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TD Ameritrade Says “No Mas” to Expat IRA Plans

March 20th, 2014

T.D. Ameritrade has joined the ranks of at least eight other retirement account custodians that are no longer processing IRA applications for U.S. expatriates, and expats with retirement accounts are now scrambling to find a willing custodian. analyst Bill Franklin says there are now three types of IRA custodians expats need to understand.

“T.D. Ameritrade may not be accepting new clients who are expats, but we have heard that they are accommodating current IRA clients who live abroad,” Franklin said. “Other IRA custodians are not only not opening new accounts for expats but they are contacting their current expat clients and telling them to move the retirement account to another firm.”

Some custodians have instituted a threshold of $500,000 that expats must meet to keep their accounts with their current custodian. The majority of IRA custodians, however, are still welcoming expats with open arms. “Custodians like Equity Institutional, which was formerly known as Sterling Trust, and GoldStar Trust, which was formerly known as American Church Trust, will be happy to take those retirement accounts off the hands of T.D. Ameritrade, Vanguard and others who have turned their backs on expatriates,” said Franklin. “The benefit of using an alternative IRA custodian such as Equity Institutional is that you can choose between stocks, bonds, money market accounts and other traditional investments, and you can also invest in real estate, an LLC and even precious metals.”

If you’d like more information on transferring your IRA or 401(k) to a custodian thatprovides you with such a wide range of options call today and the paperwork will be sent to you immediately, and’s non-commissioned advisers will be more than happy to answer all of your expat IRA questions.

Precious Metal Dealer Reviews

February 13th, 2014

If you plan to invest in gold, silver or platinum then you will surely want to vet a number of precious metal dealers before letting go of your hard-earned cash, stocks or bonds. Thankfully the innovation of the Internet has made it easier than ever to get the facts on the precious metals dealers of your choice so you can invest with confidence.

Today’s precious metals investors utilize three sites in particular to see reviews, rating and complaints about precious metal dealers. Most people have heard of because it is big among hotels and restaurants, but Yelp also lets precious metal dealers open review pages. Yelp is helpful for finding trends within a company because individual reviewers can leave comments to describe what went right and/or wrong for them.

The Better Business Bureau ( has been around for a long time, and it is still pretty reliable when it comes to viewing the number of complaints a company has received during the last three years. Be sure to look at both the number of complaints and the company’s rating, however, because a recent 20/20 report on ABC pointed out that companies with lots of complaints don’t always receive a rating reduction, and vice-versa.  is one of the newest sites to find precious metal dealer reviews. Reviews can be followed up with comments by other users, a complete discussion and even a reply from the company itself. Ripoff Report reviews never disappear, so before clicking the “Send” button make sure you can back up what you write.

Maybe the simplest way to get the dirt (or lack thereof) on a certain precious metal company is to call directly. This way, our staff of friendly precious metal investing advisers can guide you to a company that fits your needs and your budget.

Can Precious Metals Survive the High-Tech Generation?

November 22nd, 2013

Precious metals have long been used as a store of wealth. Not only that, but for thousands of years they were also the world’s main currency. The last few years have spawned what many call the “Investment Revolution” and some say it could all but eliminate precious metals from the spectrum of investment vehicles.

If you have been away for the last 20 or so years, the world is going high-tech. I bought my first cell phone about 10 years ago, and the fact that I still use a flip phone (as does billionaire investment mogul Warren Buffet, by the way) has been known to cause some pointing and whispering when I am around younger colleagues.

Recently, there has been a surge in high-tech investments. You may have own some. Have you ever heard of GLD? It is an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that is meant to track the price of 1/10 of an ounce of gold. This investment has no shipping fees, requires no storage and can be sold with the click of a mouse.

Some investors have opted for ETFs and other types of electronic gold, like pool accounts, instead of physical precious metals. Could these derivative investments be the end of privately-held, low-tech investments like precious metals? As John Wayne would say, “Not hardly, mister.”

While there will always be a greedy individual or a profit-hungry institution to give derivatives the attention they need to survive, the average American buys gold not for profit but for safety. Some people foresee simple inflation; some see hyper-inflation and the collapse of the dollar; some believe that the entire United States will collapse; some are preparing for Armageddon. In each of those scenarios, physically-held precious metals have a huge advantage over derivatives.

Physical gold and silver provide their owners with financial independence that is not tied to a computer or a company. Yes, precious metals will not only survive the Internet Revolution but could play a major role for the next generation of investors, especially if any or all of the above scenarios come to fruition.

Precious Metals and the U.S. Dollar: The See-Saw Effect

May 14th, 2013

I attended an investment conference this weekend, and during the precious metals part of the discourse the keynote speaker asked the audience a question. He asked, “What is the single most important factor driving gold prices?” Having been in the precious metals industry for decades, I knew the answer immediately. My hand shot up, and I whispered the answer to those around me, some of whom looked at me as if I was either a genius or insane. After some coaxing, I noticed a few others cautiously raise their arms as well. The vast majority of the audience, however, looked clueless.

The speaker then took out his wallet, removed a crisp one dollar bill from within and held it up for everyone to see. “The value of the dollar,” he said, “decides gold prices more than any other single factor. A strong dollar means weak gold prices, and vice versa.” I was vindicated in front of my peers, but the initial response of the group stuck with me. How could gold’s inverse relation to the dollar not be more commonly known?

When I was growing up in a little town in South Carolina, there wasn’t much to do in terms of recreation besides catching lightning bugs and going to the local school’s playground. The see-saw, or teeter-totter (depending on where you grew up) was a staple on many playgrounds, and it serves as a simplified example of the relationship between gold and the dollar.

When the dollar loses value due to overprinting, it requires more dollars to purchase the same amount of gold. Thus, lower dollar = higher gold. Granted, this is a simplification of sorts, but one that is surprisingly accurate in terms of technicalities. So, if you think the dollar has hit rock bottom and will soon rebound, avoid gold. If you think that U.S. monetary policy is too loose and could result in the dollar losing more purchasing power, gold could be your new best friend.

The Sheldon Scale of Coin Grading

April 12th, 2010

The Sheldon Scale of coin grading was developed by Dr. William Sheldon, an American born in Rhone Island in 1898. He was a psychologist and numismatist. His coin collections were copper coins which were large cents. These coins became models for a system of grading which he decided to develop.

The system he developed is now in use today, particularly by the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).It uses a scale of 1-70 The numbers 1-59 are used for grading gold coins that had been circulated and the numbers 60-70 for gold coins classified as uncirculated.

Before the advent of the Sheldon scale coin grading consisted merely of three descriptions which were broad imprecise: 1) Good: Details visible but surface worn out; 2) Fine: Details less worn out and a bit of mint luster visible; and 3) Uncirculated: Details sharp, luster approaching state of the coin at mint.

The system developed by Sheldon eliminated the guesswork. The lowest grade is Poor-1 or P-1, for a coin that is badly damaged or worn out, the type barely discernable. The highest grade is AU-59 (Choice About Uncirculated), virtually uncirculated except for minor wear marks on high points. .

In between are grades like G-8 (Very Good) for a coin with full rim and clearly discernible devices but coin significantly worn. VF-20 (Very Fine) for a coin with clearly readable but lightly worn legends. XF-40 (Extremely Fine) for a coin whose legends are sharp, devices are clear with slight wear.AU-55 (Good About Uncirculated) for a coin with sharp legends that show only a hint of wear on the high points.

For the uncirculated coins the grades from MS-60 to MS-70 (Mint State coins), as well as the proof designations, are all based primarily on eye appeal, quality of luster and/or toning, and the presence or absence of contact marks, hairlines, etc.

Franklin Gold

Will Gold Ever Run?

April 6th, 2010

Will gold ever run to $2000 or beyond as was the expectation in 2009? We’re into the fourth month of 2010 but gold has not so far behaved the way it was predicted.

As early as February 2009, months before gold posted its record breaking price of $1104 in December, one respected industry leader fearlessly predicted that gold prices would quadruple in 2010 to $3500 from the then current price of $994. Also early in 2009, another industry leader made a more optimistic prediction — $5,000 per ounce by 2010. Many more had expressed optimism for gold in various, though in much sober, degrees in 2010.

The two-week advance of gold prices that accentuated the end of the first quarter of 2010 was accepted by some as a positive sign “…reflecting the general commodities tone, which is bullish.”

But many were of the opposite sentiment. True, the end of the first quarter ended higher but prices were still in the vicinity of the decade-ending number of $1100. They recalled that prices even dipped to a low $1073.85 in January, an indication of gold’s uneasy footing.

“I’m not bullish about these prices,” reacted an industry leader. “Gold is still trading within a narrow range and prices have been propped up by investor interest, not fundamentals…”

Will gold ever runs as predicted? Could it be that it is too early to make a judgment on gold? The year 2010 is an extension of the 2000-2009 bull run and could be just a brief respite before the run is resumed. It will be recalled that the bull run of the 1970s started slowly from $34.94, reached $50 only two years later before it finally settled at $594.92 in December 1980.
Franklin Gold

Precious Metals Price Action Review

March 23rd, 2010

Precious metal saw a decline across the board today in the New York session of trading.

Gold fell as much as $14.96 to $1092.44 by 10:00am in on Monday, where gold found its footing and started to rally for most of the rest of trading day. In the end gold cut its losses to 0.7% and closed just above support at $1102.

The Gold price in Europe also declined to €812 an ounce.

The precious metal Silver followed a similar pattern and ended $0.313 off its midmorning low of $16.597 with a loss of 0.5%.

Platinum lost $11.50 to $1598, and copper remained at about $3.38.

Gold Mining and silver equities fell over 2% at the open, but they then rallied back to about unchanged by early afternoon and ended mixed.

Treasuries rose a bit ahead of this week’s $118 billion worth of note auctions that begin tomorrow with $44 billion in 2-year notes.

The Dow, Nasdaq, and S&P followed select health care companies higher after Sunday night’s House approval of the health care bill.

There were no major US economic reports today. Tuesday at 10:00 EST brings Existing Home Sales for February (expected at 4,990,000) and the FHFA Home Price Index for January, expected down 0.9%. This report is not considered of high importance in regards to its affect on the Precious metals commodities.

Wednesday does bring about the US durable goods release, however; and this could start to show signs of where the US Currency and thus precious metals will trend.

Franklin Gold

Protecting Retirement Accounts with Precious Metal IRA’s

March 18th, 2010

Retirement investors have increased the demand for precious metals in U.S. Individual Retirement Accounts. This new surge of growth stems from many of the reasons other investors have been turning to precious metals – a hedge against inflation, dollar weakness and credit-market worries. Since precious metals have no liabilities or debt like stocks, bonds, or U.S. dollars, investors looking for risk aversion could benefit from a precious metal IRA.

Gold and other precious metals have often provided stability in difficult economic climates, and are often used as a hedge to protect other investment positions. Diversifying your portfolio seems to be the prudent trend recently; having a precious metal IRA or including this type of investment in an IRA can help to protect your retirement savings. Historically precious metals, particularly gold, often retain their value when stocks decline—and may even appreciate. When opening an IRA for precious metals, you can roll over cash from other IRAs and then use it to purchase bars or investment coins. You can also do this with funds from a 401(k) account, although in some cases you will only be able to do this if you leave the employer where you have the account.

Most individuals saving for retirement qualify for a precious metal 401k, or IRA; however, very few know this option exists. Transferring you r 401k or IRA is relatively simple, and precious metals. Org can assist you every step of the way. Before you decide to make precious metals a part of an IRA, make sure you know the risks and the IRS rules governing this type of investment. If you have questions simply contact one of our friendly precious-metals IRA experts for assistance.

Franklin Gold

Precious Metals Values

March 4th, 2010

Between platinum, palladium, gold, and silver, gold’ precious metal values move in an inverse accordance with dollar values, since gold is the precious metal that officially backs the perceived value all of the world’s fiat (printed) currency. Gold’s inverse correlation with dollar values is presently being demonstrated, with our dollar registering 80.02 on the Index, over an overextended euro that must contend with the combined economic problems of Greece, Italy, and Spain. Meanwhile our government has done precious little to bolster the strength of our U.S. currency, other than maintain their insipid pledge to maintain interest rates at near zero levels, and hope for yet another freshly printed stimulus package from our U.S. Treasury.

During times like this, when economic uncertainty threatens the very future of our nation’s currency, precious metals values carry much greater emphasis, as currency-based commodities like oil, sugar, cotton, flour, and gold, all appreciate in value. Meanwhile, the value of printed currency is forced to adjust through multiple interest rate hikes, and ever-rising consumer prices.

Gold generally claims the abundance of the attention on precious metal values, as the wealth of entire nations is often times reflected in their gold holdings. Nations like the United States, Russia, South Africa, Australia, China, and Tanzania have their own gold recourses to draw from, but nations like India have no domestic gold production, and therefore must acquire their bullion through the IMF, which is the International Monetary Fund.

Prospective buyers with unanswered questions about precious metals investing are encouraged to contact one of our friendly specialists, who offer institutional discounts on bullion, and certified rare gold coin to household investors like you.

Franklin Gold

Precious Metal Hedges

March 2nd, 2010

Individuals who are wondering if precious metal hedges are effective for preserving wealth throughout prolonged inflationary cycles, should research gold spot prices throughout the 1970s. While inflation eroded the dollar’s purchasing power by more than sixty percent, certain types of gold investments increased by nearly 1000% during the 1970s. Bullion prices hover just above the current gold spot price, but rare gold coin investments are subject to much more dramatic appreciation during inflationary cycles, as investors gravitate to commodities like gold and silver, and dollar-based assets generally lose their value.

Most analysts believe that our economy will most likely become worse before it gets better, as our Federal Reserve continues to drag it’s collective feet on committing to any sort of feasible recovery plan. Anxious U.S. consumers eagerly await word of inevitable interest rate hikes, and the subsequent inflation that typically follows, and more and more investors are coming to terms with the fact that the economy is a critical state of disrepair. Precious metal hedges make a great deal of sense to multitudes of pragmatic investors, because they can be held for both long-term financial protection, as well as for short-term liquidations that may be needed in the event of a cash flow crisis.

Investors who have completed their research are encouraged to contact one of our friendly specialists, who can answer your precious metal investment questions, as well as offer you institutional discounts on gold and silver bullion, and certified rare gold coin.

Franklin Gold