Adding Silver to an IRA
Silver IRAs Offer Tax Advantage and Security with Huge Potential
Investing in a Silver IRA Account
Investing in a Silver 401k
Silver IRA Investment Rules
Silver: Your IRA’s New Best Friend
A Silver IRA can form an excellent addition inside a well diversified investment portfolio, helping to hedge a retirement plan from many risks of market crashes or financial crisis.
Not only will silver in IRA accounts lend the IRA silver’s wealth protecting capabilities, adding silver to an IRA is in fact one of our most tax-efficient ways to invest in silver bullion.
Acting much as a Gold IRA will during times of market stress, a silver-backed IRA also brings silver’s built-in potential for huge price increases, if you’re an investor for whom market-beating capital gain is just as important as protection from inflation and crises.
This page looks to provide you with clear information looking at the need for a Silver IRA, the rules behind opening and investing in one and how to best take full advantage of adding silver to an IRA.
Investing in Silver for Retirement. Why?
We’re told it’s essential we make plans for our retirement. And it’s true, we’re getting older every day and retirement costs are getting more expensive – so why aren’t we doing even close to enough when it comes to our retirement savings?
Federal Reserve research has recently shown 13% of Americans aged 60+ have absolutely no money set aside for retirement. For people in the 45-59 age bracket this figure increases to 17% and climbs to over 26% if you’re aged between 30-44.
As for those of us under 30, almost half have made no retirement plans or savings at all.
Even where we have put together some retirement savings or a retirement plan, the survey showed that half of the over 60s holding 401k and IRAs consider themselves substantially underfunded – a frightening thought in a world where inflation is eating into our savings dollars at a time when state services are being cut.
Small wonder the IRS has created a number of incentives to help deal with this retirement emergency, one of which is allowing investors to access the save-haven and proven wealth insurance that are precious metals – all at a highly tax-advantaged rate.
Thanks to these changes in the IRS rules, investors can now buy silver for IRA purposes and treat the investment amount as a tax deduction on our income tax return. Not only do you get all the advantages of adding silver inside your portfolio, but there’s a reduction in your tax payable, giving you those dollars back to further grow your retirement fund.
We’ll cover the basic silver IRA rules, silver IRA rollovers and transfers in a moment.
Provided your income is within IRA contribution limits it’s very easy to take advantage of this special tax bonus.
Investing in a Silver IRA Account
How will silver help protect your IRA? Silver isn’t only a long-term solid performer averaging a 26% annual growth from 1920 to 2020 – but it’s a proven wealth preservation tool, used to protect generational wealth and the finances of entire nations.
Once the secret of a select few at the top of the money pyramid, gold and silver investing has finally become easy options open to any of us, thanks to changes in IRS rules.
And all we need to buy silver in the most tax-advantaged way possible – is an IRA.
Key Benefits of Silver in Your IRA
Silver’s protective power in IRA accounts was most clearly demonstrated in our most recent banking crisis when a global crash and deep recession slashed the values of millions of retirement plans by 50%, robbing retirees of their hard-earned futures.
Due to silver and gold’s tendency to rise when stocks are falling – those with the foresight to add a percentage of precious metals inside their IRA plans were able to enjoy substantial rises while everything else including the usually solid real estate fell through the floor.
Between it’s 2008 low to 2011 high, gold gained 116% helping boost IRA accounts – but silver’s more volatile nature saw investors reap an incredible 448% profit as the paper markets burned.
The difference between those with and without silver was felt most strongly by those closest to their retirement.
For soon-to-be retirees invested primarily in paper stocks and bonds, their plans for a quality lifestyle in retirement were cut in half.
IRA plans with a diversification into metals fared better.
Thanks to these precious metals they were left almost unscathed and may even have seen an overall profit thanks to gold and silver simply doing what they do best in times of crisis.
- Is our financial system and our global economy in better shape now?
- Did the fat-cat bankers who got us into the last mess learn their lessons?
- Are we safer in our beds and streets with terrorism, war and global trade conflicts being things of the past?
As we cover here wealth analysts and market professionals would suggest the answer is a big no. Market commentators are writing increasingly worrying reports suggesting we could be on the brink of something significantly deeper and longer lasting than the crash of 07/08.
US federal debt is at an all time high, coupled with growing geopolitical unrest not only in the Middle East, but Europe and Asia too. Personal debt has reached unsustainable numbers with most American’s barely able to make interest charges, with no savings stop-gap if things head south.
Whether expert predictions are accurate or not, we are most definitely in uncharted territory.
Despite an outward appearance of strength, markets are so fragile and so globally interconnected that it would take just one small event to trigger a new world-wide crash – and this time it’s up to us, as individuals, to ensure we provide for our survival when the next crisis comes.
Tax-advantaged gold and silver can play a key role in that insurance.
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Adding Silver in a Retirement Account
Physical silver bullion can only be added into a Self Directed IRA. The process of adding the silver is nearly the same as buying any investment bullion – with three exceptions:
- The purchasing monies must come from a Self Directed IRA account.
- You are limited to only buying IRS approved metals.
- You need to use an approved IRA custodian / trustee / depository vault.
So rather than paying your bullion dealer in cash, check, credit card or bank wire you simply set up a transfer from your IRA account to the broker.
In every other respect it’s you who decides on which bullion bar or coin sizes to buy, and the brands or mints who produce them. Because precious metal IRAs are becoming such a common route to investing in silver, nearly all bullion dealer’s biggest sellers are suitable for precious metals retirement accounts.
The one downside is you don’t get to physically handle the metals because they are sent directly to your depository vault – however the tax savings and the high security of the vault more than makes up for this.
Investing in a Silver 401k Plan?
Not all retirement accounts are able to invest in physical silver. Adding silver to a 401k – or for that matter adding any other physical asset – is just not possible. If you do have one of these employer plans and are looking to add silver or gold to your account, then your account will need transferred or rolled over to a Self Directed IRA.
If this happens to be your situation, there’s a very easy process involved. Provided you’re in a position where you’re able to exit that 401k plan, then it’s a case of filling a few forms – something made much easier if you work with a silver IRA specialist – and performing a Silver IRA Rollover or Transfer.
If you’re stuck with a 401k due to your current employment, then it’s a case of opening an additional plan – a self-directed IRA – and having silver investments made directly to your new account. There are specialist precious metals dealers who deal solely with this kind of transfer and are able to do the work on your behalf quickly and smoothly at minimal cost.
Either way, doing a silver 401k transfer, silver 401k rollover or opening a new self-directed IRA will be your gateway to being able to turn savings into shining assets – assets proven to be able help grow and protect the rest of your retirement account.
Investing in a Silver IRA Account
It may be you’ve already taken advantage of the benefits offered by a Self Directed IRA and have one set up. If this is the case, chances are high that you’re good to go. All that’s required is you find a professional bullion dealer used to working with IRA accounts and you’re on the fast track to investing in tax-deductible silver.
For those of us still in 401(k) plans, with ineligible IRA accounts or IRA custodians who can’t or won’t work with physical assets there’s just a little more legwork required (even less if you work with a Silver IRA specialist.)
The Silver IRA Rollover
What is a Silver IRA Rollover? A Silver IRA Rollover is the process where funds are rolled over from an existing retirement account into a new self-directed IRA or Precious Metals IRA. Although these funds are typically distributed to you, the reinvestment process if done correctly doesn’t trigger any taxable events.
As an example you may want to move funds from an old employer-sponsored retirement plan into a new self directed IRA. An IRA rollover will preserve the tax-deferred status of the assets in your old retirement account, without paying current taxes or any early withdrawal penalty at the time of transfer.
Step #1: Select a Custodian / Trustee to accept your rollover
There are many custodians and trustees out there, only some of whom regularly work with physical silver investments.
By working with a professional Silver IRA specialist, they will have direct and regular contact with the best of any Silver IRA custodians.
The regular business the Silver IRA dealer sends the custodian will also result in a smoother and quicker process – and in some cases may also come with financial benefits in terms of reduced fees.
To get started you fill in a simple form to create a suitable new self-directed IRA account – your Gold and Silver IRA. These days you’re just as likely to fill in digital forms for faster processing than you are older paper forms sent by post – meaning your new Silver IRA can be active in 2-5 days, sometimes even sooner.
Step #2: The Rollover of Funds
Now comes the time where you make a distribution from your existing retirement plan, into your new plan. This is the rollover.
The administrator of your old plan could issue your distribution in the form of a check or direct deposit made payable to your new trustee (a transfer), or to you (a rollover). No matter which route your payment takes, the important aspect is that there are no taxes withheld from your rollover and provided the rollover reinvestment happens within the correct time frame of 60 days or less there is no taxable event.
If you go beyond 60 days however, it counts as a taxable distribution and this is why it pays to work with efficient specialists.
Step #3: Buying Silver
If you’re working with a precious metals IRA specialist, you may have already discussed the metals you’re looking to buy. Specialist IRA silver dealers help advise you on the best investment metals most suited to your needs.
For example some metals portfolios can be built on their potential for capital appreciation as well as wealth protection – others may simply look at silver’s hedging action to safeguard riskier assets.
With your investment silver chosen, your dealer will lock the prices at a market rate you’re happy with – at which point your new trustee wires the funds to the dealer as payment for the precious metals.
Your bullion IRA then sees insured delivery directly into your chosen depository vault – and that’s the rollover complete.
You now have tax-advantaged silver protecting your retirement funds should the worst happen – and provided growth matches the past 100 years, you could average 26% per year if it doesn’t.
When use a rollover?
Usually*, a distribution (withdrawal of funds) from a retirement account is a taxable event. This means that the amount you withdraw is added to your income for the current year, with the IRS taxing it at your standard rate.
By rolling over your distribution from one plan to another or carrying out a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer, you generally* don’t pay any tax on it until you finally withdraw it from the new plan at retirement. There are some exceptions and some rollovers may be subject to a witholding tax*.
An IRA rollover allows for more of your money to continue growing through careful investments thanks to those investments being tax-deferred.
*(Roth distributions are taxed differently with tax being deducted pre-investment rather than at a future event – check with your IRA Advisor for up to date legislation)
What IRAs can be rolled over?
|Roth IRA||Trad. IRA||Simple IRA||SEP-IRA|
|Roth IRA||YES 1||NO||NO||NO|
|Trad. IRA||YES 2||YES 1||NO||YES 1|
|Simple IRA||YES 2
(after 2 yrs)
(after 2 yrs)
|YES 1||YES 1
(after 2 yrs)
|SEP-IRA||YES 2||YES 1||NO||YES 1|
|*1: Only one rollover in 12 months *2: Must include in income|
From January 1, 2015, the IRS changed rollover rules to only allow a single rollover from one IRA to another IRA in any 12-month period, regardless of the number of IRAs you own.
There are exemptions from this rule. The one-per year limit does not apply to: rollovers from traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs (conversions), trustee-to-trustee transfers to another IRA, IRA-to-plan rollovers, plan-to-IRA rollovers and plan-to-plan rollovers.
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The Silver IRA Transfer
Much like an IRA rollover, a silver IRA transfer is another tax efficient way to add precious metals inside your retirement portfolio.
A transfer involves the direct transfer of retirement funds from the trustee of one account to the trustee of another. The funds never enter your bank account as they do in a rollover. While a direct transfer of funds from one account to another sounds simple in theory – in practice there are some providers who don’t always work well with others and need to pre-approve the transfer.
Trustee-to-trustee transfers are not subject to any tax withholding and are exempt from the above one-per-year and 60 day rollover rules.
When would you carry out a Silver IRA Transfer?
You carry out a silver IRA transfer if your existing retirement plan is incompatible with physical precious metals.
Transfers are most commonly carried out on company pensions because 401k plans are only able to hold traditional paper assets – not physical like gold and silver.
Rollovers may also be subject to a withholding tax when rolling over to an IRA – whereas a transfer is not.
Finally despite it now being several years since the IRS relaxed it’s rules on holding investment-grade bullion within IRAs, there continue to be a number of trustees who won’t accept physical assets.
A silver IRA transfer consists of three simple stages:
Step #1: Select a Custodian / Trustee to Accept the Transfer.
If you don’t already have a suitable IRA, you will need to set one up. To get off to the best start and ensure your chosen trustee works well with precious metals we advise you to work with a Silver IRA specialist.
They’ll have very close relationships with some of the best trustees in the precious metals market, along with any forms required – and can help you fill them as needed.
An additional bonus will often be that IRA set-up fees are reduced thanks to the volume of business the silver IRA specialist sends the trustee’s way.
Paperwork is either all-digital or more traditional printed paper forms, and are rarely complex with the whole account opening process taking as little as a few days.
Step #2: The Trustee-to-Trustee Transfer
Your new silver IRA trustee and your old trustee will now arrange to carry out a trustee-to-trustee transfer.
This means the financial institution holding your current plan makes a payment transfer directly into your new retirement plan, the funds moving from one account to the other without entering your personal accounts or triggering a distribution or taxable event.
Importantly there are no taxes withheld in any form of transfer – a boon for moving from a 401k to an IRA. Transfers are also exempt from the one rollover per year rule.
Transfer Step #3: Buying Silver
As with the Silver IRA Rollover above, now it’s time to add the physical precious metals to your new IRA.
Depending on your needs, be it for growth, for security or a combination of the two, your IRA specialist will be able to advise you on building out your metals portfolio – silver, gold or a combination of precious metals.
Provided your metals comply with IRS rules as being compatible with an IRA account (and if you’re working with a specialist, they will be) you can buy a good selection of silver bars and coins, gold, investment grade platinum and even palladium.
Secure insured delivery moves your metals from your bullion broker direct into your trustees vault within an IRA depository and that’s the process completed.
Not only are you able to take advantage of both silver’s power to protect and grow, but you’ve done so in the most tax-efficient way possible.
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The Process: Buying Physical Silver for an IRA
As we explained earlier, adding silver to an IRA follows an almost identical route to buying any investment bullion, especially if you’re accustomed to storing your gold in a vault – with three exceptions:
- The purchasing monies must come from your IRA account.
- You are slightly limited to only buying IRS approved metals.
- You need to use an approved trustee/depositary vault.
Whenever you wish to make a new purchase, your IRA trustee transfers a dollar amount over to your chosen bullion broker, or the metals investment company who originally helped you set up your silver retirement account. This process is usually carried out by wire and can take 1-2 days depending on the bank.
Whether you’ve decided on a particular bullion selection before the bank transfer or afterwards, as soon as the funds are in place your bullion broker will be able to buy your choice of precious metals either from stock, from their wholesale account or direct from the mint/refinery – keeping you updated with what is happening at all times, especially if you’ve ordered non-stock items.
Once in place the metals are securely packaged and shipped by insured transport directly to the depository vault. If some items are stock and some non-stock, deliveries may be split to ensure metals are in the possession of your IRA trustee sooner rather than later.
Selling (or liquidating) your gold IRA investments – either to buy another asset within your IRA, or to take a distribution after retirement – follows a similar albeit reversed process.
When you make a request to sell, the bullion is typically shipped to the original seller or any other broker you’ve made an agreement to purchase with. Original sellers tend to offer the best price as they’re buying back silver they know and which has followed a strict chain of custody from sale to buyback.
The broker having received and checked the bullion then issues a wire back to the trustee who can then make further asset purchases on your behalf, or make a cash distribution, cutting a check in your name and sending it to your home.
Silver Bullion IRA Investing Tips
A silver bullion IRA isn’t about collectibles. It’s entirely about the value of the silver in your bars or coins. This means you shouldn’t worry about buying specific mintage coins or bars from one refinery over the next.
Provided the refinery or mint is NYMEX or COMEX approved or a government mint and meets the required purity level then you should only be concerned with your relationship with a trusted broker, and buying as much silver as you can for your dollar.
This may include secondary market (pre-owned) bullion where you can find some of the lowest premiums in the market as well as special offers dealers will make from time to time. Because you’re never going to physically handle this gold – it has to be sold before distribution takes place – it should be of little matter what you buy as long as the silver is IRS compliant.
But even if you don’t find bargains – and many government minted coins go for a slightly higher premium than generic silver anyway – it’s not of a huge concern where your investment is for the longer term.
With silver averaging 26% annual increases p/a from 1920 to 2020 – shaving 1% or 2% from a dealer’s premium has only minimal effect on your overall investment.
Something we believe to be of far greater importance both for the performance of your retirement account and for your own well-being is working with the right silver investment professionals.
Having a true expert on your side can help make the difference between a silver IRA that merely tracks the metal price, versus one which soars in value.
The trust and bond you can develop with a good precious metals dealer can be of just as much value to you as the metals you buy – knowing a silver broker has your best interests at heart and is genuinely looking out for you can’t be underplayed especially when the precious metals market is known for having more than it’s fair share of villains.
Finding the absolute lowest premium and fees will rarely translate into anything other than the most basic of services. If great advice, quality of service and true peace of mind ends up costing 1-2% more, it’s money well spent as we’ll see next.
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Choosing a Silver IRA Custodian
When you’re investing in an IRA, the IRS requires there to be a third party acting as a legal custodian for any investments you hold within the account.
A silver IRA custodian should be an IRS authorized service provider for precious metals IRAs and it is their duty to care for your account, to track values, individual transactions and of course taxation.
In short the custodian’s job is to safeguard your investments and ensure adherence to IRS and governmental legislation.
IRA custodians do not provide investment advice, or any active investment management services, but will assist you when you make decisions to buy and sell assets or transfer funds, by carrying out the required work on your behalf, by liaising with various third parties, intermediaries and facilitators such as bullion dealers, shipping services and vaulting companies.
Although there are many IRA custodians in the US, not all custodians work with self-directed IRAs and not all self-directed IRA custodians deal with precious metals – so choice is more limited than if you were to invest in stocks. Saying that, custodians who deal with precious metals are often exceptionally good at what they do due to the specialist nature of the investment.
Choice can be further impacted whether you want a traditional tax-deferred IRA or a Roth IRA.
After making these decisions you can further narrow down your choice based on:
Custodian’s Investment Selection
Unless you are only wanting silver in your IRA, it’s essential to work with a custodian who can handle as many of the assets you’re likely to want within your account as possible.
The greater choice the better as this will future proof your account and reduce the need to use separate companies for separate investments.
Custodian / Vaulting Fees
Custodian fees can include maintenance fees, transaction fees and commission fees where the custodian enters trades on your behalf.
Some custodians charge based on investment value, others a fixed annual sum. Depending on the size of your account this can have an impact on your charges.
The best custodians are knowledgeable – having precious metals experience, coupled with legal, fiscal and market knowledge specific to metals will ensure all transactions and holdings are held to your best advantage and in line with all legislation.
Similarly for those investors looking to combine various accounts, custodians should have expert knowledge of consolidation practices, being aware of compatible and non-compatible accounts.
The big one. Your custodian doesn’t only look after your assets, they are often the key interface between you and the various intermediaries and facilitators essential in the smooth operation of your account.
Having your investment processes run smoothly, knowing your requests are being handled efficiently and on time and knowing you will always have someone able to answer your questions to your full satisfaction is essential to both your well-being and peace of mind that your interests are being well cared for.
Good service can make or break your experience and missed communication, or misunderstandings can not only cost you time but money.
One custodian we come back to time and time again is Equity Trust. 45 years an industry leader, Equity deliver a truly expert service, fulfilling all custodial and administrative duties with a minimum of fuss and ticking all our boxes for price, service and choice.
Other leaders in the field include Broad Financial, New Direction and Provident Trust.
Learn more about choosing a self-directed IRA custodian in our main SDIRA section
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