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What is a Precious Metals/Gold IRA Rollover?

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A gold IRA (or precious metals IRA) is a US Individual Retirement Account containing real physical gold or other government allowed precious metals which are held in custody for the IRA account owner(s). This type of IRA operates in the same way that normal IRAs do, except that instead of paper assets they hold genuine physical bullion consisting of coins or bars of an approved level of fineness and investment grade quality.  Precious metals IRAs generally consist of "Self-Directed IRAs"; this is a type of IRA in which the custodian allows a greater diversity of investments to appear within the retirement account.



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Numerous other types of retirement accounts may be converted or "rolled over" into a precious metals IRA through what is known as a gold IRA rollover (or other allowed precious metals).  Retirement accounts eligible for such rollovers inlcude:  401k, Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, Simple IRA, SEP IRA, Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), HSA, 403(b), 457(b), Pension Plan, and Tax-Sheltered annuity.



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Real Assets

In addition to physical gold bullion, such precious metals IRAs may also contain certain government approved assets of silver, platinum and palladium coins and bars as well.  Of the four types allowed, gold is the most commonly invested, hence the term "gold IRA" is most often used as a blanket term to indicate any individual retirement account backed by any assortment of approved physical precious metals.

The Internal Revenue Code requires that the precious metals be stored in the physical possession of the trustee of the IRA.  However, this rule does not mean that the trustee is the party allowed to decide where the bullion metals are deposited, the manner in which they are stored, and when they can be relocated as needed to manage the investment.  Instead, the retirement account owner or the plan participant owner of the IRA gets to decide these items and has to instruct the plan trustee.

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The History of America's "Gold IRA" Since 1997

On August 5, 1997, the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 was enacted by Congress and signed off on by the President.  This federal law expanded the types of investments allowed in an IRA to include precious metals.  Specifically, the Act states:

  • "Your IRA can invest in one, one-half, one-quarter, or one-tenth ounce U.S. gold coins, or one-ounce silver coins minted by the Treasury Department. Beginning in 1998, your IRA can invest in certain platinum coins and certain gold, silver, palladium, and platinum bullion."

The Taxpayer Relief Act opened up the opportunity for millions of American citizens to enjoy the benefits of being able to diversify their retirement savings and invest in gold and other precious with the tax-advantaged status of an IRA.  Moreover, various other types of non-IRA retirement accounts could subsequently be rolled over into a precious metals IRA in what is known as a "gold IRA rollover."  This new found expansion of investment opportunity opened up a world of possibilities for US citizens to reap the same kinds of benefits possible to direct cash investors while never even having to invest a single dollar of free cash outside of their retirement account if they prefer.  As the saying goes, the rest is history.

For more information and to receive a free gold IRA investment / gold IRA rollover guide, use the "BEST GOLD IRA COMPANIES" tab at the top of the page.


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What Types of Precious Metals are Allowed in a Self-Directed "Gold IRA"?


Gold
  • Coins:  Examples include American Eagle gold bullion coins, American Eagle gold proof coins; American Buffalo uncirculated gold coins (note:  "proofs" are not allowed); Canadian Maple Leaf gold coins; Austrian Philharmonic gold coins; Australian Kangaroo & Australian Nugget gold coins; Chinese Panda gold coins    
  • Bars:  Gold bars and rounds manufactured by a refinery approved by NYMEX, COMEX, or a national government mint.  Minimum standards of fineness are required.
Silver
  • Coins:  Examples include American Eagle silver bullion coins, American Eagle silver proof coins; Canadian Maple Leaf silver coins; Austrian Philharmonic silver coins; Australian Kookaburra silver coins; Chinese Panda silver coins, Mexican Libertad silver coins   
  • Bars:  Silver bars and rounds manufactured by a refinery approved by NYMEX, COMEX, or a national government mint.  Minimum standards of fineness are required.
Platinum
  • Coins:  Examples include American Eagle platinum coins, American Eagle platinum proof coins; Canadian Maple Leaf platinum coins; Isle of Man Noble coins; Austrian Koala platinum coins   
  • Bars:  Platinum bars and rounds manufactured by a refinery approved by NYMEX, COMEX, or a national government mint.  Minimum standards of fineness are required.
Palladium
  • Coins:  Examples include Canadian Maple Leaf palladium coins, Russian Ballerina Palladium Coins   
  • Bars:  Palladium bars and rounds manufactured by a refinery approved by NYMEX, COMEX, or a national government mint.  Minimum standards of fineness are required.
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What About Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)?

If your precious metals IRA is a Roth - there are no RMDs for the life of the account owner.
If you are not using a Roth but are using a Traditional IRA instead, some people considering the advantages of a gold IRA may be concerned about the issue of required minimum distributions (RMDs).  This concern is easily addressed when you realize that you are allowed to have more than one, or multiple IRAs.  I you have reached the age at which RMD is required, you can use one IRA for that purpose while leaving your gold/precious metals IRA alone if you prefer.  As long as you simply meet your total required RMD amount with one or more other IRAs from which you take withdrawals, you have fulfilled your requirement and are under no obligation whatsoever to liquidate any portion of your tax-advantaged precious metals assets if you do not wish to do so.
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Gold IRA Security, Safety & Insurance Protection

The rule on storage and custodianship is the same for all IRAs regardless of type.  The IRS requires that all IRAs, whether traditional, Roth, etc., as well as precious metals IRAs, be held on behalf of owners and investors by a custodian or trustee. By law therefore precious metals in a gold IRA are protected and secured in the custody of the custodian or trustee, not in the physical possession of the IRA owner. This arrangement brings enormous tax-advantaged benefits and convenience to the IRA owner/investor. IRS Publication 590 states the following:

  • "The 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."

Many IRA trustees or custodians make use of private or "civilian" precious metals depositories which may be approved by official commodities exchanges for the storage, maintenance and protection of IRA-approved metals assets. Depository-level security protocols may feature sophisticated measures such as 24-hour security monitoring, motion, vibration and sound detection systems, timed locks, and automatic re-locking mechanisms. Additionally, the depositories commonly carry high insurance coverage; some of the depository insurance coverage extends as high as $1 billion USD.


For more information and to receive a free gold IRA investment / gold IRA rollover guide, use the "BEST GOLD IRA COMPANIES" tab at the top of the page.



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For more information and to receive a free gold investment and IRA rollover guide, visit the BEST GOLD IRA COMPANIES link or use the Free Guide button at the top of the page.

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