Gold IRAs are an exciting way to invest your retirement dollars into the ultimate tangible hard asset, but even the best of investments cost something to participate. The numbers and amounts of fees with Gold IRAs can determine how successful you are with this retirement account investment when it is all said and done. While there are many ways that you can evaluate which administrator you choose to work with, a key factor to consider is the number and amounts of fees which they charge. It is not unheard of for there to be even four or five separate fees with Gold IRAs, and the prices which these administrators charge can range from one extreme to the other. There are also different ways that they charge these fees, as with scaled or flat, and separate types of storage, including allocated as opposed to segregated. There are also ranging fees charged by the different major vault custodians for physically holding your account assets. Consider the various fees and how they are levelled.
Gold IRA Startup and Transfer Fees
With any new Gold IRA setup or transfer over from a traditional IRA, there are going to be costs for both the account handling and the paperwork setup and processing. This actually covers getting your Gold IRA up and running. Top-rated Gold IRA administrator Regal Assets is a good comparison point for this fee and others. Their published fees for this service are $100, though they typically run promotions where they cover these new account fees for their new clients. Other administrator companies charge higher amounts in many cases, with fees ranging in the $75 to $250 and higher levels for the startup and transfer fees. No one likes startup fees for opening new accounts, but in the world of Gold IRAs, so far only Regal Assets manages to waive them.
Gold IRA Yearly Storage Fees
Storage fees are those which the various administrators pass along from their third party vault custodians. In theory, you are supposed to receive segregated storage for these costs, but many of the custodians do not provide it, opting instead for a cheaper to maintain co-mingled storage. Another thing to watch out for with the yearly storage fees is the company charging bigger accounts sliding scale charges based on the size of your Gold IRA account. This is actually not all that rare. Going back to Regal Assets as our model administrator company, they claim that most of their competition has storage fees that begin at $225 and go up from this level. Regal itself gets $150 with their guaranteed segregated storage through Storage and Vault Custodians Brinks Company. It is not uncommon for other custodians to assess a larger fee than this one for storage that is not segregated. There are important reasons why it matters whether your account has segregated or allocated storage.
• Segregated Storage – your metals are actually stored in either miniature vaults, safe deposit box type storage, or individual locked containers. All of these are kept in the custodian vault company’s secured enormous vaults. The important point is that every client’s precious metals assets are kept separate from the other clients Gold IRAs holdings. This means that any gold bars will have serial numbers and coins may include individual certificates. Some companies specialize in segregated storage.
• Allocated Storage – in this storage type, sometimes also called co-mingled storage, there is only the main large vault where all the different holdings are inventoried and then kept together. The concern with allocated storage lies in the chance that the vault custodian might fail and tie up your precious metals in a large bankruptcy. Some clients are also concerned that their gold could somehow be misappropriated or lost with co-mingled storage.
Gold IRA Yearly Account Management Fees
Yearly account management fees are another important fee category on which you need to get a handle. Any Gold IRA will incur this type of charge, whichever custodian that you choose. This is an area where the sliding scale fees can be a real issue, as it is so easy to instead charge you a percentage fee based upon the value of your Gold IRA account. Companies like Regal are the ones to work with whenever you can. Regal Assets has a $100 per year account management fee. The company advises you that most of their competition in the Gold IRA industry is charging scaling account management or administration fees which will cost you as a client considerably more money as the account value is larger or grows.
• With Scaled Fees – the advantage belongs entirely to the Gold IRA custodian firm. Some of them charge a flat percentage rate of the gold and other assets’ value in the account, while others have a percentage fee that will vary depending on how high the account value actually is. In either case, individuals whose account values are greater will typically pay a much higher annual storage and maintenance fee than would an account that has a lower asset value.
• With Flat Fees – the advantage lies with you the account holder. These are fair value fees where you are well aware of what it will cost you in advance for the yearly account maintenance, as well as for the yearly storage and setup fees. These are obviously better and fairer for customers who have a high account value as with $100,000 or more, as the benefits to smaller account holders are less noticeable.
Other Gold IRA Fees
Another Gold IRA fee that you will likely incur has to do with insurance and shipping charges for your gold coins and bars purchases. All gold orders will have some type of insurance and shipping fee. These could be flat rate as you would hope for, or possibly scaling sliding fees based on the dollar amount of the purchase. Insurance is critical with high value tangible assets like gold, so you really do want your personal metals to be covered from when they leave the point of purchase until they reach the vault. This is something that should be spelled out by the administration company in their fee schedule or information that they furnish to you upon request otherwise.
All of these fees together can become expensive if you are not careful. This is why it is so very important to shop around and be aware of what your Gold IRA custodian’s fees are before you sign up with them. These fees will commonly run to higher than $500 for combination of account startup fees, first year storage charges, and the first year’s maintenance costs. Companies like Regal are able to do it for $250 flat rate as they limit their yearly account administration charges to $100 and their segregated storage to $150. There is no reason to pay fees that are unreasonably or unfairly high for your Gold IRA account.