If you had the opportunity to give your wealth long-term protection, minimize your broadest risks, and diversify your portfolio at the same time, would you seize on that chance?
A gold individual retirement account, or IRA, is one way to potentially achieve all three of these goals at the same time. Investing in precious metals can be a savvy move, but a gold IRA might be even smarter.
Plenty of financial institutions offers their clients gold IRA accounts. So, you have options. However, you need to study those options prior to investing in any of them.
Analysis you study on your own help you learn both the risks and benefits. This can help you have educated conversations with your financial advisor. Then, you can make an informed decision about if these are right for you and which ones are the best to look into.
Most gold IRA companies can help you invest retirement funds in precious metals.
However, some of them stand out above the rest for their customer service, educational resources, ease of access, and fee structures. The following are seven we think are worth a look.
The table below shows our top three picks. We strongly recommend you request their free kit to learn more about gold IRA investing and what services these companies provide.
Best for beginners
A+ BBB Grade
Available metals: Gold & Silver
Best overall option
A+ BBB Grade
Available metals: Gold & Silver
A great alternative
A+ BBB Grade
Gold, Silver, Platinum & Palladium
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Goldco
- 2 2. Augusta Precious Metals
- 3 3. Birch Gold Group
- 4 4. Regal Assets
- 5 5. Noble Gold
- 6 6. American Hartford Gold
- 7 7. Patriot Gold Group
- 8 Our Top Picks
- 9 Frequently Asked Questions
- 9.1 What are gold IRAs anyway?
- 9.2 How has gold done in past years?
- 9.3 How do I avoid scams in this sector?
- 9.4 Why should I open up a gold IRA account?
- 9.5 Is it better to get gold coins or bullion?
- 9.6 Do I have to do only gold in a gold IRA?
- 9.7 Do I need to meet a minimum investment?
- 9.8 What gold IRA is the best one?
- 9.9 Can I store my gold at home?
- 9.10 Is this the best method of investing in gold?
Goldco Precious Metals might just be the best of the best. Their account reps do more than anyone else to give clients and prospects alike every single piece of information they need to make educated choices. The customer support here is second to none.
Investment information here is presented in a tremendously organized fashion. It’s also presented with serious objectivity. This helps individuals know they can trust what they’re being presented.
This company has been in operation since 2006. It has made a name for itself in several different ways. However, premiere support service is the biggest argument of all for using them.
From establishing an account to individual transactions, clients enjoy “white-glove service”. That includes having individual access to a particular specialist at every point in the process.
This consumer-centric focus has earned Goldco stellar feedbacks on Trustpilot and Consumer Affairs.
The educational resources are multifaceted. A thorough list of videos is available, as are multiple e-books. However, Goldco also keeps a detailed blog covering many different investment topics.
- Great for anyone wanting world class assistance
- Lots of educational resources
- New accounts get 10% back in silver coins
- Competitive rates
- Requirements for minimum investments
2. Augusta Precious Metals
Most gold IRA businesses will claim their fee structures are low in cost. However, not many actually reveal all of the potential costs. With Augusta Precious Metals, you actually do get both.
This business is family-owned. They opened in 2012, and they’ve staked their reputation on integrity and transparency. New members get a 100% money-back guarantee, fair amount guarantees, and seven-day value protection.
Augusta serves member storage needs through the Delaware Depository. Accounts are self-directed to avoid management fees. If you want out, their acquire-back program is among the best in the industry.
Support service through Augusta is generally high in caliber. Member ratings are reflective of that. Account creation and transactions are easy to accomplish with helpful specialists, although there are no purchases online.
Augusta does have a few drawbacks, however. You can’t invest in palladium or platinum here. Also, the minimum investment for creating a gold IRA has a high minimum threshold.
- Transparent rates
- Low value structure
- Fair-amount guarantees
- Money-back assurance
- No purchases online
- Minimum investment levels not clear
- No palladium or platinum options
3. Birch Gold Group
Birch Gold Group started in 2003. Headquartered in Burbank, California, the company features a comprehensive group of commodity dealers, financial advisors, and wealth managers. They’ve collectively established one of the industry’s most trusted names.
The company boasts two crucial aspects of any player in the precious metals sector. First, their reputation for performance is as solid as it gets. Second, they enjoy tremendous market credibility.
Investors can get into gold, palladium, silver, or platinum. They can do this for either personal possession or IRA investments. Birch Gold Group has an IRA department that specializes in precious metal IRAs or rollover accounts.
Member education is a strong priority at Birch. Every person can learn the advantages and disadvantages of precious metals and investing in them. They can also learn how to meet their specific objectives.
- Effective customer service
- Hard asset IRAs are available
- Emphasis on education and communication
- High user ratings
- Limited selection of additional bars and coins
- High minimum amounts for some investments
- Some potentially hidden fees
4. Regal Assets
Regal Assets is a strong contender for anyone looking to roll over previous IRA assets into a gold IRA. Most of their business is just IRA rollovers. They’ve been specializing in this for over a decade.
Strong investor ratings and a competitive pricing structure help support the business model of Regal Assets. This company has some of the highest levels of expertise in terms of IRA rollovers and transfers. The company also now avoids any charges for this service.
Many sites give this company positive feedback. The Business Consumer Reliance gives them a AAA rating. However, they have yet to be analyzed or rated by Consumer Affairs.
The fee structures here are very simple to understand and quite transparent. The service and storage fee is a flat $250 per year. That fee also includes segregated storage, and it’s lower than many other firms.
Regal Assets provides a vast pool of educational resources you can use on your own to learn things. However, the IRA specialists will work with you from the very start. They’ll also be there for you your whole time with them.
- Good choice for IRA rollovers
- No fees for IRA transfers or rollovers
- Flat storage and annual service fees
- Ongoing member support
- Unable to do online acquiring
- Minimum investments might apply
5. Noble Gold
Noble Gold has been around since only 2016. However, it’s earned a place in the hearts of many new investors. This is due to a very extensive selection of educational resources and low requirements for minimum investments.
Noble Gold has also proven itself for how well it handles its members. Consumer Affairs rates them at 5 stars. The BCA granted them a BB rating, noting that just one complaint in three years was handled satisfactorily by the business.
Prospective clients enjoy an initial consultation so the company can learn about the investor’s goals, needs, and preferences.
Once you actually invest with Noble Gold, you are assigned an advisor you can trust for guidance and education. They perform this role without pressuring you with their sales tactics.
Fees here aren’t the lowest, but they do prove competitive. There’s no fee for setting up an account, but annual service fees do apply. There is also an annual storage fee.
Noble Gold enjoys an extensive network of suppliers and partners. They also give their members a buy-back service with no questions asked. International Depository Services handles the storage under insurance coverage from Lloyd’s of London.
- Great for smaller investors
- Deep pool of educational resources
- Flat fees for service and storage
- Low minimum investment requirement
- Low account balances face disportionately high annual fees
6. American Hartford Gold
Based in Los Angeles, American Hartford Gold has less than a decade of operations underneath its belt. However, in that time, they’ve made a name for themselves among investors. Their Trustpilot rating is 4.9 out of 5.0 stars, and their Better Business Bureau rating is A+.
The company website is a great place to track the value of precious metals. Enjoy dedicated sections for platinum, silver, and gold. There is also a steady feed of useful market news.
Opening an account is easy. You can get assistance over the phone or online. The representatives are well-informed and communicated clearly.
Despite being a relative newcomer to the field, American Hartford Gold is perhaps leading the pack in terms of assistance. The high level of positive opinions across multiple platforms indicates this to be their strength.
That makes them a good option if you are looking for a place that will treat you really well as an adherent.
Do be aware of the annual fee, however. Once your account is open, the fee is $180 flat. That’s also an annual fee you will be responsible for every year after.
- Tremendous user ratings
- A+ from the BBB
- Adherent get-back commitment
- $180 annual fee
7. Patriot Gold Group
Patriot Gold Group dates back to 1986 in Los Angeles. Since then, then this family-owned business has made a name for itself in being a dealer-direct company. Members using this platform don’t pay the fees they might through investor-direct options.
Customer service is another big thing with Patriot Gold Group. They have a 5-star rating through Consumer Affairs, 4.6 out of 5.0 through Trustpilot, and A+ with the Better Business Bureau.
Their otherwise stellar reputation is somewhat marred by you having to contact them directly for account details.
Investor-direct value means you skip the normal fees associated with coin or bullion investments in gold, silver, palladium, and platinum.
Avoiding retail fees and working directly with owners means more of your money actually goes into the investment itself. That boosts your potential yield over time.
Account managers are heavily involved in any client needs. This happens from setting up an account all the way through individual transactions.
As they get to know you, they can learn your financial objectives to make the best suggestions for you and your needs.
Patriot Gold Group doesn’t stop with personal customer service. The company has a library of educational resources available. There are also several ways to avoid the annual fee of $180.
- Investor-direct value
- A+ rating with the BBB
- Accounts more than $100,000 avoid annual fees
- Veteran group of market experts
- Online website form necessary to get effective information
- Minimum investment level is mandatory
Our Top Picks
Each of these seven options bring different investors good choices for precious metal investments. However, there are two that we think to stand out above the rest. Those are Goldco and Augusta.
Goldco is arguably the best option in the industry. Nobody else’s account reps are going to do more for you, and the investment education available is better than most. This company’s “white-glove service” makes life easy.
We also hold a very high opinion of Augusta. You deserve transparent amount and low fees. This company delivers both.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have questions about gold IRAs in general? You’re far from the first. We’ve answered many questions before, so here are some answers to questions you might not even know you have yet.
What are gold IRAs anyway?
Gold individual retirement accounts are a subclass of IRAs in general. These are specialized IRAs intended to hold investments in precious metals.
They have the usual IRA advantage of allowing pre-tax contributions and enjoying tax-deferred accumulations and investment earnings.
Did you know you could convert your 401(k) account into gold? Refer to our guide on how to rollover a 401(k) plan to a physical gold IRA for more details.
Gold IRAs have the same income and contribution limits as other IRAs. However, a gold IRA only holds physical gold and various other approved metals instead of stocks, funds, bonds, ETFs, and cash equivalents.
You never actually hold your gold in your personal possession, as the IRS requires it to be held in a designated depository.
Not all gold or silver coins or bullion qualify. They must meet the IRS guidelines for metal “fineness”. Reputable gold IRA businesses know what is and isn’t acceptable.
How has gold done in past years?
Does hearing about gold’s strong performance over time actually make you suspicious of its reality? Proponents of gold certainly like to hype out how well it’s done. It’s understandable if you want to have some idea of how well it really performs.
We’ll be honest in telling you that it goes up and down. Any investment class will. Also, past performance doesn’t accurately predict future performance.
Having said that, we’ll also tell you that gold value have gone up a lot over the last several decades. While a few dips happened here and there, gold is worth just under $2,000 an ounce at the time of writing, which is 10x what it was in the early 1970s.
If you look over all historical data, you’ll see that the equity market generally enjoys better returns than either gold or silver. Then again, those two metals outperformed the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 for the first two decades of the new millennium.
How do I avoid scams in this sector?
Are you worried about losing money instead of making it? There are unfortunately shady players in this sector. The seven companies we analyzed above are definitely above board, and so are many others.
Warning signs of shady players include really pushy sales tactics. They might also hype up “collectible” or “rare coins”, which are unlikely to be on the IRS-approved list. Contracts will also be misleading or murky in their wordage.
The worst companies actually sell IRAs that are totally fake. They put your funds into unknown accounts, and others actually fake their gold acquisition. In either case, they funnel your money into their pockets.
Why should I open up a gold IRA account?
Investing in precious metals is a good move for several reasons, including:
- Portfolio Diversification: It’s risky to put all of your investment funds into a single asset or class. A portfolio with precious metals has an additional layer of diversification.
- Inflation Protection: Anytime the American dollar loses value, your acquiring power goes with it. Gold investments usually give a counterbalance to this since they outpace the dollar value over time.
- Growth: the value of gold tends to go up a lot more than it goes down. This is a generally safe investment vehicle that handles serious market downturns and volatility quite well.
- Security: Gold can be a strong safe haven to protect portfolio value from economic downturns if you are close to retirement.
Is it better to get gold coins or bullion?
If you invest in a gold IRA, you can have bullion, or you can get sovereign coins. They’re both generally valued similarly, in that their value is the spot amount multiplied by their ounces. However, gold sovereign coins could be the better pick.
Famous sovereign coins include the Canadian Maple Leaf and the American Eagle. Their popularity makes them easy to recognize and trade, so they command higher premiums than bullion bars.
Small bullion bars can face higher markups and difficulty in selling back. Larger bullion bars are usually better off for institutional investors. All of this can be negated by using a gold IRA company that has a client-friendly acquire back policy for bullion.
Do I have to do only gold in a gold IRA?
These accounts are self-directed in nature, so you can pick other things. Precious metal IRAs can also invest in silver, palladium, and platinum. What you can’t do are collectibles and other items.
See what type of asset you can hold within a self-directed IRA here.
Do I need to meet a minimum investment?
There are no minimum investment requirements per IRS regulations. They do have annual maximums, however. Specific financial institutions might have their own minimum investment levels.
IRS rules about maximum investments vary based on your circumstances. They’re typically age-dependent. As a general rule of thumb, they max out at $7,000 each year.
What gold IRA is the best one?
We think that Goldco Precious Metals and Augusta Precious Metals are the top two choices among the best seven we rated earlier. Having said that, the one perfect for you might vary based on differenct factors, including:
- Initial transfer fees
- Setup fees
- Storage fees
- Service fees
- Help desk availability
- Knowledge and educational resources
- Previous member feedback
Can I store my gold at home?
Storing gold in your own home certainly has some appeal, doesn’t it? You’d know for sure no one stole it. You’d also know that it didn’t get mixed up with anyone else’s stash.
Unfortunately, the IRS doesn’t let home gold count for a gold IRA. The entire role of a gold IRA business is facilitating the IRA account in acquiring gold bullion or coins. Investors might find custodians and secure depositories.
Reputable gold IRA companies only work with vetted storage firms and secure depositories.
Some gold IRA businesses even have thoroughly established relationships with many depositories. In the best cases, your gold IRA company will even handle insurance coverage and transportation logistics.
Is this the best method of investing in gold?
You can invest in gold in many different ways. This is just one of them. However, before you dive in, you want to make sure it’s the best way, right?
There’s no clear-cut answer that’s the same for everyone. Numerous different factors determine whether or not this is a good move for you.
You’re totally allowed to acquire gold and other precious metals outside of a specific IRA.
If you do it that way, you won’t have to deal with IRS restrictions about what you own or how you store it, there will be no storage or custodial fees, and you can get better capital gains tax rates if you hold the metals for at least a year.
A second thing you should know is that physical gold will not generate any income. If you’re in retirement, that’s pretty important. Gold can only generate income if it’s liquidated into funds you can withdraw.
A retiree closing in on age 72 has to have enough liquidity in a retirement account. They will face mandatory minimum distributions. That might mean selling off portions of their gold investments.
Retirees who invest too heavily in gold can have problems resulting from this. To prevent it, a gold IRA should only be one part of a broadly diversified portfolio. A gold IRA can be a useful inflation hedge.
Third, younger investors might do better with conventional IRAs. Gold IRAs often have minimum requirements too high for early investors. They can still benefit from gold, however, by investing in gold mining shares or gold ETFs among other gold equivalents.