Lear Capital IRA Review
Precious Metals Dealer
$10,000 funding minimum
- Long tenure in the industry, trusted since 1997 with over $3 billion in transactions.
- 96% aggregated customer satisfaction score indicates loads of happy customers.
- New clients can leverage the “FREE IRA Setup and Storage” offer, with more fees waived the larger the initial investment.
- Numerous customer-satisfaction policies, including a price-match guarantee, buyback guarantee, 24-hour satisfaction guarantee, and free portfolio valuation.
- Offers the “Smart Tools Suite”, an excellent selection of seven proprietary mobile apps useful for gold investors, including a spot price tracker, historic price charts, knowledge base, and RMD calculator.
- Solid selection of precious metals, as well as live pricing and online ordering for select products.
When it comes to sheer experience and longevity in the gold bullion and Gold IRA business, it’s hard to beat Lear Capital. Founded in Los Angeles in 1997 (the same year that the Roth IRA was invented, fun fact), they are one of the few companies in this space to measure their tenure in decades instead of years.
They haven’t been slow-rolling it either. Lear Capital has used that longevity to rack up over $3 billion in transactions. It’s not hard to see that money in the customer experience, either — they have clearly spent a great deal of time and resources refining their approach, and it shows in the ease of their process.
Reputation, Reviews, and Achievements
With more than 20 years in the business, Lear Capital has had more than enough time to secure and solidify a reputation — and that reputation is a good one. Your average Lear Capital Gold IRA review reflects a very happy customer base.
Lear Capital enjoys the highest-possible AAA rating from the Better Business Bureau. Over 1,400 TrustPilot reviews add up to an aggregate rank of 4.8 stars out of 5. Over 1,100 Consumer Affairs ratings produce an aggregate 4.7 out of 5 stars. Its aggregate customer satisfaction score — across all known watchdog organizations — is a whopping 96%.
The toll-free number that appears prominently in the upper righthand corner of the website is a sales/new customer onboarding number. In the header menu of the website is a “Customer Support” option, which drops down to reveal the customer support number. It is staffed from 9am to 6pm (PST) Monday through Friday. The header menu button also reveals the customer support email. There seems to be no live chat function.
The preponderance of positive Lear Capital Gold IRA reviews and testimonials speak to excellent, attentive, and responsive customer service. Lear Capital’s recurrent motif — ”Your satisfaction is #1” — seems to be a living principle for the company.
Bonuses and Incentives
Lear’s signature offer is an offer of waived fees for new Lear Capital Gold IRAs. They call it the “FREE IRA Setup and Storage” offer.
How many fees are waived depends on the size of the initial investment:
$10,000-$25,000: $50 off the set-up fee.
$25,000-$50,000: First year’s fees waived.
$50,000-$75,000: First and second year’s fees waived.
$75,000+: First, second, and third year’s fees waived.
This includes maintenance and storage fees. For the first year, you have to pay the fees, but get a refund after the first month.
In addition to this incentive, Lear Capital has several other service offerings geared toward customer satisfaction and de-risking the purchase. These include:
Price Match Guarantee. If you find the same product for a lower price from another dealer, Lear Capital will match that price.
24-Hour Risk-Free Purchase Guarantee. For 24 hours after you commit to your purchase, Lear Capital allows you to cancel the transaction without penalty.
FREE Price Evaluation. If you have a portfolio of physical precious metals obtained from other dealers, Lear Capital will offer you a free opinion of the value of that portfolio as part of your onboarding incentives.
Fees and Charges
Lear Capital charges a $280 fee for account setup, and a $200 annual maintenance fee each year thereafter. Of course, depending on how much you initially invest, these fees may be waived as part of Lear Capital’s “FREE IRA Setup and Storage” offer.
Lear Capital requires a minimum initial investment of $10,000 in invoice prices for precious metal purchases to open a Lear Capital Gold IRA. This puts it on the middle of the spectrum of Gold IRA requirements.
For context, many financial advisors recommend storing no more than 10% of your wealth as physical precious metals. With this caveat, it would only make sense to open a Lear Capital Gold IRA with Lear if you have at least $100,000 in retirement wealth.
Other financial advisors recommend 5% as the maximum allocation to precious metals. In this case, it would only make sense to invest $10,000 in a Gold IRA if you have $200,000 in retirement wealth.
Many gold IRA providers don’t actually let you shop products and prices online. They simply list a sampling of staples — Gold Eagles, Silver Maple Leafs, etc. Maybe they tell you a few stats and stories, but when you look for what would be an “Add To Cart” button, you’re told to “Call For Pricing.” You can’t even price-compare on many of these sites.
Lear Capital isn’t one of these. They distinguish themselves by having an actual online marketplace for precious metal bullion. Not every product they list has prices. Some are still “Call For Pricing,” and several products are marked as “Sold Out.” But for a number of their products, they actually do have a price listed, and if there is a small “ADD” logo next to the product, you can click through to the product page, click “Add To Cart.”
If you follow the checkout procedure, you will notice that you don’t actually enter a credit card or wire funds to complete the purchase. This limited eCom function is committing you to make payment when Lear Capital secures the product. If you back out of the transaction, you are warned that Lear Capital may seek to recover the difference of any resale price from you if they end up having to sell the product at a lower price than you agreed to pay.
What about the selection itself? It’s a robust inventory of popular gold and silver bullion coins, as well as several platinum options. This is nice to see — not every Gold IRA provider puts platinum and palladium explicitly on the menu.
It’s fair to assume, too, that what Lear Capital lists on its website is not all that it is capable of finding. If the product you want is missing or sold out, chances are they can broker the acquisition for you from another dealer. Their price-match guarantee could end up helping you here.
If you want to jump in with both feet, you can get the ball rolling between you and Lear Capital by calling the toll-free number in the upper right-hand corner of the website. That’s the “new customer/sales/information hotline.”
You can also request a “Free Information Kit” from a call-to-action button near the top of the home page. Upon entering your information, you can download three free guides — “Gold and Silver Reports,” “Retirement Guide,” and “Purchase Bullion.” Having given your contact information to get the guides, you can expect Lear Capital to attempt to initiate contact.
If that wasn’t enough to entice you, scroll down a little further. You will find an offer to download a (presumably) timely report. As of this writing, the available report was “Is The US Dollar About to Be Cancelled?” Again, by entering your contact information, you get the guide for free download.
In the IRA section, the “Open or Rollover an IRA Account” has a contact form where you can enter your information and get the ball rolling on a new Lear Capital Gold IRA.
Whereas many Gold IRA providers do not offer custodial services in-house, Lear Capital does. If you open a Lear Capital Gold Investments IRA, Lear Capital will be your custodian. If you want to kill two birds with one stone, this is convenient. Also, Lear Capital uses this advantage to promise to have your IRA up and running within 24 hours, another nice touch. However, if you had a different custodian in mind, Lear Capital may not be the way to go.
Lear Capital offers asset storage in the Delaware Depository. This is one of the most famous, high-tech, secure, and popular depositories in the world and an industry favorite — but investors looking for more storage options may be disappointed that only this one (albeit worthy) option is open to them.
Buyback and Liquidation Policy
Lear Capital offers a no-fee buyback policy. If you want to sell their own products back to them, they will buy the products at market rates with no extra fees.
Education and Client Empowerment
The Lear Capital website is an excellent resource to become educated and informed about precious metals and Gold IRAs. Starting from the timely free-download guides that they use as onboarding tools, you can scroll down to find a “Latest News” section, as well as blog highlights. Content is updated at least every few days.
The “IRAs” section includes basics about setting up Gold IRAs, as well as a compare/contrast article on IRAs vs. 401(k)s and a robust Gold IRA FAQ.
The “Investor Resources” section includes pages for “Precious Metal News,” a blog, price charts, and a library of downloadable free guides.
The Lear Capital “Investor Resources” section also includes a feature you won’t find from hardly any other Gold IRA provider (in fact, it’s amazing that you have to search for this). They call it the “Smart Tools Suite.” It’s a suite of mobile apps that you cna download to your smartphone and quickly perform functions useful to precious metal enthusiasts and Lear Capital Gold Investments IRA owners. Apps within the suite include.
Spot Price App. Track the spot prices of precious metals with a few taps on your phone screen.
Premium Coin Analyzer. Don’t fall for a slick sales pitch. Use this app to see if a “rare” coin really is rare, how its price has performed, and glean some insights on what to expect from it.
Historical Chart Center. No more digging for data. Historical price performance and comparison charts for precious metals, right at your fingertips.
Precious Metal Encyclopedia. A one-stop knowledge center for all things precious metal.
Inflation Calculator. Easily see how your portfolio will perform relative to inflation — whether you stand to become richer or poorer in the face of the dollar declining in value.
Portfolio Comparison Calculator. See how your portfolio stands up to major indices and funds,
RMD Estimator. Figure out waht your required minimum distribution will need to be from a traditional, SEP, or SIMPLE IRA.
No back-end account portal is obvious from the Lear Capital website. However, as an IRA custodian that offers custodial services in-house, Lear Capital will be your go-to source of information about the performance and status of your Lear Capital Gold Investments IRA.
It may seem like a downside that your only storage option through Lear Capital is the Delaware Depository, but the Delaware Depository is known for being tech-forward, with world-class monitoring and auditing solutions. This makes it easier for custodians like Lear Capital to provide you with easy, transparent back-end access to information about your Lear Captial Gold IRA — all at the touch of a button.
Older does not necessarily mean wiser … but sometimes it does. Lear Capital has taken advantage of its head start on the “Gold IRA” rush to offer a uniquely useful and robust user experience. From waived fees to online price specials to the suite of mobile tools, Lear Capital is truly a force to be reckoned with.
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