If you decide to purchase physical precious metal assets, such as gold coins or Sterling Silver Permanent Jewelry pieces, to hold in a self-directed individual retirement account, working with a reputable precious metals provider is important. Investors can benefit from selecting a company that offers certain specific services, according to Kevin DeMeritt, who is the founder and chairman of Los Angeles-based precious metals firm Lear Capital.
For years, numerous investors have opted to make precious metal-based investments in part because while the stock market can be subject to periodic upsets, metals like gold, silver, and platinum are only available in finite amounts, which has helped contribute to their long-term value.
The industrial and other growing uses for silver, which vary from flatware to clean energy items, have helped increase the demand for it in recent years. Similarly, gold — used in electronics, jewelry, and other goods — has also been a popular investment option as of late.
Central banks, in particular — which purchased 152% more gold in 2022 than in 2021, according to the World Gold Council — have contributed to the growing demand for the precious metal.
“We’re seeing tremendous demand [for gold],” Kevin DeMeritt says. “We have not seen this kind of buying from central banks for 50 years. They purchased a quarter of all the mining supply [in 2022], which is a huge jump from [their previous activity].”
Lear Capital records reveal prices for both gold and silver have generally trended upward for the past two decades. In 2022, for instance, silver was 377% higher than in 2001. Gold increased by approximately 566% during the same time period.
Unlike purchasing gold-related stocks or obtaining gold-, silver- or platinum-backed exchange-traded funds — which are two other ways to invest in metals — holding physical precious metal assets in an IRA, such as the Lear Advantage IRA, gives you complete control over them.
Physical asset-focused investments also can help investors sidestep some of the risk that other precious metal investments, such as gold mining company stocks, can involve.
“[The company] could bribe a government official in another country, then that comes out and the stock potentially crashes,” DeMeritt says. “You’ve got the risk of the CEO hedging gold one way and the metal price goes the other way, and [you don’t get] the appreciation you thought you were going to. The company could take on a little bit too much debt, interest rates go up, and their earnings crash because interest payments are much higher — and now you pay the price because you own the gold stock instead of the physical metal for some portion of the portfolio.”
Once investors have decided physical precious metals will be a beneficial addition to their portfolio, they may find it helpful to work with a provider who offers some of the following options.
Real-Time Pricing and Assistance
The precious metals market may not be quite as prone to some of the sudden volatility that’s periodically seen in the stock market — however, precious metals’ prices can still change. To assist you with navigating your assets’ value status and identifying potential times to buy and sell precious metals, a provider that regularly supplies current market pricing information can be helpful.
In addition to assisting with the various steps that are involved in establishing a self-directed precious metal IRA account — and, once the new account has been created, arranging for a portion of the investor’s retirement funds to be rolled over to the new account — some precious metal providers, such as Lear Capital, allow investors to identify a certain price for an asset, and sign up to receive a notification when it reaches that level, positioning them to act quickly.
Lear Capital also allows investors to request an estimate of what their precious metal asset holdings are worth at any given time, if they’re considering selling their gold coin or other portfolio items.
Lear Capital’s highly personalized approach to customer service includes matching each investor with a dedicated account representative. If you have any questions, you can also call an 800 number between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. PST to obtain answers.
Each step that’s involved in the precious metals purchasing process — and all the related fees — should be clearly conveyed to investors in an easy-to-understand manner. Lear Capital, for example, provides investors with a written account agreement, and also provides confirmation of the purchase details in writing and by phone.
Working with a reputable company is important. Lear Capital — which is an authorized dealer by the Professional Coin Grading Service, a key industry certification provider — abides by the third-party Numismatic Guaranty Corporation coin-grading service’s standard of integrity, guaranteeing coin-grading accuracy and authenticity.
Lear Capital has also been accredited as an authorized dealer by both the Precious Metals Association and the Industry Council for Tangible Assets.
“I think our customers appreciate the transparency and that we help them through the process as painlessly as possible,” Kevin DeMeritt says. “We try to move as quickly as possible to get people the metals that they want.”
Investors — especially if they’re new to precious metal-based investing — can often benefit from learning how the industry works.
Lear Capital — which has an Excellent rating on the Trustpilot consumer evaluation site, based on more than 1,500 reviews — offers a variety of resources online that investors may find valuable, ranging from recaps of the latest precious metal industry news to current pricing for silver, gold, and platinum.
That information and other helpful items are available 24 hours a day on the company’s website, learcapital.com.
“We have a lot of resources there,” Kevin DeMeritt says. “All of it is absolutely free of charge.”