Los Angeles-based Lear Capital — which has received a five-star Excellent assessment on the Trustpilot consumer review platform and an AAA Business Consumer Alliance rating — is known within the precious metals industry for its gold and silver diversification services.
Since its founding by Kevin DeMeritt in 1997, the precious metals company has worked with more than 90,000 satisfied customers, facilitating investors make bullion and rare coin purchases and add physical gold and silver assets to self-directed IRA accounts.
A number of reviews that Lear Capital customers have written about the company highlight aspects of precious metals-based investing that people who are currently thinking about adding gold, silver, or platinum to their portfolio may have questions about — including the items below.
How Do Precious Metals Investments Differ From Other Kinds of Investments?
For most Americans, saving for retirement involves a defined contribution plan, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), which 54% of non-retirees have, according to Federal Reserve data.
Defined contribution plans don’t seem to be adequately preparing some investors to leave the workforce, however; one survey published late last year found over half (55%) feel the amount they’ve saved is less than it should be — and 35% say they’re significantly behind on saving for retirement.
In addition to, or in lieu of, a traditional IRA that contains items like stocks, mutual funds, and bonds, some investors — such as Lois Renee, from Lowell, Oregon — have opted for physical precious metals-based investments, such as a gold IRA, a self-directed individual retirement account that involves a physical precious metal asset you purchase and own, such as a gold, silver, or platinum bar or coin with a specific purity level.
Gold items, for instance, must possess at least 0.995 fineness, according to Internal Revenue Service requirements.
“I purchased gold and silver to invest some of my savings, rather than just keeping it in a bank where I received little to no interest on my funds,” Lois Renee said in a review posted on the consumeraffairs.com website. “I am new at this type of investing, and Armando at Lear Capital was very helpful in explaining the process. He assured me I could call with any questions and he or some other expert would assist me.”
Precious metals like gold and silver have historically possessed — and retained — value over time, due to their limited availability. The global mine reserves of gold, for instance, total approximately 50,000 metric tons. While gold may be able to be reused in some applications, more can’t be made.
Even during economic crises such as periods of high inflation, gold has performed well; prices have primarily risen during the past 20 years, according to National Mining Association data.
“Gold has an inverse relationship to stocks and other types of assets,” Kevin DeMeritt says. “In times of war or terrorism, usually you’re going to find the markets become extremely volatile; nobody knows what’s going on from day to day. The asset that gives you some stability while all of those uncertainties
are happening typically is gold.”
As a result, interest in the asset has remained high. Last year was no exception; central banks, in particular, snapped up essentially a quarter of the entire mining supply, according to the Lear Capital founder.
“We have not seen this kind of buying from central banks for 50 years,” Kevin DeMeritt says. “They’ve continued to buy into 2023, and it makes sense. They want to hedge against inflation. They get to hold gold, and that’s going to offset some of the loss in purchasing power from the paper money they hold. As we start to see more financial instabilities happen, that demand from central banks is going to intensify — along with demand from institutional and individual investors.”
Some research suggests investor interest is already growing. While certain gold utilization didn’t expand in the first quarter of 2023 — such as global jewelry consumption, which was flat, and tech sector demand, which declined — the gold bar and coin investment category grew 5% year over year, according to the World Gold Council’s latest trends report.
How Do You Invest with Physical Gold, Silver or Platinum Assets?
Investors can roll over a number of retirement accounts — including a Roth, SEP, or SIMPLE IRA; 401(k), 403(b) or 457(b); a pension plan; and a Thrift Savings Plan account — into a self-directed IRA that’s backed by qualified physical precious metal asset they purchase.
“If you had a 401(k) or an IRA, and you’d like to take a portion of that and move it over to a self-directed gold-backed IRA, you can do that,” Kevin DeMeritt says. “[It] takes you about five, 10 minutes to put the paperwork together, and then the process is started to move over to a physical gold or silver IRA.”
Per government requirements, investors’ IRA-related precious metal assets need to be kept remotely in an IRS-approved private storage facility — such as the Delaware Depository, where assets from portfolio holders Lear Capital works with are stored.
Typically, investors can begin taking distributions from physical precious metal self-directed IRAs without incurring a penalty when they reach 59½. You can opt to have the assets shipped directly to you, or liquidate the items and receive money for them, which will be wired to a specific bank account or sent via check.
How Can Lear Capital Help Investors With the Physical Precious Metal Acquisition Process?
Lear Capital can assist investors with the steps that are involved in establishing and transferring funds into a self-directed precious metal IRA account.
“It’s a pretty easy process,” Kevin DeMeritt says. “Simply give us a phone call; talk with one of the representatives, [who] will get you the paperwork to transfer whatever portion of that IRA, 401(k), or 403(b) [you] would like over to a physical precious metals IRA. You can purchase, sell, or liquidate those precious metals at any time.”
Precious metal coins — ranging from bullion produced by government-operated mints to limited-mintage coins — are available for purchase on Lear Capital’s website, 24 hours a day.
Numerous investors have described the IRA rollover process as an easy “seamless and smooth experience,” and said they found Lear Capital’s assistance to be “very knowledgeable and punctual with each step.”
“I am happy with the service I have received from Lear Capital,” Barbara, who hails from Riverside, California, said in a consumeraffairs.com review. “I know they gave their best effort to get me the best deals possible for the precious metals in my IRA accounts. The process for transferring funds into the accounts and purchasing the precious metals was quick and easy.”
Jim Hague, in a Trustpilot review posted in April, called Lear Capital “honest and straight to the point.”
“There were no gimmicks, no run-arounds, just pure facts and a concern for my future retirement years,” Hague said. “I appreciate the business and look forward to the future.”
James Lee, who recently interacted with Lear Capital on a transaction, was particularly impressed by the account executive he worked with.
“I was very lucky to have connected with someone who wasn’t just selling a product, but I believed had my best interests in mind,” Lee said in a recent Trustpilot review. “[He] was there to help, not to sell me product.”
Investor Rodney Leifeste also praised the company’s customer service and attention to detail.
“Everything went smoothly with my purchase,” Leifeste told Trustpilot. “Lear Capital has a wonderful reputation and dealing with them was an enlightening experience! I recommend them very highly!”
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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Sandra Hinshelwood disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.
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