BEWARE OF GOLD IRA DEALER LIEs: Get The Guide
VanGuard doesn't offer a Gold IRA. And gold IRAs are some of the most popular retirement investment vehicles out there. So... the best of the best, right?
We know there's a lot of hype about both, so we're going to first cover what a gold IRA is, then what Vanguard is, then what they offer.
Hopefully, by the time you've finished reading this, you'll know that brand name isn't everything and that there's oftentimes more merit to the corner store than the supermarket. Even if they don't have the mango-flavored juice you're after.
But before we go too deep into this review...
We know committing retirement savings to a precious metals IRA is one of the biggest decisions you'll make in your life, and you don't want to get it wrong. That's why we've created a list of all the top precious metals retirement investing companies for you, so you don't have to compare them all yourself.
Is Vanguard on the list? No, it's not. Scroll through our recommendations and find one right for you, or you can get a free gold IRA investors guide from our top recommendation, Augusta Precious Metals:
What is a gold IRA?
A gold IRA is a self-directed retirement account (SDIRA). That means you, with the assistance of your custodian, your precious metal IRAs provider and their storage facility, decide what investments to hold in your account. You get to choose between a variety of products made out of gold, silver, platinum and palladium.
Gold IRA accounts are most often either opened or funded with existing retirement accounts. If you have an existing employer-sponsored plan such as a 401(k), a government variety or another IRA, these can all be liquidated and transferred to your new retirement account.
From there, you have the option to invest in a variety of bullion so long as it meets the requirements of IRA-approved precious metals, those being:
- .995 purity or higher for gold
- .999 purity or higher for silver
- .9995 purity or higher for both platinum and palladium
Inactive accounts are generally transferred more easily, but that doesn't mean an existing one can't be. With the help of a good custodian, anything is possible. Well, almost. Some active retirement plans can't be liquidated, much to the nuisance of their holders.
precious metals iRAs - check out our complete guide!
Why aren't precious metals offered as a standard investment in these plans?
Although precious metals are a proven investment asset, they can't escape the categorization as alternative assets. While this view is rapidly changing, it's not fast enough to have an impact on your investment unless you take action.
The conventional approach by money managers is the 60/40 one: 60% of assets in stocks, 40% in bonds. 60% risky and large returns, 40% safe and slow ones. This used to be prohibitive when both stocks and bonds were doing well.
These days, it's downright irresponsible for you and your retirement savings. But, as most likely will be the case with your gold IRA, your 60/40 account isn't individualized. It's almost exclusively a retirement plan that was drafted for mass adoption by employers, whether private or state, by money managers that can often be a bit detached from reality.
There is no room to adjust this plan as financial conditions change. That's the appeal of a self-directed gold and silver IRA, and because gold and other precious metals continue to outperform both stocks and bonds, they're a favorite for this investment vehicle.
Now that we've covered what the account actually is, let's go over what VanGuard is, and if they offer a gold IRA to their customers.
Interesting Facts About VanGuard
Being here, you've probably heard of VanGuard. But did you know that they, along with BlackRock, own practically everything? This investment firm is a majority investor and stakeholder in...
- Social media companies
- Travel companies
- Booking companies
- Gas companies
- Energy companies
- Subsidiaries of pretty much everything listed
- And soo much more...
So, VanGuard is a very big player. It attracts "large-cap" investors with millions, billions or even trillions of dollars of net worth. These investors put their money in VanGuard, and VanGuard puts that money in... well, everything.
BEWARE OF GOLD IRA DEALER LIEs: Get The Guide
Problems With VanGuard
There are some obvious problems here, but the first question you should be asking yourself is: is this the kind of company that I want to manage my retirement account?
If it doesn't sound like you're going to receive tailored customer support, personalized care, investment advice and so on from VanGuard, you're on the right track. When it comes to massive investment firms like these, capital comes first.
The more capital you can provide to the company, the more you can expect to get in terms of customer service and so on. $10 million will probably get someone to talk to you about the state of the markets. Sometimes. In a limited manner.
Of course, the problem with that is...
Vanguard doesn't even offer a gold IRA
Because retirement accounts can be misunderstood a lot of the time, especially as we venture into those holding physical gold and other precious metals, many don't even know this.
While some large investment firms like Fidelity offer a limited gold IRA that we would nonetheless advise against, VanGuard doesn't even have that.
Retirement investment isn't really on their radar unless you're an employer looking for mass plans, and even then, you know what they say about mass-produced versus hand-made.
What precious metals investment options does VanGuard offer?
One of the main things you'll hear about precious metals investment is to buy bullion. You'll hear it over and over. For as inconvenient as it is to store and as pricey compared to paper derivatives, you'll be constantly reminded of how important it is that you own physical precious metals left and right.
That's because gold bullion, as well as bullion of any other kind, can't be replaced with an IOU or a stock. It exists to counter precisely these kinds of dubious or outright ill-advised financial vehicles.
In the case of VanGuard, those looking to invest in precious metals through them will find their options a bit... straightforward. Through VanGuard, you can invest in the Vanguard Global Capital Cycles Fund (VGPMX) - a mutual fund.
This fund used to be called the VanGuard Precious Metals and Mining Fund. It's renaming in 2018 caused many to wonder about bearishness in the gold market. It told people that VanGuard, one of the biggest names in finance, doesn't care about precious metals investment.
And, for the most part, they were right. Vanguard says that around 25% of this fund is invested in "precious metals and mining securities".
We'd wager to say that most of this investment is done in precious metals miners.
To drive the point further, VanGuard doesn't even offer exposure to gold and other precious metals through a non-native fund that tracks gold's price.
We'd find this an inadvisable investment option, too, but a complete lack just shows that there really isn't much for the gold investor when it comes to VanGuard. In fact, they are pretty specific how they see commodity investments:
"Buying gold, silver, platinum, or other precious metals is sometimes touted as a way to hedge the risks of more traditional investments. However, the prices of these metals can be extremely unpredictable and volatile. Trading in commodities and futures is very specialized and not available through Vanguard." Source: Vanguard.com.
Not to worry, as there are companies tailor-suited for exactly the kind of investment retirement-oriented gold bugs might be interested in.
How do I open a gold IRA?
Remember that corner store we mentioned earlier?
Let's take that sequence a bit further. Everyone in the store knows you by name. Some of your friends might even be working there. You enjoy going there and almost feel like it's a home away from home. What if we told you this kind of feeling is achievable in the rough-and-tumble world of investment?
All of the best precious metal IRA companies opt for this approach, but we like Augusta Precious Metals. We know what they're like, so we can tell you what your experience will be. We're not saying it will be worse with others: we're just going with a known commodity here. Well, besides gold, that is.
When you open an Augusta gold IRA you'll be assigned a customer support specialist. This person will be your account rep for the lifetime of your account.
While all reputable gold IRA companies almost overstate that they don't offer investment advice, the truth is that this person will be there to answer any questions you might have. They won't goad you into investing in something specific, they'll almost be like a mini money manager dedicated to you.
They'll know your investment needs and desires, your preferences, account history, investment history, and so on. A self-directed IRA can work both ways. You can minimize the "say" that an Augusta representative has in your investment decisions and do your own picking, or you can sign off and let them do it for you in case you happen to be a hands-off person. Plenty of options in-between, too.
Are there other firms involved?
The IRS mandates that an IRS-approved custodian manages your account and an IRS-approved facility stores the bullion in your IRA.
Each of these two organizations tends to be a large, specialized firm that handles many clients and even more accounts. That means no oversights will be made, even if you have practically no idea about the legalities of owning or running an IRA.
The custodian and the storage facility each charge a small annual fee for their services, which is often paid by Augusta and certain other precious metals IRAs companies as part of their promotion.
The custodian will ensure that your IRA runs smoothly and your transactions are tax compliant year after year, while the depository will ensure that the bullion is safely stored and insured.
In the case of Augusta - a rarity and definitely a major plus - is that the firm can arrange a visit to one of the many storage facilities they offer if you'd want to check on your bullion. This is especially important to customers who opt for segregated storage and want their bullion to be their own in the most precise sense.
Despite the importance of these two firms, you'll still be dealing with Augusta's representatives most of the time. They'll intermediate affairs between both you and the custodian and you and the storage facility. They'll provide the bullion and, if need be, explain how one product differs from another. And they'll be available to answer any question you might have, year-round.
Lifetime customer service guarantee - an Augusta Precious Metals special
While VanGuard can be difficult to get on the phone, Augusta swerves in the opposite direction.
With an investment minimum of $50,000 for the gold or silver IRA, you'll get the assurance of lifetime customer service.
We know retirement investment is long-term oriented, and being able to know that your account providers will be available for the long run is important, to say the least.
Side note: We know that $50K is a huge minimum investment, if you're looking for a lower starter account size, check out our reviews of Birch Gold Group ($10K minimum), and Goldco ($25K minimum). Both are awesome companies with great selection and amazing customer support teams.
Just so you don't think that these are all empty claims, the more you dig around, the more annoyed you'll be in attempting to find a negative Augusta review.
That's because reputable IRA companies really are that committed to their specialized service, and among them, Augusta stands near the very top.
VanGuard gold IRA FAQs
None to speak of right now. Actually, just based on the company's approach to precious metals investment, we doubt they'll offer any kind of gold IRA in the foreseeable future. The only way that could change is if there is a significant market shift and gold becomes more ubiquitous in mainstream finance.
So long as you have your retirement goals in mind, absolutely. Would anyone argue with us when we say that retirement accounts are supposed to provide long-term peace of mind? From this standpoint, the gold IRA stands atop any other retirement investment vehicle. There are other considerations to make, such as capital and product choices, but advice will never be more than a phone call away.
It depends on who you ask. If you ask VanGuard, they simply rebranded it. However, it happened during a time of what was seen as a gold bear market, which usually means gold isn't posting massive gains but is merely "sideways trading". It seems VanGuard wanted to minimize exposure to what were seen as low-yielding assets in 2018 and move into riskier ones. Two years later...
VanGuard's VGPMX is fine, renaming aside. There are other mutual funds like Fidelity's gold-focused FSAGX and the broader USAGX. Again, however, it's important to note that all of these invest primarily in precious metals-related stocks to obtain exposure to gold, furthering the gap between you and actual gold.
VanGuard gold IRA - Verdict
As we said, VanGuard is one of the biggest names in finance, and while they can give you some exposure to gold through their mutual fund VGPMX, they won't be able to provide you with a dedicated gold IRA.
They might be one of the biggest names in finance, but they barely register when it comes to precious metals IRA investments. This sector is dominated by smaller, specialized companies that can offer tailored customer care and serve everyone on an individual basis.
While VanGuard can afford to have plenty of negative reviews, a reputable gold IRA company will go out of its way to maximize customer satisfaction because long-term relationships with customers are their bottom line.
And with a company like Augusta, which sports a truly spotless track record, you understand how diligently they've worked to achieve it. You might not have heard of their brand, but the more you look into it, the more you'll get that your money is as safe with them as with any of the biggest names out there. Oftentimes, quite a bit safer.