Lear Capital Review [2023]: Is It the Right Place to Buy Gold and Silver?

Lear Capital helps people buy precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum and can help you invest your retirement funds in a precious metals IRA.
Last updated March 23, 2023 | By Kate Daugherty | Edited By Yahia Barakah

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Lear Capital is a company that sells precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum. You can buy coins and bullion or invest via a self-directed individual retirement account (SDIRA).

Although Lear Capital is a legitimate company, it has faced legal scrutiny in the last few years, which may be a red flag for some investors. But Lear Capital generally receives positive reviews from its customers. 

In this Lear Capital review, we explore what this company can offer, the fees it charges, and alternative options you may benefit from.

Quick Summary

Invest in a precious metals IRA to diversify your portfolio

  • Begin with a minimum investment of $7,500
  • Store your gold, silver, or platinum at an IRS-approved facility
  • Get online access to your account
In this Lear Capital review

Key takeaways

  • Lear Capital can help you open a self-directed IRA to invest in precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum, but fees may be higher than other retirement account options.
  • Lear Capital also sells gold, silver, and platinum coins based on market pricing.
  • Lear Capital offers a flat fee structure and a secure holding facility for any precious metals you purchase through it.
  • The company has a 4.9 out of 5-star rating from customers who left reviews on Trustpilot.

Lear Capital: Is it worth it?

Lear Capital
Pros Cons
  • Allows online order placement
  • May waive its flat fee for up to the first three years, depending on the investment size
  • Securely stores your precious metals in an IRS-approved storage facility
  • Previously sued by the city of Los Angeles and the state of New York  
  • Declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2022 to protect against future lawsuits
  • Charges fees on SDIRAs that are typically higher than traditional retirement options
Our verdict: Lear Capital offers gold and other precious metals you buy or invest in via a self-directed individual retirement account (SDIRA). Although precious metals might be a way to diversify your portfolio, SDIRAs have complex tax rules and legal requirements. 

What is Lear Capital?

Lear Capital is a company that buys and sells precious metals, such as gold, silver, and platinum.

Kevin Demeritt founded Lear Capital in 1997. The company’s headquarters are in Los Angeles.

Lear Capital offers customers two precious metals options:

  • Buying gold, silver, and platinum coins or bars online or over the phone
  • Investing in precious metals through self-directed individual retirement accounts (SDIRAs)

Lear Capital has completed $3 billion in trusted transactions since its founding. The company has a 4.9 out of 5-star rating on Trustpilot and a 3.16 out of 5-star rating from customer reviews with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Lawsuits and bankruptcy

The City of Los Angeles and the State of New York sued Lear Capital in 2019 and 2021 respectively for allegedly pressuring elderly customers and providing them with deceptive information.

The company subsequently declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2022 after being ordered to pay settlements in the two lawsuits. The terms of their bankruptcy filing allow the business to continue operating under court supervision.

How does Lear Capital work?

Although Lear Capital is primarily a seller and purchaser of precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum, it will also help you set up a self-directed individual retirement account (SDIRA) to invest in precious metals.

In addition to investments, the Lear Capital site offers tools to help you learn more about buying and investing in precious metals. Its site features options to review market charts, track the current price of gold, set up pricing notifications, and explore a coin encyclopedia to research rare coins.

Investing in alternative assets can help you diversify your portfolio and potentially handle stock market volatility and inflation better.

Keep in mind
Although precious metals are not tied to the U.S. dollar, they have their own market fluctuation and may also be a volatile asset class.

Lear Capital offers two methods to help diversify your investments using precious metals:

  • Buying precious metal coins and bars
  • Investing in precious metals via an SDIRA

Buying gold, silver, or platinum coins and bars

If you want to purchase precious metals or are interested in rare coins, Lear Capital can help you because it offers gold, silver, and platinum coins or bars.

Lear Capital’s website focuses primarily on gold and silver coins, though a few platinum options are available. Pricing for some coins is available online, whereas others require you to call Lear Capital directly.

As with all investments, pricing will fluctuate based on real-time market prices. The final amount is set as soon as the order is confirmed, and once you add a coin to your cart, you must complete your checkout within 10 minutes to maintain the exact price you received.

Keep in mind
Depending on what you buy, your transaction may be taxable and reported to the IRS on a 1099-B form.

Investing in a Lear Capital precious metals IRA

Traditional brokerage firms enable investing money in standard options such as stocks and index funds. You can invest in a retirement fund such as a Roth or traditional IRA.

Lear Capital offers somewhat-similar retirement accounts known as self-directed IRAs (SDIRAs). These accounts allow you to invest in precious metals, real estate, commodities, or other items if it's within the IRS guidelines.

If you decide to invest in precious metals through Lear Capital, the company will assist you with setting up a new SDIRA and rolling over funds from a traditional retirement account.

Lear Capital has a $7,500 minimum investment requirement.

Your SDIRA legally requires a custodian, which is a person or an organization that manages the account on your behalf. Lear Capital uses Self Directed IRA Services, Inc., which will provide quarterly statements and online account access so you can track your investment.

Keep in mind
Custodians are not allowed to advise on assets held in an SDIRA, so you must do your homework before investing.

Precious metals IRA rules and limitations

You can contribute to an SDIRA the same way you contribute to a Roth or traditional IRA, and the same rules and contribution limits apply. For 2023, you can invest up to $6,500 in your IRAs combined or $7,500 if you are 50 or older.

Just as with a traditional or Roth IRA, if you withdraw from a precious metals or gold IRA before reaching age 59 1/2, you typically face a 10% penalty. Additionally, you need to pay taxes when you sell your holdings regardless of age, and you’re required to take minimum distributions when you reach age 72, per IRS guidelines.

You must contact Lear Capital when you need to sell your precious metals for cash. The company will either ship the physical gold or precious metals directly to your address for you to sell or liquidate the metals into dollars and send you a check or wire transfer.

Due to the complexity of how precious metal IRAs work, it’s best to consult a financial advisor to better understand how it could fit into your retirement plans.

Precious metals IRA fees

When you set up an SDIRA account through Lear Capital, the company charges you a flat annual fee.

The first year costs $280 and includes storage fees and an insurance policy to protect your precious metals. You also get online account access and quarterly financial statements. Each year after costs $200, and your account fee may be tax deductible, which helps to offset some of the cost.

Depending on how much you invest with Lear Capital, they may cover some of your yearly fees.

If you invest:

  • More than $10,000: a $50 setup fee is covered.
  • From $25,000 to $50,000: Your first-year fee is free, but you need to pay it upfront and then receive a reimbursement check.
  • From $50,000 to $75,000: Your first- and second-year fees are covered by Lear Capital.
  • More than $75,000: Your fees for the first three years are covered.

Precious metals IRA’s storage and Security

Lear Capital securely holds the precious metals you buy via your SDIRA in an IRS-approved private storage facility in the Delaware Depository vault. The vault is insured and underwritten through Lloyd’s of London, one of the world’s oldest insurance providers.

On their website, Lear Capital uses a secure socket layer (SSL) encryption to protect your data when using an SSL-compliant browser.

These measures should provide a good level of security for your assets but don’t fully mitigate the risk of password theft or hacks.

How much can you earn with Lear Capital?

As with all investments, buying precious metals through Lear Capital means tying your account balance to the metal's current price, not the price you purchased it for. As the price of gold, silver, or platinum rises or falls, so will your account balance.

Investing in precious metals can be a way to hedge against inflation, as they’re in limited supply and aren’t tied to the U.S. Dollar.

However, there is no guarantee precious metals will increase in price, and their values can fluctuate dramatically, just as with the stock market.

Buying physical metals such as gold often includes certain markups due to manufacturing and distribution costs, plus shipping and storage costs. This is unlike investing in gold stocks, which typically include shares of publicly traded royalty and mining companies and may be compiled into gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that typically don’t carry these markups.

According to Lear Capital’s purchasing agreement, precious metals should be considered long-term investments and held for at least five to 10 years. The company also states there is no guarantee you will be able to sell your investment for more than you bought it for.

Prepare for Market Volatility by Diversifying with Gold Learn More

How to get started with Lear Capital

To get started with Lear Capital, you must be at least 18 years old. If you want to open a precious metals IRA, you also need at least $7,500, the minimum investment requirement.

If you want to purchase silver, platinum, or gold coins:

  1. Visit the Lear Capital website and browse its available options.

  1. Add your selected coins or bars to your cart and complete the checkout process within 10 minutes.

To set up a Lear Capital self-directed IRA:

  1. Visit the Lear Capital website and select Open or Rollover an IRA Account.

  • Fill out the form with your name, email address, phone number, and mailing address. An account representative will contact you and assist you with filling out an application.

  • Submit your application via fax, email, or U.S. postal service. Lear Capital says most accounts are set up within 24 hours of receiving the application.
  • If you’re rolling over funds from a traditional retirement account, Lear Capital will reach out to your current account custodian to begin the transfer, which may take up to five business days.
  • Once the funds are deposited in your account, you can choose your investment options.
  • Alternatives to Lear Capital

    Lear Capital may not be for you if you aren’t interested in numismatic coins or don’t feel comfortable buying and selling precious metals investments.

    If you’re interested in portfolio diversification with precious metals, other precious metals and gold IRA companies can help you open an SDIRA. Alternatively, you can invest in gold stocks and ETFs.

    Lear Capital Gold Alliance Stash
    • Gold
    • Silver
    • Platinum
    • Gold
    • Silver
    • Platinum
    • Palladium
    • Stocks
    • ETFs (including gold ETFs)
    • Bonds
    • Cryptocurrencies
    Account fees
    • $280 for the first year
    • $200 for every year after
    • Fees may be waived based on the amount you invest
    Varies based on the IRA custodian
    • $3 or $9 per month, depending on the plan you choose
    Minimum investment $7,500 Varies based on the IRA custodian $0 to $1

    Gold Alliance

    Gold Alliance is a precious metals company that offers similar services to Lear Capital, including buying and selling gold, silver, and platinum and assisting you with opening an SDIRA. If you invest with Gold Alliance, you can choose from three custodians to manage your SDIRA, although you have to call Gold Alliance directly for fees and pricing.

    Find out more in our Gold Alliance review.


    Stash is an investment app that gives users access to standard stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrency. Unlike Lear Capital, it doesn’t offer SDIRAs but can help you invest in commodity ETFs, such as gold ETFs. The monthly fees are a fraction of Lear Capital’s, and the minimum amount required to open an account is $0 to $1.

    Learn more in our Stash review

    FAQs about Lear Capital

    Is Lear Capital a reputable company?

    Lear Capital is a legitimate company. Customers' experience with Lear can be mixed as the company has a high rating on Trustpilot but also faced legal issues between 2019 and 2022. Regardless of whether you choose Lear Capital or another firm, be sure to understand the implications of buying gold or investing in precious metals through a self-directed IRA (SDIRA). You should also work with a financial advisor to ensure you know about any tax or legal implications.

    How does Lear Capital make money?

    Lear Capital makes money by selling precious metals. They may also make money by facilitating SDIRAs and acting as intermediaries for people buying and storing platinum, silver, or gold bullion and coins.

    Is Lear Capital going out of business?

    No, Lear Capital is not going out of business. Lear Capital is allowed to continue operating while restructuring its debt.

    Lear Capital review: Bottom line

    Lear Capital can help you buy gold, silver, and platinum coins and create a self-directed IRA to invest in precious metals. Although the company is legitimate it has faced legal hurdles in the last few years that some people might find concerning. 

    If you want to invest in gold or other alternative assets, consider working with a financial advisor to develop a strategy that best fits your situation. Learn the essential questions to ask a financial advisor before working with them.

    Lear Capital Benefits

    • Get your free precious metals investor kit
    • Discover why gold could be a hedge against inflation
    • See where experts think gold and silver could be heading
    • Learn how to diversify your portfolio with precious metals

    Author Details

    Kate Daugherty Kate Daugherty is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. She specializes in personal finance, grant writing, and senior health.