We all want the best of the best in any category. And we tend to associate brands with performance. This is a popular misconception or, more specifically, one that can get out of hand.
A prime example of this is the Fidelity gold IRA.
The history of this company probably has many investors with an eye on precious metals in retirement accounts thinking this is the best option. After all, Fidelity Investments have stayed afloat and outperformed throughout the 20th and 21st century.
Their gold IRAs, therefore, must be the cream of the crop, right?
Not necessarily. As you'll soon learn, when it comes to retirement savings, branding can only get you so far. Fidelity may not be the right choice for savvy investors when it comes to gold IRAs, so read this review carefully before deciding where to put your retirement funds.
Fidelity Gold IRA - Everything You Need To Know
In this review of Fidelity's gold IRAs, we're going to go over everything you need to know about the giant financial services company's precious metals IRA options...
... and, we're going to show you why they might not be the best option for you, and what we believe to be a superior choice for your precious metals retirement investing.
Fidelity - a brief overview
What's all the hype about Fidelity and is their gold IRA offering any good?
For starters, they're an investment company with over $4.9 trillion under management.
On one hand, that instills faith. A company of that size isn't going to go under or likely be involved in malpractice. On the other hand... it's precisely Fidelity's size that makes them not the best choice for precious metals IRA investments.
Fidelity isn't an IRA specialist company, and certainly not a precious metals IRA one. If you have an employer-sponsored plan like a 401(k), chances are that Fidelity constructed it and pitched it to your employer.
Despite managing over $4.9T in assets, Fidelity only has 50,000 employees. If you think that's enough for personalized customer care, you're kidding yourself. The company dabbles in virtually every part of finance, and it has neither the time nor the patience to sit down with every individual retirement account owner.
So while a Fidelity gold IRA might look good on paper, what you're actually getting is a product of far lesser quality due to their brand power.
As we outline the underlying issues with Fidelity gold IRAs, it will become apparent that the tradeoff isn't necessarily a good one. While Fidelity might still be right for many different investors, for most they're not the best option out there.
If you're a large-cap investor that can't be bothered and probably employs one or more money managers, Fidelity works just fine. If you need bulk retirement plans for your company, Fidelity should do.
But if you're an everyday investor wanting individual attention and customer-tailored support, you'll definitely want to look elsewhere.
Let's start with online reviews.
Fidelity reviews and customer feedback from around the web
The great reputation that Fidelity has built seems to ignore a host of customer complaints.
For example, they have an A+ score on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, but a 1.12/5 rating.
On BBB alone, they have 742 complaints closed in the last 3 years and 341 in the last year.
The BBB reviews, like the ones on TrustPilot and other consumer watchdog platforms, are a mixed bag. Customers praise the straightforwardness of their offering and the ease of use. Some even acknowledge that the difficulties encountered are to be expected with a mass-market firm. That's the issue we were mentioning.
As we delve deeper into complaints, we see more and more of the same.
Aside from aggressive sales practices, customers also complain about the automated system of the website. Fidelity actually gives you an automated financial advisor as a default. From what we've gathered, in order to get a personalized advisor, you have to have assets worth in excess of $10 million with the company.
This kind of approach would run any dedicated gold IRA company out of business very quickly. We personally recommend Augusta Precious Metals, which we believe is the best company in the business for anyone looking to invest their retirement savings in precious metals.
While we won't get into Augusta's offering just yet, it still pays to note just how different the companies are in this regard. Those opening a gold IRA with Augusta, with a minimum purchase of $50,000, receive lifetime personalized customer care. That's quite a ways off from Fidelity's $10 million.
Some customers also say that Fidelity didn't answer their phone or email until they lodged a complaint, while others note that the automated system of the website is painful to go through.
Maybe that's understandable: as we mentioned, Fidelity has 50,000 employees to manage $4.9 trillion in assets. They'll have to prioritize, and billionaires and multimillionaires are obviously going to come before the Average Joe with a retirement account.
Onto the gold IRA account at Fidelity itself...
Fidelity Gold IRA - an overview
There's a fair bit of confusion when it comes to Fidelity gold IRAs, which we've come to believe is primarily the result of how the gold IRA is structured.
Let's go over what a precious metals IRA should look like, and why Fidelity's gold IRA falls short.
Usually when a precious metals IRA is opened, the same process is followed each time. It's actually pretty straightforward:
A custodian opens a self-directed IRA on behalf of the customer. This custodian, usually partnered with a gold IRA company, works with the customer in an as-needed capacity.
Generally, the custodian manages all the paperwork you don't want to bother with while the gold IRA company assists you with things like purchases and education. That's the case with Augusta and any other reputable company. They function as both a precious metals dealer and an informal financial advisor, giving you specialized customer care when desired.
The important thing to note is that the retirement account you've opened with Augusta and other precious metals companies is self-directed. You're in control of what goes in and out, and the IRA can often include assets besides precious metals (for example: cryptocurrencies, real estate, art, etc).
This is where it starts to differ from the norm with Fidelity. The gold IRA you open with Fidelity isn't self-directed, as they don't offer such retirement accounts.
An overview of their precious metals page on the Fidelity website really illustrates the issues this company has competing against specialists.
Fidelity gold IRAs are limited in every sense
Consider this for a second:
a gold IRA company like Augusta has an entire website dedicated entirely to precious metals. You can select premium coins, bullion, gold, silver, and more. Their entire company revolves around precious metals investments.
For Fidelity, it comes off as an afterthought. The precious metals section on their website is as brief as it gets. They tell you that you can gain exposure to the precious metals market through Fidelity by buying precious metals mutual funds or exchange-traded funds. Or, you can simply buy gold from the company website. The inventory is as bare-bones as it gets.
And then we get to the briefest of brief mentions: Fidelity gold IRAs. The company explains that they offer an IRA, but a little digging has revealed that this account won't be a self-directed retirement account.
Presumably, just as Fidelity drafts countless plans, it has made a proprietary version of a gold IRA that fits the company best.
The website further elaborates that only five kinds of physical precious metals are available for your Fidelity gold IRA: Gold American Eagles in four denominations, Gold American Buffalos, Silver American Eagles, and Platinum American Eagles in one denomination, and bullion bars.
This is an extremely limited repertoire compared to any precious metals IRA company, never mind a large one such as Augusta.
On Augusta’s website, you'll see countless other products available for your IRA, such as…
- Gold and Silver Canadian Maple Leafs
- Australian Gold Kangaroos
- Australian Silver Kookaburras
- Many other products, including bars and rare gold coins
Having said this, we'll now go into why we believe working with Augusta for your retirement needs is a superior choice compared to large investment firms that so often overlook the smaller investor.
Why Augusta Precious Metals is our preferred choice
Let's start from the beginning: opening a $50,000 gold IRA with Fidelity would probably make you feel like you're a small fry for the company.
In other words, Fidelity is a generalist (they offer many financial products, but don’t specialize in any, and they’re not going to give you special treatment).
You know that the gold IRA is barely on their radar and that truly personalized customer care is only afforded to investors with millions in assets.
By contrast, Augusta is a specialist (they are a true gold IRA company).
Though Augusta has been in business since 2012 compared to Fidelity's near century, the people behind it have decades of experience.
Isaac Nuriani and Devlyn Steele are not only finance experts, but also precious metals enthusiasts. Steele, the co-founder of Augusta, drafts customer education products like Fidelity representatives draft retirement plans.
5 Star Customer Service
Customers often remark how surprised they were to hear from Steele very early on after opening an account.
While we won't say that Fidelity doesn't pay attention to its customers, there are no shortage of claims purporting exactly that.
So it would be pretty bizarre to even try and imagine someone in Fidelity's top management talking to you about your precious metals IRA and your retirement goals and needs.
Personal Attention From Augusta Precious Metals Experts
And yet, this is precisely the treatment you can expect from Augusta when opening a physical gold IRA with them.
They aren't too big or too busy to handle your request or answer your question. The opposite: every individual customer normally gets assigned a representative that fulfills many roles. He is there as an intermediary for your custodian and the depository where the precious metals are stored, but also there to advise you.
While most precious metals IRA companies claim they don't offer investment advice, that's more of a "safeguard". In reality, they're there to answer whatever questions you might have about investment, precious metals, the economy, and so on.
In this regard, they are very similar to the wealth manager that Fidelity would provide if you had over $10 million in assets under their management. But even then, you wouldn't have a truly self-directed IRA.
You Have Control Over Your Investments
With an Augusta gold or silver IRA, you are in control of the account and can work with both the company and the custodian to adjust the SDIRA however and whenever you see fit.
Not only that, you can choose between hundreds of options for your investments, including premium coins and bullion:
On the other hand, your Fidelity gold IRA has likely been grouped together with every other plan that the company offers, with you only controlling the amount of assets in question.
A spotless record... possible after all?
We didn't go too much into Fidelity's negative reviews. After all, it's a large company doing lots of different things. And some are always bound to feel dissatisfied... right?
Well, as it turns out, Augusta Precious Metals has pulled off what so few companies can. Having only a few complaints and managing them well means you're doing a great job. Having no complaints to speak of means you're doing it better.
The only dissatisfaction we've heard of in regards to Augusta has been their exclusion of platinum and palladium from their website offering, in other words, a laser-like focus on gold and silver IRA investment without offering other precious metals and alternative assets.
But those are general wants, not actual complaints. When it comes to how customers are being treated, positive reviews abound.
This kind of track record can only be obtained by a company that focuses on every customer in an individual manner and goes out of its way to satisfy them. And does so year after year... For as much as we can understand companies having some negative reviews, we have to praise a company that has virtually none.
Fidelity gold IRA FAQs
Yes, but on a limited basis. The gold IRA you open with Fidelity will be unlike any other gold IRA you've encountered, and that's not necessarily a good thing. Most gold IRAs are SDIRAs (Self-directed IRAs), but Fidelity's is not. Your options in regards to both assets and choices will be minimal, as will the customer care.
Having reviewed as many companies in the precious metals IRA sector as we did, we didn't go with Augusta just because we like autumn. In our view, the Augusta gold IRA is the best precious metals retirement account available right now, and it's unlikely to change given the company's dedication. You can request a free gold IRA guide from Augusta here.
Not its own, but it offers the option to invest in a gold ETF of your choice. It's a secondary method of gaining exposure to precious metals, with bullion investment usually being the preferred choice for many.
If you're talking about Fidelity gold funds, you're probably thinking of either The Fidelity Select Gold Portfolio or the Ninety One Global Gold fund. While Fidelity offers exposure to more direct funds, these two invest primarily in gold stocks, usually in the form of gold mining stocks.
Fidelity gold IRA - Verdict
That it takes a long time to figure out whether Fidelity even offers a gold IRA should tell you about their priorities.
We strongly recommend that you instead open a self-directed retirement account with a specialized company like Augusta Precious Metals that offers a true and flexible gold IRA and handles your needs every step of the way.
With an Augusta Precious Metals gold IRA, you are only ever a phone call away from getting all the information, reassurance, or advice you'd like at no additional cost.
We don't know what the largest-cap customers of Augusta look like, but we can tell you that the company treats everyone the same. And, by all accounts, that treatment is outstanding.