A gold IRA or precious metals IRA is an Individual Retirement Account in which genuine gold or other certified precious metals are stored for the account owner’s benefit.
It performs identically to a traditional IRA, except that it keeps real bullion coins or bars instead of paper assets. Typically, precious metals IRAs are self-directed IRAs, a form of IRA in which the custodian permits a broader range of investments.
Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium are the four precious metals that may be stored in an individual retirement plan, assuming that they are in the format of IRS-approved coins or bars. Considering that gold is the most frequently purchased of the four precious metals, the term “gold IRA” is often used to refer to a retirement account holding any mix of precious metals. Other common phrases include “precious metals IRA,” “silver IRA,” “platinum IRA,” and “palladium IRA.”
The term gold IRA refers to a specialized individual retirement account (IRA) that allows investors to hold gold as a qualified retirement investment. Investors with gold IRAs can hold physical metals such as bullion or coins, as well as precious metals-related securities within the portfolio.
gold is one of the few commodities that the IRS allows IRAs to invest in.
A gold IRA must be held separately from a traditional retirement account, although rules involving things like contribution limits and distributions remain the same. Investors can open gold IRAs through a broker-dealer or other custodian.
For some investors, gold is an appealing asset for retirement investing. Gold offers an additional source of diversification, and it’s seen (perhaps incorrectly) as a hedge against and volatility.
While you can get some exposure to gold in a normal retirement account through stocks or funds, you cannot invest in the physical asset. To do that, you need a gold individual retirement account—commonly referred to as a gold IRA—although it comes with its own extra rules to follow and fees to pay.
A gold IRA is a type of self-directed individual retirement account (IRA) that lets you own gold bullion. You cannot own physical gold in a regular IRA, although you can invest in a variety of assets with exposure to gold, like the stocks of gold mining companies or gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Opening a self-directed IRA lets you invest in alternative assets like real estate, physical precious metals and cryptocurrencies. Gold IRAs follow the same general rules as conventional IRAs when it comes to tax benefits (traditional or Roth), contribution limits and withdrawal rules. However, the IRS has implemented additional tax reporting and record keeping requirements for self-directed gold IRAs due to the more complicated assets they hold.
Investors often use precious metals as a long-term hedge against inflation, to diversify their portfolio.
- A gold IRA is a retirement account that allows its investors to hold gold coins or bullions or other precious metals as investments.
- You can set up a gold IRA with pretax or after-tax dollars through a special custodian or broker.
- The IRS permits self-directed IRA holders to purchase gold, silver, platinum, or palladium bars, coins, or other approved physical forms.
- These accounts generally carry higher fees than ordinary IRAs since they require purchasing and storing the actual metal.
- Annual contributions are capped by the IRS.
Understanding Gold IRAs
If you want to hold physical gold in an IRA, it can’t be your regular account. It has to be a separate, special one, called a Gold IRA.
Also known as a precious metal IRA, a Gold IRA works pretty much like a standard individual retirement account: the same contribution limits and distribution rules. However, instead of holding paper assets like stocks and bonds, the Gold IRA is earmarked for holding physical bullion — that is, coins or bars of gold and other approved precious metals, including silver, platinum, and palladium.
Gold IRAs can also contain gold stocks (shares of gold mining/production companies), gold mutual funds that invest in bullion or stocks (or both), and gold ETFs that track gold indexes.
Individual retirement accounts are tax-advantaged accounts that help individuals save for retirement. They come in various forms, including traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, and gold IRAs. As mentioned above, a gold IRA allows investors to stash their money in gold or other precious metals. These accounts must be held separately from normal IRAs.
Gold IRAs are also referred to as precious metals IRAs. They can either be set up with pretax funds or as a Roth IRA, which is bought with post-tax money. Unlike other IRAs, these accounts require purchasing and storing physical gold. As a result, gold IRAs require the use of a custodian—typically a bank or brokerage firm that manages the account.
Traditional IRAs allow investors to hold just stocks, mutual funds, or other traditional investments. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows holders of self-directed IRA accounts to purchase bars and coins minted from gold or other approved precious metals, such as silver, platinum, or palladium.1
Gold IRA funds can also be invested in gold-related paper investments, such as:
- Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
- Stock in gold mining companies
- Precious metals mutual funds
- Precious metals commodity futures
But keep in mind that these accounts come with higher fees because they require you to purchase and store precious metals.
The term gold IRA is primarily used to describe a self-directed IRA with funds invested in hard metals.
You’ve probably heard of 401(k) and traditional IRA accounts. These retirement accounts allow you to invest in index funds, stocks, and other paper investments to fund your retirement account. However, most traditional retirement investment accounts do not allow you to invest in gold.
That’s where gold individual retirement accounts (IRAs) come in.
Gold IRAs are specialized individual retirement accounts that hold precious metals, such as gold, silver, platinum, or palladium. Like traditional IRAs, these accounts typically allow for pre-tax contributions and have similar income and contribution limits.
The IRS has strict rules regarding the type of physical gold you can own in a gold IRA. You can only purchase gold bars that are at least 99.5% in purity. You can also buy a number of gold coins, including the American Gold Eagle, the American Buffalo, the Canadian Maple Leaf and the Australian Gold Nugget/Kangaroo coins, for your gold IRA.
However, unlike traditional IRAs and 401(k)s, which hold paper assets, gold IRAs contain physical precious metals. When you purchase precious metals through a gold IRA, you must store them outside your home, with a custodian, and in a secure depository.
A reputable gold IRA company, such as one from our list, can help you facilitate your gold purchase and walk you through the steps of opening your new gold IRA account. These companies know the ins and outs of IRS rules for retirement accounts, giving you the guidance you need to maintain a profitable portfolio. Many gold IRA companies also partner with custodians.
Investing in gold IRA accounts can provide numerous benefits for your retirement goals. Gold often provides more stable growth than paper assets, allowing you to diversify your portfolio while minimizing volatility.
Additionally, gold IRAs come with unique tax benefits. Your contributions and gains are not taxable, and in many cases, your contributions may also be tax-deductible.
All in all, investing in a gold IRA is a wise option to consider if you’re looking to stabilize and diversify your portfolio. You can also consider a gold IRA rollover, in which you transfer funds from your existing IRA to a gold IRA. We’ll discuss this concept more below.
Benefits Of Gold IRA
It is normal that retirement investors want to cover themselves against the depreciation of the dollar and most currencies through inflation, and geopolitical issues in which the US is increasingly involving
Therefore, experts recommend that you allocate a portion of your portfolio to precious metals which do not depend on cryptocurrencies, or traditional currencies.
Remember that precious metals have an advantage that currencies do not have. They are valuable because the industry requires them for their manufacturing processes, and procurement of precious metals is a big issue for them.
So if you have already some bucks in s 401(k) plan, in a standard IRA, or any other kind of retirement account, you can “transfer” these assets to precious metals.
This “transfer” is actually a conversion from a retirement account to another one. It is called “rollover”.
“Rollover” is the name we will use, so it is called “gold IRA rollover”
In this article, we study all the benefits of a gold IRA. In that piece, we discuss all the precious metals IRA, a standard IRA versus a gold IRA. Furthermore, we analyze the cons as well. There are not many cons, but it will be good if we just examine them one by one.
There are also tax advantages, a bit more than with standard IRAs. Taxes require more complex analysis, so you can read here the gold IRA tax rules that apply.
Setting Up a Gold IRA
The first step is to open an account with a Gold IRA custodian, usually a self-directed IRA (SDIRA) that you manage directly through this custodian.
You also need to select a precious metals dealer that will make the actual gold purchases for your IRA (your custodian may be able to recommend one).
Keep in mind that not every self-directed IRA custodian offers the same investment choices, so make sure physical gold is one of their offerings before you open an account. You can set up the SDIRA as either a traditional IRA (tax-deductible contributions) or a Roth IRA (tax-free distributions).
The next step is to fund the account with a contribution (subject to contribution limits, of course), a transfer, or a rollover from a qualified plan, such as 401(k), 403(b), or 457 plan.
After that, you can select investments for the account, and your custodian and metals dealer will complete the transactions on your behalf.
You can’t just buy any bar or ingot, either. Physical metals must meet IRS “fineness” standards as their purity and weight, and be stored in an insured IRS-approved depository. When it comes to coins, you are limited to bullion coins issued by certain government mints.
You can’t set up a gold IRA with traditional custodians like conventional brokers. These companies don’t offer specialty accounts like gold IRAs. If you’re interested in setting up this kind of account, you’ll have to look for a specialty custodian or firm that is able to handle all the documentation and reporting for tax purposes necessary to maintain a gold IRA.
Although the assets may be different from traditional IRAs, the rules are the same. This means you can’t go over your annual contribution limits and you must follow the regulations involving distributions when it comes time to make withdrawals:
- The IRS set contribution limits at $6,000 for 2022, increasing to $6,500 for 2023. You can contribute an additional $1,000 if you are 50 or older for a total of $7,000 in 2022 and $7,500 in 2023.2
- You can start taking distributions without incurring any penalties from your IRA after you turn 59½. Withdrawals made before that age are subject to an extra tax of 10%.
Storage is a consideration for those who hold gold IRAs. You have to keep your physical gold at an IRS-approved facility, such as a bank or other depository. You can also hold it with an approved third party. This means you can’t store your assets at home. If you do, it counts as a withdrawal and you’ll have to pay taxes.
Internal Revenue Code requirements state that the approved precious metals must be stored in a specific manner. Some trustees have their own facilities to hold the physical precious metals, while others use a third party metals depository as a storage facility.
Gold is generally considered a hedge against inflation and allows investors to diversify their portfolios.
The laws for taking distributions from a gold IRA are the same as those for a regular IRA. The account holder may liquidate their IRA metals for cash or take physical possession of them. Both actions are akin to taking an IRA distribution and will be taxed accordingly.
Gold IRA Custodians
Gold IRA custodians are financial institutions approved by the IRS and is in practice a niche custodian for precious metals IRAs. However it can also be a bank or a trust and these sometimes do not work with the self-directed version.
To comply with IRS requirements, all IRAs, including precious metals IRAs, must leave their assets in possession of a trustee or custodian, not the owner’s individual possession. IRS Publication 590 specifies that for all IRAs, “The trustee or custodian must be a bank, a federally insured credit union, a savings and loan association, or an entity approved by the IRS to act as trustee or custodian.” All nonbank IRA trustees must demonstrate to the IRS that they will meet Treasury standards of accounting, auditing, reporting, and asset security.
Several companies promote gold IRA arrangements based on the checkbook control strategy, where the IRA does not own the metals directly, but owns a limited liability company (LLC) through which the taxpayer purchases and stores the metals. Neither the IRS nor federal courts have taken a position on the legality of these arrangements, and the IRS has warned that they carry a risk of disqualifying the IRA.
Large, conventional brokerage firms don’t offer gold IRAs. Instead, you need to work with a custodian that specializes in administrating gold IRAs. Custodians help you manage the paperwork and tax reporting for your gold transactions to meet the IRS requirements for retirement planning.
More importantly, they manage the unique storage needs involved with holding physical gold bullion. The IRS does not allow you to personally store precious metals owned via a gold IRA at home. If you take personal control of the physical gold from a self-directed IRA, the IRS counts it as a withdrawal—making you potentially subject to taxation and early withdrawal penalties—and in some cases the IRS is empowered to shut down your entire account.
In a gold IRA, you can hold actual physical gold. It must meet IRS standards and be held by the IRA trustee, not the IRA owner. It must also be kept in an IRS approved depository.
Gold IRA rules mandate that you store eligible precious metal with a national depository, a bank or a third-party trustee approved by the IRS. Your custodian can refer you to an approved facility and handle the gold transfer as part of setting up your gold IRA.
When you purchase precious metal IRAs, you’ll be in charge of storing the precious metals. However, the IRS does not allow gold IRA holders to keep their precious metals in their homes. Instead, your best option is to store your assets with a gold IRA custodian.
Custodians are typically credit unions, banks, brokerage firms, or other financial institutions that have gained federal approval to provide asset custody services. Sometimes, gold IRA companies recommend specific custodians, but their clients can store their precious metals with any reliable custodian.
Choosing the right custodian for your gold IRA storage may feel challenging. We recommend taking time to examine several custodians, paying special attention to their qualifications. Custodians need to have licenses, insurance, and registrations to provide reliable services and protect their assets.
You can also look at a custodian’s reputation to determine its reliability. Reading reviews on the BBB website can help you understand other customers’ experiences with custodians, giving you an idea of what your own experience could be.
As with traditional IRA options, you’ll also need to work with a broker to invest in a gold IRA. Thankfully, the companies on our list act as brokers by facilitating all the steps involved in purchasing precious metal IRAs.
Gold IRAs Charge Extra Costs
A gold IRA charges a range of additional custodian fees that you wouldn’t owe on a normal IRA:
- Account setup fees. The custodian may charge an upfront fee to launch your account, generally ranging from $50 to a few hundred dollars. However, some custodians do not charge a setup fee, especially if you make a larger deposit, like $30,000 or more.
- Custodian annual maintenance fee. The custodian generally charges an annual maintenance fee to cover the administrative expenses of overseeing your account and handling the paperwork. This could be a flat fee of $75 to $300 per year. Some companies also charge more for larger accounts, like $175 if you have less than $100,000 and $225 for over $100,000.
- Seller fees. When you buy physical gold for your IRA, the seller could charge a markup, meaning you’d be paying more than the spot market price of the gold. This fee depends on market conditions and the type of physical gold you’re aiming to buy. Sellers may also charge commissions and fees for handling the transaction: $40 per transaction is standard.
- Storage fees. Gold owned in a gold IRA must be stored in a secure location. The more gold you own, the higher the storage fee. This may be a flat rate or a percentage of the value of your account.
- Insurance fees. Custodians may lump gold insurance charges together with the storage fee, charging one flat rate, or break it out separately. Depending on how much gold you hold, you should expect storage and insurance to cost between $100 to $300 a year.
- Wire transfer fees. If you send or receive money by wire transfer for your transactions, the custodian could charge a fee to cover the cost of about $25 per wire.
- Cash-out fees. If you close your account, the custodian may also charge a final cash-out fee of around $250.
When you’re a new customer, the custodian may be willing to waive some of these fees for the first two to three years, especially if you have a larger account balance. But even with larger accounts, you could face extra charges that you would incur if you held your money in a standard IRA.
Types of gold you can hold in a precious metals IRA
The IRS has specific regulations about the types of precious metals consumers can hold in precious metal IRAs. Specifically, the gold, platinum, and palladium in these accounts must be at least 99.5% pure, while the silver in IRAs must be 99.9% pure.
Additionally, when you buy the gold for your IRA, you must purchase it in one, one-half, one-quarter, or one-tenth-ounce gold coins.
The IRS has strict rules regarding the type of physical gold you can own in a gold IRA. You can only purchase gold bars that are at least 99.5% in purity. You can also buy a number of gold coins, including the American Gold Eagle, the American Buffalo, the Canadian Maple Leaf and the Australian Gold Nugget/Kangaroo coins, for your gold IRA.
Working with a reputable gold IRA company can ensure that the precious metals you purchase adhere to IRS standards. However, it never hurts to check the gold you have in mind against IRS regulations before purchasing it for your IRA.
Certain Collectable Coins and Collectibles Are Not Allowed in a Gold IRA
The IRS does not allow popular gold coins like the South African Krugerrand or the United Kingdom Sovereign coins to be held in a gold IRA. In addition, you cannot invest in gold collectibles with an IRA. Make sure to review the permitted list gold objects with your custodian before moving gold into your IRA.
If you accidentally make an improper transaction, the IRS will disallow it and count it as a withdrawal, so you would owe income tax on the value of the item and, if you are younger than 59 ½, an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty.
Reasons to invest in gold for retirement
You may be wondering if it’s actually beneficial to invest in gold for your retirement funds rather than maintaining a traditional IRA or 401(k). Is it worth the time and effort involved in transferring funds to a gold IRA?
However, investing in gold can be a wise decision for several reasons. Here are some of the most compelling reasons you should consider investing in gold for retirement.
Gold maintains its value.
Gold is a relatively stable investment because it tends to maintain its value well over time. Consumers consider gold one of the most valuable substances, and this stance has not changed much over the past several hundred years. Gold also withstands the test of time well, as it doesn’t corrode and maintains its beautiful color long-term.
Gold is an excellent hedge against inflation.
You probably know about the concept of inflation, in which the value of the dollar continually declines over time. For example, it costs a lot more to buy a 1,000-square-foot house today than it did 50 years ago. As a result, all the paper investments you hold need to increase in value by a higher rate than the inflation rate to remain profitable.
However, gold acts as a hedge against inflation. Gold prices fluctuate regularly due to supply and demand, the amount of gold in bank reserves, and investor behaviors. As a result, when the dollar’s value falls, the cost of gold often increases.
Gold provides deflation protection.
Along with hedging against inflation, gold can also protect your assets against deflation. When prices decrease drastically due to diminished demand—such as during the Great Depression—people often look for a safe place to hoard their cash.
Gold is a relatively stable place to keep one’s money, leading the purchasing power of gold to rise during the Great Depression and other significant periods of deflation.
Gold can diversify your investment portfolio.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “You shouldn’t keep all your eggs in one basket?” This saying applies significantly to the stock market. Investing in only one type of product can leave you vulnerable to unsystematic risks that can cause your investment values to drop drastically.
However, diversifying your portfolio can help you manage risk and reduce the volatility of your asset prices. One easy way to diversify your investments is to invest in a gold IRA along with your traditional retirement assets.
IRA Accepted Precious Metals
The IRS approves select precious metals and forms of bullion for IRAs. Although investment in “Collectibles” using IRAs and Qualified Plans is not allowed, there is a carve-out allowing for investment in certain coins, as well as bullion meeting certain fineness requirements. Gold bars are more difficult to sell due to their higher price and easier ability to be counterfeited, as well as being more difficult to deliver due to their heaviness and the amount of security required during transport. There are currently a variety of precious metals that meet the minimum purity requirements that are acceptable for inclusion into a gold IRA account. Some gold IRA companies argue inclusion of certain coins in a precious metals IRA; however, several of those companies have been investigated by the government for misleading customers and aggressively selling numismatic coins over gold bullion. Numismatic coins pay the gold company higher commissions, but bullion bars more directly reflect the spot price of the precious metal.
- American Gold Eagle bullion coins
- American Gold Eagle proof coins
- British Gold Britannia coins (from 2013)
- British The Queen’s Beasts (coin)
- British gold Shēngxiào Lunar Series (British coin)
- Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins
- Austrian Gold Philharmonic coins
- Australian Kangaroo/Nugget coins
- Chinese Gold Panda coins
- American Gold Buffalo uncirculated coins (proofs not allowed)
- Gold bars and rounds produced by a NYMEX or COMEX-approved refinery or national government mint, meeting minimum fineness requirements.
- American Silver Eagle bullion coins
- American Silver Eagle proof coins
- British Silver Britannia coins (from 2013)
- British The Queen’s Beasts (coin)
- British silver Shēngxiào Lunar Series (British coin)
- Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins
- Austrian Silver Philharmonic coins
- Australian Silver Kookaburra coins
- Chinese Silver Panda coins
- Mexican Libertad coins
- Silver bars and rounds produced by a NYMEX or COMEX-approved refinery or national government mint, meeting minimum fineness requirements
- American Platinum Eagle coins
- American Platinum Eagle proof coins
- British The Queen’s Beasts (coin)
- British Britannia (coin) (from 2018)
- Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf coins
- Isle of Man Noble coins
- Australian Platinum Koala coins
- Platinum bars and rounds produced by a NYMEX or COMEX-approved refinery or national government mint, meeting minimum fineness requirements
- American Palladium Eagle bullion coins
- Canadian Palladium Maple Leaf coins
- Palladium bars and rounds produced by a NYMEX or COMEX-approved refinery or national government mint, meeting minimum fineness requirements
Understanding a gold IRA rollover
Retirement investors must take every precaution in the current market to safeguard their wealth from economic uncertainty, stock market turbulence, inflation, currency depreciation, and geopolitical unpredictability.
This is why many experts advise allocating a portion of your investment portfolio to investments such as precious metals that don’t depend on the strength of the dollar. If you have an IRA, 401(k), or another type of retirement account, you can convert a part of it into a precious metals investment.
The process of rolling over a part of your IRA savings into physical gold bullion is known as a “gold IRA rollover.” It is quickly gaining popularity among investors looking to diversify their portfolios and safeguard their riches.
Most of the gold IRA companies on our list do not allow you to open a gold IRA from scratch. Instead, these companies require you to either transfer funds from an existing IRA or withdraw funds from an existing account and deposit them in a new IRA. This latter option is known as a gold IRA rollover.
When you convert a portion of a preexisting retirement fund or investment account (such as a SEP IRA, 401(k), or Roth IRA) into gold bullion in the form of gold coins and bars in an IRA, this is known as a gold IRA rollover.
Money is taken out of the old account during the process and can only be kept there for a maximum of 60 days before it needs to be redeposited into the new gold IRA account with a different custodian.
IRA rollovers must conform to specific rules and regulations from the IRS. For example, if you choose to roll over funds from an IRA, you cannot hold those funds in your account for longer than 60 days before investing them into a new IRA. In contrast, if you were to facilitate an IRA transfer, the funds would never touch your bank account before being transferred to your new IRA.
Rolling over an IRA is a more involved process than transferring funds from one IRA to another. However, rollovers tend to be faster than transfers, taking place in 60 days or less in most instances. The companies on our list can help you facilitate gold IRA rollovers to make the process as seamless as possible and ensure that you do not face any extra penalties due to misguidance.
What Is the Difference Between a Gold IRA Transfer and a Gold IRA Rollover?
When it comes to investing in a gold IRA, investors have two choices: a transfer or rollover (sometimes referred to as a direct or indirect gold IRA rollover).
A Gold IRA transfer includes moving money from one gold IRA custodian to another. When you transfer funds from one retirement account to the other, no money is given to the account holder.
Instead, it is moved directly between two parties without the investor’s knowledge. It’s a streamlined procedure that is completely managed by the custodians.
The main distinction between transfers and rollovers is that with IRA transfers, the disbursed funds never come into direct contact with the IRA holder.
Investors need to know all the requirements and restrictions related to gold IRA rollovers. If an investor violates these regulations, he or she could be penalized with hefty IRS fines. Transfers, however, are subject to fewer restrictions than rollovers.
How to Rollover a 401k to Gold IRA: A Simple Gold IRA Rollover Guide
A 401k retirement account is employer-sponsored. Suppose you are changing companies and need to move funds. In that case, you will need to do a rollover.
Fortunately, you shouldn’t have any trouble transferring money from a 401k that a previous company endorsed into a new Gold IRA.
Simply select a new custodian for your Gold IRA and ask them to start the 401k to IRA rollover on your behalf. We’ll provide a step-by-step gold IRA rollover guide below.
1. Find the Right Gold IRA Company
Traditional or Roth IRAs hold assets in stocks and bonds, whereas gold or precious metals IRA accounts retain physical precious metals (usually bars and coins).
The Best Gold IRA Company Will Focus on Educating and Guiding You Through the Process
A reputable gold IRA company will educate you on what investments in gold and other precious metals entails.
Professional gold IRA companies will not only supply you with information but will also guide you through the process of opening your new gold IRA account, choosing your precious metals, determining where they’ll be stored, and hiring a competent gold IRA custodian.
Assistance with the Paperwork and the Transaction
The best gold IRA providers are experts in the realm of precious metals and will help you with the paperwork, rollover, and precious metals product selection. Your gold IRA company will also act as your financial advisor throughout the duration of your investment until you’re ready to withdraw your savings.
We will go into more detail on some of the best gold IRA companies currently on the market to help you choose the right one.
2. Choose a Gold IRA Custodian
Finding the company that will act as the gold IRA’s administrator or custodian is the next stage of the 401k to gold IRA rollover process. It is theoretically against the law for an individual to hold gold in their own IRA.
What Does a Custodian Do?
A custodian is a company that manages your gold IRA account and offers documentation and other services to the IRS, maintaining a record of every transaction.
In addition to carrying out all transactions on behalf of the account holder, they coordinate the buying and selling of the gold bullion you decide to invest in.
Many financial institutions do not include physical assets, like gold, in their IRA plans. These are mostly financial advisors who advise you to invest in stocks and bonds because those are the investments for which they are paid.
Ensure That You’re Choosing a Custodian That Supports Self-directed IRAs
When conducting a 401k to gold IRA rollover, be sure the company you choose to invest with is specifically structured to manage a “self-directed” IRA.
With a self-directed IRA, the account holder can oversee the assets contained in the account themselves rather than relying on the company’s decision-making capabilities.
3. Set Up the Account
The next step in the 401k to gold IRA rollover process is setting up your account. You need to create an account so that the gold IRA provider you choose can get to work as soon as you have chosen a company to administer your new gold IRA.
Your custodian must work with the gold IRA company to help you acquire and sell the physical gold and other precious metals you want to invest in.
The company collaborates with the account custodian to broker the transaction and move the precious metals to a secure facility that is authorized to hold physical gold bullion, bars, and coins after consulting with you to choose the products you prefer.
Moreover, the custodian ensures that every aspect of your account complies with IRS regulations, from how the gold IRA is set up to the location where the bullion is kept. The documentation is sent to you and the IRS, and they maintain records of the quantity of gold you purchased for your gold IRA.
Many gold IRA companies allow investors to invest just about any amount to open a gold IRA. However, this may differ depending on the firm you choose.
Although a gold IRA has no set minimum investment requirement, most companies urge that you make a sizeable commitment to enjoy the benefits of this kind of investment.
4. Rollover the Funds
The savings from your current retirement account will then be transferred to your new gold IRA rollover. Keep in mind that there are two ways to accomplish this: directly and indirectly.
Money is transferred directly from your previous IRA trustee to your new custodian during a direct rollover. In order to make this happen, you can get help from your provider, which will liaise with your custodian.
The holdings from your previous retirement fund are directly delivered to you, the account owner, with the understanding that you will transfer the money to your new precious metals IRA.
5. Purchase Bullion Bars and Coins for Your Precious Metals IRA
Following the rollover, your gold IRA provider can help you choose and buy physical gold and other precious metals such as silver, palladium, and platinum and have them transported to the secure storage location of your choosing.
Working with a company that has established connections with reliable custodians is advantageous. They will assist you in evaluating the options and choosing those that meet the criteria for gold IRA accounts.
There are countless options in the gold and silver markets, but it’s important to keep in mind that the IRS will only allow specific kinds of bullion that meet its standards.
The silver or gold coins and bars used in an IRA must adhere to purity standards. Gold must be 99.5 percent pure in order to qualify for a gold IRA. However, the only exception to this rule is the American Gold Eagle coin, which has a purity of 91.67 percent. Silver coins and bars must be 99.9 percent pure to be used in an IRA.
The final decision over what to purchase for your precious metals IRA rests with you. Ensure that your gold IRA rollover company provides you with all required documentation and formally validates the transaction.
Once you’ve opened a self-directed gold IRA, you can transfer cash into the account to fund your purchase of physical gold. One option is to roll over an existing retirement account to your self-directed IRA. You won’t owe taxes on the move since the funds remain within a qualified retirement plan.
You could also deposit cash each year, following the annual IRA contribution limits. With the money in your account, you can then buy gold for your gold IRA.
Types of Gold IRAs
Gold IRAs come in different forms, just like traditional investment accounts. Investors can choose from:
- Traditional Gold IRAs: These are retirement accounts that are funded with pretax dollars. This means that contributions and any earnings grow on a tax-deferred basis. Withdrawals are taxed at retirement.
- Roth Gold IRAs: Contributions made to a Roth gold IRA are funded with after-tax money, which means there’s no immediate tax advantage. You will pay taxes when it comes time to begin taking distributions at retirement.
- SEP Gold IRAs: Like traditional SEP IRAs, SEP gold IRAs are available to employees of small businesses or self-employed individuals. You are only taxed on your withdrawals during retirement rather than any contributions you make. The IRS limits contributions for SEP IRAs of any kind. This means individuals can set aside up to 25% of compensation or $61,000 for 2022 ($66,000 for 2023)—whichever is less.
Pros And Cons Of Gold IRA
Pros of Gold IRAs
As with any investments, there are pros and cons to Gold IRAs. Some of the advantages include:
- Tax benefits. Gold IRAs offer some of the same special tax treatment as standard IRAs: Contributions made to traditional self-directed IRAs are tax-deductible. And qualified withdrawals from Roth accounts are tax-free.
- Long-term hold. Physical gold isn’t very liquid, but then neither are IRA holdings. Given that it’s a long-term, buy-and-hold sort of investment, gold is well-suited to an IRA, whose assets you often don’t touch for decades – usually until you retire.
- Greater control. Gold IRAs are always self-directed, which means you directly manage your holdings and make all the investment decisions.
Cons of Gold IRAs
If you’re interested in a gold IRA, be sure to consider these drawbacks.
- No tax-advantaged income. Gold bullion doesn’t pay interest, dividends, or other returns. So it doesn’t really take advantage of the tax-free growth aspect of IRA investing. You’d only get a break on any capital gain resulting from selling your gold at a profit.
- Higher fees. You can’t keep your gold at home or in a bank’s safe deposit box. Instead, you must pay a custodian to store and insure, as well as buy, ship, and transport, the precious metals you hold in the IRA. Gold IRA custodial fees tend to be higher than regular IRA management fees, too.
- Funding restrictions. You’re not allowed to move any precious metals you already own into your Gold IRA. Nor are you personally allowed to buy precious metals and send them to your IRA. A custodian must take care of all the transactions on your behalf.
Risks of Gold IRAs
Is holding gold a good idea for an IRA? For most of recent history, the answer is no. Gold has to be stored, doesn’t pay dividends, and has no earnings. It has industrial and jewelry uses, but by and large, most of the yellow metal sits in bank vaults and safety deposit boxes. People believe it’s a safe holder of value when times are tough.
Gold spiked in the early 1980s, then stayed in the $300 to $500 per ounce range until around 2006. Gold peaked at over $1,700 per ounce after the 2008 financial crisis, then fell back to the $1,100 to $1,300 range. It reached an all-time high of $2,070 in March 2020 during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, but dipped below $2,000 following the economic recovery from the pandemic. As of early 2023, the price of gold remains bullish, close to $1,900 per ounce.7
It’s easy to see that gold performs well during periods of financial uncertainty, especially when the broad stock market experiences times of extended volatility. But even with its highs and lows, don’t rule this out as a viable investment opportunity.
During the period that gold traded sideways—at least between 1980 to 2006—an IRA would have made more money if you invested in the broad stock market in addition to gold. While gold didn’t move much during that period, the S&P 500 would have generated an average annual return of 14.49%.8
This is not to say that precious metals don’t have a place in your portfolio because they should. But if history is a guide, gold will have to come a long way to match the returns of the overall economy as measured by the broad markets.
Are Gold IRAs a Good Idea?
Gold IRAs can be a good idea depending on a person’s financial and investment profile. Gold IRAs will help diversify an individual’s retirement account and serve as a hedge against certain financial factors. It is recommended to keep only a small portion of your retirement assets in gold IRAs.
How Much Can You Put in a Gold IRA?
The amount that you can contribute to a gold IRA is $6,000 in 2022 and $6,500 in 2023. If you are 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $1,000 for both 2022 and 2023. These are the limits for traditional and Roth IRAs.
The Bottom Line
A Gold IRA is a type of self-directed Individual Retirement Account that allows individuals to hold physical gold, silver, platinum, and palladium as investments within the account. It works similarly to a traditional IRA and has the same sorts of tax advantages attached to it – but with the added ability to hold precious metals, which is often used as a hedge against inflation and economic uncertainty. It is important to note that there are specific rules and regulations related to the use of gold IRAs, so it’s best to consult a financial advisor before making any decisions.
Best Gold IRA Companies: Top 10 Precious Metal IRA Accounts for Gold Investing
If you’re looking for a way to protect your retirement from inflation or diversify your investment portfolio, opening up a gold IRA account is an option worth considering. Unlike traditional retirement accounts that only hold paper assets, a precious metals IRA is backed by physical gold and silver.
However, setting up a gold IRA can be an overwhelming process because it involves finding a gold IRA custodian, locating an approved depository to store your gold, and navigating the IRS tax rules on gold IRA accounts. That’s why many investors are turning to reputable gold IRA companies to help facilitate the process for them.
To help you find the right precious metals IRA, we’ve reviewed the best gold IRA companies in the industry. Each gold IRA company below was evaluated on a variety of factors including reputation, fees, experience, user reviews, and selection of precious metals.
- Goldco: Best gold ira company and most trusted overall
- Birch Gold Group: Best selection of precious metals
- American Hartford Group
- Oxford Gold Group
- Augusta Precious Metals
- Noble Gold: Best customer support
- Patriot Gold Group
- Advantage Gold
- Lear Capital
- Regal Assets
#1. Goldco: Best Gold IRA Company Overall
Goldco is a privately held firm that specializes in wealth and asset protection. This reliable gold IRA company can help you transfer assets from a tax-advantaged retirement account, such as an IRA, 401(k), or 403(b), to a precious metals IRA.
Clients get access to a variety of reviews and feedback from real people about Goldco on its virtual platform. The excellent reputation of Goldco is clearly influenced by its A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Goldco also offers direct gold and silver sales to customers.
Goldco offers both gold and silver IRAs. If you choose to invest in a gold IRA, you can purchase a range of gold IRA-approved coins to fund your account. Goldco works with mints to source high-quality coins eligible for gold IRAs, including:
- Gold American Eagle gold coins
- Gold Maple Leaf coins
- Gold Freedom and Hope coins
- Gold bars
- And more
Meanwhile, if you’d rather purchase silver coins, you can choose from options such as:
- Silver American Eagle coins
- Silver Maple Leaf coins
- Silver Lucky Dragon coins
- Silver bars
Goldco can make the process of opening a gold IRA quick and easy. First, you can initiate your IRA by signing an agreement on the Goldco website. A representative from the company can help you understand the service terms and walk you through each step.
The process of creating a gold IRA with Goldco is rather straightforward, and you can take advantage of its helpful and educated customer service specialists. After signing the contract, you must finance your new self-directed IRA in order to complete the transaction. This could be achieved through a 401k to gold IRA rollover.
Next, you’ll need to fund your IRA by rolling over assets from an existing 401(k) or another eligible account. Typically, gold IRA rollovers can take place without any tax penalties. You can also set up a brand new precious metals IRA, if you don’t have an existing retirement account to transfer funds from.
Once you’ve funded your precious metals IRA, you can choose the gold or silver you would like to purchase with your funds.
If you’d prefer to invest in your retirement savings directly, you can buy physical gold and coins on the Goldco website and ship them to your preferred depository or your home. Some investors also qualify for free storage through Goldco.
Goldco offers a wide range of precious metal products for direct sale. You can purchase these coins by first signing an agreement on the Goldco website, and then funding your account with a bank wire or mail-in check.
If you’re on the fence about working with Goldco, you can request a free kit to learn more about the company. This kit includes a printed guide, an audio guide, and a video guide that answers questions about:
- How to invest in precious metals
- How to grow your retirement account
- How precious metals can give you more control over your assets
You can also receive 10% back in free silver when you make a qualifying purchase.
Overall, Goldco is a top gold IRA company offering a range of gold and silver investments to suit your retirement goals.
Here’s what we like most about Goldco:
- Request a free gold IRA information kit
- Good selection of gold coins, silver bullion, and other precious metals
- Years of experience in setting up precious metals IRAs
- Most trusted gold IRA company, with an A+ BBB rating
- Offers gold IRAs and direct purchase of precious metals
- $10,000 or more in free silver with qualified accounts
- Highest price buy-back guarantee
#2. Birch Gold Group: Experts in Gold IRA Rollover
Birch Gold Group is a physical precious metals dealer that has been in business since 2003. Since its beginnings, the company has worked with over 13,000 customers and has built up an impressive reputation, garnering an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.
This company has maintained and enhanced its exemplary reputation on a global scale for nearly twenty years. Near-perfect reviews for Birch Gold Group may be found on numerous websites, such as Trustpilot.
Due to its extensive library of instructional resources, Birch Gold Group has risen to the top as a leading provider of gold-backed retirement accounts. The company’s most notable feature is that you may buy precious metals from them, which makes it suitable for beginner investors.
This firm that’s based in California has been around for several years longer than the majority of its rivals. The company’s main objective from the time of its establishment in 2003 was to provide precious metals-backed IRAs.
Birch Gold Group sells gold, silver, platinum, and palladium in coins, bars, and rounds. You can purchase precious metals directly through the company or open a precious metals IRA.
If you’re looking to open a gold or silver IRA, you can start by opening your account and choosing your funding source. You can fund your account by transferring funds from an open IRA or rolling over a 401(k) into a new, self-directed IRA. A precious metals specialist can help you review your accounts, transfer funds, and answer any questions you may have.
Once you fund your precious metal investment account, you can choose the precious metals you would like to purchase and decide how much of each to buy. After you purchase your precious metals, your specialist will review your order and send you a final confirmation. Additionally, your specialist can walk you through your storage options.
Birch Gold Group works with reputable depositories that you can use to store your gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins within your IRA. The company most commonly works with Brink’s Global Service and Delaware Depository, which offers up to $1 billion in insurance.
In fact, there is a recommended custodian here.
The best course of action when setting up your IRA with Birch Gold Group is probably to use Equity Trust, the custodian recommended by the company. When you use this custodian to administer your account, you’ll have the following three choices for storing your precious metals:
- International Depository Services
- The Delaware Depository Service Company.
You can talk to your precious metals specialist at any time to review your precious metals’ performance or make any changes to your account. These specialists are incredibly helpful in walking you through the entire process and helping you maintain a profitable investment portfolio.
If you’d rather not invest in a gold IRA, you can also purchase gold, silver, platinum, and palladium directly through this company. You’ll simply need to fund your account via wire or a personal check. Birch Gold Group will then ship your metals to your desired location in discreet packaging with fully insured delivery methods.
The fact that the company requires a base contribution from every investor for expenditures must be emphasized. Examples of these expenses include custodian costs, yearly account administration, and 401k rollover fees. No matter how many gold and silver assets you have in the retirement account, these fees will remain the same.
If you’re interested in learning more about Birch Gold Group, you can request a free info kit through the company’s website. This kit includes a booklet with information about diversifying your savings with precious metals.
Overall, we recommend Birch Gold Group as the best gold IRA company offering specialized guidance and assistance from knowledgeable professionals.
Click here to learn more about Birch Gold Group
#3. American Hartford Gold: Trusted Leader in Gold IRA Investing
American Hartford Gold, which sells precious metals and precious metal IRAs, has been in business since 2015. The company maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and has near-perfect ratings on Trustpilot and Google—4.9 and 4.8, respectively. In terms of credibility and reputation, American Hartford Gold passes merit.
The company can swiftly deliver physical gold and silver bullion to your door in addition to offering precious metals-backed IRAs and 401k rollovers. Your cherished possessions will also be stored as part of the program in third-party locations like the Delaware Depository Service, providing complete assurance that your gold IRA investments are in good hands.
The Los Angeles-based company offers people the chance to invest in precious metals through a direct purchase or a retirement account. These include:
- Gold and silver coins
- Collectors coins
- Gold bars
- Silver bars
American Hartford Gold allows investors to purchase precious metals and receive delivery at their doorstep. However, precious metal IRAs require storage at a third-party depository, such as Delaware Depository Service or Brinks Global Services, for which you’ll have to pay storage fees.
If you’re interested in purchasing precious metal from American Hartford Gold, follow the company’s three-step process:
1) Call for assistance in filling out the new investor account forms.
2) Transfer funds into your new account. You can rollover funds from an existing IRA if you choose.
3) Select your IRA-eligible precious metals and purchase them.
American Hartford Gold offers price matching and a buyback commitment. The buyback program lets you sell your gold bullion back to American Hartford Gold (or another company) and save on liquidation fees.
It is important to look into this corporation’s stock repurchase program to prepare for what’s ahead. American Hartford Gold is a fantastic option if you find yourself in a situation where you have to sell your physical gold products.
The company offers to purchase your precious metals at market rates, ensuring you face the least financial risk.
American Hartford Gold has no charge for establishing a gold IRA nor fees for shipping your gold to the depository. It covers insurance and tracking, but you’ll likely need to pay annual maintenance fees and storage fees if your investment is in a depository. Since the company’s online precious metals catalogs do not list prices, you’ll need to consult with a representative.
- Family-owned and operated business
- BBB-accredited company with an A+ rating
- A buyback commitment and price-match guarantee
- Company that donates to charitable community organizations
- Does not disclose specific fee structure or precious metal prices
- Charges annual maintenance fees
- Provides no international shipping
So, what’s the final verdict in this American Hartford Gold review? With a great reputation, a range of gold and silver investments to choose from, and a buyback commitment, this company is popular among investors. You will need to pay some depository fees, and you’ll have to contact the company’s customer service to discover the gold prices. American Hartford Gold is a good choice for investors who want to diversify their wealth portfolio with gold investments.
Click Here to Learn More About American Hartford Group
#4. Oxford Gold Group: Best Customer Service
California-based Oxford Gold Group has been operating since 2018, and the company’s founders have over two decades of experience in the precious metals industry. The firm sells investment-grade precious metals and offers precious metal IRA retirement accounts. Oxford Gold Group also maintains BBB accreditation and an A+ rating, with thousands of positive customer reviews.
Oxford Gold Group offers IRS-approved coins and bullion, including:
- Gold and silver coins
- Gold and silver bars
- Platinum coins and bars
- Palladium coins and bars
For customers who are investing in precious metal IRAs, Oxford Gold Group offers a range of options, including:
- Traditional IRA
- Roth Gold IRA
- SEP Gold IRA
You also have the option to rollover your existing IRA account.
Oxford Gold Group offers investors two different options for storing a precious metal IRA. You can choose between the Brinks Depository in Salt Lake City, Utah, or the Delaware Depository in Wilmington, Delaware.
Opening a new account with Oxford Gold Group is simple:
1) Complete the new account forms with your dedicated account partner.
2) Transfer funds or begin the tax-free rollover from your previous retirement account.
3) Browse through your investment options and purchase the precious metals you want.
Your precious metals will now travel to your depository for secure storage.
- BBB-accredited company with an A+ rating
- Educational resources
- Quick and easy investment process
- Wide range of precious metals for purchase
- 24-hour customer service
- Newer company (established in 2018)
- Only two IRA custodians
- Higher account setup and annual maintenance fees
What’s the outcome of this Oxford Gold Group review? The firm is relatively new, but it offers convenient investment services and a great selection of precious metals. Expect higher fees than other companies, and you only have the option of two different IRA custodians. However, it does have an excellent reputation and BBB rating. Ultimately, the Oxford Gold Group is a good choice for investing in precious metals and diversifying your wealth portfolio.
Click Here to Learn More About Oxford Gold Group
#5. Augusta Precious Metals: Highly Rated Gold Investment Company
Augusta Precious Metals is a premier gold IRA company founded by Joe Montana, a hall of fame quarterback, and his team of financial advisors. This company has received thousands of five-star rankings since 2012 and has won several awards for its IRA services.
This company has earned a stellar reputation and has received high ratings from reliable sources. It has received AAA and A+ ratings from the Business Consumer Alliance and the Better Business Bureau, respectively. In addition, the IRA Gold Advisor online portal rated the organization the “Most-Trusted Gold IRA Company in the US.”
Augusta Precious Metals offers gold IRAs and cash purchases. Like the other companies on our list, Augusta Precious Metals requires you to have a qualifying IRA and roll over your funds to your new gold or silver IRA.
First, you’ll have the opportunity to talk to a live agent who can guide you in your gold or silver purchase. Your agent can also give you helpful economic guidance to educate you about precious metals IRAs.
Next, you can create your new IRA with the help of your live agent. You’ll need to have at least $50,000 available to invest in order to qualify for an Augusta Precious Metals IRA account.
Once you’ve created your account, you’ll need to fund it with money from your existing retirement account. Then, you can buy gold or silver by submitting an order from Augusta’s order desk.
Augusta also allows you to buy physical gold and silver outside of an IRA. If you choose to go this route, you can still receive guidance from the company’s gold and silver professionals, free and secure delivery, and complete control over your precious metal assets. You’ll simply need to follow these steps to buy gold or silver directly:
- Fund your account with a cash transfer.
- Select your gold or silver options.
- Sign for delivery at your preferred location.
Augusta sells a range of gold and silver bullion and coins that you can purchase directly or use to fund your IRA. These gold and silver products include:
- Canadian Maple Leaf coins
- American Eagle coins
- America the Beautiful coins
Augusta works with trustworthy custodians such as Equity Trust, Gold Star Trust Company, and Kingdom Trust who can administer your new IRA. Additionally, Augusta can serve as your liaison with your custodian, giving you access to the custodian at any time.
The Augusta Precious Metals website also includes a video resource library filled with helpful videos from Delvyn Steele, a Harvard-trained economist. If you’re looking for insight into what’s going on in the economy, these videos are an excellent resource to review.
This business is different from its rivals offering gold IRAs because it uses a variety of special characteristics. It provides a lifetime service warranty and a wide selection of educational materials.
Furthermore, having access to resources like instructive videos on current economic conditions produced by Harvard-trained experts and statistics about precious metals can provide you with useful knowledge that will help you understand the wisdom of saving for the future.
Overall, we recommend Augusta Precious Metals for anyone looking to open a precious metal IRA with a reputable company.
#6. Noble Gold: Great Selection of Silver, Platinum, and Palladium
Noble gold sells gold, silver, palladium, and platinum coins along with valuable rare coins. You can purchase these precious metals through an IRA or buy them directly through the Noble Gold website.
This company follows a simple process to help facilitate gold IRAs for its customers. You can get started with Noble Gold by filling out an online IRA setup form. This form only takes about five minutes to complete. If you aren’t sure of all the answers, the company can call you to guide you through the process of finding the necessary information.
Next, the Noble Gold IRA team will call your new custodian to set up your account and acquire any additional paperwork you may need to complete. The company will also email you your new self-directed IRA account number.
With Noble Gold, you can either transfer assets directly from an existing custodian to your new IRA or roll over funds into your new account. You shouldn’t face any tax penalties when transferring funds from one custodian to another.
Once you fund your account and purchase your precious metals, you can check their status at any time through Noble Gold’s custodian, Equity Institutional. This custodian offers online access to your account 24/7/365.
If you’d rather buy precious metals directly, you can take advantage of Noble Gold’s Royal Survival Packs. These packs include hand-picked selections of precious metals with high levels of liquidity and recognizability. Purchasing these packs is especially helpful if you’re unsure which metals to buy.
Noble Gold offers several features that set it apart as one of the best gold IRA companies. First, this provider offers some of the best gold prices on the market and provides fast, secure shipping. Noble Gold has also received hundreds of five-star reviews from satisfied customers, allowing you to feel confident in its practices.
Even better, Noble Gold offers a buyback program to every client. If your retirement goals or savings change over time, you can rest assured that the company will buy back any gold or other precious metals that you previously purchased.
Overall, Noble Gold is an impressive gold IRA company that goes above and beyond to help its clients purchase profitable investments.
How we ranked the top gold investment companies
If you’re looking to open a gold IRA or other precious metals IRAs, it’s essential to use a reputable, trustworthy company to facilitate the process. Gold IRA investments can be expensive and choosing a questionable provider may be a costly mistake.
When we chose the five best gold IRA companies to add to our list, we searched for a range of factors that indicate that a company is reliable, knowledgeable, and reputable. Specifically, we examined the following factors while creating our list.
Reputation and reviews
Companies typically develop positive or negative reputations for a reason. When searching for a gold investment company to facilitate your IRA, choosing one with a positive industry reputation can ensure that you have a positive experience overall.
One way to evaluate a company’s reputation is to look the company up through the Better Business Bureau. The Better Business Bureau is an organization that allows consumers to write reviews and, often, complaints of businesses online. The Better Business Bureau also rates organizations on a scale from A+ to F, with A+ being the best rating.
When we chose the five best gold IRA companies to add to our list, we examined each company’s Better Business Bureau reviews and ratings. The companies that made our list all have B or higher BBB ratings and tend to have more positive gold IRA reviews than negative ones.
Ease of setup
Reliable precious metal IRA companies do everything they can to gain new clients, including making the setup process as easy and stress-free as possible. These companies allow new clients to set up gold IRAs within a few days or less and offer qualified assistance from investment professionals.
The gold IRA companies that made our list feature easy setup processes. These companies also allow you to talk with a specialist directly throughout your account-opening process, ensuring that you can quickly receive the guidance you need.
Costs and fees
Most gold IRA companies charge fees for their services. These fees cover the costs involved in opening your account, maintaining your account over time, and securely holding your precious metals.
If you come across an IRA company that offers its services for free, you may not be able to trust that it will put the necessary expertise and time into facilitating a reliable gold IRA. Additionally, companies offering free services often do not provide the additional assistance and knowledge you would receive from a higher quality company.
On the other end of the spectrum, companies that charge outrageously high fees may not be trustworthy either. These companies may be more focused on maximizing profits than providing quality services for customers.
When we chose the gold IRA companies to add to this list, we focused on organizations that charge reasonable fees for their services.
Selection of gold and silver products
One of the reasons many people choose to open gold IRAs is to diversify their investment portfolios. As a result, it makes sense to work with a gold IRA company that offers a diverse selection of gold, silver, and other precious metal products.
Some of the companies on our list only offer silver and gold coins but provide an extensive selection of each coin type. Other companies allow you to invest in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium in coins or bars. Additionally, one of the companies on our list—Regal Assets—also allows you to invest in cryptocurrencies.
You can feel confident that all the companies that made our list offer a varied selection of precious metal products.
If you’re unsure what type of precious metal to purchase within an IRA or feel hesitant about the process, you may want to work with a company that offers potential buybacks. These companies allow clients to sell their precious metals back to the companies without incurring additional fees.
The best gold IRA companies offer buybacks and make the buyback process as hassle-free as possible. These companies may even offer to ship your precious metals back to their facilities for free if you purchased them directly.
Several of the companies on our list offer easy and reliable buybacks, giving you a cushion to fall back on if you decide to sell your precious metals back to them.
Alternatives to investing in a Gold IRA
Before opening a gold IRA, keep in mind that it’s not the only way to invest in gold with your retirement funds. There are simpler ways to save for retirement with assets exposed to gold beyond buying physical bullion itself.
You can invest in gold stocks, like shares of gold mining companies or gold royalty companies, which help finance mines. When the price of gold goes up, these firms are more profitable so their share price should go up as well.
You may also choose to buy a gold ETF or gold mutual funds. These funds buy up a basket of gold-related investments, like stocks in different gold mining companies. There are also funds that directly track the spot price of gold using futures trading strategies.
These investments are available in a normal brokerage IRA, meaning you wouldn’t have to go through the work and the extra costs of setting up a self-directed gold IRA. If you must own the physical metal itself, then you will need a self-directed gold IRA.
If you want to invest in gold — but not via a Gold IRA — other options exist. The main ones to consider include:
- Investing in gold stocks or funds, which can be held in a regular IRA or brokerage account
- Trading gold options in the commodities market (again, through a broker or trading platform)
- Just buying bullion or coins and storing them on your own (though you should pay to insure them)
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is the minimum investment for a gold IRA?
The IRS does not require a minimum investment amount when opening a gold IRA. However, many gold IRA companies have their own minimum investment requirements that you must meet to work with them. For example, Augusta Precious Metals requires clients to invest at least $50,000 when buying gold and other metals.
Other companies have much more generous minimum investment amounts. If your existing retirement accounts have not accrued much value since you opened them, you may want to look for a gold IRA company with a low minimum investment requirement.
Can I keep a gold IRA at home?
Many consumers wonder whether they can set up a home storage unit for the gold they purchase through a gold IRA. Unfortunately, when you invest in a gold IRA, you cannot keep the physical gold bullion at home.
Instead, the IRS requires gold IRA investors to keep their gold with an IRS-approved custodian, such as a bank, credit union, or other financial institution.
If you choose to ignore this rule and keep your gold at home, your gold will qualify as a distribution, meaning that you may face a 10% tax penalty. Additionally, you’ll need to pay income taxes on the distribution, lowering the overall value you receive from the gold.
Even worse, storing your gold investment at home could lead to a tax audit, which may necessitate additional penalties from the IRS.
If you’d prefer to own gold and store it wherever you want, you may want to buy gold bullion directly from one of the gold IRA providers on our list. These companies can ship your gold right to your door and provide insurance to reduce risk during transit. Once you receive this gold, you can keep it at home, store it with a custodian, or do whatever you want with it.
Which IRS-approved coins can you hold in a gold IRA?
As we mentioned earlier, the metals you purchase for an IRA investment must meet specific IRS standards for quality and purity. Gold, platinum, and palladium must be 99.5% pure, while silver must be 99.9% pure.
The IRS recognizes certain gold bullion and other precious metal coins as meeting these requirements. For example, the IRS accepts the following gold coins for gold IRAs:
- American Gold Eagle bullion and proof coins
- American Gold Buffalo uncirculated coins
- Chinese Gold Panda coins
- Australian Kangaroo/Nugget coins
- Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins
- Austrian Gold Philharmonic coins
When you work with a reputable gold IRA provider, you can feel confident that the gold you purchase will meet IRS standards.
What fees are involved in opening a gold IRA account?
You’ll probably face at least three different fees when you invest in a gold IRA.
First, most IRA providers charge an initial account setup fee that covers the work involved in creating your investment account. This fee typically ranges from $50 to $150. However, some companies waive this fee for larger investment deposits.
Next, many IRA companies charge an annual administrative fee that covers the cost of keeping your account open year after year. This fee can range from $50 to $150 and typically correlates to the size of your account.
Finally, you’ll need to pay a storage fee to the depository that holds your investment. Some custodians charge a flat annual fee, while others base their storage fees on the amount of gold in the account.
On top of these basic fees, IRA providers can choose whether to charge a commission for buying gold for their clients.
Unfortunately, gold IRA fees are often steeper than traditional IRAs and 401(k) fees. However, many investors find that the benefits of gold investing make these higher fees worth the cost.
Where are the precious metals inside your gold IRA stored?
When you open a gold IRA account, you will need to store your investment with a custodian, such as a bank. However, you can choose which custodian will hold your gold for you.
Some gold IRA companies work with specific depositories, making it easy to transfer your investment to those facilities. However, you can choose to work with these custodians or different ones.
Either way, we recommend asking a depository for its licenses and registrations before you trust it with your gold investment. Failing to perform these background checks may place you at risk of losing your investment entirely.
Are gold IRAs a good idea?
A gold IRA often comes with higher fees than a traditional or Roth IRA that invests solely in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. A gold IRA can serve as a good hedge against inflation but is also concentrated in a single asset class.
How much does it cost to have a gold IRA?
Generally, there are three sets of fees charged with a gold IRA. A one-time account setup fee can range from $50 to $150. Some companies waive the fee for a larger initial deposit. There’s also an annual administrative or custodial fee, ranging from $50 to $150 depending on the account’s size.
Can I store my gold IRA at home?
What does the IRS say about home storage gold IRAs? Though investors can undoubtedly purchase and hold physical gold in a home safe, the IRS strictly prohibits this with IRA-purchased gold (and other precious metals).
What’s the difference between a physical and “paper” gold rollover?
There are two main ways to gain exposure to gold. Firstly, there’s tangible gold bullion, which is physical bars or coins stored by reputable, independent custodians in safe vaults.
Secondly, you can choose to invest in what is known as “paper” gold. This includes all kinds of gold-based securities, including gold mining stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
It would be difficult to argue against the advantages of paper gold versus real metal bullion, with the possible exception of ease. However, it’s important to keep in mind that gold stocks are more liquid, which makes them easier to buy and sell, but increases their volatility.
2. What are some qualities to look for in a custodian?
Here are a few favorable qualities to look for when deciding on a custodian for your gold IRA:
- Stellar reputation for good service
- Wide range of products
- Lots of resources to help you learn more about your retirement account
- 24/7 customer service
- A buyback program is preferable if you intend to sell your precious metal assets
3. Why roll over funds from a 401k to a gold IRA?
With a 401k, you can invest your savings for retirement with the expectation that it will rise in value along with the stock market. This approach is frequently used to raise the value of an investment.
Nevertheless, a standard 401k has some disadvantages despite being widely used. With changes in the stock market, your investment savings will fluctuate.
The value of your investment will plummet when the market is unstable, and until it stabilizes, you won’t be able to recover your losses.
Because of the uncertainty, this information can make an investor withdraw all of their 401k funds. Fortunately, there is another investment option that might provide you with more security – precious metals-backed IRAs
If you’re looking for a new destination for the funds in your 401(k) and you want something that doesn’t closely follow the stock market or the economy, then a 401(k) to gold IRA rollover could be a good option. That said, it’s always important to diversify your investments.
Sources And References
- “Publication 590” (PDF). UncleFed’s Tax Board. Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- ^ “26 U.S. Code § 408 – Individual retirement accounts”. Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- ^ IRC §408(m)(1) – https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/408
- ^ IRC §408(m)(3) – https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/408
- ^ “26 U.S. Code § 408 – Individual retirement accounts”. Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- ^ Sanders, Laura (September 2, 2016). “Want to Keep Gold in Your IRA at Home? It’s Not Exactly Legal”. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
I am David, economist, originally from Britain, and studied in Germany and Canada. I am now living in the United States. I have a house in Ontario, but I actually never go. I wrote some books about sovereign debt, and mortgage loans. I am currently retired and dedicate most of my time to fishing. There were many topics in personal finances that have currently changed and other that I have never published before. So now in Business Finance, I found the opportunity to do so. Please let me know in the comments section which are your thoughts. Thank you and have a happy reading.