You probably know that putting some of your investment portfolio into gold and precious metals is a good step towards proper diversification. However, you also know that you should take advantage of tax shelters whenever you can. That can lead to a lot of different questions you might have.
Is it possible to invest in gold without paying taxes? How do I do that? Are there companies that can help me with that?
I’m here to tell you that yes, you can invest in gold in a tax-sheltered retirement account. I can also tell you that there’s a whole industry of companies standing by to help you do that. Five of the best options are reviewed down below, and I tell you who I think the number one option is for your consideration.
Top 5 Gold IRA Companies
If you look up gold investment companies, you’ll find dozens of options. That can either lead to information overload and analysis paralysis, or they might just start all looking the same. I’ve done a lot of the legwork for you and narrowed down the top 5 IRA gold companies you should look at first before the rest.
This company started in 2006. That means they’re one of the most experienced gold investment companies. They have a lot of experience and a long history of great client feedback.
Goldco will not just do gold. You can also put silver assets in your gold IRA with Goldco. Before you even establish that account, one of their account executives will talk you through the whole process so they make sure your investment goals are met.
I’m impressed with how Goldco has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. You just can’t do any better than that, and they’re doing it after having been in business for 15+ years. Do enough client transactions in any business, and one or two people are sure to complain, but Goldco knows how to take care of their own.
Goldco specializes in gold IRA accounts. They’re very closely related to traditional Individual Retirement Accounts where you can put investment resources with tax benefits for retirement purposes. In this case, your account would hold gold precious metals rather than paper assets, such as stocks and bonds.
You can also get a silver IRA through Goldco which emphasizes silver assets rather than gold. While silver might not seem as valuable as gold, it historically makes bigger percentage gains in its price. If you’re an investor looking for growth in your wealth, then I suggest you do the math about the growth potential in silver over gold.
If you have a 401(k) you want to roll over into an IRA account, Goldco can help you do that. Even if you put most of your 401(k) into a Roth or traditional IRA, you can still put some into a precious metals IRA. Goldco can even help you with SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and you can even get a cryptocurrency IRA through a sister company.
I encourage you to start your search for a gold-backed IRA account with Goldco. If they meet your needs, you might be able to stop there, too. Goldco does customer service better than anyone in the business, and they make it last from before you start to the last time you ever deal with them.
Goldco has quite a few things going for it, as you can see by these many highlights.
- Qualified orders more than $50,000 get first-year fees possibly waived and 5% in free metals
- Great reputation
- Plenty of industry experience
- Pricing is very competitive
- High-caliber buyback program
- White-glove level service as long as you invest with them
- Multiple storage choices available
- No hidden penalties or extra fees
Goldco is great, but they’re not perfect.
- They only deal with gold and silver but not palladium and platinum
- You need a minimum investment of $25,000 to start here
2. Augusta Precious Metals
Do you want to not just invest money in gold and silver but also make sure it goes well? If so, then I urge you to consider Augusta Precious Metals. For as much as Goldco is known for customer service, Augusta is renowned for educational resources for its investment clients.
I can tell you that the customer service at Augusta is still among the best in the industry. As a matter of fact, at the time of writing, they didn’t have a single BBB or BCA complaint in their decade of operations. In an age where it’s impossible to make everyone happy, they seem to have avoided making anyone unhappy.
One huge reason so many love them is that they educate their clients about investing in general, investing in precious metals, and the marketplace and economy. They treat your savings just like they would your own, but they also show you the ropes about how to take care of yourself. They’ve won some fans in the process.
If you’re a football fan, then you know who Joe Montana is. He was looking for somewhere to put some of his wealth, and he signed up anonymously for a web conference with Augusta. They wound up impressing him enough to convince him to first sign up as a customer and then as a company spokesperson.
Part of the educational process is a virtual consultation with their education department. That team includes Harvard-educated professionals that you might get to speak with personally. You’ll be kept up to date with market developments as long as you have an account there.
Other departments provide additional support past your lifetime account rep. One department will handle over 94% of the paperwork involved with a rollover. Another will keep you up to speed with what investment options are available.
Joe Montana’s financial advisors wanted to find the best gold IRA companies in the country. Augusta earned his consideration for competitive pricing, transparency, and reputation. They’re not my #1 pick for the nation’s best gold IRA business, but they are certainly close enough that no one would argue with me if I’d picked them.
Augusta Precious Metals Pros
Augusta is the only player in the business with no complaints whatsoever to the BBB or BCA since they started a decade ago.
- High-income client endorsements, including Joe Montana
- Thousands of consumers have given them 5-star ratings
- You can get fees waived for up to a decade
- Augusta’s sales techniques never involve pressure on you
- The lifetime account support was won award recognition
Augusta Precious Metals Cons
Augusta Precious Metals is a great company to invest in gold with, but they might not be for everyone.
- The $50,000 minimum for an IRA is possibly out of reach for many investors
- They don’t deal in all precious metals, as you can invest with gold and silver but not platinum or palladium
3. Birch Gold Group
I put Birch Gold Group on my top five list for several reasons. They have low minimums for starting investors, an effective customer service practice, and lots of educational resources. Clients love them for their transparency.
You’ll always know what’s going on with your gold with them at all times. This has led to celebrity clients such as Ben Shapiro. Birch Gold Group has earned high ratings through Google, Consumer Affairs, and the Better Business Bureau.
If you want someone who has been around a while, then it’s hard to do better than Birch. Gold IRAs weren’t even a thing until congressional legislation in the late 1990s. Birch Gold Group has been around since 2003, longer than almost anyone else in the industry.
A minimum investment of $10,000 makes precious metal IRAs accessible to more investors. Once with Birch, you can chat with their specialists about market knowledge, changes that are happening, and how they will impact your IRA. They want you to be empowered with a good base of knowledge so you can make effective decisions you are confident about.
Birch Gold Group has a library of broad and deep content through its website. They’re also active on most social media channels. They also show up on many podcasts to discuss anything from growth cycles to factors leading to market instability.
One-time custodian fees can fall under $100 total, and annual custodian fees can be under $200. Birch Gold Group partners with depositories in Delaware, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and New York. If you’re able to start with more than $50,000 for your initial investment, then Birch might waive many of the first-year fees and provide other bonuses.
Also, they can work with you in doing a rollover from both 401(k) plans and many other kinds of IRAs. The customer service might not be as notable as Goldco, but it’s still among the best in the business, as evidenced by this company’s many years of successful service to its clients. They have the experience to help you move many kinds of retirement funds into a precious metal IRA.
Birch Gold Group Pros
Birch Gold Group makes the top five list for its numerous advantages.
- Low account minimums of just $10,000 make Birch Gold Group available to more investors
- Customers provided with constant market updates
- Low fees include $80 at setup, $180 yearly fees, and free shipping on every order
- Deep selection of precious metal IRA choices
- Educational resources with Birch Gold Group are well above industry averages so you know what your money is doing for you
- Strong commitment to individual communications
Birch Gold Group Cons
Birch Gold Group does have some potential drawbacks that might make you reconsider them for another option.
- The setup costs for Birch Gold Group can be higher than others
- They also have fewer IRA choices than other businesses in this industry, so you’ll have to make investment decisions on your own more
4. Regal Assets
Regal Assets has a pristine reputation. They’ve been in this industry since 2009. It was only a year later that they received the rare honor of an A+ rating thanks to the Better Business Bureau, but what’s more impressive is how they’ve maintained that reputation ever since.
Customer service with Regal Assets is almost as good as Goldco or Augusta. They’re a good choice if you’re looking for specific kinds of investing. They include simplicity, high purity bullion, or mixing up multiple alternative assets together in one account.
I commend them for their simplicity. Dealing with their customer service is straightforward, and they’re available to you throughout the lifetime of your account. This is not a company that will be there when you want to create an account but then brush you off once they have your business.
Their emphasis on high purity means that their product availability is very restricted. They only deal with bullion bars and coins without any rare coins, exclusive pieces, or collectibles. The advantage here is that when it comes time to liquidate, you can move your investments easily and quickly since liquidating bullion is very easy to do most of the time.
One unique offering that Regal Assets provides is what might be the industry’s first and only alternative asset IRA that lets you invest in two different asset classes at the same time. This unique pairing happens to be cryptocurrencies and precious metals. You can put Bitcoin and Ethereum holdings into the same IRA account as gold and silver bullion and coins.
I think a properly diversified portfolio would have crypto and precious metal holdings in different places, but if you want exposure to both in a simple way, then this might appeal to you. How straightforward they are stands out against the competition. Customer service is always there for you, and avoiding novelty products and collectibles means you’re at far less risk of IRS penalties and taxes.
Simplicity, safety, and straightforward communication make the Regal Assets investor experience a premium one in this industry. That combination puts them in the top five IRA gold companies I’m reviewing for you today. Their long history of service to clients speaks to their success and engenders well-deserved trust, but the fact that they don’t stand out prominently over the competition in any one area holds them back just a little from the top of the mountain.
Regal Assets Pros
Regal Assets has a prestigious name, and they back that up with a good collection of strong points.
- Low minimums of $5,000 to $10,000 make gold investments accessible to more investors
- Member of the Forbes Finance Council
- No extra fees if you sell back to them
- They only deal in bullion, which is is simple to liquidate
- BirdEye lists more than 1,600 different 5-star reviews
Regal Assets Cons
Two aspects of this particular company aren’t as “regal” as they might seem.
- Information about the members of the management team isn’t as transparent as it could be
5. American Hartford Gold
American Hartford Gold makes the top five for their customer service. The Better Business Bureau has given them a 5-star rating. They’ve also done this for three consecutive years, so you know you’re in good hands.
They care about their clients being successful. That’s why they have educational resources you can use while investing through them. You get regular updates and market news, but you also get free consultations with senior portfolio managers.
If you’re new to investing or just new to precious metals, they’ll share their knowledge with you in trying to expand your own. They’re a great place to be if you want to work with someone that leaves you feeling like you’re well cared for. I can vouch for the fact that it’s not just a feeling, however.
You can buy multiple precious metals through them, including gold and silver. They’re based in Los Angeles. If you like giving your business to family-owned companies, then American Hartford Gold is an option for you.
As with any gold IRA company, I encourage you to check their website for current specials before you decide for or against one business over another. In the case of American Hartford Gold, you might find $1,500 in free silver available, three years with fees, or accounts that don’t have maintenance costs. Even a small thing can add up over time depending on the size of your account and how long you stay with someone.
When it comes time to liquidate your holdings, they’re not guaranteed to buy them back. However, they welcome you to ask them first before you sell to anyone else. They don’t have additional costs for liquidation, and their procedure involves only three quick and easy steps.
What I love about American Hartford Group is how easy it is often to start with them. Unlike many others in the industry, they frequently don’t have account minimums or even startup fees. You might not pay anything for the first three years.
You do need to check with them about this, however. Details change on an occasional basis, and their website isn’t as complete with information as you would hope.
American Hartford Gold Pros
If you want a gold IRA account with a lot of different perks to them, then American Hartford Gold might be for you.
- Consultations and education are free to you
- The buyback program has reduced liquidation fees
- Customer support lasts the life of the account
- Exclusive buyback program for their customers has total transparency about costs prior to the formal sale
- Team of precious metal experts and specialists are available to you
- Precious metal storage costs nothing
American Hartford Gold Cons
Depending on your preferences, there are two things about American Hartford Gold that might give you pause.
- They won’t ship your precious metals to international depositories
- Current gold prices aren’t avaiable through their website
Gold IRA Guide: What to Know Before Investing Gold in an Individual Retirement Account
Do you know what a gold IRA is? What about how to start one or the benefits? What should you look for in a gold investment company?
I’ve got plenty of answers to these questions. I even have a specific recommendation about which gold IRA company is the best.
Things to Consider Before Choosing a Gold Investment Company
As someone who has reviewed countless gold companies during my career, I know there are many factors to consider in evaluating them. While I hope you find my reviews helpful, I’m not going to leave you in the dark about those factors. You need to know what they are when making your own decisions based on research.
- Bonuses: Signup bonuses aren’t industry standards, but there are enough around to look out for them. They can be anything from waived fees to extra metals for free. They add up.
- Compliance Assistance: IRA accounts can be powerful tax havens for retirement investments, but I think you know the IRS doesn’t play if you step outside the boundaries. The right company should keep your account in line at all times.
- Customer Suppport: Goldco sets the standard here, but I included several other good options in the top five list. You want someone you can communicate with and trust, considering they are the ones buying and storing your gold for you.
- Expertise: How much knowledge a company has will show the more you consult with them. However, you should only work with a business that is willing to share its knowledge with you through multiple channels of resources. Work with a place that specializes in precious metal IRAs rather than someone who just adds it as a bundling option to other accounts you might have.
- Fees: Every custodian should have a price list, but not all of them are as transparent as the rest. Look for storage fees, cash-out fees, and storage fees that might impact how your investment comes out just as much as initial setup fees.
- Flexibility: Investment companies sometimes try a cookie-cutter approach with all clients. While that can lead to faster processing and efficiency in terms of their operational costs, I also think it’s a sign of overall weakness in a business. You should find a custodian and broker willing to step outside their normal box to accommodate any special needs you have because someone who can customize their offerings to you will serve you better if you are an individual investor.
- License: There are IRS requirements for special licenses for companies handling precious metal IRAs. Those that don’t maintain the proper credentials face legal consequences.
- Proactivity: There is always new information about precious metals, how they’re doing, and the economy at large. You should work with someone who answers all your questions when you ask them, but I think you deserve to work with a company that briefs you regularly on things without being asked first.
- Track Record: Not every company in this industry has been doing it as long as the rest. Longer track records are better, but newer players might also have better overall reviews through the Business Consumer Alliance or Better Business Bureau.
What Is a Gold IRA Account
If you’re not entirely sure what a gold IRA account is, then I suggest you look at the actual name. There are two parts to it. The first is gold, and the second is IRA.
You might already be familiar with IRA accounts in general. Many retirement investors might have a traditional IRA or Roth IRA. This can be in place of a 401(k) or as a companion to it.
All these different retirement accounts let you set aside money for retirement in different kinds of tax shelters. As long as you follow the rules, you can let your money grow without getting taxed. When it’s time to retire, you’ll have more money than if you’d just saved it in a bank account.
The gold part is what separates gold IRAs from other individual retirement accounts. Regular IRAs are usually based on stocks and bonds. This time, however, the investment is precious metals.
Gold is a commodity. It usually holds its value and grows over time. It’s a great thing to put some of your portfolio in if you want to diversify your investments.
What Are Gold IRA Companies
The idea of gold IRA companies usually refers to brokers in this industry. They are companies qualified by the IRS to do two things. They set your gold-backed IRA up according to IRS rules, and they also facilitate your purchases of precious metals to fill that account.
You actually need two companies to accomplish all this. On top of your gold IRA company or broker, you’ll also need your own physical gold IRA custodian. They arrange for the secure depository where your gold gets stored.
The IRS has a specific list of approved depositories where your gold is kept. Fortunately, the best brokers already have working relationships with specific custodians and can help you make these arrangements or even do it for you.
Are Gold IRAs a Good Idea?
Gold IRAs are generally a good idea, but I will also admit that everyone’s circumstances can be different. Let’s look over the primary benefits and drawbacks so you can draw your own conclusions.
Benefits of Gold IRAs
- Gold is very rare. Surging demand and limited supply are both seen when you review the history of the metal.
- Government debt is more than $19 trillion and always rising.
- Many investors feel safe with gold and silver in times of great fear.
- A recession due to inflation is likely in the near future.
- Gold offers liquidity and flexibility other tangible investments don’t.
- Gold and silver might be tragically undervalued right now.
- Some countries are boosting gold reserves in anticipation of the power of the American dollar falling.
- Doing a rollover from another retirement account means your gold IRA could use pre-tax funds instead of after-tax dollars to buy precious metals.
- Gold rose 700% from 1999 through 2011 despite the dot-com bubble burst and multiple recessions (including the “Great” one).
- Inflation doesn’t seem to impact the value of gold, but it does make dollars fall in value.
- Stocks and bonds still dominate retirement investing, but precious metals do offer diversification.
Drawbacks of Gold IRAs
- Risk is always present with any investment class.
- Fees and expenses happen when you start a gold IRA and for each year of storage, and that can eat into your net gains.
- A gold IRA will never generate interest, dividends, or a yield when a traditional IRA is likely to.
- Choosing the right custodian is crucial, because theft and fraud are always a concern when someone else is watching over your gold for you.
Gold IRA vs Physical Gold
You might be wondering about the differences between having a gold-backed self-directed IRA or owning physical gold yourself. I can certainly understand the confusion here, but there are subtle distinctions between the two. The three areas of distinction between the two come down to taxes, security risk, and buying restrictions.
Taxes are where IRA gold can be the real winner. If you do a rollover of a 401(k), 403(b), IRA or another qualified retirement account into a gold IRA, then you’re using pre-tax dollars to buy gold in a tax-advantageous account that itself might not get taxed. That’s going to extend your buying power considerably and help you make more money.
Physical gold you buy will be taxed when you purchase it. You’re also going to have to consider the physical safety of that gold. Outside of a secure depository, theft is a serious threat, and your insurance might not cover it without thorough documentation in advance if they do it at all.
One freedom that physical gold gives you is a lack of restrictions on what you can buy. Self Directed IRA precious metals have to meet very specific IRS standards, and there are many exclusions. Your own personal gold collection can have anything you want in it, including rarities and collectibles.
Don’t get too caught up in having a gold IRA versus owning your own physical gold and storing it at home or in a bank. If you are torn between the two, I should point out that there’s no reason you can’t do both at the same time.
How to Open a Self-Directed IRA
Opening a gold IRA is really just a three-step process. You can bring funds from other retirement accounts, or you can just fund the whole thing from scratch. The choice is really yours.
The first step is choosing a provider or broker. If you’ve read everything so far, then you know what they are and who the top five are. It’s okay if you’re jumping around though because this page isn’t going anywhere.
How much you decide to put into your gold IRA can be a tough decision. I think it’s worth doing at least 5% of your portfolio investment is smart just for the diversification. Doing anything less just isn’t enough exposure to make it matter.
Your gold IRA ceiling gets a little fuzzier. Most investors average 10% or 15% for their gold allocations. Doing more might be appealing to you if you’re concerned about the status of the American economy and dollar.
The second thing you need to do after starting with a gold investment company is pick your custodian. You can do that on your own, but many brokers will have custodians that they can recommend. Then, you either transfer your funds or do a rollover.
If you do a rollover, be sure it is finalized within 60 days. Otherwise, the IRS will deem it a withdrawal. You’ll get hit with a 10% penalty if you’re younger than the age limit for distributions.
I encourage you not to let this happen. While gold can make you money, there’s never any point in wasting the growth. You get one rollover per year, so be careful when and how you do them.
The Golden Queen’s Top Recommendation
So, who is my top recommendation for gold IRA company? It’s Goldco. If you’ve been reading all of this, then this probably doesn’t surprise you.
I put them at the number one position on a list of the top five gold IRA companies, and then I used them as the measuring stick to compare some of the others. Going with anyone on that list should put you in a good investment position, but the customer service experience at Goldco is simply unparalleled. They’ve been doing this for over a decade, and they do it well.
The customer service seeps into everything they do from before you create an account to the final details of liquidating your holdings at the end. They are very transparent about their fees and costs, but those fees are also very competitive. They’ll happily buy back a lot of your precious metals to simplify finding buyers when you close out.
To be fair, Goldco might not work for everyone. You can’t buy palladium or platinum through them, and their minimum investment levels are a tad high. However, if you’re looking for a premium experience where you can trust a small portion of your investment portfolio to the industry’s best and then turn your attention to other matters, Goldco is the way to go.
Tax Rules and Regulations About Gold Investing
If you do a rollover from another retirement account to fund your gold backed IRA, then you need to know about the IRS rules. Specifically, you need to know what is a taxable event and a non-taxable event. Taxable events are what you want to avoid so you keep more of your money.
I can briefly mention the rules, but they are truly deep and complex. Choosing the right broker and custodian goes a long way towards maintaining compliance and staying within the rules.
If you ever take the precious metals out of the depository holding them, then they are going to be subjected to income tax at the time of withdrawal. However, you’ll avoid capital gains taxes, which is a big appeal of a gold IRA. On the other hand, without a predetermined exclusion, an early distribution (often earlier than 59.5 years of age) can mean being taxed 10%.
The biggest thing to watch out for is when you do a move funds at the start. Direct transfers are best since they happen faster and minimize the odds of complications, including a 10% penalty. That’s more likely to happen with indirect transfers, but everything must be finalized within 60 days.
Gold IRA Eligible Physical Gold
Gold and precious metal products acceptable for a self-directed IRA have to meet specific IRS standards. Collectibles are usually excluded, and minimum standards for fineness and purity must be met. Gold needs to be .995% and silver .999% with palladium and platinum even higher at .9995%.
Acceptable pieces could include American Gold Eagle, American Silver Eagle, and Canadian Silver and Gold Maple Leaf coins. Unacceptable pieces often include many foreign currencies.
Unbiased Review of the Best Gold Investment Companies in USA
It’s okay if you skipped to this part and read it first just to see if this whole piece was worth reading. I know that many busy people do that to save time. It is worth reading if you want to know several things, though.
- What a gold IRA company is
- My top five
- How to choose one for yourself
Goldco is my top choice, as explained several times. However, you can also read about the multiple factors you should judge a gold investment company by so you can find who is right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ll wrap things up with some common questions and quick answers.
- How does a gold IRA rollover work? Various other IRA accounts and 401(k) plans can have their funds transferred into a gold IRA to let you buy precious metals with pre-tax dollars and eventually withdraw them without capital gains taxes.
- Can I buy gold with my rollover IRA? Your broker and custodian will purchase precious metals for you, but you can make the specific decisions about what they get.
- Can I convert my IRA to gold? many traditional or Roth IRA accounts are things you can do a rollover with.
- Can you take possession of precious metals in an IRA? The IRS requires that gold IRA precious metals be stored in an approved depository.
- Is it better to own physical gold or gold stock? You can invest in gold without a gold IRA if you look into gold stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds through other retirement accounts. That still gives you gold exposure and some diversification without a specific gold IRA account if you wish.