What Is A Gold IRA Custodian?

Key Takeaways:

  • Gold IRA custodians are financial institutions or specialized companies that serve as caretakers of your gold IRA.
  • They ensure compliance with IRS regulations and maintain the security of your investment.
  • Custodians offer safe storage facilities and handle administrative tasks and reporting.
  • Choosing a reputable and experienced custodian is crucial for a secure retirement plan.
  • Working with a gold IRA custodian allows you to benefit from the tax advantages of investing in precious metals.


When it comes to retirement planning, many investors are turning to gold IRAs as a way to diversify their portfolios and add security to their retirement savings. But what exactly are gold IRA custodians, and why are they so important in managing these precious metals IRAs?

In simple terms, a gold IRA custodian is a financial institution or a specialized company that serves as the custodian or caretaker of your gold IRA. They are responsible for ensuring compliance with IRS regulations and maintaining the security of your investment. Without a custodian, it would be challenging to maintain the tax advantages associated with a gold IRA.

Gold IRA custodians play a crucial role in retirement planning by offering a safe and compliant way to invest in precious metals. Not only do they provide a secure storage facility for your gold, but they also handle all the administrative tasks, such as record-keeping and reporting, to ensure that your gold IRA remains in compliance with IRS rules.

Choosing the right gold IRA custodian is essential when setting up your retirement plan. A reputable and experienced custodian will help you navigate the complexities of investing in gold and ensure that your financial future is secure.

Introducing Gold IRAs: A Retirement Planning Perspective

When it comes to retirement planning, diversification is key. That's where gold IRAs come in. These unique investment vehicles allow you to include physical gold as part of your retirement portfolio, providing a hedge against inflation and market volatility.

The Basics of a Gold IRA

A gold IRA, also known as a precious metals IRA, is a self-directed individual retirement account that allows you to hold physical gold and other approved precious metals. Unlike traditional IRAs, which typically consist of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, gold IRAs provide an opportunity to diversify your portfolio with a tangible asset.

Investing in a gold IRA is relatively straightforward. You'll need to set up a self-directed IRA with a custodian who specializes in precious metals IRAs. Once your account is established, you can then use your IRA funds to purchase IRS-approved gold coins and bullion, which will be stored in a secure depository on your behalf.

Traditional vs. Roth vs. SEP Gold IRAs

When considering a gold IRA, it's important to understand the different types available. Traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs can all be converted into gold IRAs. The main difference between these types lies in how contributions and withdrawals are taxed.

  • Traditional Gold IRA: Contributions to a traditional gold IRA are typically tax-deductible, and taxes are paid when withdrawals are made during retirement.
  • Roth Gold IRA: Contributions to a Roth gold IRA are made with after-tax dollars, meaning they are not tax-deductible. However, qualified withdrawals in retirement are tax-free.
  • SEP Gold IRA: A SEP gold IRA is specifically designed for self-employed individuals and small business owners. Contributions are tax-deductible, and taxes are paid upon withdrawal during retirement.

Tax Advantages and Annual Contribution Limits

Investing in a gold IRA can offer tax advantages, depending on the type of IRA you choose. Traditional and SEP gold IRAs provide tax deductions on contributions, which can help reduce your taxable income in the year of the contribution.

However, it's important to note that there are annual contribution limits set by the IRS. As of 2024, individuals under the age of 50 can contribute up to $7,000 to a gold IRA, while those age 50 and above can contribute up to $8,000. These limits are subject to change, so it's important to stay updated with the latest IRS guidelines.

With the basics of gold IRAs covered, let's dive deeper into the role of a gold IRA custodian in section 3.

Defining the Role of a Gold IRA Custodian

In order to better understand the intricacies of gold IRAs, it is important to familiarize yourself with the role of a gold IRA custodian. A gold IRA custodian is a trusted financial institution or individual that specializes in managing and safeguarding precious metals IRAs. They play a crucial role in ensuring the compliance of these investment accounts with IRS regulations and maintaining the security of the assets.

What is a gold IRA custodian?

A gold IRA custodian is responsible for overseeing the administration and management of a gold IRA. They are entrusted with the task of securely holding and protecting the physical gold or other precious metals that make up the IRA holdings. Their primary focus is to ensure the safekeeping of the assets and to facilitate the necessary transactions and reporting required by the IRS.

Duties of an IRA Custodian

The duties of an IRA custodian encompass various responsibilities related to the administration and compliance of the gold IRA. Some of the key duties include:

  • Maintaining accurate records of the IRA holdings and transactions.
  • Processing contributions, distributions, and transfers in accordance with IRS regulations.
  • Providing periodic account statements and reports to the account holder.
  • Facilitating the purchase and sale of precious metals on behalf of the account holder.

How Custodians Ensure IRS Compliance

Ensuring IRS compliance is a paramount duty of gold IRA custodians. They are required to follow strict guidelines set forth by the IRS to maintain the tax-advantaged status of the IRA. This includes:

  • Adhering to the IRS regulations regarding eligible assets and prohibited transactions.
  • Preparing and submitting the necessary reports and documentation to the IRS, such as Form 5498 and Form 1099-R.
  • Conducting regular audits and reviews to ensure ongoing compliance with IRS guidelines.

Eligibility Requirements for Gold IRA Investments

To invest in a gold IRA, it is important to understand the eligibility requirements. Knowing who is eligible to open a gold IRA can help you determine if this investment option aligns with your retirement goals. Individuals, self-employed individuals, and small business owners are generally eligible to open a gold IRA.

While there are no specific income restrictions for gold IRAs, it is essential to note that contributions to IRAs are subject to annual limits set by the IRS. These limits may vary based on factors such as age and tax filing status. It is advisable to consult with a financial advisor or tax professional to determine the current contribution limits and ensure compliance with IRS regulations.

To determine your eligibility for a gold IRA investment, consider your retirement account eligibility, such as having an eligible IRA account, 401(k), or other qualified retirement plans. Additionally, assess your financial situation and investment objectives to determine if a gold IRA aligns with your retirement planning strategy.

Types of Physical Gold for IRAs

When it comes to investing in a gold IRA, it's important to understand the different types of physical gold that can be included in your portfolio. Here, we'll explore the various options available and the factors to consider when selecting the right gold for your IRA.

Coins and Bullion Standards

One of the most popular choices for physical gold in an IRA is gold coins. These coins are minted by government entities and hold both collectible and bullion value. When choosing gold coins for your IRA, it's important to consider their bullion content and authenticity. Different coins have varying weight and fineness requirements to meet bullion standards.

Additionally, bullion bars and rounds are another option for physical gold in an IRA. Bullion bars are usually produced by private mints and come in various sizes, ranging from 1 gram to 1 kilogram. Bullion rounds, on the other hand, are produced by private mints and have a standard weight and fineness.

IRS-Approved Precious Metals

Not all forms of physical gold are eligible for inclusion in a gold IRA. The IRS has specific guidelines regarding the types of precious metals that can be held in an IRA. These include gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, all of which must meet certain purity requirements to be considered IRS-approved.

It's important to note that not all gold coins or bullion bars meet the IRS-approved standards. Before making any gold purchases for your IRA, ensure that the precious metals you're considering are compliant with IRS regulations.

Considering Purity Levels and Asset Security

When selecting physical gold for your IRA, it's crucial to consider the purity levels of the precious metals. Higher purity levels typically indicate a more valuable and desirable asset. Gold that meets the minimum fineness requirements ensures its authenticity and quality.

Asset security is another critical factor to consider when investing in physical gold for your IRA. Look for reputable dealers and custodians that provide secure storage options to safeguard your investment. Protecting your physical gold from loss, theft, or damage is essential to maintaining the value and integrity of your IRA.

The Distinguishing Features of Gold IRA Storage

When it comes to storing your precious metals in a Gold IRA, there are several important factors to consider. Understanding the guidelines set by the IRS, the approved depositories, and the associated storage and insurance costs can help you make informed decisions about the storage of your assets. Let's explore these distinguishing features in detail.

IRS Guidelines for Precious Metals Storage

The IRS has specific guidelines in place regarding the storage of precious metals in a Gold IRA. These guidelines ensure the security and integrity of your investment. Storage facilities must meet certain requirements, such as having appropriate security measures in place to protect your precious metals from theft or damage. By adhering to these guidelines, you can have peace of mind knowing that your assets are being safeguarded.

Approved Depositories for Your IRA

When it comes to choosing a storage facility for your Gold IRA, it is crucial to select an IRS-approved depository. These depositories have met the necessary requirements set by the IRS and are authorized to hold your precious metals. By storing your assets in an approved depository, you can ensure that your investment remains compliant with IRS regulations.

Understanding Storage and Insurance Costs

It is important to be aware of the storage and insurance costs associated with storing your precious metals in a Gold IRA. These costs vary depending on the storage facility and the value of your assets. It is advisable to research and compare the fees charged by different depositories to ensure you are getting the best value for your money. Additionally, having adequate insurance coverage for your stored assets provides an extra layer of protection for your investment.

Gold IRA Account Setup and Funding

In order to set up your gold IRA account and start funding it, you need to follow a few important steps. These steps will ensure that you choose the right gold IRA custodian and understand the process of opening and funding your account.

Choosing the Right Gold IRA Custodian

When it comes to choosing a gold IRA custodian, it's essential to consider several factors to ensure that you make the right decision. Keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Research different custodians: Take the time to research and compare different gold IRA custodians. Look for custodians with a strong reputation, experience, and a track record of excellent customer service.
  2. Consider fees: Compare the fee structures of different custodians. Look for transparency in fee reporting and avoid custodians with hidden costs.
  3. Check credentials and regulatory compliance: Verify that the custodian is properly licensed and registered with the necessary regulatory bodies.
  4. Read customer reviews: Look for feedback and reviews from current and past customers to gauge the custodian's overall reputation and reliability.
  5. Ask questions: Don't be afraid to ask the custodian questions about their services, investment options, and any other concerns you may have. A trustworthy custodian will be happy to provide answers and address your concerns.

Steps to Open and Fund a Gold IRA

Once you've chosen the right gold IRA custodian, it's time to move forward with opening and funding your account. Follow these steps:

  1. Complete the necessary paperwork: The custodian will provide you with the required forms to open a gold IRA account. Make sure to fill out all the paperwork accurately and provide any requested documentation.
  2. Choose your investment options: Work with your custodian to select the types of gold or other approved precious metals you want to include in your IRA. Ensure that the chosen investments align with your financial goals and risk tolerance.
  3. Transfer rollovers or make direct contributions: There are two primary methods to fund your gold IRA. One option is to transfer funds from an existing retirement account, such as a 401(k) or another IRA. The other option is to make direct contributions to your gold IRA using cash or other eligible assets. Your custodian will guide you through the process of either transferring rollovers or making direct contributions.

Transfer Rollovers and Direct Contributions

Transferring rollovers and making direct contributions are two ways to fund your gold IRA:

  1. Transfer rollovers: If you have an existing retirement account, you may be able to transfer funds directly from that account into your gold IRA. This transfer is known as a rollover. It's important to follow the necessary instructions provided by your custodian to ensure a smooth transfer process.
  2. Direct contributions: You can also fund your gold IRA through direct contributions. This involves making cash contributions or contributing assets that are eligible for inclusion in your gold IRA. Your custodian will provide you with the necessary instructions for making direct contributions.

By following these steps and working with a reputable, experienced gold IRA custodian, you can set up and fund your gold IRA account with confidence. Make sure to understand the process fully and ask any questions you may have before proceeding. Investing in a gold IRA can be an effective strategy to diversify your retirement portfolio and protect your wealth over the long term.

The Potential Benefits of a Gold IRA Investment

Portfolio Diversification with Gold

One of the key advantages of including a gold IRA in your investment strategy is the potential for portfolio diversification. By adding gold to your retirement portfolio, you can reduce risk and potentially increase returns. Gold often has a low correlation with other assets, such as stocks and bonds, which means that it can behave differently in various market conditions. This diversification can help protect your portfolio from the potential volatility of other investments and provide stability during turbulent times.

Inflation Protection and Stable Asset Growth

Another significant benefit of investing in a gold IRA is the potential for inflation protection and stable asset growth. Gold has historically been viewed as a hedge against inflation, as its value tends to rise in times of economic uncertainty. By holding physical gold or gold-backed assets in your retirement account, you can help safeguard your purchasing power and ensure that your savings can withstand the impact of inflation over time. Additionally, gold has shown a track record of long-term stability and consistent growth, making it an attractive asset for retirement planning.

Gold IRA as a Hedge in Economic Downturns

During economic downturns and market volatility, gold has historically served as a safe haven for investors. When traditional assets face challenges, gold often retains its value or even experiences growth. This makes a gold IRA a valuable hedge against economic uncertainty, as it can provide stability and protect your retirement savings during turbulent times. By including gold in your investment portfolio, you can have peace of mind knowing that you have a tangible asset that can withstand the impact of economic downturns.

Understanding the Risks of Investing in Gold IRAs

Investing in gold IRAs can offer significant advantages for retirement planning and portfolio diversification. However, it is important to understand the potential risks associated with these investments. By being aware of these risks and taking necessary precautions, you can make informed decisions and safeguard your investment.

Market Volatility: Gold prices can be subject to intense market fluctuations, which can impact the value of your gold IRA. Economic factors, geopolitical events, and investor sentiment can all contribute to volatility in the precious metals market.

Economic Factors: Economic conditions can influence the performance of gold. In times of economic stability, gold prices may be less affected, but during economic downturns, the demand for gold as a safe-haven asset can increase, potentially driving prices higher.

Liquidity Concerns: While gold is a highly liquid asset, there may be times when selling gold for cash may not be as easy as anticipated. During economic crises or significant market disruptions, liquidity in the precious metals market may decrease, affecting the ability to sell gold quickly.

Mitigating Risks: To mitigate risks associated with gold IRAs, consider the following:

  • Consult with a financial advisor or investment professional who specializes in precious metals investments.
  • Conduct thorough research on market trends and economic indicators to make informed investment decisions.
  • Diversify your investment portfolio to include a mix of assets other than gold.
  • Keep a long-term perspective and avoid reacting to short-term market fluctuations.
  • Regularly review and reassess your investment strategy to ensure it aligns with your goals and risk tolerance.

By understanding and managing these risks, you can navigate the world of gold IRAs with greater confidence, and potentially reap the benefits of precious metals investment in your retirement portfolio.

Assessing Gold IRA Custodian Services and Fees

When considering investing in a gold IRA, it's essential to assess the custodian services and fees associated with managing your precious metals. The right custodian can make a significant difference in the success of your investment, so it's crucial to evaluate their credentials, customer service, fee structures, transparency, and company reputation.

Evaluating Custodian Credentials and Customer Service

Before selecting a gold IRA custodian, take the time to evaluate their credentials. Look for custodians with extensive experience in managing precious metals IRAs and certifications that demonstrate their expertise in the field. It's also important to ensure that the custodian is compliant with all regulatory requirements set forth by the IRS.

In addition to credentials, consider the level of customer service provided by the custodian. A reputable custodian should be responsive to your inquiries, knowledgeable about the industry, and willing to assist you throughout the investment process. Good customer service ensures a smooth and satisfactory experience as you navigate the complexities of investing in a gold IRA.

Comparing Fee Structures and Transparency

When assessing gold IRA custodian services, it's essential to compare their fee structures. Different custodians may have varying fee models, including flat fees, percentage-based fees, or a combination of both. Consider your investment goals, account size, and trading frequency to determine which fee structure aligns best with your needs.

In addition to fee structures, evaluate the transparency of the custodian. A transparent custodian will provide clear and detailed information about their fees, ensuring that you have a comprehensive understanding of the costs involved. Transparency builds trust, allowing you to make informed decisions about your investment.

Examining Company Reputation and Reliability

Before entrusting your investment to a gold IRA custodian, take the time to examine their company reputation and reliability. Research customer reviews, testimonials, and industry ratings to gain insight into the custodian's track record. Look for custodians with a solid reputation for professionalism, integrity, and a history of delivering quality services.

Reliability is also a crucial factor to consider. A reputable custodian should have robust security measures in place to safeguard your precious metals and ensure the seamless operation of their services. Reliable custodians will prioritize the security and uninterrupted access to your investment.

By carefully assessing custodian services and fees, you can make an informed decision about your gold IRA investment. Remember to evaluate custodian credentials and customer service, compare fee structures and transparency, and examine company reputation and reliability. Doing so will help you choose a custodian that aligns with your investment goals and provides a positive and secure investment experience.

Gold IRA Transactions: Buying and Selling Precious Metals

When it comes to managing your gold IRA, understanding the process of buying and selling precious metals is key. Whether you're looking to add gold to your retirement portfolio or liquidate your holdings, there are important considerations to keep in mind.

Buying Gold for Your IRA:

  1. Work with a trusted custodian or broker who specializes in gold IRA transactions.
  2. Select the desired precious metals that meet the requirements for inclusion in your gold IRA.
  3. Follow the necessary steps and paperwork provided by your custodian or broker to complete the purchase.

Selling Precious Metals from Your IRA:

  1. Consult with your custodian or broker to understand the procedures and requirements for selling precious metals from your gold IRA.
  2. Submit the necessary documentation and instructions to initiate the selling process.
  3. When the time is right, work with your custodian or broker to execute the sale of your precious metals.

It's important to note that the buying and selling of precious metals within a gold IRA should be approached thoughtfully, considering market conditions and your investment goals. The precious metals market can be influenced by various factors, including supply and demand, economic indicators, and geopolitical events. Stay informed and work with professionals who can provide guidance based on their expertise and experience.

Differences Between Self-Directed IRAs and Gold IRAs

In this section, we will explore the differences between self-directed IRAs and gold IRAs. These two types of retirement accounts have unique features and considerations that investors should be aware of when planning for their future.

Variety of Acceptable Investments

One key difference between self-directed IRAs and gold IRAs is the variety of acceptable investments. While both types of accounts offer flexibility in choosing investment options, self-directed IRAs provide a wider range of choices beyond just precious metals. In addition to gold, investors can also include real estate, private equity, and other alternative assets in their self-directed IRAs.

On the other hand, gold IRAs focus specifically on investing in physical gold and other precious metals. These investments are typically held in the form of bullion or coins that meet specific standards set by the IRS. The primary objective of a gold IRA is to provide exposure to the potential benefits of gold as an asset class within a retirement account.

Unique Tax Considerations for Precious Metals

Another important difference between self-directed IRAs and gold IRAs lies in the tax considerations associated with investing in precious metals. While both types of accounts offer tax-advantaged growth and potential savings, there are specific rules and regulations that apply to gold IRAs.

For example, when investing in physical gold through a gold IRA, investors should be aware of any applicable taxes on the purchase and sale of precious metals. The IRS treats certain transactions involving precious metals differently from traditional investments, and it's crucial to understand the tax implications to avoid any unexpected liabilities.

Physical Ownership vs. Traditional Assets

One notable distinction between self-directed IRAs and gold IRAs is the aspect of physical ownership. With a self-directed IRA, the investments are typically held in a brokerage or custodial account, and the investor does not physically possess the assets. Instead, the custodian or broker holds the investments on behalf of the investor.

In contrast, gold IRAs allow for the physical ownership of the precious metals. Investors who choose to include gold in their IRAs can have the physical gold coins or bullion delivered to an approved depository for safekeeping. This physical ownership provides a sense of tangibility and control over the assets within the gold IRA.

Overall, understanding the differences between self-directed IRAs and gold IRAs is essential for making informed investment decisions. The choice between these two types of accounts depends on individual goals, risk tolerance, and investment preferences. Consulting with a financial advisor or IRA custodian can provide further guidance in selecting the right retirement account option for you.


In conclusion, understanding the role of gold IRA custodians is essential for successful retirement planning. By entrusting your precious metals IRA to a professional custodian, you can ensure that your investments are managed and safeguarded according to IRS regulations.

Throughout this article, we have explored the importance of gold IRA custodians and their key responsibilities in maintaining the security and compliance of your investment. We have discussed the eligibility requirements for opening a gold IRA and the different types of physical gold that can be included in your portfolio.

Additionally, we have highlighted the potential benefits of investing in a gold IRA, such as portfolio diversification, inflation protection, and a hedge against economic downturns. However, it is important to recognize that there are risks associated with gold IRAs, including market volatility and liquidity concerns.

As you navigate your retirement planning journey, it is crucial to consider the services, fees, and reputation of gold IRA custodians. By conducting thorough research and evaluating your options, you can make informed decisions and choose the custodian that best aligns with your investment strategy and financial goals.


Q: What is a precious metals IRA and how does it differ from a traditional IRA?

A: A precious metals IRA, also known as a gold IRA, is a retirement account that allows the owner to save for retirement by investing in precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, instead of traditional stocks and bonds. Unlike traditional or Roth IRAs, which typically hold paper assets, a precious metals IRA allows for the investment in physical metals. This type of IRA is self-directed, meaning the account holder makes all investment decisions and must be held by a special precious metals IRA custodian approved by the IRS.

Q: Who acts as a custodian for a precious metals IRA and what is their role?

A: A precious metals IRA custodian is often a bank, trust company, or another institution approved by federal and state agencies to offer asset custody services to individual investors. The role of a self-directed IRA custodian includes holding and securing the physical precious metals, ensuring all investments comply with internal revenue laws, and administering all paperwork and reporting required for the IRA. Custodians also may assist in the purchase of IRS-approved metals and help manage storage fees and arrangements.

Q: How can one set up a gold IRA and what are the steps involved?

A: Setting up a gold IRA involves several key steps: Firstly, select a trustworthy gold IRA company that works with a reliable precious metals IRA custodian. Next, complete the necessary paperwork to establish the account, which might involve a rollover from an existing retirement account like a traditional or Roth IRA. After setting up the account, the IRA holder can choose the types of gold or other precious metals to purchase, relying on the advice of the custodian or the IRA company to ensure the investments are IRS approved. Finally, arrange for the secure storage of the physical metals with a custodian-approved facility.

Q: What types of gold and precious metals can be included in an IRA?

A: In a precious metals IRA, the IRS allows for the inclusion of specific types of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. These include certain gold coins like American Eagle and Canadian Maple Leaf coins, as well as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion that meet minimum fineness standards. It's crucial that IRA investments are IRS approved to ensure compliance with tax-advantaged account rules; therefore, not all precious metal items are eligible for inclusion in an IRA.

Q: Are there tax advantages to investing in a precious metals IRA?

A: Yes, investing in a precious metals IRA offers tax-advantaged accounts benefits similar to those of traditional and Roth IRAs. Contributions to a traditional precious metals IRA may be tax deductible, and the investments grow tax-deferred, meaning you only pay taxes upon withdrawal. In contrast, Roth precious metals IRAs are funded with after-tax dollars, and qualified distributions during retirement are tax-free. These tax benefits make investing in precious metals a favourable option for many looking to diverge from traditional retirement accounts.

Q: What are the storage requirements for precious metals in an IRA?

A: IRS regulations require that precious metals held in an IRA must be stored in a secure, IRS-approved depository. IRA holders cannot keep the precious metals at home or in a personal safe deposit box. The chosen custodian typically arranges for storage and can provide suggestions for IRS-approved facilities. Storage fees vary depending on the custodian and the amount of metal being stored. Ensuring the metals are properly stored is essential for complying with IRS rules and protecting the investment.

Q: Can I transfer or roll over my existing retirement account into a precious metals IRA?

A: Yes, most retirement accounts, including traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs, and 401(k)s, can be rolled over or transferred into a precious metals IRA without incurring immediate tax penalties. The process involves setting up a new self-directed IRA that can hold precious metals and then moving funds or assets from your current retirement account into the new one. It’s crucial to work with a knowledgeably IRA custodian to ensure the transfer or rollover complies with IRS rules, to maintain the tax-advantaged status of the retirement funds.

Q: Are there any risks associated with investing in a precious metals IRA?

A: Like all investments, there are risks associated with investing in a precious metals IRA. The value of gold and other precious metals can be volatile, and prices may fluctuate widely over short periods. Additionally, there are storage fees and potential custodian fees to consider, which can impact the overall return on the investment. Diversification is key to managing risk, and including precious metals as part of a broader retirement strategy can help mitigate these risks. Consulting with a financial advisor experienced in precious metals and IRAs is advisable to ensure this investment aligns with your overall retirement planning strategy.

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      Author Bio: Adam Taylor  

Author Bio: Adam Taylor

  Adam Taylor  

Designation: Founder & CEO


Bio: It all started with Scrooge McDuck. Adam has been fascinated with gold ever since he saw Scrooge McDuck dive into his pool of gold when he was a child. This started a lifelong love affair of precious metals. Adam has invested 10% of his wealth into gold and silver because he believes in their power to retain wealth.


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