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Best Gold IRA Custodians

By John Otis

July 27, 2022

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Choosing to invest in a gold IRA can be a great way to protect your wealth. Once you've decided to do so, though, you'll need some help. After all, you'll need to make sure that your IRA meets all of the requirements set forth by the IRS, and you'll need help to ensure that you're ready to stock the account to protect your assets adequately.

If your goal is to ensure you are ready for retirement, you'll want to move on your gold IRA quickly. You need to ensure that you're working with the proper custodian and that you've done enough homework to understand the difference between fly-by-night operators and legitimate companies.

Fortunately, we're here to help with our series of gold IRA custodian reviews. This will give you a chance to look at some of the leading names in the industry and a brief look at avoiding some of the downfalls of working with some questionable firms.

Remember, choosing the right custodian is part of making sure that you maximize your wealth before retirement. Every IRA account brings a set of fees and charges, and knowing whether you're paying the right amount and getting your money's worth is a vital part of ensuring that you have prepared for your future correctly.

The good news is that great custodians do an excellent job partnering with others in the gold industry to ensure that their clients get the most for their money. Investing with the right companies might even avoid setup or maintenance fees. As such, you'll want to pay careful attention to the fees and charges offered by each company to figure out how best to meet your own financial goals.


It is important to note that there is no universal set of fees for holding a Gold IRA. Every custodian has its own structure, though there are a pair of basic fee structure types on which you can count. One is a flat-rate fee that charges every customer the same amount regardless of their investments, while the other is a sliding scale of fees based on how much you invest. In addition to these annual fees, you might also have to pay transfer or holding fees to your custodian.

So, what should you really expect to be paying? If you transfer from one IRA custodian to another, you will probably pay between fifty and one hundred dollars for the transfer. It's a bit like a bank wire fee, and you shouldn't expect to get out of the transfer process for free. From here, though, the fees can vary quite wildly.

One of the most important things you can do as an investor is to figure out how much you will end up paying to hold onto your IRA. The more you pay for things like secure storage or maintenance, the less money you will generate for your future. Fees are a part of doing business, but they still cut your profit margins.

It's always important to be an intelligent investor if you're going to look at precious metals. Great investors generally agree that your gold IRA should be between five percent and twenty percent of your retirement savings, so protecting this account as best you can is definitely in your best interests.

1. Fees

As we have said, you'll want to start your search by looking at the fees charged by your IRA custodian. It's a good idea to determine if the custodian will use a flat rate for your account or if the company uses a scale based on your investment amount. Likewise, you'll want to look at administrative fees and even fees for setting up your account before deciding which company to work with.

If you're curious about IRA fees, we have put together a list of the fee structures of the top ten custodians in the industry. Starting here can be an excellent way to get a rough idea of what you can expect to spend with a gold-backed IRA custodian and how those fees will impact your retirement plans.

2. Reputation

Reputations matter in the world of investments. The companies that we point out as the top Gold IRA custodians are also companies that have great ratings with consumer watchdog groups. Most of the custodians you choose to work with aren't going to interface directly with consumers all too often, so you'll want to ensure that those in the know have good opinions of their capabilities.

Remember, customer reviews rarely tell the whole story regarding investments. Most investors leave reviews on the company with which they opened their accounts, not necessarily the company that actually holds their IRA. This means that you'll see quite a bit of information on companies like Regal Assets but less on custodians like Equity Institutional, even though they work closely together.

The only way to figure out a custodian's reputation is to look at how well they've served the industry. The amount of time they've been around is a good place to start with this, but you can also look at client numbers or even with companies they continue to work with. The more others think of your custodian, the better the chance that the custodian will serve you well.

3. Professionalism

While you would never work with a company just because they have a great presentation, how a company's site is designed and how they present themselves does matter. Great custodians make it easy for their clients to work with them, which in turn means that they will put money into creating a good online user experience and make sure that their sites stay up and running.

4. Cost Effectiveness

It's always a good idea to determine if your custodian can save you money. For some, this means finding a custodian with a good relationship with a dealer. For others, it means finding discounts on investments or working with a financial planner. The best custodians can also help you save money on your fees and might even get you around the dreaded costs of setting up an account.

Regal Assets and Equity Institutional actually provide a great example here. If you choose to work with Equity Institutional, Regal Assets will waive your storage fees and setup fees for as long as three years. Furthermore, Regal Assets will even reduce your annual fees because of your work with Equity Institutional. The best deal for many customers, then, would only come about because of the relationship that their custodian has with another company.

Which Firms Work With The Best Gold Backed IRA Custodians?




"Best Overall"


GoldCo is one of the best-regarded gold IRA firms out there, with an excellent reputation among its clients and all of the significant consumer review groups. It's effortless to find information pointing to the fact that customers simply seem to love working with GoldCo.

As you might expect, GoldCo is a company that specializes in helping both new and existing clients set up their own IRAs. The company has plenty of experience following all of the rules set up by the IRA. Actually, it works directly with all of its clients to ensure that all of the requisite paperwork is done correctly before an account is set up.

GoldCo also excels in helping consumers to roll over existing IRAs into new gold IRA accounts. The company helps clients determine if their existing accounts are eligible and then takes care of the transfer if everything lines up correctly. 

GoldCO works with its customers to ensure that they pick only gold items that can actually be put in a gold IRA. Given that items must meet a specific level of purity to qualify, this can be very helpful to novice investors.

The company also does an excellent job of ensuring that clients who are ready to make IRA withdrawals can do so easily. GoldCo can either help customers cash out their items or send their gold directly to their homes. If you select the home option, GoldCo will even pack, insure, and ship your gold wherever you like.

If you are looking for non-IRA items, GoldCo also has those available. These items are only for personal investments, but GoldCo does a great job of making sure that they are packaged and sent directly to a location of your choosing.

Pros

  • GoldCo has an excellent assortment of IRA-approved gold items.
  • GoldCo pays not only for your gold to be shipped to storage, but also for it to be packed and insured for the trip there.
  • GoldCo has some great educational items on their website for those looking to learn more about investing in gold.
  • AAA rating from BBB (Better Business Bureau).

Cons

  • If you're looking for non-IRA items from GoldCo, you'll have to call a representative since these items are not listed on the company's website. 

Augusta Precious Metals has been around for almost a decade, during which time the company has amassed a wealth of positive reviews and an extensive client base. As you might expect, this makes them a leading choice for most investors.

Augusta Precious Metals operates by seven criteria, each of which they put a great deal of work into maintaining. The company believes that by focusing on accessibility, commitment, coordination, knowledge, respect, selection, and transparency, they can provide the kind of service their clients need.

This company notably does an excellent job of ensuring that their clients' accounts are set up correctly and that the process is done efficiently. The company's employees can guide new clients through paperwork and answer any questions they might have simultaneously.

Once clients buy gold, Augusta will pack and insure the items for their trip to the vault. From here, the items will be stored in secure facilities that meet all of the standards set by the IRS.

In addition to offering gold IRAs, the company has several silver and gold items for personal investments. Regardless of what you buy, Augusta will pay for insurance and shipping.

Pros

  • Augusta Precious Metals has one of the best reputations in the industry, with high marks from all of the biggest names.
  • Augusta has an excellent selection of investment-grade gold items available for all of its customers.
  • There is no cost to have your items shipped to either you or your vault; Augusta even covers the cost of insuring the items themselves.

Cons

  • Augusta only offers investors the chance to invest in gold or silver; platinum and palladium are sadly not available from the company.

At almost twenty years in the field, it's hard to find a company more experienced than Birch Gold Group. With a reputation for treating each client like they're the only client of the company, Birch Gold Group has managed to place as much emphasis on educating its customers as they have on making sure that their customers can make investments.

Like the other leading companies, Birch has a great team that walks its clients through the entire investment process, from account setup to having items shipped off to storage. The company ensures that every purchase meets IRS guidelines and that all accounts stand up to strict scrutiny.

Birch is also notable for working with the Delaware Depository and Brink's Global Services, two of the best IRS-sanctioned storage facilities in the world. Shipping items there is quick and easy, as Birch handles everything from insurance to packing the materials for transit.

Perhaps the most exciting thing that Birch Gold Group does is offer free educational material on its website. The company goes out of its way to ensure that all of its clients have all the information they need to make investments that will actually fit their needs.

Pros

  • While Birch does a great job with IRAs, the company also allows its investors to set up IRAs with silver, palladium, and platinum, following IRS guidelines.
  • Given that the company has been around for nearly twenty years, it is one of the most experienced in gold investments.
  • Birch's website is one of the best in the business, filled with beneficial information and everything clients need to inform themselves about the gold investment process. 

Cons

  • Birch doesn't have as many coins as some of its competitors, which does cut down on the options for some personal investors.

A unique thing about American Hartford Gold is that it is a family-owned company. Beyond this interesting fact, it's easy to see that the company largely falls in line with the policies of some of the other leaders in the industry.

AHG is another company that seemingly goes out of its way to educate its customers, whether through direct contact with its own experts or through the information the company publishes on its website. All of this information is quite useful to anyone who is looking to get involved with investing in gold for the first time.

In addition to having a weather eye towards education, the company also has a very experienced staff that understands the gold market. These staff members are excellent at helping investors figure out why the market fluctuates and how investing in gold is a solid way to protect one's assets.

If you aren't sure about AHG, you can look at the company's excellent reviews online. There are thousands of reviews from happy customers, to say nothing of the company's high ratings from all of the major consumer review groups.

Pros

  • AHG has numerous excellent ratings from its customers.
  • One of the few gold firms with celebrity endorsements.
  • The company holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Cons

  • AHG does not list any prices on its website.
  • The company does not ship anything internationally.

Founded by Tyler Gallagher over ten years ago, Regal Assets is one of the best-known and best-regarded names in the world of gold investment.

The company has an excellent, experienced team that has done a fine job of creating not only a welcoming atmosphere for all of its new customers but one that never gives customers a reason to doubt the team's competence. Working with Regal makes customers feel like they are being taken care of from start to finish.

Regal Assets hits all of the usual notes regarding account setup. Not only can consumers do most of the early work online, but the company's staff is more than happy to walk clients through the entire process. From the time the paperwork is started to the time the account is fully funded, and items are shipped, there will be someone available to answer questions and provide guidance to buyers.

Regal Assets is also an outstanding company helping clients roll their existing IRAs into Gold IRAs. The staff at Regal starts by helping their clients to figure out if their accounts are eligible for a rollover. They handle all the work of ensuring that the accounts are rolled over properly and with no potential regulatory issues.

Pros

  • Regal Assets offers storage in IRS-approved facilities.
  • Regal is one of the few leading companies to offer cryptocurrency investments.
  • The company also offers segregated storage options, even for personal investment items.

Cons

  • Regal doesn't tend to have as many options for investing in precious metals as some of its higher-tier competitors.

FAQs


1. How is IRA custodian defined?

An IRA custodian is a company responsible for storing, vaulting, or otherwise guarding the safety of your IRA. These companies serve a role in ensuring that the IRS guidelines are followed and that all the rules for keeping your tax-advantaged account working as intended are in play. These companies are essentially the bulwark between the individual investor and the ever-watchful eye of the IRS.

2. What are the IRA custodian requirements?

The biggest requirement of an IRA custodian is that the IRS must license the company. The companies are all regulated under the heading of "non-bank custodians" and take the form of many types of licensed entities. IRA custodians have fiduciary responsibilities to their clients and are required to act in the client's best interests.

3. What should my expectation be regarding fees?

The most considerable fee you can expect to pay your IRA custodian is the annual fee. This typically ranges between two and five hundred dollars and includes elements of the account like your custodial transfers. 

4. What does "checkbook control" mean?

The most popular types of gold IRAs tend to be those that have checkbook control. This simply means that the person who holds the account has all of the authority over it, be it in buying, selling, or simply accessing the assets in the account. Most of these accounts have more risk involved with them than those controlled by custodians, though, with higher fees and an IRS requirement that the account holder has an LLC in their name.

5. How are IRA custodians regulated?

IRA custodians are regulated by the IRS and have to follow pretty strict regulations. They have a fiduciary duty to their clients and must follow a host of other requirements pertaining to the capital they hold and the security protocols they must follow.

5. Can I view and manage my account online?

Most IRA custodians now let their clients handle their accounts online. Many of them even allow clients to look at their items they hold in storage via webcams. What you can and cannot do online does, of course, vary from company to company.

Final Verdict


Planning for retirement is a crucial step to ensure you enjoy yourself after decades of hard work and dedication. No one wants to be forced to go back and work when they realize their retirement plans were not solid, and a diversified portfolio is the most optimal way to achieve this.

With over 1000 companies to choose from, it's understandably difficult to know where to start. Hopefully this list helped you to narrow down your options and was a valuable resource to you. Request a free gold IRA guide from any one (or all) of these companies and get started planning to retire comfortably and confidently.

#1

9.6 / 10

  • Top overall choice
  • Excellent customer experience
  • Over 1000 5 star reviews
  • A+ BBB rating
#2

8.9 / 10

  • 4.96 overall rating on BBB
  • Excellent customer reviews
  • No cost portfolio review
  • Great leadership teams
#3

8.7 / 10

  • In business since 2003
  • Solid reviews
  • Great educators
#4

8.2 / 10

  • Thousands of customer reviews
  • Family owned
  • Good education
#5

8.0 / 10

  • Long history
  • $5,000-$250,000 packages
  • Trusted for over 15 years

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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