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Many people don't care about certain economic factors until those factors affect them personally. Unfortunately, we've seen how global crises can impact the savings and retirement prospects of an average person. We've also seen how unpredictable the market can be.
Because of market volatility, most investment experts recommend expanding your retirement account to include gold. Gold is an investment that exists outside of the banks and the stock market. It is tangible, unlike digital currency, and it tends to perform opposite the market's larger performance. So the value of these holdings can protect you while the economy stabilizes.
But there is no way to hold gold or silver in a 401(k) or traditional IRA. These accounts are managed by trained investment professionals, who decide how to allocate your assets across a variety of traditional formats. If you want to use tax-advantaged retirement income to buy gold and silver, then you have to create a self-directed IRA. Then you have to invest in items that comply with the extremely strict regulations created by the IRS.
That paperwork can all be daunting. No one wants to get in trouble with the IRS over an honest mistake. So gold IRA companies like American Hartford Gold help you get started. They walk you through the paperwork and explain the rules, then they sell you precious metals to keep in your retirement account. Once the time comes to start taking distributions from the account, you can sell back to American Hartford Gold.
STOP! Before we continue with this review, we want you to know how seriously we take your investment. We know our research and information may sway your investment decision, so we want to make extra sure you are investing with the right company!
With this said, we do have a list of our top 5 companies (we have found that at least 1 of these 5 companies fits what 99% of our visitors are looking for and all have great reputations & customer reviews):
See if American Hartford Gold made our list this year, or continue with this review below to see if they are possibly the right company for your investment needs.
About American Hartford Gold
Like many of the most well established gold dealers in the US, American Hartford Gold has its headquarters in California, a state whose history is mired in the Gold Rush. They have been in business for about a decade and have garnered a solid reputation over the years.
In addition to being endorsed by celebrities and featured in media publications, the company also has good ratings from business websites. They maintain an A+ with the Better Business Bureau, an organization that exists to help customers communicate with businesses. They also have extremely high scores from Trustpilot and Google reviews, two places where past customers can talk about their experiences.
The company has been sponsored by Rudy Giuliani, who was formerly the mayor of New York City. They are also sponsored by the popular commentator Bill O'Reilly, who has recommended their services on his tours and shows.
American Hartford Gold focuses exclusively on selling precious metals, rather than dipping into any other alternative assets. While not all of their inventory is IRA-eligible, most of their products are. They also connect clients to cheaper bullion by using coins that were minted several years ago, rather than this year.
There are gold and silver coins available from the US Mint, such as classic American Eagles and more collectible commemoration coins. There are also coins that come from global mints like the Perth Mint in Australia, or the Royal Canadian Mint in Canada. Bars are available, but they are sourced from a variety of different refineries, some of which may not be sovereign.
The company's inventory is varied enough to intrigue anyone who wants to purchase a diverse range of coins. At the same time, the products are classic enough to be easy to identify and liquidate. Even if you don't use the company's buyback program, you shouldn't have trouble selling the coins. You'll just need to ask about which coins are available when you place your order, as the inventory might change from day to day.
American Hartford Gold doesn't publish pricing online. You'll have to call and speak to somebody over the phone. They'll give you a price that's based on the current spot price. It's important to do your research to make sure that you're given a fair deal, but AHG does have a positive reputation from past customers.
Most past customers state that they are happy with the price quote that they were given. On the rare occasion that misunderstandings pop up, AHG's representatives have immediately taken action to correct the situation.
Fees and Other Costs
When you're dealing with a retirement account, there are always fees to consider. You're probably paying automatic fees to the investment manager of your current account. The costs vary depending on what assets you have and what company you're working with.
With any precious metals inside an IRA, you'll need to pay two annual costs: the storage and the maintenance. Storage costs are given to your depository company, while maintenance costs are given to your custodian. Both of these entities are different from the gold dealership that helps you with the paperwork.
American Hartford Gold says that the storage and maintenance costs vary based on the custodian and depository you choose. However, the vast majority of customers end up paying $80 for their custodian and $100 for their depository. If you want a vault that's fully sealed off from anybody else, then you can expect to pay a fee that's closer to $150. You can ask your company representative about the custodians and depositories that they work with most often.
Companies like AHG typically charge a setup fee to help you with the paperwork. But that's not the case here. There's also the minimum investment to consider, which is the smallest amount that you can invest while still using the company's services. Some sources state that AHG requires at least $10,000 as an investment, but that's not true. The actual American Hartford Gold website clarifies that there isn't any minimum investment to get started.
That makes this company's services super accessible to people without much money to spend. If you've been looking for affordable precious metals and a company that will help you out, but you only have a few hundred dollars to invest, then you're in luck.
There are definite advantages to investing more, though. AHG often runs promotions, which might vary from month to month or season to season. They'll often cover the first year of fees for accounts that are opened with $10,000 or more. You can ask about whether they're running any promotions when you call, as well as what you need to do to qualify.
Delivery and Storage
The question of storage might be more complex than you anticipate, no matter what type of purchase you're making. For IRAs, you have to use a licensed depository. To be approved to manage IRAs, these depositories must meet extremely strict security standards, such as having 24/7 surveillance, being audited frequently, and having full vault insurance.
Even if you use cash savings to make a purchase, you might still consider storing your gold inside a depository. Since these depositories aren't affiliated with any governments or central banks, they're unlikely to be raided. They tend to have strict privacy policies and total insurance coverage. Not only that, but they're much more secure than home storage, even if your home is designed like a fortress.
You can also choose to have your metals shipped directly to your house if you buy them outside an IRA. According to the AHG website, the fees for shipping will be calculated based on the package. You'll need to consider how many items you're ordering, how heavy they are, and how much distance there is to travel.
If you use an approved depository, then your holdings will always be fully insured. If you have your packages shipped right to you, then they will be insured until you sign for them. The packaging is also discreet.
AHG works with depositories throughout the US through partnerships with these three companies:
That said, they don't work with every single depository operated by these companies. You can talk to your representative about the location options and which one is most beneficial for your plan. As mentioned, you'll generally pay more for a closed-off vault than an open one.
American Hartford Gold has a policy of being committed to every customer, even beyond the transaction. They want to have a lifetime partnership with you after you open your account and make your first purchase. In keeping with this, they have a buyback program for people who want to sell their metals.
Though they can't guarantee that they'll buy back your metals for legal reasons, they do make an effort to buy back any metals presented to them. Customers are encouraged to call AHG first for a buyback offer, as their offers tend to be higher than those of average pawn shops.
When selling your metals back to AHG, you don't have to worry about unnecessary liquidation or transaction costs. You get a simple and upfront quote regarding what your items are worth. All you have to do is call for the price quote, similar to how you call to make a purchase in the first place.
Once you agree upon a price, your AHG representative will help you with arranging the shipping of the metals. As soon as the metals arrive and are inspected, the payment will be sent to you. You can ask your rep for more information about the time frame and how payments are typically issued, whether by bank wire or check or other means.
The buyback offer will usually not be as high as the price you originally paid for the metals. But it will be closer than you'll find at other dealers. The spread between the buy and sell price is a normal part of the precious metals industry. Since the metals are used as a means of hedging against economic turbulence, there's a sacrifice made in the overall value when you buy.
If you're selling metals that are held in your IRA, just be aware that you'll incur fines if you remove funds before age 60. You also aren't under any obligation to sell your items back. If you want them to be removed from the account and shipped to your house once you're of age, you can sort this out with your custodian.
Getting Started with an IRA
The steps to opening an IRA with AHG's services are very straightforward. The process is just as trustworthy and open as what you'll find with companies requiring high minimum investments.
You'll give AHG a call and talk to a specialist. They'll learn about why you're interested in investing, what you want from an IRA, and what your overall plans and goals are. Then they'll help you with the account application and put you in touch with a custodian.
The custodian will help you with the paperwork to contribute funds from your savings or roll over funds from your current IRAs and 401(k)s. Then you'll talk to your AHG representative again. You'll discuss what is currently in stock and decide on the best precious metals for your needs.
Your representative will be able to recommend products based on their market performance, potential for growth, or ease of liquidity. All you have to do is ask.
Is American Hartford Gold a Scam?
American Hartford Gold is not a scam. As mentioned, the company is endorsed by several celebrities and political commentators. It's possible for celebrity-endorsed companies to have bad business practices, but AHG also has excellent past reviews. In addition to their BBB A+, they also have high ratings from the Business Consumer Alliance, Scam Risk, and Consumer Affairs.
There are hundreds of verified reviews from past customers, the majority of which are positive. Even when people have had complaints in the past, the company has done a good job at addressing them swiftly. Most people have been satisfied by the resolution to prior complaints. It also seems that most complaints are based on misunderstandings, rather than any kind of intentional faulty sales tactic.
There are minor flaws here and there. For example, in order to keep costs down, the business has not invested in many of the most recently minted coins. They have tons of American Eagles from 2014 through 2018, but very few from recent years. Similar trends continue with other US coins, as well as pure coins from global sovereign mints. In addition, a few users have reported waiting a long time for a website ticket to be addressed.
But these are isolated things that don't impact the company's reputation or operations as a whole. Overall, they maintain a stellar reputation inside the industry itself, as well as within their larger community.
Pros & Cons of American Hartford Gold
American Hartford Gold is the kind of company that's built to last. Since they started, they've only grown in size and reputation. Despite being such a large nationwide company, they still give quality one-on-one service to their customers. Many customer reviews mention the service representatives by name and thank them for their help.
Overall, we definitely consider AHG to be one of the top gold IRA firms in the industry. We also love that they're accessible to people without thousands of dollars. Since there aren't any investment minimums or hidden expenses, what you see is exactly what you get.
You can also buy the coins and inventory more inexpensively because many coins are from 2018 or earlier. And yet the coins still have the required uncirculated purity to be held in an IRA. Just keep in mind that it might be tough to get the latest minted coins.