Precious metals have been traded for thousands of years. And ever since the advent of the internet, you've been able to buy them online. But it's vital that you pick the correct precious metals dealer. There are plenty of companies with shady policies and shadier pasts.
Schiff Gold is a precious metals dealer located in New York. It is run by Peter Schiff, an outspoken investment analyst who often commentates on current events. But even though Peter Schiff has a solid reputation, is this company actually everything it seems to be?
Here are the things that you should know.
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About Schiff Gold
Schiff Gold wasn't always called Schiff Gold. Between 2010 and 2014, the company operated under the name Euro Pacific Precious Metals. It became Schiff Gold during a massive rebranding in 2014. But it's the same company, with more than twelve years of experience in the industry.
Peter Schiff has spent most of his adult life working in the finance industry. One of his biggest claims to fame is that he predicted the economic crash of 2008. He was able to see the different financial factors at work and realize that something didn't add up.
Precious metals rose sharply in value after the 2008 stock market crash. People became interested in investing in them because of their value as tangible assets. Peter Schiff opened his own precious metals dealership in the hopes that he could help potential investors diversify their portfolios with precious metals.
In addition to running this company, Peter Schiff's commentary frequently ends up in the news. He is an active participant on social media, is often invited to speak on radio programs and talk shows, and is well known for "telling it like it is." Peter Schiff can be critical of everything from the government to watchdog organizations.
The company's entire brand is built around the Schiff name. The idea is that you're paying to get Peter Schiff's expertise. He can help guide you in figuring out which precious metals are right for your unique goals, budget, and risk tolerance.
Though there are very few reviews of Schiff Gold itself available, Peter Schiff does have a glowing industry reputation. People say that he is honest, gives solid advice, and offers fair prices. That said, it's hard to verify those things, since the website doesn't publish pricing into and there are almost no online reviews.
Peter Schiff isn't the only one who works at Schiff Gold. There are also the executive directors Jonathan Sosnay and Matt Malleo. The website is maintained by the company's technology expert, Fabian Gambino. All four involved parties are informed enough to provide precious metals expertise to potential customers.
There are two dedicated specialists in the precious metals industry named Joel Bauman and River Allen. Their jobs are just to work with customers to help find the correct precious metals. They also help answer questions from investors who don't know where to begin.
The company has a staff accountant named Valeria Alikakos. She is responsible for all of the financial paperwork, taxes, and compliance.
It is a little odd that a company of this size doesn't have online reviews. When a firm becomes big enough to employ six other people, it is usually a major deal. The lack of reviews would be less strange if Peter Schiff was running a precious metals dealership and consulting business all by himself.
Purchasing Precious Metals
Schiff Gold sells a variety of different precious metals in the form of coins and bars. But the company also operates by some strict principles. Rather than offering collectibles and numismatic rarities, they focus exclusively on high yield bullion.
Peter Schiff does not believe that collectible coins are a worthwhile investment. In most cases, you end up buying the coins for much more than their melt value on the off chance that they may be worth more someday. But collectibles are only valuable as long as there's demand. If people aren't willing to pay more than the melt value, you'll lose your money.
Peter Schiff believes that people should avoid any kind of precious metals investment that is based on speculation. That kind of financial risk is what led to the stock market crash of 2008. He believes that if you don't base your investments on the actual value of the product, you are forsaking the protective aspects of precious metals.
Since Schiff Gold focuses exclusively on helping people with their investment portfolios, they have opted not to offer any numismatic collectibles whatsoever. So if you're looking for collectible coins, you'll need to go elsewhere.
The prices of the metals are not listed directly on the website. According to the website, pricing changes as the market value of the metals changes. There is no information about exactly how they calculate their prices, so you should do your research before you ever make a purchase.
Part of Schiff Gold's appeal is the ease of use. Even first time investors can feel comfortable as they invest in precious metals. Since there are so many experts on staff, you can be guided through the entire process and be satisfied that you've made the right choice for your unique situation.
The buying process involves four basic steps.
Once you've decided that you want to make a purchase, your first step is to get in contact. With many precious metals companies, you have to make a phone call during business hours. While that is an option with Schiff Gold, another option is to use the website's live chat feature. You can get in contact with a specialist right away.
One of the appealing aspects of Schiff Gold's setup is that the specialist can answer questions and make suggestions, even if you don't know anything about precious metals. You don't need to know exactly what you want to purchase before you get started. You don't even need to be certain that you want to make a purchase.
That said, we do recommend that you do some cursory research on market prices prior to calling any precious metals company. This will help you determine whether the company representative is being truthful with you about the value of the precious metals.
You and the specialist will have a conversation about the current state of the precious metals market, the long term benefits of investing, the potential risks, and why Schiff Gold exists in the first place. Then you'll talk about aspects of your personal finances like your current investments, short and long term goals for your precious metals growth, and overall budget.
Once the specialist has all of this information, they will make recommendations for the precious metals that you should buy. These items might be bars or coins. All of the items stocked by Schiff Gold have a high resale value and strong potential for growth.
When you've settled on the items you want, you will place the order. Your specialist will confirm all of the items and their quantities with you prior to sending the confirmation email. Then you'll receive the email, which will have a detailed list of the items, information about shipping and insurance, the full cost of the order, and payment instructions.
Then you can move onto the payment step. You have the option to pay through a bank wire transfer or a check. Checks must be mailed to the company, and they can take several days or even weeks to clear. Bank wire transfers are much faster and lower risk, so they're often preferred by customers. With a bank wire transfer, the payment should process within 24 hours.
The final step is for the items to be shipped. You don't need to do anything at this point but sit back and relax. Your package will be fully insured for the value of the items, so if it gets lost or stolen, you can be compensated. You'll also need to be home to receive the package since insured packages must be signed for.
According to the website, processing an order after payment might take up to two days. The shipping time will vary depending on where you're located. Usually the items will arrive anywhere between 2 and 5 business days after the shipment goes out. You should receive a tracking number with the information.
One slightly unusual option is to pay for your precious metals with cryptocurrency instead of a check or bank wire. Cryptocurrency has been an accepted payment at Schiff Gold since 2014. The company was among the first to accept various forms of crypto as payment.
For those who want to make a crypto payment, you'll need to pay immediately. With bank transfers and mailed checks, there is a little bit of leniency. But cryptocurrency values change so quickly that you will need to lock in your price and pay within 15 minutes. If you miss your 15 minute window, you will need to get a fresh price quote.
Make sure that whatever cryptocurrency wallet you use is compatible with BitPay. Your order confirmation will be emailed to you as soon as the cryptocurrency transfers.
Schiff Gold does appear to offer some IRA services, although the website doesn't have a lot of information about it. They will connect you to a custodian who will help you set up a precious metals IRA. Then you can purchase precious metals with your rolled over funds.
In addition, Schiff Gold can help connect you with storage facilities that comply with IRS regulations. Precious metals IRAs must be stored in a licensed facility and maintained by a custodian.
Even if you don't purchase precious metals for an IRA, Schiff Gold does offer some storage services. You can open a vault with one of the company's partners and keep your precious metals in one of the safest places on the planet.
One advantage of the storage services is that there is a flat annual fee of 150 dollars. While this is slightly higher than with some of the competition, it's not a sliding scale setup. That means that you're never penalized for accumulating more wealth in your vault.
Is Schiff Gold a Scam?
Schiff Gold is not a scam. The company is legitimate and run by a legitimate owner. It has a relatively high level of transparency regarding the ownership and management, and you can contact people if you need to. The website also does a good job of outlining the different available services.
However, the lack of reviews could pose a problem. It's hard to find any third party feedback from past customers. While there are testimonials on the company website, these are more difficult to verify as true. Usually it's a good idea to look at websites like the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot to find out what people are saying.
In the case of Schiff Gold, it seems like what people are saying is... nothing. The company has also never been accredited with the BBB, although it does have an A+ rating.
A lack of reviews isn't always a sign that something fishy is going on. Sometimes precious metals dealers just have clients who don't spend much time online. That's especially true for retailers whose clientele tends to be older.
But it is a little strange in this case, since the business has been around for twelve years. Though it didn't originally operate as Schiff Gold, it is a longstanding competitor.
Peter Schiff's name does give the company some credibility. He is a respected financial analyst and investor, and he's well known for not being afraid to speak his mind. Sometimes that might work against him, though. For example, he has an entire page on his website that's just ranting about how the BBB is corrupt and shouldn't ever be trusted.
One other potential drawback is the lack of published pricing on the website. Schiff Gold isn't the only company that makes customers call for a quote, but this is a practice we should leave in the past. There are plenty of online companies that use algorithms to update their online prices in real time, based on the spot price of an item at any given moment.
If you do decide to purchase precious metals through Schiff Gold, make sure you look up the spot price of your items before you call. That way, you'll know whether or not you're getting a fair quote.
Pros & Cons of Schiff Gold
Schiff Gold is a legitimate business that's run by a highly respected investment analyst. Peter Schiff uses his name and reputation to operate his business. If you're interested in Peter's big personality and even bigger opinions, then you might enjoy working with this company.
But there are a few potential red flags that give us pause. One issue is a lack of consumer reviews. We can't determine how good the customer service is or how thorough the company policies are without some consumer feedback. Another issue is a lack of transparent pricing on the website. If you want to find out how much any item will cost, you have to call for a quote during business hours.
All in all, there's nothing glaring pointing away from this company. The owner is extremely opinionated, but that's part of his brand. It's up to you on whether you're happy about that or want to avoid it.
But we can't wholeheartedly recommend Schiff Gold when there are so many more reputable companies out there. It's much better to work with a precious metals dealer that has a lot of solid customer feedback. That way, you know exactly what you'll be getting, and you can make sure that customer satisfaction is truly the company's top priority.
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