Founded 25 years ago by Kevin DeMeritt, Lear Capital provides portfolio diversification services — which include facilitating bullion, limited mintage coins and rare coin purchases and helping investors add physical gold and silver assets to an existing IRA account.
The Los Angeles-based precious metals company has processed more than $1 billion in IRA-related transactions since its 1997 start and has worked with more than 90,000 satisfied customers.
Some have called the company a “very professional and knowledgeable” organization with “great teamwork and customer support,” offering a precious metal acquisition process that’s “the best in the business.”
Many of the reviews, in fact, that Lear Capital has received from investors offer insight into elements of the precious metal asset-based investing process that potential investors may not be familiar with — such as the following questions.
Why do people invest in physical precious metal assets?
Only so much gold, silver, and platinum exists in the world. The assets’ limited availability has helped them consistently retain value and serve as a potential counter element to more volatile investments, such as stocks, to offset any lower-than-anticipated returns.
“Gold has an inverse relationship to other types of assets,” Kevin DeMeritt explains. “In times of war or economic uncertainty, usually you’re going to find the markets become extremely volatile. Nobody feels comfortable with what’s going on from day to day. The asset that gives you some stability as a physical asset while all of those uncertainties are happening typically [is] gold.”
You can invest in metals like gold by buying mining company stocks, obtaining an exchange-traded fund that’s backed by physical gold, or holding physical gold assets — such as coins or bars — that you’ve purchased within a precious metal individual retirement account like the Lear Precious Metals IRA, which Kevin DeMeritt says can help reduce some of the third-party risks the other investment options may present.
“With an exchange-traded fund, a lot of that metal is held in a different country; if something goes wrong with [the] bank, how do I get the gold back over here?” he says. “[A company] could bribe a government official in another country, then that comes out and the stock potentially crashes. The company could take on a little bit too much debt, interest rates go up and their earnings crash because interest payments are much higher — and now you pay the price because you own the gold stock, as opposed to the actual physical gold.”
What if I don’t know anything about the investment process?
Physical precious metal asset-based investing may be less complicated than some investors think — particularly if they have someone walking them through each step.
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 — and purchase physical assets to put toward a self-directed IRA, provided they have a certain purity level. Gold, for example, must possess an at least 0.995 fineness.
“The government has made these rules,” Kevin DeMeritt says. “If the metal has the high quality required, then you can add it to an IRA; if it does not, then you cannot — [except for] an American Eagle [coin], which does not have that fineness, but the government made an exception [for].”
The items must be kept in an IRS-approved private storage facility. The IRA custodian utilizes the Delaware Depository, which has safeguarded precious metal items for more than three decades and insures the assets for their full value, if any physical damage occurs because of issues like a fire or flood.
To help guide investors through the precious metals investment process, Lear Capital offers highly personalized customer service. Investors are matched with a dedicated account representative and can also call an 800 number during the day to speak with a qualified customer service professional about any questions they have.
Investor Pam Bents described working with Lear Capital as a positive and also informative experience.
“This was my first time buying precious metals,” Bent said. “They answered all my questions and allowed me to make my decision. With all the info and details provided, I am confident and excited about my decision to purchase.”
What costs are involved?
The fees investors pay to establish an IRA with a custodian are based on the precious metal that’s involved; insurance and storage fees can range from approximately $75 to $150, depending on how many assets are in the account, according to Kevin DeMeritt. Lear Capitals fees are on top of the custodian fees.
Lear Capital is committed to ensuring investors thoroughly understand all aspects of the precious metals investment process, including any related costs.
In addition to the risk-free guarantee it offers — which gives buyers 24 hours to review their purchase and cancel their transaction at no cost — the company’s three-step Price Advantage Guarantee has been designed to ensure transparency so investors don’t receive any unexpected fees. Lear Capital sends a print confirmation of the purchase details, and follows up by phone to confirm that the information has been received.
Investors have praised the company’s dedication to conveying information clearly.
Following a rollover transaction that Lear Capital helped investor James Wagar process, Wagar said: “I feel a trust that can only be viewed as ‘friends in time of need.’ And these are certainly times of uncertainty.”
How will I know how my investment is performing?
Lear Capital provides a number of services to help investors keep informed about their investment’s value. Some are available online, 24/7 — such as the economy-related news updates shared on its website.
The company also offers real-time precious metal price charts on its site, which provide a look at the price of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium in the past 24 hours, month and year. Site visitors also can view customized charts by entering a specific time period, ranging from a two-week interval to 10 years.
Investors can also take advantage of a notification system that allows them to sign up to receive an email if a specific precious metal reaches a certain price level they’d like to buy or sell it at. Individuals can also reach out to Lear Capital for an estimate of what their precious metal holdings are worth at any time, which can be helpful for anyone contemplating selling a coin portfolio.
One investor, who identified himself as Steven B. in the review he wrote about his experience with Lear Capital, said he was impressed with Lear’s website content and pricing clarity during his search for Olympic Gold Eagle, premium, and other coins.
“Other companies appeared to lack the professionalism and honesty that Lear Capital provides,” he said. “As a former president of a service company that grew from 30 employees and $4 million in revenue to $40 million and 170 employees, I know quite a bit about value and customer service. These two qualities are essential for a business relationship to successfully grow and prove mutually profitable — and that is why Lear Capital is the company with whom I do business and one I would recommend highly.”