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Best Gold IRA Companies

Those concerned with the lack of predictability in the stock market may want to invest in a gold individual retirement account (IRA). A gold IRA is the same as a traditional IRA, but instead of holding paper assets, it holds gold in coin or bullion form.

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by Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance Contributing Editor
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Best OverallRead Reviews
  • Annual fee: $180
  • Minimum investment: $10,000
  • Metals accepted: Gold, silver, platinum, palladium
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Best for smaller budgetsRead Reviews
  • Annual fee: Waived up to five years
  • Minimum investment: $5,000
  • Metals accepted: Gold, silver, platinum, palladium
LabelCompany nameLogoContactSummary
Best Rated(800) 974-4653 Get a Free Quote Free Kit & Fee IRA Info
  • Annual fee: $180 a year, first year waived
  • Minimum investment: $15,000
  • Metals accepted: Gold, silver, platinum, palladium

Compare Top Gold IRA Company Reviews

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Lear Capital
Read 1,047 Reviews

Charges $180 annual fee for investments up to $100,000. Requires minimum investment of $10,000. Holds gold, silver, platinum and palladium. Precious metals stored at the Delaware Depository. 30-day price guarantee.

American Hartford Gold Group
Read 252 Reviews

Charges varying annual fees and no setup or transfer fees. Requires no minimum contribution for gold IRAs. Holds gold, silver and platinum. Precious metals stored at Brinks and Delaware Depository.

Toll free number (877) 743-6566
Patriot Gold
Read 278 Reviews

Charges $180 annual fee with the first year free. No fees for life on certain qualifying IRAs. Requires minimum investment of $15,000. Accepts gold, silver, platinum and palladium. 24-hour account turnaround.

Visit Website Toll free number (855) 463-2658
Orion Metal Exchange
Read 84 Reviews

Waives annual fees on eligible accounts for up to five years. Requires minimum investment of $5,000. Provides free storage for up to three years through Brinks or Delaware Depository. Specializes in gold and silver.

Noble Gold Investments
Read 146 Reviews

Charges annual fee of $225. Requires $2,000 minimum investment. Accepts gold, silver, platinum and palladium. Precious metals stored at International Depository Services. Offers segregated storage.

Toll free number (877) 646-5347
Advantage Gold
Read 320 Reviews

Charges $100 annually for storage and $75 a year for custodial fees. No minimum investment, but typical amount stored is $50,000. Accepts gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

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Goldco
Read 206 Reviews

Charges $175 annually for investments less than $100,000 and $225 annually for those more than $100,000. Storage fees vary based on custodian. Requires $25,000 investment. Specializes in gold and silver.

JM Bullion
Read 123 Reviews

Charges $75 annual fee for investments less than $100,000 and $125 annual fee for investments more than $100,000. $50 setup fee. Requires minimum investment of $100. Storage preferred through A-M Global Logistics.

Birch Gold Group
Read 100 Reviews

Charges $90 for initial setup fee and varying annual fees.Waives first-year fees for investments over $50,000. Offers up to $10,000 in free gold and silver with qualifying purchases. Holds gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

Red Rock Secured
Read 51 Reviews

Charges storage fees ranging from $125 to $300. Requires minimum investment of $1,500. Holds gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

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What is a gold IRA?

A gold IRA is different from a traditional individual retirement plan because the money put into the account is backed by actual, physical gold. Other than this crucial difference, a gold-backed IRA is not much different from a traditional IRA and can serve as a stable retirement investment. Proponents of gold IRA investments tout the reliable value of gold as opposed to the inconsistent value of paper currency.

With a gold IRA, you don’t hold the gold yourself — it’s stored in a secure depository. If you want to buy gold directly and store it yourself, you can buy gold from a gold dealer. It’s possible to store other precious metals in an IRA, including silver, platinum and palladium. You can find more information about what’s accepted by reading the official gold IRA guidelines from the IRS.

How does a gold IRA work?

A gold or precious metals IRA is a retirement account that includes physical gold or other approved metals. Gold IRAs allow you to diversify your retirement portfolio. They function like traditional IRAs, but gold IRAs let you invest your savings in coins and bars as opposed to paper assets. The steps below spell out the process of setting up and holding a gold IRA account.

  1. Find a brokerage and custodian to manage your gold IRA account. A brokerage buys the gold that backs the funds in your account. The custodian, or trustee, sets up and manages the account. Potential custodians include banks, credit unions, loan associations or other organizations with federal or state approval. If you work with a gold IRA company listed on this guide, you don’t need to worry about finding a broker and custodian. The company fills these roles or works with another company that does, which saves you work. If you are less interested in having a gold IRA and more interested in storing gold yourself, you can buy gold directly.
  2. Expect to pay a few upfront fees. There’s more involved to setting up a gold IRA account than depositing money into it. There are specific commission fees, and it’s worth your time to shop around and compare pricing. Some typical gold IRA fees include:
    1. Account setup: A custodian typically charges a one-time processing fee for setting up your gold IRA account. These usually range from $50 to $100.
    2. Storage fees: The depositories that hold your gold charge a yearly fee, and your gold IRA administrator typically passes this fee onto you. Most depositories charge an annual storage fee of $100 to $150.
    3. Annual maintenance fee: Because your account’s custodian continues taking care of various tasks to keep the account running, they usually charge a yearly maintenance fee. Expect to pay $75 to $225 annually for a maintenance fee
  3. Deposit money into the account. Next, you deposit funds into the gold IRA account. Most gold IRA companies have a required initial minimum investment. This can be as high as $15,000 or as low as $100, but it typically ranges from $2,000 to $5,000. Either way, be sure you’re aware of a company’s account minimum. You can roll over savings into your gold IRA account. There are strict IRS rules to follow with this, but it isn’t difficult to do. There are no gold IRA rollover fees, and the rollover is not subject to taxes. Also, be aware of the contribution limits for gold IRA accounts. For 2020, the annual contribution limit set by the IRS is $6,000. If you are 50 or older, the limit is $7,000. You can stay up to date on IRA contribution limits by reading documentation on contribution limits from the IRS.
  4. Withdraw your cash at the appropriate time. If you want to access your money before the age of 59½, you must contact your custodian or trustee and fill out the necessary forms. You are also subject to a 10% penalty for early withdrawal. Whenever you withdraw funds, you must pay taxes on the funds unless you have a gold Roth IRA. Once you reach the age of 70½, you’re subject to required minimum distributions, which means you have to withdraw a certain amount from your IRA accounts each year. It can often be less attractive to withdraw from gold IRAs since it might not be a good time to sell the gold backing it, but you can withdraw money from other IRA accounts you have instead.

What is IRA-eligible gold?

Gold must meet specific standards set by the IRS to be eligible for use in a gold IRA account. It must meet minimum purity requirements, not be considered highly collectible and come from a U.S. mint or an approved foreign mint. Other precious metals are eligible for IRA accounts, including silver, platinum and palladium. The following are acceptable precious metals for gold IRA accounts:

  • Gold: Gold is the most popular investment when it comes to precious metals. For this reason, some brokers focus only on gold stock. Gold might come in the form of bullion or coins, including the American Gold Eagle bullion coins.
  • Bullion stock: Bullion brokers may deal in a range of precious metals, but they do so only in bullion form. Bullion metals are crafted into pure bars or coins with a specific weight.
  • Collectible coins: Collectible coins are a popular form of bullion because they are beautiful, sometimes rare and may even rise in value over time more than raw bars of gold, silver or other precious metals. However, investing in collectible coins can result in higher entry costs and questionable long-term value, so be wary of these risks and do your research before investing.
  • Gold futures and options: There are investment companies that focus on call and put options, which means they sell you the right to buy or sell gold at a specific price at a particular time. Although risky, these options may bring higher returns.
  • Company investment options: You may wish to invest in mining operations instead of bullion or coins, but not every brokerage company features options for gold mine investors.

Other IRA-approved precious metals

  • Silver: Silver is the second-most common type of precious metal used in IRA accounts after gold.
  • Palladium: Palladium was discovered in 1803 and named after Pallas, an asteroid that drew its moniker from the Greek goddess Athena. Palladium, which resembles platinum in appearance, tripled in value between 2016 and 2019.
  • Platinum: Platinum can be stored in coin or bar form and must meet a 99.95% purity level to qualify for IRA storage. It can be stored in conjunction with gold, silver and other precious metals.

Gold IRA questions

Is a gold IRA a good investment?
Generally speaking, gold prices move in the opposite direction from traditional paper investments. Long-term, having gold in your portfolio is a way of hedging your bets in case inflation devalues your other retirement investments. A perfect example of this was the 2008 financial crisis — the market started favoring gold when other investment returns were dropping.

Another reason to invest in gold is its track record. When looking at gold prices over 10-, 20- or 30-year increments and in the worst economic situations, you’ll notice the price has steadily increased. Some investors also see gold as a standard investment in a world of overly complicated money moves. Although most investors agree not to spend too much on a gold IRA, many believe supplementing your portfolio with a modest investment in gold is a wise decision. It won’t pay dividends like some other investments, but it’s a good choice for those looking for stability.

Is gold a safe investment?
Overall, gold is a safe and stable investment. For those interested in purchasing gold, it’s important to remember the risks as well as the rewards. For instance, gold is a wonderful counter to your other market investments — if the stock market is doing poorly, gold has a habit of outperforming. However, the flip-side of this is gold’s traditional slump when stocks are doing well. If you are interested in backing your IRA with gold, here are a few things to remember:
  • Fluctuating gold prices: Like any investment, the price of gold goes through fluctuations associated with other markets. Although more constant, gold prices still go up and down.
  • It is a physical investment asset: As stated above, gold is a physical investment. Because of this, there is always the chance of theft. Even placing your gold in an insured depository doesn’t mean it cannot be taken through burglary or fraud.
  • Gold storage costs: Unlike paper investments, gold needs to be stored, so consider the associated fees.
What is a gold IRA rollover?
A gold IRA rollover allows investors to move their retirement savings from a 401(k) or profit-sharing plan into a gold IRA that is backed with a physical asset — in this case, gold. The process of rolling over your investment to a gold IRA is very strict and must follow IRS rules. The benefits of a gold IRA rollover include:
  • It’s tax-free: Brokers that facilitate rollovers can do it so that your initial investments remain tax-free.
  • There are no fees: Most brokers offer no-fee rollovers, so ask if you aren't sure of their rules.
  • It’s simple to do: Investment professionals can make rollovers very simple, quick and easy.
Can I take physical possession of gold in my IRA?
No. During your IRA term, gold must be stored in an IRS-approved facility or bank. You could be subject to high penalties if you store gold from your IRA in your home.

At the end of your IRA term, you can liquidate your gold assets for cash or take possession of your gold without penalty.

Can I use my IRA to buy gold?
You can convert your IRA funds by withdrawing them. Make sure you’re familiar with the terms of your IRA before withdrawing funds, though. Some accounts are subject to penalties or taxes for early withdrawals.
Can you hold precious metals in an IRA?
Yes, but not in a traditional IRA. In a gold IRA or other precious metals IRA, you can hold gold, silver, platinum and palladium that meets specific standards.
Can I have more than one IRA?
Yes. You can keep a traditional IRA and also open a gold IRA or other precious metal IRA.

Gold investment tips

Purchase high-quality gold assets

Unlike paper assets, gold is a tangible commodity. Because of this, the condition and quality of gold factors into its worth as an investment. Disreputable brokers buy damaged metals and resell them at the price of pristine stock, so check the gold quality before purchasing.

Gold bullion is valued on its weight, so scratched or damaged bars and coins are less valuable than they would be in as-new condition. Only accept the stock if it weighs what the manufacturer intended.

Follow the IRS’ gold IRA rules

Rare and collectible gold coins offer unique investment opportunities, but their worth and legitimacy must be checked. The IRS has specific requirements for what types of gold bullion are acceptable to be held in a gold IRA.

Work with an experienced gold IRA investor

When backing your IRA with gold, be sure to choose a qualified advisor. An assigned gold investment advisor is familiar with your existing portfolio or finances and can provide personal advice. Always research the following when searching for gold IRA companies:

  1. Look for a history of transparent transactions: Gold IRA investors should choose companies that complete transactions honestly and transparently.
  2. Read gold IRA reviews: Spend time reading online reviews from clients to learn more about their experience with the company.
  3. Make sure your investors use up-to-date values: The market value of gold, silver, metal and mining companies fluctuates regularly, which means that posted sales prices need to be updated frequently.
  4. Always request detailed receipts: Detailed receipts are necessary to prove or disprove the true value of any precious metals that have been sold or purchased, especially at the date and time of purchase.

Look for a gold IRA company with secure storage

Your gold needs to be stored in a secure location. Brinks and Delaware Depository are two trusted depositories used by several companies listed on our guide. Do your research and ensure that the depository where your precious metals are stored meets your standards. You should be confident your gold is secure.

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    Gold IRA reviews

    Noble Gold Investments

    Noble Gold Investments is a gold and precious metal brokerage firm based in California that specializes in purchases of gold, silver, platinum and palladium as well as rollover IRA accounts. They can facilitate your purchase of precious metals, and they also maintain and administer Gold IRA accounts.

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    Red Rock Secured

    Red Rock Secured is a brokerage firm specializing in precious metals. The company is headquartered in Marina Del Rey, California and was founded in 2009.

    Read More
    United Gold Direct

    Based in Westlake Village, California, United Gold Direct is a team of expert precious metal asset managers and gold dealers. Specialists at this company deal with various retirement investments and precious metal options. Managers at this company have 25 years of experience in the industry.

    • Competitive and transparent pricing: At United Gold Direct, all shipping and insurance fees are included at the beginning of the investment purchase with no hidden expenses. The company is also dedicated to providing the best quality service and products for an affordable price.
    • Reliable shipping: Physical orders are shipped via a registered and insured service by the U.S. Post Office. Packages will be tracked and signed for at every step of the journey, including point of delivery.
    • Coins for purchase: Special gold and silver coins are available through United Gold Direct, which can add value to the bullion over time.
    • Fully-vetted precious metals: Every precious metal that is purchased or sold through UGD has been thoroughly inspected by knowledgeable, experienced staff to ensure its value.
    • Storage options: Purchasers can choose to have their gold and silver delivered to their door or have it shipped to affiliated company Delaware Depository for safekeeping.
    • Best for: Good for savers because the focus of the company is to provide high-value products plus storage, making the transaction quick and easy for those unused to investing.
    American Bullion

    American Bullion is dedicated to providing a diverse set of options when it comes to precious metal investment. Experts at this company specialize in gold and silver IRAs, including special collector's coins in each type of metal.

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    Fortress Gold Group

    The Fortress Gold Group is a precious metal brokerage company that believes investors should be engaged with their investments. The company allows clients to invest their IRAs or buy gold, silver and platinum coins.

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    Regal Assets

    Transfer or convert your existing retirement account into gold. This company offers 7-day guaranteed shipping for direct purchases of physical precious metals and off-shore storage options to skirt taxes and penalties. They can also buy back gold on any business day, so you can have your cash back in your pocket within 24 hours.

    • Gold Bullion: Buy gold bars weighing from one gram to one kilo, including popular 10-ounce 99.99 percent pure gold bars from the Swiss National Bank with embossed finish.
    • Gold Coins: Gold American Eagle and American Buffalo coins, plus Canadian Maple Leaf coins, Austrian Philharmonic, Chinese Panda, South African Krugerrand and Gold Britannia coins are available.
    • Merchant Package: For the individual who wants to invest in precious metals, this $5,000 reserve of gold or silver can be liquidated at any time.
    • Knighthood Package: A package designed for an investor with a family, this $10,000 security of gold or silver can be liquidated to support a family of four for an average of three months.
    • Customer Education: Provides free resources to keep investors informed.
    • Storage: Local and overseas options.

    Compare Top Gold IRA Company Reviews

    APMEX
    Read 87 Reviews

    Charges $75 annually for a gold IRA. Setup fee is $50, and storage fee is $100 a year. Requires minimum investment of $2,000. Stores precious metals in Delaware Depository.

    Bitvest IRA
    Read 17 Reviews

    Bitvest IRA is a company dedicated to mining Bitcoins for use in an IRA. You buy Bitcoins at a discounted rate for deferred delivery. You can choose among several options for Bitcoin purchases.

    Monex Gold
    Read 13 Reviews

    Charges varying fees based on affiliated custodians’ setup, storage and additional fees. Offers discounts through Atlas account program. Specializes in gold and silver.

    Fortress Gold Group
    Read Reviews

    Charges $275 to set up a gold IRA. Requires minimum investment of $10,000. Stores precious metals in Brinks storage.

    Kitco
    Read Reviews

    Offers discounts on investments of more than $100,000. Setup and other fees vary by custodian. Storage fee is $150 annually. Stores precious metals at Brinks. Works with 10 gold IRA custodians.

    American Bullion

    Charges $25 setup fee, $160 annual fee and $100 annual storage fee. Requires minimum investment of $10,000. Stores precious metals at Delaware Depository.

    Regal Assets
    Read Expert Review

    Offers transfers and conversions for gold IRAs. Stores precious metals domestically or overseas. Can buy back gold on any business day. Offers gold bullion, gold coin and other precious metals.

    United Gold Direct
    Read Expert Review

    Charges $75 setup fee, $95 annual fee and $100 annual storage fee. Requires minimum investment of $5,000. Stores precious metals at Delaware Depository.

    by Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance Contributing Editor

    Barbara Friedberg, MBA, MS is a former investment portfolio manager with decades of financial experience. Friedberg taught Finance and Investments at several universities. Her work has been featured in U.S. News & World Report, Investopedia, Yahoo!Finance and many more publications.

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