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GoldStar Trust Review - Summary
In this GoldStar Trust review, we researched everything about GoldStar Trust - from pros, cons, pricing, fees, custodians, and more - so you don’t have to. Are they the best gold IRA company and how do they stack up against their competitors? We gave them 3.4 out of 5 stars.
GoldStar Trust Pros & Cons
GoldStar Trust is one of the oldest companies in the precious metals IRAs sector we've come across. They've been in business for over three decades, which is practically unheard of. Most of the top players in this industry have roughly a decade of experience, oftentimes less.
GoldStar Trust is unique among the companies we've reviewed in the fact that its precious metal IRAs are only part of its product offering. Unlike with other companies, though, this doesn't simply mean that they sell bullion outside of retirement investment.
GoldStar actually doesn't sell its own bullion. Instead, they specialize in a wide variety of self-directed retirement account investments, being a custodial firm first and foremost.
Before delving deeper into their products, let's go over what the company is about.
GoldStar Trust - An Overview
GoldStar Trust was founded in 1989. Over 30 years of experience in the field probably means they know what they're doing, which would explain their highly varied IRA offering.
We often remind readers that custodial work is complex work. Almost all gold IRA companies have a third-party custodian manage the retirement accounts they provide on the paperwork side. This doesn't seem to be the case with GoldStar Trust, which takes on the brunt of this effort themselves.
GoldStar Trust Company is the custodial branch of the Happy State Bank, explaining why the former is listed as having been open for 114 years on the Better Business Bureau page. Both are Texan native businesses, with the formerly known as First State Bank has been in business since 1908.
Happy State Bank oversees $5.5 billion in assets while GoldStar manages $2.5 billion, making them a sizable financial entity indeed.
GoldStar Trust's team seems to consist of seven key figures, which you can view on the company's website and even email. Regardless of who's replying back, that's pretty good as far as customer outreach goes.
GoldStar Trust products
Here is where GoldStar's uniqueness among precious metals IRA providers comes through.
They are essentially a custodian firm offering numerous self-directed retirement accounts.
In the case of nearly every gold IRA company, the structure is as follows:
The company is a bullion dealer that specializes in IRA investments
They provide the products and customer support, but lease out both custody and storage to third parties
They run the account and manage customer support even though custody and storage is leased out
With GoldStar Trust, it's quite the mixup. They act as the primary provider of the IRA, meaning they manage it themselves on the custody side. They lease out the acquisition of precious metals, as well as storage, to a third party.
From what it looks like, they let customers choose both the precious metals dealer and, to a degree, the storage facility where the bullion will be held. There seems to be some dissatisfaction coming from this. On one hand, being able to choose yourself is great.
On the other hand, many customers aren't that familiar with precious metals investment and would prefer some assistance on the product side and even a little education. These customers might not be familiar with what products are good, which dealers are reputable and how high of a markup is considered acceptable. Compared to a company like American Hartford, It seems that GoldStar Trust doesn't do much in regards to customer support on this side.
GoldStar Trust IRA Storage Options
In the storage section regarding their precious metals IRAs, they list four companies that they work with: the Delaware Depository, IDS, Texas Precious Metals Depository and AMGL. They say that the dealer of precious metals usually determines what storage facility will be used, which seemingly only makes the process of precious metals acquisition that much harder.
How To Setup a GoldStar Trust SDIRA
They make it seem pretty easy to setup a self-directed IRA at GoldStar:
Choose Your Type of IRA
First, you need to choose which kind of SDIRA you want to set up. You can choose from Traditional, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, or a Simple IRA. Like any SDIRA, a self-directed gold IRA let's you direct which precious metals alternative investments you want to own in your IRA account.
Choose How To Fund Your SDIRA
Next, you need to choose between doing a gold IRA rollover from your eligible employee plan, or you can transfer a current IRA account, or fund it with cash. For rollovers and transfers, you'll need to get in touch with your current provider to facilitate the paperwork.
Choose Your Investments
All you have left to do now is select which alternative investments you want to hold in your new SDIRA. For example, precious metals. There are a wide range of options for you to choose from. In the next section, we'll cover the most common GoldStar alternative investments.
GoldStar Trust IRA Investment Options
On their website, it's clear that precious metals IRAs are only a small part of their bottom line, if even secondary. The primary product they offer is a self-directed IRA. Within that framework, you have multiple investment options.
These are split up as follows:
Church bonds: A form of investment that's not too dissimilar from any other form of bond, but with a religious twist. You invest in the building or rebuilding of churches and, in return, get a form of interest.
Crowdfunding: Very similar to being an early investor in a publicly traded-company. You get equities of an up-and-coming project that will, hopefully, take off and the equities gain in value. This is reminiscent of companies like StartEngine, essentially crowd-sourced funding made available to retail investors.
Privately offered investments: The option to make stocks or companies that you have a personal stake in, or thereabouts, a part of your self-directed IRA.
Precious metals IRA: Finally, the good part. This section of the website informs us about the basics of bullion investment in an IRA. It's also mentioned that they allow for gold, silver, platinum and palladium to enter the retirement account.
Real estate IRA: The option to have a retirement account that holds either real estate or companies involved in this sector.
Publicly-traded securities: Having your IRA act as a kind of platform where you'll trade stocks and mutual funds.
REITs: Another real-estate based retirement investment option.
While we aren't totally sure, it seems that a single account with GoldStar Trust covers potentially all of this. You can also choose what kind of self-directed IRA you want, from Traditional IRAs, to Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs, and Simple IRAs:
They list many other investment options available for their self-directed IRA, which supports this view.
GoldStar Trust Gold IRA Fees and Pricing
One thing we appreciate about GoldStar is how transparent they are about fees. For the full breakdown on all their fees, you can download their fee schedule here.
But let's focus on GoldStar's gold IRA fees for now:
GoldStar Trust Gold IRA Fees
Annual maintenance fee:
$75 - $275
Annual commingled depository storage fee:
$100 minimum (no max)
Annual segrated depository storage fee:
Varies by depository
Buy, sell, or exchange fee:
Shipping fees on liquidations:
Compared to other companies gold IRA fees this is pretty standard. Most, like Noble Gold for example, have a similar fee structure: in general with gold IRAs you're looking at paying for account setup, maintenance, depository fees, trading fees, liquidation fees, etc.
Nothing stands out to us as a big pro or con for their fees, but with that being said, it's still a good idea to compare other companies fee schedules. For example, Augusta will cover most of your fees for the year.
GoldStar Trust reviews
Reviews of GoldStar Trust online tend to swing between extremely positive and negative. Despite this, the company's feedback still comes off as overwhelmingly positive.
The Better Business Bureau lists them as operating out of Arizona, even though most other sources say Texas. It intrinsically ties their profile with the Happy State Bank. What's the verdict on the page? One of the stranger ones you'll see.
114 years in business is the first thing that sticks out. While they're not accredited, they have an A rating, nearly the highest grade. On the other hand, they have a 1/5 star rating based on 4 customer reviews and 10 complaints closed in the last 3 years.
No Business Consumer Alliance profile, but there's a TrustPilot one with a 4.4/5 rating, or Excellent, based on 123 reviews.
We tend to start with the negative reviews and move onto the positive ones, and we see no reason to make an exception here. On BBB, the customers complain about high custodial fees and even higher fees on the gold bullion they've procured for the IRA.
It seems that GoldStar lets customers select their own precious metals dealer to purchase bullion from and indeed focuses mostly on custody.
Many of the complaints are actually referring to the bank, making it hard to discern how good their IRA service is. However, we like the manner in which they respond to customers and nearly every complaint seems to have been resolved in a manner satisfactory to both parties.
On the positive side, many customers say that it has been a breeze to work with GoldStar Trust as self directed IRA custodians and that their personnel are friendly.
What we've seen publicly corroborates this notion. Those who don't feel like they've been wronged by the company essentially say the opposite: fast service, good accounts and clean paperwork. Likewise, the individualized support doesn't seem to have been lost despite the company's size and years in business.
Why We Recommend Augusta Precious Metals for Gold IRAs
When it comes down to it, though, it's important that anyone opening a precious metals IRA knows what this process usually looks like.
Let's take Augusta Precious Metals, a top company in the field, as an example.
Augusta is a precious metals dealer that specializes in IRA investments. When you open an Augusta account, you get assigned a representative to guide you through the entire process. You're asked to provide the necessary details for the custodian that Augusta works with (they recommend custodians to you). This custodian opens and manages the account, and storage notwithstanding, Augusta does the rest.
Their representatives are there to answer any question you might have regarding precious metals investment. The company itself is dedicated to it, both when it comes to bullion investment inside a retirement account and otherwise. Through them, you can learn about the ins and outs of precious metals investment, how the markets are moving and so on.
They also fully facilitate the brokerage of precious metals. That means you buy the precious metals through them and they also take care of the storage process for you. Being very transparent about markups, this minimizes the chances that you'll make a bad purchase, if not altogether eliminates it. After all, one of GoldStar's precious metals IRA customers complained that a vendor charged a 67% markup on the bullion they purchased.
The GoldStar representative responded that they're only a precious metals custodian, not a dealer. And they're right, but that doesn't mean customers won't be left wanting. Not everyone who opens a precious metals IRA is an expert on bullion investment, fees, market movements, products and so on. But even if they were, there's plenty to be said about having an "unofficial" money manager that will assist you every step of the way.
Verdict - Is GoldStar Trust Best For Gold IRAs?
We can't really fault GoldStar Trust for being what they are: a self-directed IRA custodian. That they've landed on many a radar in the precious metals sphere either has to do with the name, the quality of the service or both.
GoldStar Trust, to us, comes off as a company that's ideally suited for investment experts that would like a robust and diverse retirement portfolio. As a company, they put most of their effort into managing the paperwork and making this account possible.
And, without a doubt, GoldStar Trust self-directed IRAs are some of the most all-encompassing we've seen. To some, this will be a huge plus. Yet those who merely want to put their retirement savings into a precious metals IRA have no use for all these additional alternative investments that GoldStar Trust advertises and provides support for.
The latter category will, without a doubt, find it much more comfortable to work with a precious metals IRA specialist. While GoldStar Trust seems fairly supportive on the customer side, being a custodial and trustee subsidiary of a large bank, they have neither the time nor the desire to hold a customer's hand and carefully guide them through every facet of precious metals retirement investment.
Fortunately, there are companies whose bottom line is doing just that. And when dealing with these, you won't compromise on custody, as their custodial partners are some of the biggest names in the business.