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Precious metals IRAs have become very popular over the past two decades, especially with the volatility of the economy. But there's a lot of red tape surrounding these accounts. Some companies have been created with the goal of streamlining the paperwork and helping people purchase precious metals.
Augusta Precious Metals is one of the best-known gold IRA companies. But are they actually worth investing with? What do past customers have to say, and how do their policies compare to those of the competition? Most importantly, are the services being offered legitimate?
We've broken down all of the things that you should know before getting started.
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 Augusta Precious Metals 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 Augusta Precious Metals
Augusta Precious Metals has a reputation as one of the best gold IRA companies in the entire US. In addition to receiving multiple awards and accolades, they have been positively reviewed hundreds of times by past customers. On top of that, they don't have any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.
Rather than simply trying to sell you as many precious metals as possible, Augusta Precious Metals fosters a lifelong relationship with each client. They want to be your gold dealer for years into the future. When the time comes to take distributions from your IRA, they hope to help you with the liquidation process.
Augusta is family-owned, but large enough to handle all of your concerns. In fact, there are several departments staffed by experts. If your account representative doesn't know the answer to one of your questions, they can immediately get in contact with a specialist.
There is also a strong emphasis on education. You can get answers to whatever questions you have, or you can use the online resources to learn yourself. There are even webinars available, which teach you more about the precious metals industry much more in-depth.
They want every customer to feel truly confident in their purchases. That's why there's such a strong emphasis on education. Each client should know enough to choose what's right for their needs, even if they work with a different company in the end.
Augusta Precious Metals has been in operation for a decade, with company owner Isaac Nuriani forming it in 2012. The company's main office is located in Casper, Wyoming.
When you choose to invest, you'll be given a dedicated account specialist. This person will work with you one-on-one to help you with the paperwork. The system is so streamlined that opening an IRA doesn't take more than a few minutes.
Augusta Precious Metals also has a compliance department, which is meant to ensure that all company policies are being followed. It is comprised of two company employees, plus a chief administrator who comes from outside the actual company. That way, customers can be certain that the compliance department is impartial.
Augusta Precious Metals offers a variety of services. However, the company's main focus is on precious metals IRAs. They provide gold and silver that's compliant with IRS regulations, so you can hold it in a retirement account. They'll also help you with setting up the self-directed IRA.
Americans have been able to hold precious metals in a self-directed IRA since 1997, when the Taxpayer Relief Act was passed. This expanded the number of assets that can be held in a retirement account. Precious metals are considered an ideal hedge against inflation or stock market volatility. Since the economy has been so unstable, more people are looking into opening this type of account.
Your representative will walk you through the paperwork for this account. Then they will help you narrow down the best selection of precious metals. You must have a minimum of $50,000 in retirement funds to invest in order to use the company's services.
Once you've chosen your precious metals, they will be transferred to your storage facility of choice for free. Your custodian will process them and place them in your vault. Throughout this process, your Augusta representative will communicate with your custodian, so you don't have to talk to more than one person.
Some people might want to make a purchase of precious metals in cash. Augusta Precious Metals sells investment-grade precious metals that can be bought with cash. Since these purchases don't need to adhere to IRS regulations, you can have the items shipped to your home or to a depository.
There are several collectible coins that can be purchased through Augusta's inventory. Collectible coins are not eligible to place in an IRA. The available coins are typically graded by national services like the Professional Coin Grading Service or Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.
When you make a purchase in cash, you get similar lifetime access to company support. You can ask about updates on the market, use the educational resources, and always contact your representative when you want to make further purchases.
Precious metals investments are held outside of government banking systems. They are also tangible assets that aren't subject to the same risks as digital assets. Like with IRA purchases, Augusta will ship the precious metals to you for free. Someone will need to be home to sign for the package.
One service that Augusta Precious Metals offers is ongoing support. Even if you aren't planning to make another purchase, you can still reach out to your account representative. You can ask any questions for as long as your account is active.
Some of the things that are included in this lifetime support are:
Augusta Precious Metals has a customer service setup that's so impressive that no other company in the industry can compete. In addition to your dedicated representative, you can also contact the online assistance center 24 hours a day. If you're a new client, you'll be brought through the onboarding process by your unique representative.
Pricing and Fees
With any precious metals investment company, you can expect to pay some fees. The most important thing is understanding the fee structure before getting started, so you don't end up surprised after making a purchase. Because of Augusta's focus on education, you should be able to look up the prices of all of the products to make sure you're getting a good deal.
There is a minimum investment for people who want to open an IRA. You must spend at least $50,000 on your first purchase. This puts Augusta's services out of reach of some people, but given the quality of the service, it's worth it.
There are no maximum investment limits. However, if you're making an exceptionally large purchase, you might need to do certain things to authenticate your identity. You can ask your representative whether this is a concern before you finalize your purchase.
You will also be expected to pay a flat fee of $50 for setting up an IRA. This is cheaper than with the majority of competitors, who often charge percentage-based fees or upwards of $150.
When your account has less than $100,000 in it, you'll pay an annual fee of $125 for maintenance. If your account passes the $100,000 mark, then the annual fee drops to just $75.
The custodian and storage fees will vary depending on the company and depository that you choose. But you can generally expect to pay about $100 for storage and an additional $100 for custodianship every year. You are required to have a custodian and accredited storage facility for metals held in your IRA.
As for the price of the investments themselves, Augusta has extremely reasonable pricing. In fact, their website displays the changing cost of different precious metals in real time. You can learn about the risks and advantages of investment, then look up each item to make sure you're getting an ideal deal before you agree.
One of the most unique aspects of Augusta Precious Metals is the 7-day price protection system.
When you decide on a purchase, your price will be locked in. But if the price of precious metals drops within the next seven days, Augusta will refund you the difference.
This is something that you won't find with almost any other company on the market. It opens Augusta up to great risk, and it means that they might lose money depending on how the market fluctuates. The policy only benefits the customer.
New customers also have the ability to return their purchases, to a point. You'll have to make sure that you comply with the company's return policy. But if you do, then you can get back 100% of your investment.
Custodians and Storage
There are strong IRS regulations regarding every aspect of a precious metals IRA. Not only do they have strict paperwork and rules about the exact metals that you can store, but they also have strict rules about the storage itself.
One of the rules is that you must have a licensed custodian taking care of your IRA. This custodian will fill the role that an investment manager would with a traditional IRA. But instead of choosing your investments for you, they will just maintain whatever investments you choose yourself.
You also need to store your items in an accredited depository. In order to be approved by the IRS, a depository must meet stringent criteria regarding its security and insurance.
There are thousands of approved storage facilities not just in the US, but also throughout the world. Augusta Precious Metals is partnered with several storage companies that have facilities in every major region of the US.
States with depositories that Augusta works with include:
So no matter whether you live in the South, Northeast, Midwest, or West Coast, there's a depository nearby. Some depositories might also be available in Toronto, Canada, if you're someone who wants to store your precious metals outside the US.
When given the choice, Augusta Precious Metals prefers to work with the Delaware Depository. Delaware is a state that has unique tax advantages for precious metals, and the depository is one of the most secure in the nation. Every account is fully insured for up to $1 billion, so even if something did happen to your precious metals, you could be compensated for the loss.
Augusta Precious Metals can technically work with whatever custodian you want. So if you have a particular company in mind already, you don't need to worry.
Most people will want to work with one of Augusta's custodial partners, though. These are all companies that have worked closely with Augusta Precious Metals, and which have solid overall reputations in the industry.
There are three main custodial partners that work with Augusta Precious Metals.
The first is Equity Trust Company. This is one of the most popular choices for self-directed IRAs, and it's used by many other top precious metals IRA dealers. The company has more than three decades of experience with self-directed IRAs, and they manage over $20 billion in funds for their customers. Customers in all 50 states can benefit from their services.
The second partner is GoldStar Trust Company. GoldStar is part of Texas's Happy State Bank, and it manages about 38,000 IRAs. This is a company that maintains an A+ with the BBB, indicating that they work hard to keep their customers happy.
The final partner is Kingdom Trust Company. Kingdom Trust Company has about $12 billion in actively managed assets for its clients. There are more than 100,000 clients who use Kingdom Trust Company's services. The company's main specialty is creating unique custody solutions.
Making a Purchase
When you make your purchase, Augusta will communicate with your custodian for you. They will ship the metals to the depository of your choice, free of charge. Then your custodian will take the package and add the metals to your vault. Usually the transit process takes between 7 and 10 days, so your metals should arrive within two weeks of the initial purchase.
Since you are the sole owner of the assets, you can visit the storage facility in person to view them. You'll just need to double check whether you need an appointment beforehand.
No matter which depository you choose, your items will be secure. But you'll need to choose between segregated and non-segregated storage.
Non-segregated storage is the most inexpensive option, but it involves mingling your items with other people's. With segregated storage, your items are kept completely separate from everyone else's.
However, the chances of fraud or theft are low even with non-segregated storage. That's because all of the depositories have strong security and regularly conduct audits of their holdings. And your account will be fully insured for the value of the metals just in case.
Is Augusta Precious Metals a Scam?
Augusta Precious Metals is not a scam. This company is one of the best in the industry. They have an approach to customer service that cannot be beat by any of the competition. Since every employee works within a specific department, the entire process is extremely streamlined. At the same time, you get a dedicated account manager who walks you through every purchase.
The customer feedback for Augusta Precious Metals has been almost universally positive. There are no complaints on the Better Business Bureau website. But the same site gives the company a 4.96 out of 5 star rating based on 109 reviews from past customers. That shows that more than 99% of the past customers have been extremely satisfied.
The one potential drawback is that there's an investment threshold of $50,000 for the company's IRA services. If you can afford this, then Augusta Precious Metals is the best of the best. But if you have a little less to invest, you might want to work with a company that has a lower minimum investment threshold.
There is one interesting alert on the BBB website. It says that government action was taken against Augusta Precious Metals in 2019. But the action wasn't related to issues with fraud or dishonesty.
The consent order was brought by the state of Minnesota. Minnesota is the only state where a company must register to sell bullion. This order alleges that Augusta Precious Metals sold bullion in Minnesota without first obtaining the appropriate registration and license.
As a penalty, Augusta Precious Metals had to pay $3,000 to the state government. They also had to stop violating any laws.
But it's worth noting that all of this happened about three years ago. Augusta Precious Metals doesn't seem to have run into any further trouble with the law. Many precious metals dealers have this exact issue, and they don't tend to repeat it.
The BBB gives Augusta Precious Metals an A+ rating, which indicates that they work hard to do right by their customers. Sometimes government actions can negatively impact a rating, but that's not the case here. It's possible that enough time has passed for the BBB to stop counting the government actions in their assessment.
Pros & Cons of Augusta Precious Metals
Augusta Precious Metals is one of the best gold IRA companies out there. Not only are they excellent to work with, but they have customer service that goes above and beyond. Past customers report that the purchase process is very simple, and there have been zero complaints filed with the BBB in the past three years.
Since there's such a high rate of customer satisfaction, we definitely recommend doing business here. Just keep in mind that you'll need to meet the company's minimum investment threshold of $50,000 in order to open an IRA.