If, like many Americans, you’ve worked at an employer that offers a 401k at one time or another and you still have a 401k account with your former employer, you may find it worthwhile to look into rolling your 401k to a precious metals IRA (or Gold IRA as they are sometimes called).
Such IRAs allow you to purchase physical precious metals to take advantage of their ability to act as stores of value for a portion of your retirement funds. Typically, 401ks do not allow the purchase of physical precious metals as an investment asset, therefore once you have left your former employer and your 401k is eligible to be rolled over converting it to a Gold IRA frees you from this restriction.
Why Precious Metals?
Over the centuries, precious metals such as gold and silver have served as monetary currencies and stores of value, helping investors to preserve their purchasing power over time. Over the past decade or so, gold has been in a powerful bull market, the turbulence of the past few months notwithstanding. One driver of the gold bull market has been the actions of central banks, which have favored easy money policies as a way of dealing with economic crises such as the subprime mortgage crisis that was at the center of the 2008/2009 financial crisis.
With the economy showing signs of weakness, it seems likely that central banks such as the Federal Reserve are unlikely to turn away from accommodative monetary policies anytime soon, even if they decide to taper them back a bit.
Setting UP a Gold IRA
To set up Gold IRA or Gold 401k Rollover you must first select an IRA custodian that will allow physical precious metals, including gold, silver, palladium, and platinum coins and bullion bars, to be held in the account.
If a rollover is made to a Roth IRA, all applicable taxes on any pre-tax dollars in the account would need to be paid. A rollover from a 401k to a Traditional IRA, on the other hand, is not a taxable event, as long as it follows IRS regulations.
Precious Metals in your Gold IRA
IRS regulations allow for certain types of bullion and proof coins to be held in a gold IRA account. Gold coins such as the Canadian Maple Leaf, American Eagle, and Austrian Philharmonic are eligible, to cite a few; as are selected silver and platinum coins. Gold, silver, platinum and palladium bars or rounds produced by approved manufacturers can also be held, provided they are of sufficient fineness. Acceptable fineness for gold is .995 or better; for silver .999 or better; for platinum .9995 or better, and for palladium .9995 or better.
It should be added that in order to maintain the tax-favored status of your Gold IRA, the precious metals are held within the IRA must be kept at a location designated by the custodian, and not the owner of the IRA. While the assets are held for the benefit of the owner, it is the custodian’s duty to maintain physical control of them. Before making any purchases, be sure to check with the custodian for information relating to the storage fees charged for assets of this type.