Most investors who want to buy gold will focus on gold bars and coins. However, they’re often shocked to learn they can save for their retirement accounts by purchasing gold through a precious metals self-directed IRA.
Opening a gold IRA as a retirement account means that it’s backed by silver, gold, and other precious metals. It’s an excellent way to secure your retirement when inflation will only continue to rise. In fact, gold IRAs offer a transparent and safe way to offset the yearly tax liability you’ll face while helping you invest in an asset that will grow tax-free until you retire!
To help all investors learn about the safe-haven asset available, we’ve put together this gold IRA investment guide to help you understand what it is, how it works, and the benefits of a gold IRA account. Likewise, you’ll focus on the top gold IRA companies out there for precious metals investments, including gold, silver, platinum, and others. Continue reading to find out more!
What Is a Gold IRA?
Many people ask: what is a precious metals IRA? A gold IRA is an individual retirement account that’s self-directed, and you can use it to purchase gold bullion and other precious metals.
Overall, the unique thing about having gold IRAs is that they help investors purchase and own the precious metals directly instead of indirectly (like an ETF). Therefore, opening a gold IRA account will ensure that you can buy various forms of gold, such as bullion, bars, and coins. Likewise, you can also invest in other precious metals, including platinum and palladium.
The United States is suffering from historically high inflation levels, which is making people reconsider their traditional investment choices. They’re also restructuring their finances with the help of a financial advisor. In fact, the consumer price index pushed to 9.1 percent in June 2022 compared to the same month last year.
As inflation continues to rise, the assets in traditional retirement accounts lose value. However, gold and precious metals aren’t like conventional paper assets, so they often increase in value because there’s more demand for them. This means many investors have started diversifying their portfolios and opening a precious metals IRA.
Who Manages a Gold-backed IRA? How Do Gold IRAs Work?
Traditional retirement accounts don’t use similar custodians as gold IRAs. Instead, you require a company or person specializing in these gold IRA accounts because they have to stay separate and have different reporting regulations.
Custodians of a gold IRA account will help the account holder organize the paperwork and deal with tax reporting. Likewise, they will make sure the IRS requirements are always met.
Generally, custodian services don’t focus solely on IRS compliance; these professionals assist with the gold storage because you can’t legally store the gold at home if it’s part of a precious metal IRA. You’ll need an IRS-approved depository to store precious metals for you.
Overall, custodians will ensure that your assets have safe, government-compliant, and secure storage. Likewise, they will transfer the precious metals when you open your account and fund it.
In a sense, gold IRA custodians have tons of responsibilities. Therefore, you aren’t likely to find a gold IRA offer from traditional brokerage firms.
Types of Gold IRAs Available
Though you know what gold IRAs are, it’s helpful to understand the types available to investors. They may offer similar functions, but they’re vastly different.
Here are the three types available for gold IRAs:
Traditional gold IRAs – A traditional gold IRA is the most common of all gold IRAs. You’ll fund the account with pretax dollars, which means contributions will grow using a tax-deferred schedule. Overall, you’ll pay taxes once you withdraw funds for retirement. Likewise, traditional gold IRAs feature a $6,000 yearly contribution limit for those under 50 years old.
Gold-backed Roth IRA – You will get post-tax contributions with a gold Roth IRA. Gold and silver are still added to the account, but you won’t get the immediate tax benefits as with a traditional gold IRA. Instead, you pay taxes whenever you fund the account to get tax-free withdrawals later. Plus, a precious metals Roth IRA has yearly contribution limits of $6,000.
SEP IRAs – A gold SEP IRA is similar to a traditional SEP IRA. This is a retirement account for a self-employed person or anyone who owns their own business. With it, the IRS will collect taxes as you withdraw the funds during retirement and doesn’t tax the contribution. Overall, the contribution limits for SEP IRAs is 25 percent or $61,000, whichever is less.
How to Open a Precious Metals IRA
While there’s a lot to consider, opening a gold IRA is quite simple. You’ll first need to choose a reputable gold IRA company, such as Noble Gold Investments. It’s wise to read customer reviews and ask your family members and friends if they’ve used gold IRA providers in the past.
When looking at a gold IRA company, consider these questions before deciding:
Does it have a great reputation?
What are the annual account fees and other associated charges?
Is it insured and licensed?
What is the minimum investment requirement?
Asking these questions and researching things thoroughly will ensure that you make the best decision to benefit your portfolio and give you peace of mind. Plus, the process will be much easier.
When you select the gold IRA company, you’ll create an account, which you can do online or on the phone. Once you do that, you’ll complete the paperwork and fund everything by purchasing silver and gold coins. The custodian will then ensure that it goes to an IRS-approved facility for storage.
How to Get the Gold in Your IRA
It’s easy to fund your gold IRA, and there are a few ways to do it. One is to roll over your existing IRA or any retirement account. If you have an existing IRA from an old employer and want to transfer the funds without paying penalties, this is the way to go.
However, if you don’t already have an IRA to roll over, it’s possible to pay cash for the precious metals and fund the purchase. The money you contribute to the account can offset the taxable income, though it’s based on the IRS rules and limits.
When you have funded your account, you’ll start buying physical gold within the IRA. You can purchase many types of coins, bars, and bullion, though you can’t add gold you own already into the IRA.
Though you can open multiple IRAs, the IRS limits how much you can invest each year into all of them. These contribution limits are pretty strict, and you could incur tax penalties if you violate the rules.
Those under 50 years old can only contribute $6,000 annually, and that’s for all the IRAs they own. However, if you’re over 50 years of age, you can invest $7,000 per year.
Can You Only Buy Gold for an IRA?
A common misconception about the precious metals IRA is that you can only hold gold within it. However, when you open a gold IRA account with a company, such as Noble Gold Investments, you’ll invest in various assets, including gold, silver, platinum, and other precious metals.
However, when you buy precious metal bullion, bars, and coins, you have to purchase those that are marked as IRA-approved or IRA-compatible if you want them to be in your gold IRA account. Some companies will simplify the process for you by only offering those options.
Likewise, investors have to be careful when buying gold bars. The IRS regulations state that the gold bars must be at least 99.5 percent pure.
Overall, gold IRA account holders may also purchase gold coins, and each type offers unique monetary and visual advantages. The popular gold coins available include the American Buffalo, American Gold Eagle, and the Canadian Maple Leaf.
You cannot put some gold coins into the gold IRA account. The IRS won’t allow you to have South African Krugerrand and United Kingdom Sovereign coins in precious metals IRAs.
Likewise, the precious metals IRAs can’t hold gold collectibles. The IRS custodian you work with will have specific precious metal objects available that you can use.
Gold IRA Benefits - What Are the Benefits of a Gold IRA?
Choosing a gold/silver IRA will give you various benefits, such as:
Protection from global crises, social upheaval, and inflation
A unique chance to buy different precious metals, such as gold, silver, platinum, and more
Various tax advantages
Here are the benefits of gold IRA investment:
You Make the Decisions about the Gold in an IRA
A precious metals self-directed IRA allows you to make the decisions for your account. For example, you’ll choose the form and type of precious metal you prefer to invest in and can even select gold-related options, such as ETFs.
Current or beginner investors will have many options available for precious metals investments, including gold, platinum, silver, and palladium. Since you can choose the precious metal you wish to purchase and the form it takes, you’ll diversify your portfolio through a gold IRA account. Still, you should listen to the IRS’s rules and regulations to avoid penalties and problems.
Good investors know that diversification is the best way to build success in later years. Likewise, a diverse investment portfolio means better risk management.
Traditional investments, such as ETFs, stocks, bonds, and unit trusts, are safe when the market is healthy. However, those assets underperform during volatility and high inflation periods.
Overall, precious metals offer a better way to diversify your portfolio and minimize risk. Gold and other precious metals will retain their value or even increase with time, including periods of instability in the economy.
Adding a minimized risk that’s stable to your portfolio will protect your precious metal investment. In fact, this is one of the biggest retirement benefits of a gold IRA! You may have stocks and precious metals in your portfolio and will have peace of mind during a stock market crash or crisis.
Tax Advantages When Moving a Traditional IRA to Gold
There are gold IRA tax benefits for high earners, too. Traditional and gold IRAs aren’t the same, but they do share the same tax advantages. The money you’ll deposit into the account each year reduces your taxable income. Though the IRS limits that contribution amount, it’s still a huge reduction to your tax bill each year.
The value of your assets will grow continually, and you’re not taxed on the profits within or the compound interest that you’ll earn. In fact, you’ll only pay taxes on the gold IRA once you reach retirement age and start withdrawing funds.
Can Hedge Against Inflation Using an IRA with Gold
Inflation continues rising, and cash loses purchasing power in savings accounts. In fact, they will continue dropping in value. Aside from the devaluation of cash, the stock market volatility poses significant problems, as well. Stocks fail because the US Federal Reserve is tightening its belt. The policy often means less money in the nation.
With various factors working against the investors, it’s almost impossible to protect your assets when inflation hits, and gold is the answer. There are many gold IRA retirement benefits to consider, and you can adjust your portfolio to protect yourself with a precious metals IRA.
Gold is known for being a hedge against inflation. While everything goes up, the US dollar is losing its value, but gold prices are steadily climbing. We’ve seen various examples of that during our history. For instance, between 1973 and 1979, inflation skyrocketed to about 8.8 percent. However, gold’s value increased by about 35 percent!
Gold uniquely can hold its value during economic downturns and global crises. Therefore, it’s an excellent addition to your investment portfolio.
Plus, gold is recognized internationally as a commodity that holds no ties to the stock market’s performance. Therefore, it won’t be affected by those types of issues.
Risks Involved with a Gold IRA Investment
While gold IRA investing is more stable than other options, there are associated risks involved. It’s important to know what they are before opening your precious metal account.
Investing in gold and other precious metals means storing the physical commodity. You can’t use a personal safe or a bank vault here; you’ll need an IRS-approved facility, which means storage fees. It’s wise to choose a gold IRA company like Noble Gold Investments or any of the others listed below.
Likewise, gold doesn’t pay out dividends like a stock. Instead, it will sit in the IRS-approved storage facility and accumulate no extra earnings.
Because precious metals are physical, they also have other risks. For example, someone could steal the gold. While stealing from a holding facility is hard to do, it is a possibility, especially when it’s transported between locations.
To counteract those risks, it’s wise to work with a company like Noble Gold Investments because it uses secure facilities and offers insurance to protect precious metals IRAs.
Fees Involved When Investing in a Gold IRA
Along with the minimum investment amount and annual fees, gold IRA companies charge for other things, as well. These are rare with your traditional IRA accounts, so they’re a crucial factor to consider when opening your gold IRA.
Fee amounts can vary based on different things. These include the type of precious metal you’ve bought, the custodian, the storage facility, and the investment amount. Here are the following typical fees you’ll expect from a gold IRA:
Precious metal sellers will usually charge a markup amount, so you’ll pay more than the commodity’s worth. The seller fee, as it’s called, will depend on the current market conditions. When buying gold, you may also deal with transaction fees and commissions, though they’re often low.
Account Set Up Fees
Gold IRA investing also comes with account application fees and setup fees, similar to other retirement accounts. They’re paid upfront and are often low. However, some custodians will waive the fee if your deposit is large enough.
Storage Fees and Insurance
You cannot store the gold at home, so you require an approved storage facility. Usually, it will charge storage fees, which could be a percentage of the total investment or a flat rate. Often, you pay more for larger investments.
Sometimes, custodians will combine the storage and insurance fees. They do hold insurance to protect you, and you must pay for that. Usually, the amount is anywhere from $100 to $300 per year.
An annual administrative fee or maintenance charge will cover the administrative expenses, such as paperwork management. Companies often charge more if you have a significant investment, though they are generally a flat rate.
Cash out and Wire Transfer Fees
Custodians will often charge you to send and receive funds into the account. Generally, it’s low. However, the cash-out fee only happens if you close the account. Usually, people do that when they want to move their gold, silver, platinum, and more to another gold IRA company.
How Do You Store Gold in an IRA Account?
With traditional gold and silver investments, you’ll store the precious metals at home. However, that won’t work for gold IRA investments; a custodian has to use a facility approved by the IRS.
The best gold IRA companies work with you and often provide the depository used to store the gold. However, if they don’t give you that information, it’s up to you to investigate and ensure you know where it’s located.
Generally, the assets are stored in a national depository, a bank with services for storing a gold IRA, or a third-party trustee.
Storing your precious metals at home means incurring a tax penalty. The custodian should talk to you about the storage facility and ensure that it’s IRS-compliant before you set up the gold IRA.
The Withdrawal Process for a Precious Metals IRA
You must follow the annual contribution limit rules, but you also can’t make withdrawals from the account until you reach 59.5 years of age. Otherwise, they’re subjected to a 10 percent tax penalty.
Storing the assets at home is counted as a withdrawal. If you’re also under the age requirement, you will pay that 10 percent tax. The gold IRA custodian will clarify all the regulations and rules before you open your gold IRA account.
Once you hit retirement age, you can make withdrawals from the gold IRA, which is similar to what you’ll do for a traditional IRA. As you begin planning to liquidate your funds, you’ll log into your online account and make a sell order for a specific amount of gold. Once it clears, you will withdraw your funds in US dollars.
Things to Know about an IRA Investment in Gold
Investing in gold will diversify your portfolio and help with your retirement plan. Gold IRAs come in Roth and Traditional forms unless you’re a self-employed person, and then you’ll have a SEP gold IRA. Regardless of what you choose, the investment is in physical gold.
However, you don’t have to invest in the physical asset only. There are gold company stocks, gold exchange-traded funds, and gold mutual funds.
The IRS states that an IRA can invest in one-quarter, one-half, one, or one-tenth of an ounce for US gold coins and one-ounce silver coins that have been minted by the US Treasury Department. You can also invest in some platinum coins and various bullion bars.
Gold coins and other metals have to meet the fineness standards, which are:
Gold/platinum – 99.5 percent pure
Silver – 99.9 percent pure
Everyone should be eligible for precious metals IRAs, but the IRS has rules in place. For example, the producer of the gold must be a certified or accredited assayer, refiner, or manufacturer.
Overall, the IRS allows some gold coins, including the American Buffalo, American Gold Eagle, and the Canadian Maple Leaf.
Investing in a Gold IRA Means Acquiring a Custodian and Broker
If you feel that a gold IRA is ideal for you, it’s important to set it up through a gold IRA custodian. You will be able to manage the account, but there’s an account representative if you need help.
Overall, you require a broker to purchase the gold, and the custodian will create and manage your account. They’re also responsible for storing that physical gold.
The custodian could be a credit union, bank, trust company, or one of the best gold IRA companies we’ve listed below, such as Oxford Gold Group or Birch Gold Group. Regardless, they must be approved by the government to perform custody services.
Choosing the right company is time-consuming and daunting for many investors. Therefore, you should take your time and consider consulting with a financial advisor. They will play a crucial role in your success with your gold IRA.
Special Considerations for a Physical Gold IRA
As with all other investments, there are rewards and risks involved. Gold IRAs can face these issues:
No access to the precious metals because they’re held in a secure storage facility
Higher management fees
Along with the above-mentioned issues, you will have additional expenses for gold individual retirement accounts, such as:
Custodian storage fees
Account setup fees
Top Gold IRA Companies to Consider
Here is a list of the best gold IRA companies you could consider:
Orion Metal Exchange
Orion Metal Exchange doesn’t charge any fees to set up the account, transfer funds, or maintain everything. This company was founded back in 2017 and runs free storage promotions, as well. Likewise, Orion has a low minimum investment amount of $5,000!
Advantage Gold was founded in 2014 and features excellent customer reviews. TrustPilot shows over 1,500! Roughly 98 percent are five-star ratings.
This company offers platinum, palladium, silver, and gold. Likewise, the custodians are Equity Trust Company and STRATA Trust Company. Plus, the depositories are Delaware Depository and Brink’s Depository.
Noble Gold Investments
Noble Gold Investments is one of many excellent gold IRA companies on the market. It was founded in 2016 and makes it easy to set up your precious metals IRA. In fact, it lists the gold prices on its website, which will help you understand what you’re paying.
Overall, Noble Gold Investments uses the two most popular depositories and has its own in Texas.
Augusta Precious Metals
Augusta Precious Metals was founded in 2012 and offers silver and gold investment options. However, it also focuses on customer education!
Overall, Augusta Precious Metals uses the Delaware Depository, which is a popular choice for gold IRA providers, and this is what holds the assets, such as physical gold bullion and coins.
Likewise, Augusta Precious Metals has a large library of online resources for investors. One of the attributes that make it great is the video blog series for reasons why you should not own gold. Instead of using scare tactics to play on your fear, it focuses on the whole financial system and how the US currency could collapse in the near future.
Oxford Gold Group
Oxford Gold Group provides excellent customer service and focuses on education. Therefore, you’ll find many tools and resources. The Oxford Gold Group website claims that people can set up the gold individual retirement account quickly, and it usually takes 24 hours.
Plus, Oxford Gold Group uses Brink’s Global Services and the Delaware Depository, and the annual fee is only $180.
Birch Gold Group
Birch Gold Group is another excellent gold IRA company. Most physical precious metals IRA brands won’t include fee information on the websites. However, Birch Gold Group does offer pricing. Likewise, it’s been in business from 2013 and gives tons of details about everything.
Overall, Birch Gold Group features a Better Business Bureau rating of A+. Plus, Birch Gold Group charges flat annual fees instead of percentages, which is advantageous for high-balance investors. Likewise, you can choose to store your physical precious metals in Brink’s Global Services or the Delaware Depository. It’s easy to see why Birch Gold Group is popular.
American Hartford Gold
American Hartford Gold offers various products, including physical gold, so it’s similar to other gold IRA companies. However, American Hartford Gold will not charge customers excessive fees. The company was founded in 2015 and doesn’t charge to set up, transfer, or maintain the account. Plus, it runs promotions frequently that will waive storage fees for a while.
Overall, American Hartford Gold offers an excellent buyback program, but the prices are lower than what you purchased it for. Still, that’s similar to other gold IRA companies and isn’t considered a bad thing.
Likewise, American Hartford Gold deals with various precious metals and uses Equity Trust Company. When you set up the account, you can choose to keep the precious metals in non-segregated or segregated storage.
Plus, American Hartford Gold uses a low minimum requirement of $10,000 for establishing your gold IRA or $5,000 if you’re buying physical gold for home storage. Just remember that you cannot store gold IRA investments at home, and American Hartford Gold will not allow this.
Goldco for a Gold and Silver IRA
Goldco was founded in 2006 and is considered an A+ company by the Better Business Bureau. Likewise, there are tons of excellent reviews from TrustPilot and the BBB, and most of them reference the brand’s customer service.
It could be the best gold IRA company because it uses both the Delaware Depository and the Brink’s Global Services for physical gold storage. If you have non-IRA gold, you can also store them at its storage facility if you don’t like the idea of keeping it in your house.
Though the brand itself charges no fees, there are custodial fees for maintenance and setup.
Choosing the Best Gold IRA Company
If you want to open a gold IRA account, you must focus on the most reputable gold IRA companies out there to help with the process. These types of investments are often expensive, so you don’t want to deal with a questionable provider.
The listed gold IRA companies above are considered the best, and we looked at many factors to determine if the brand was reliable, reputable, and knowledgeable. Here are the things we focused on:
Companies often develop their reputations, positive or negative, for a reason. Therefore, when you search for a brand to facilitate the IRA, it’s crucial to ensure there are plenty of positive customer reviews. You should also look it up on the Better Business Bureau. This organization lets customers write their testimonials and complaints; it then rates them.
A reliable precious metals company will do what it can to gain new clients, so the setup process will be stress-free and easy.
Fees and Prices
Most gold IRA companies charge various fees for the services available. They will cover the cost of opening and maintaining your account.
It’s unwise to choose a company offering free services because you can’t trust that it’s doing things correctly. Likewise, it might not have the knowledge or assistance you need and would get from a high-quality brand.
Selection of Products
Most people open gold IRAs because they want to diversify their investment portfolios. Therefore, you want a company that has a wide selection of products available. Though some on the list only provide gold and silver coins, there are extensive options for each one.
FAQs about Gold IRAs
Are There Downsides to Having an IRA with Gold and Silver?
Gold IRAs offer security for your financial future and can hedge against inflation. Plus, they offer portfolio diversification. However, there are a few drawbacks, including low returns, storage fees, and contribution limits. Likewise, you won’t be able to hold the physical gold in your home.
What’s the Minimum Investment Required for a Silver and Gold IRA?
The IRS doesn’t require you to make a minimum investment amount when you open a gold IRA. However, most gold IRA companies have such requirements, and you must work within them.
It’s wise to search for the requirements on the company websites to ensure that you can afford the investment.
Can I Store the Precious Metals in My Home?
No, it is not possible to store the physical gold bullion in your home if you have invested in a gold IRA. The IRS makes you keep the gold at an IRS-approved storage facility through a custodian, such as a financial institution or depository.
Keeping your gold bullion at home and ignoring the rule qualifies the gold to be a withdrawal or distribution, so there could be tax penalties involved. Likewise, you’ll be required to pay income tax on that distribution, which lowers the value.
Tax audits are also possible if you store your gold at home, which could incur more penalties.
What Gold Coins in an IRA Are Appropriate?
The precious metals purchased for your IRA account have to meet IRS standards for purity and quality. Gold, palladium, and platinum are at 99.5 percent purity, but silver is 99.9 percent pure.
Here are some of the acceptable options:
Chinese Gold Panda Coins
Austrian Gold Philharmonic Coins
American Gold Eagle (proof and bullion)
Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Coins
American Gold Buffalo (only uncirculated)
Australian Nugget or Kangaroo Coins
Is a Gold Self-directed IRA a Good Idea?
Opening a gold IRA could be a wise investment choice for various reasons. Gold is more reliable and will maintain its value during economic uncertainty. Likewise, it’s a liquid investment that is easily sold and bought, allowing for flexibility.
When you invest in gold to have a diversified portfolio, you’re protected from stock market volatility. Traditionally, gold prices will fluctuate in the short term, but it holds value over time and can be an inflation hedge. Likewise, you could minimize your losses when the market takes a downturn.
Gold is also tangible, so investors won’t have to depend on paper assets that are more susceptible to economic factors and inflation.
Is the Gold in a Self-directed Gold IRA Taxed?
Gold is taxed once sold like other investments, and the tax you pay is based on the profit you receive. If you keep the gold for over a year, you’ll pay a capital gains tax on the profit. However, if you’ve held it for less than one year, your sale profit is subjected to income tax rules.
What Are the Gold Bullion IRA Myths I Should Know?
There are various myths about gold IRAs, and here are the most common ones:
A Gold IRA Is a Scam or Pyramid Scheme – This is a misconception. Gold IRAs are legal and safe and can help you invest in gold while diversifying and protecting your portfolio.
Put All Your Eggs in One Basket – Caution is always crucial when investing, but you don’t have to put all of your money into one thing. Gold IRAs offer diversification and can be paired with bonds and stocks to provide a more balanced strategy.
What’s a Gold IRA Rollover?
Many gold IRA companies on the list don’t let you open a new gold IRA account. Instead, you must transfer funds from your existing IRA or withdraw them from an account and deposit them into the gold IRA, which is called a gold IRA rollover.
A gold IRA rollover is still required to conform to the IRS rules. If you roll over funds from your IRA, you can’t hold them in the account for over 60 days before investing them into the new gold IRA. However, a transfer means the funds go directly from one account to the other.
The rollover process is much more complicated, but they are often faster. Plus, you’ll be able to choose the physical gold you want and can spread your portfolio over nontraditional assets.
Can You Put Physical Gold in an IRA?
Yes, but the only way to put physical gold into your IRA is to have a precious metals IRA. This means funding the account with cash or taking funds from your existing IRA or an old account and putting them into a gold IRA.
Final Thoughts on What Is a Gold-backed IRA?
Gold IRA investing is becoming a trend for many investors. If you’re thinking of getting gold and silver, it’s likely a wise decision. Today, you learned about the best gold IRA companies available and even focused on the advantages and drawbacks of a self-directed gold IRA. Now, it’s time to research and start investing!
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