very least a basic understanding of the different risk factors involved. Do not simply let the broker make all of the decisions for you; it is essential that you agree and concur with the choices they are making on your behalf. You may have decided to invest in gold for specific reasons, so here are some of the considerations you need to think about and communicate to your investment company of choice.
Diversification of Risk
It always makes sense to not place all your eggs in the one basket. Rather than have your entire portfolio exposed to the volatility of the stock market, it could be a sensible option to invest between 5 and 10 percent of your portfolio in precious metals. This gives you some diversification and some element of protection should the stock market experience a sharp drop.
Concerns Over The Value Of The Dollar or Other Paper Currencies
Perhaps recent political events or instances across the world have left you concerned about the volatility of the US Dollar. If this is a cause for concern, then it wouldn’t be unusual to increase your gold investment to between 10 and 20 percent of your overall portfolio.
Let’s be honest, the overall aim when investing money is to generate the highest possible return on investment. There are some high net worth investors who believe that gold could even reach the dizzying heights of $5000 or more per ounce. If you fall into this bracket, then it could be worth investing up to 20% of your portfolio in gold, although this is not a strategy we would endorse. In our opinion, the risk exposure is simply too great, and for beginner and intermediate investors, we would recommend a much more cautious approach.
It is also important to remember that when investing inside of an IRA you must IRS approved bullion coins or bars is a requirement.
To further complicate matters some IRA and 401k custodians offer gold investors Gold ETF’s, mining stocks and mutual funds. Just bear in mind that Gold ETF is in essence paper gold and not real gold, so decide if this is compatible with the level of risk you are prepared to take.
Finally, Make Sure You Follow The IRS Rules
The IRS has strict rules to ensure that validity and reliability of these investments. For instance, the gold coins need to be minted at a minimum of 99.9 percent or better. This includes the American Gold & Silver Eagle, Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, Austrian Philharmonic, American Gold & Silver Buffalo and other similar coins, and certain gold bars such as the Credit Suisse gold bar.
In conclusion, it may seem like there a lot of restrictions and hoops to jump through to include gold as part of your investment portfolio. However, in our opinion, we believe that the diversification and potential income benefits far outweigh the effort involved. As with all investments though it is important to understand the steps required before beginning the process. Once you have obtained this knowledge, the process then becomes much more simple and potentially profitable.
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Originally published here: Considering Switching Your IRA – Make Sure You Do It Properly Or It Could Be An Expensive Decision