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Best Gold IRA Companies

By John Otis

January 29, 2021

As Featured In:

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When you think about your retirement fund, you might mostly be thinking exclusively in terms of stocks, bonds, real estate, or paper currency. However, there are millions of people who put a percentage of their portfolio towards precious metals, for a number of factors. 

Having at least some of your retirement money in gold and silver is a very sharp strategy. These and other precious metals can see a rise in value when the dollar is suffering.

To make this happen, you need to find the right company to work with. This is a list of the top gold IRA companies reviews, whether you’ve retired or are just generally interested in investing.

Best Overall

Overall Rating

Best Customer Service

Overall Rating

Great Education

Overall Rating

You have many options for investing. A lot of people overlook precious metals and gold IRAs in particular. If you’re preparing to retire, it’s worth it to consider as many kinds of IRAs as possible, and a gold IRA could be the best fit for you.

Retirement investing is about ensuring that you’re on solid financial ground once your working life is over. Some of these come from jobs, like pension plans, 401(k)s, and health savings accounts. There’s also a multitude of IRA options, such as Simple IRAs, Roth IRAs, and traditional IRAs.

You might’ve seen a gold IRA company promoting in television commercials. Despite this, this product still seems to be something of an outlier in the IRA community. It can seem like something that’s too good to be true.

These are some of the frequent questions that come up:

  1. Should retiring people invest in gold IRAs?
  2. Is there stability with precious metals?
  3. Will gold market investments end up depleting my retirement account?

There’s a lot to wonder about the gold market and gold IRAs. However, these don’t just have to be rhetorical questions.

We’re going to tell you about the pros and cons of investing in gold IRAs, including cons you should look out for and what you can do to get your account started.


#1
  • Thousands of 5 star reviews
  • Top overall choice
  • Excellent customer experience
  • A+ BBB rating
  • Free gold investing kit
#2
  • 4.96 overall rating on BBB
  • Excellent customer reviews
  • No cost portfolio review
  • Great leadership team
#3
  • In business since 2003
  • Solid reviews
  • Great educators

What is a Gold IRA Account?


There are two distinct parts of a gold IRA, and they’re right in the name. There’s the gold, and then, there’s the IRA.

You know what gold is. It’s an incredibly valuable metal. Furthermore, it’s also an excellent means of investing, as valid as stocks or any other sought-after financial item.

Lots of precious metal investors are drawn to gold as an alternative to U.S. dollar investments.

Since the dollar is prone to damage from inflation, gold can be something of a safety net. When the dollar declines, the price of gold can seem some handsome increases.

The numbers don’t lie. If you look at the price of gold now compared to 1970, the increase is stunning. From 1970 to 2018, gold’s per-ounce value went from $35 to $1,282.

Then, consider how much $35 in paper money in 1970 would be worth now. Give up? It’s still $35. The value hasn’t gone down, but if you know even a smidgen about inflation, you know that $35 in 1970 went so much further than $35 in 2018 and beyond.

However, they should never be seen as some sort of sure thing that guarantees riches for anyone who invests in them. Nothing is certain in life, and that’s even more true when it comes to financial matters.

Further in this article, we’ll go over the good and bad of investing in gold, as well as why it might not be the best fit for all investors. Right now, we’re going to talk about IRAs.

IRA is short for an individual retirement account. These are easy to understand on a basic level, but there are different types.

First, traditional IRAs are for funds before taxation. These can increase in value sans any capital gains or dividends tax assessment.

Income tax assessment would only happen if money was taken out of your traditional IRA.

Also popular is the Roth IRA. These are akin to traditional IRAs, but after-tax funds are used to establish them. You can only use bonds, stocks, or cash for these IRAs.

Now that you understand this, you can see how a gold IRA works. It’s like any other kind of IRA; only you’re dealing with gold instead of those option methods. The IRS is still a part of this process, so it’s not like you’re circumventing any kind of tax law by dealing in gold instead of stocks.

You can establish your gold IRA with pre-tax or post-tax income.

What Should I Consider First?


There are some big differences between gold IRAs and the previously mentioned kinds.

Gold IRAs are known as “self-directed IRAs.” The IRS has their own set of rules for these types of accounts.

Weighing Your Options 

A primary responsibility of gold IRA investors is knowing what can be included in your IRA.

With a precious metal IRA, you’re not limited to gold. You can also bring in silver, platinum, and even palladium. These metals all have a list of physical forms that can be included in the IRA, such as coins and bars.

We’re going to concentrate on gold, and the IRS has some stringent rules for it. For a metal to qualify as gold, its purity grade must be at least 0.955.

The IRS also doesn’t allow for collectibles in precious metal IRAs. Collectibles are common in investing, but they don’t meet the IRS’ purity threshold and tend to have their value inflated.

The list of unapproved gold items is a lot larger than the list of approved ones.

You don’t have to be dealing with actual metal to invest in gold, however.

For example, you can have gold in exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

ETFs can come in many forms, such as:

Gold commodity ETFs

Gold mining company stock

Precious metal futures

Precious metal mutual funds

These can appeal more to investors interested in gold but wary about having actual bars and coins, even if they’re stored elsewhere. It’s also good to consider if you’re interested in diversifying your investment portfolio, which is always good to consider.

What Are The Regulations I Need To Know


The IRS determines what’s allowed with gold IRAs, the same as they do for other kinds of IRAs.

This is a basic summary of some of the main rules for investors.

HOW TO STORE

All precious metals need to be stored in IRS-approved locations.

If you’re holding the gold yourself, the IRS is going to call this a distribution. This means you have to accept the taxes and other financial penalties that can result from this.

CONTRIBUTION MAX

You can contribute up to $6,000 a year. This goes up to $7,000 per year after you turn 50 years old.

ADMINISTRATION RULES

You need to work with an administrator to get started. This is someone who has IRS approval and deals with precious metals.

They act as representatives of you. Examples of administrators include brokers and custodians.

TAX REGULATION

When you make a distribution, where you physically hold your gold, you’re liable for income tax to be factored in.

An early distribution can have a 10 percent levy. The only exception is a predetermined exclusion. The capital gains tax can lead to more assessments.

METAL TYPES

We mentioned earlier that there are boundaries for which kinds of precious metals can be in your IRA.

Per IRS guidelines, gold purity can has to be 0.995 or at least 24 carats. This isn’t the case with many gold products.

EARLY WITHDRAW

While early withdrawal typically comes with a 10 percent penalty, there are some exceptions to note, such as:

  • Disability or hospitalization where the owner can't cover medical expenses
  • Death of owner and beneficiary needs funds access
  • Loss of employment income
  • Owner wants to buy their first property (maximum $10,000 allowed) or for the education of family member

Finding The Right Company For Me



#1. Best Overall


This firm, known in full as Goldco Precious Metals, directly sells metals and offers both gold and silver IRAs.

They were established in 2006, and thousands of customers have seen their portfolios benefit from the inclusion of precious metals.

Their customer service is also a big pro. Not only that, but they also have some great learning tools available. There’s nothing kept in the dark when you’re working with this company.

Their company is based in Woodland Hills, California, and was started by Trevor Gerszt.

In 2015,  they were ranked third by Inc. Magazine in terms of financial services business growth. The Los Angeles Business Journal also called it the 17th fastest-growing business in the Greater Los Angeles region.

Goldco lets investors create their own gold IRA or buy the gold directly. They’ve been around since 2006, which makes them one of the longest-lasting gold firms.

They also have very helpful customer service to aid you through the process and clarify some of the more confusing matters.

The Better Business Bureau has given them an A+. Additionally, Inc. 5000 has cited them as one of the quickest-growing private American businesses.

Pros

  • Many businesses have give them their highest ratings due to their transparency and helpfulness
  • Doesn’t have any penalties or require further investment
  • Longevity that appeals to many investors
  • A+ rating from BBB

Cons

  • Lacks direct sales
  • Need to directly contact them to start your account

#2. Best Customer Service


Augusta Precious Metals is an award winning gold dealer and one of the most respected in the United States for over a decade. Their reputation for excellent customer service is one of the main reasons why they keep making the top list so consistently. 

In fact, if you search far and wide online, scouring dozens of review platforms, it's difficult to find one complaint about this company. Goldco and Augusta are the only two companies that can be said. 

Their account opening process is smooth and straightforward, thanks to the customer support representatives guiding you along the whole process. Augusta has a specialist in each step of the sign up process to ensure that there are no miscommunications and everything is setup right.

The company has educational videos from a Harvard professor so you can learn more about the options you have.

While they do offer gold and silver, one of the drawbacks is they don't allow palladium or platinum. It's something that most people aren't concerned about, but it's worth noting.

They even have endorsements from some well known faces like Joe Montana and many other celebrities who use them for their precious metal investments. 

Pros

  • Their customer service team really takes care of you from start to finish
  • They are award winning for over a decade
  • Haven't had a complaint in over a decade
  • They offer great educational videos for beginning investors

Cons

  • They don't offer platinum and palladium
  • Their sign up process is very thorough, so it takes a bit longer than some other companies

#3. Great Education


Birch Gold Group doesn’t just help you with gold. It also helps you become more confident with your investing and know how to make the best investing decisions you possibly can.

By working with Birch Gold Group, you’ll learn a lot, work with some kind folks, and hopefully feel very good about what you’re doing with your future.

This veteran company started in 2003 and have also attracted some notable individuals as clients. Based in Burbank, they have received some serious acclaim from the Better Business Bureau and other business research organizations.

With Birch Gold, you’ll work with a specialist. This is someone who will tell you about trends in the stock market and their long-term consequences, good and bad.

The depth of information lets you become more aware of what to do to retire happily. A fuzzy idea about investing can be cleared up thanks to Birch Gold.

Pros

  • Excellent assistance from specialists
  • Lots of gold IRAs with other precious metals included
  • Plenty of information shared about financial world and clear fees explanation

Cons

  • Pretty costly to set up account and deal with fees
  • Only available for U.S. business

Above, we talked about gold IRAs being self-directed. This means the investor gets more say in what happens with their account than they would with a typical IRA. They can also make more types of investments.

With gold, you need a broker to buy the gold or a custodian to be the administrator. You can also have both a broker and a custodian.

This part of precious metal investing is a little tough to figure out. The federal or state governments license custodians. Some examples of custodians include credit unions, banks, saving and loans associations, and brokerage firms.

They are trusted institutions that investors use to handle their funds, gold or otherwise. You cannot buy gold straight from them.

Buying gold and finding a dealer is the responsibility of an investor.

However, if you need help finding a dealer, your custodian can be very useful in advising you on where to turn. A gold dealer can also help you to find a worthy custodian.

No matter where you start, remember that this is ultimately your decision.

While gold is very valuable, that doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk when buying it. Fraud is still a possibility when investing in precious metals, likely because so many people are trying to get in on it.

Before deciding on an investment, make sure you’ve done all the research you need to. You need to find a firm that you trust with 100 percent of your being.

They should be as forthcoming as possible. They need to show no signs of hiding anything. If you ask a straightforward question, you should get a straight answer. There’s too much at stake to let yourself be jerked around or deal with dithering.

Otherwise, your plan to make money through a new investment opportunity could turn into a financial catastrophe. 

What Do Customers Have To Say?


You should also check to see what the general market consensus is. Firms will tell you they’re all that, but what about others, such as the Better Business Bureau? That also includes individuals talking about firms in investment groups on social media.

There are going to be drawbacks to every firm, as illustrated by the cons we’ve listed. However, these cons shouldn’t be so massive that they negate entirely the pros.

When you approach a gold market firm, remember that the ball is in your court. They have to prove their worth your trust. Only talk to companies that you feel confident about, and leave once you’ve gotten a sense that something is amiss, even if it’s just a hunch.

Don’t let unfounded biases about gold IRAs turn you off from this. Sure, they’re not as common as other kinds of IRAs, but they’re still perfectly valid.

To guarantee that a firm is legitimate, ask them about all of their licenses, registration details, insurance, and bonds.

If any of this is missing, or they’re offering limp explanations for expired qualifications, it’s time to find a new firm.

You also need a firm that cares about you. They might not know what you need when you first come in, but they should be able to figure it out after a decently long conversation.

An excellent gold firm knows things about your investing needs that you hadn’t previously realized but make total sense when you hear them.

Another crucial choice is whether you buy from a local dealer or an online one.

You might initially be drawn to a local dealer since you’ll be able to see them in person and get your gold faster. You also won’t have to deal with shipping costs.

Nonetheless, buying gold locally can lead to some severe markup. It can also be hard to do a buyback if you’ve placed a significant order.

On the contrary, an online order can lead to some lowered risks. The cost is usually less, and it’s a lot easier to keep your account in check.

Online retailers are also better about satisfying big purchases. If you’ve got a large order to place, you should prioritize online gold purchases.

Most investors go for online orders. However, it’s not a foolproof process. You need to find a dealer you trust and treat you as someone to assist and help prosper rather than just another number on a spreadsheet.

Associated Fees


Your retirement investment portfolio can get a lot of mileage out of a gold IRA. However, some fees don’t happen with more common kinds of IRAs.

When you’re looking at firms, you should consider all of these fees and if you’ll be able to afford them.

Setting Up My Account

Most kinds of IRAs have a fee for starting accounts. However, firms can charge more for gold IRAs due to their distinctiveness.

These aren’t reoccurring payments, and the amount can vary based on what kind of transaction it is. The cost can change if you’re buying coins, proofs, bars, or bullion.

Custodians / Brokers

These fees are also common. The cost can also increase when you have a gold IRA, given the precious metals’ value.

Closing My Account

If you decide to end your account, you have to deal with the close-out expenses, which can carry some pretty serious ramifications.

The big issue is that you may have to sell your gold at a lower rate than the market value. Consider focusing on firms, as they tend to offer fairer prices compared to dealers.

However, there’s a big chance that you’ll end up with a return that’s less than your investment. It’s another example of why you should never invest in anything unless you can deal with the potential fallout.

Pros and Cons


Now that we’ve established the main aspects of investing in a gold IRA, we need to talk about the pros and cons of starting one in general, regardless of which firm or dealer you work with.

It takes a special kind of investor to make it work. It shouldn’t be the only part of your investment portfolio, but it can add a specific type of zest to it.

Think of it like a hot sauce. Some people can’t handle any level of spice, but those with sturdy tongues know how to handle the heat.

Without any further ado, let’s look at the biggest pros and cons.

Pros

  • Gold Has History on Its Side - We talked earlier about how much gold’s value has increased over the decades. It’s got up more than ten times in value, which is something that can’t be said about the dollar.
  • Steady Value - Gold’s market value can fluctuate, but it’s still reliable as a way to increase your portfolio’s value. When bonds, stocks, and the dollar are in a slump, gold will look like a hero. This is even more true when you’re looking at inflation rates.
  • Portfolio Protection - In financially turbulent times, such as the late 1980s and late 2000s, gold has been solid. If a recession or depression is looming, investing in gold can feel like you have a powerful shield protecting you.

Cons

  • Takes Time to See Rewards - You can’t just buy gold and suddenly find yourself in a mansion. The value takes time to move up, meaning you need to have serious patience with gold and any other precious metals.
  • Can Only Get Gold - You can’t get financial benefits like interest and dividends with gold. The value only comes from its market value at the time.

How To Get Started?


There’s a lot to keep in mind with establishing your gold IRA, but each step is pretty easy to understand.

Step 1

To begin, you need to decide if you want to have your funds rolled over or transferred from another IRA.

You’ll need to do this within 60 days if it’s a transfer.

If you don’t, the IRS classifies it as a withdrawal. This comes with taxation and a 10 percent levy for the early withdrawal.

With a transfer, money goes right to your gold IRA. You can only have one of these per year, but transfers are unlimited.

Step 2

Next, it’s time to choose your custodian. Be sure to research this shrewdly.

Be careful about how much of your portfolio you put towards a gold IRA. It shouldn’t be more than 15 percent.

You can also easily go lower. Make it no more than 10 percent of your portfolio if you just want to diversify.

If you really think gold is going to see a major surge in value, you can go to 15 percent or higher. However, beware of the risks of relying that much on one asset class.

Step 3

Finally, you need to decide where you’re going to purchase. We recommend looking for online dealers since there’s less markup and better management.

Any dealer you contact needs to be IRS-certified and have strong reviews. Talk to other clients, past and present, to get a better idea.

From there, you’re good to enjoy the progress and fruits of your excellent investment.

If your chosen metals are available, they will put them in the depository in just a few days. Should they not have them, they can get them in about a month.

If you want to sign up, give them a call at 877-360-0011, and talk with an agent. 

Who's Our #1 Recommendation?

Out of all these companies, we’ve determined Goldco is the absolute best. Watch the short video below to learn more.

  • Top overall choice
  • Excellent customer experience
  • Low early fees
  • A+ BBB rating

They have a simple process to start with them.

1

Fill Out Form

In just a few minutes, you can have your account setup and ready to go. You can click here to get started

2

Processing

It takes no more than a day for an associate to reach out to you and talk about how you can bring your funds over.

3

Transfer Funds

Your custodian works with Goldco to get your funds into your new IRA quickly. This processing time varies.

4

Complete

When they have your funds fully transferred, you can get your order placed with your desired precious metals.

Final Verdict: Does The Reward Outweigh The Risk?


There’s nothing absolute about gold IRA's. Some portfolios can benefit greatly from them, while others are better off without them.

If you want to shake up your portfolio even just a little bit and you’ve done the research, beyond just reading this guide, give a gold IRA a shot.

Investing is for the mindful, patient, and persistent. With a gold IRA, you can develop those qualities and gather some new ones in the process.

John Otis

About the author - John Otis

In the modern age of reckless government spending and central bank money printing, my sole objective is to help others protect their savings, retirement, livelihoods, and purchasing power from currency devaluation. Otis Gold has been featured in Financial Times, Yahoo Finance, Kitco News, Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, and more. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below. Welcome!


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