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There is no tougher decision to make with your retirement nest egg, then choosing the right company that will help you safely rollover a portion of your funds to gold and silver. After countless hours of research and working with companies directly, I've included the best gold IRA companies that I recommend and trust. (for any retiree or investor).

Compare Top Gold IRA Companies in 2021

#1
Goldco logo

Our Partner

  • Best overall precious metals company
  • Exceptional customer service
  • Low yearly fees
  • Outstanding customer reviews
  • #2
    Noble Gold Investments Logo

    Our Partner

    • Best in education & customer satisfaction
    • Low minimum investment
    • Low yearly fees
    • Outstanding customer reviews
    #3
    Birch Gold logo

    Our Partner

    • A+ BBB rating
    • Over 7,000+ customers
    • In business over 15+ years
    • Outstanding customer reviews
    #4
    American Hartford Gold logo

    Our Partner

    • Low investment minimum
    • Low yearly fees
    • A+ BBB rating
    • Outstanding customer reviews
    #5
    advantage gold logo 1

    Our Partner

    • Best in customer service
    • U.S. Mint listed dealer
    • Low yearly fees
    • Outstanding customer reviews
    #6
    Augusta Precious Metals logo

    Our Partner

    • Award winning company
    • Committed to transparency
    • Lifetime customer service
    • Outstanding customer reviews
    #7
    Regal Assets logo

    Our Partner

    • Impressive reputation
    • Flat fees
    • Exceptional customer service
    • Outstanding customer reviews

    Quick Summary: There's a lot of ways to invest your money. One of the most unique and least understood is the precious metal market, and more specifically, gold IRAs. We take a look at this non-traditional IRA to see if its the right place to invest your some of your retirement funds.

    Best Gold Investment Companies Reviewed

    Goldco Precious Metals - Best Overall

    Goldco icon

    Goldco Precious Metals offers a self-directed gold Individual Retirement Account, which is an investment tool, as well as a direct purchase of gold. Goldco was founded in 2006, giving it longevity, even among competitors. 

    When you sign up, a Goldco IRA account executive helps you start the process and meet your investment goals.

    The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and has been ranked by Inc. 5000 as one of the fastest-growing privately-owned companies in the U.S.

    Pros

    • Highest rating from multiple organizations for reliability and honesty.
    • No penalties or additional investment required besides quoted price.
    • Seniority, with a history going back to 2006.

    Cons

    • No direct sales.
    • You must call or email the company to get started.

    Noble Gold Investments - Best Education

    Noble Gold icon

    Based in Pasadena, California, Noble Gold Investments provides a safe and easy way to invest in gold. The company volunteers to protect your future by offering a gold IRA account and acquiring and storing bullion in their Texas-based depository.

    The International Depository Services is the site that physically stores your gold. However, the company still offers the same gold IRA rollover process, transforming your retirement account into a gold IRA.

    You can get a gold survival pack delivered to you, or have it forwarded, or collect it in person if your circumstances require. With favorable ratings from the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Affairs Accredited, and Business Consumer Alliance, Noble Gold Investments’ reputation is solid. 

    Noble Gold Investments also promotes education of how gold investment and IRAs work, offering a free kit explaining the process to its clients.

    Pros

    • Simple five-minute process to get started with an IRA gold account.
    • Offers a buy-back program to its clients if their circumstances change.
    • Get a free guide that teaches you how to protect your assets, by rolling over a 401k.

    Cons

    • A relatively new company, though with experienced CEOs running it.
    • You must call or email the company to get started.

    Birch Gold Group - Best Customer Empowerment

    Birch Gold Group icon

    Birch Gold Group believes in empowering its clients to meet all objectives and motivations when investing in gold. The company offers educational resources, empathetic customer service, and an ethical and transparent process. 

    Birch Gold was founded way back in 2003 and still keeps a stellar reputation, even having a celebrity clientele list, including Ben Shapiro. Located in Burbank, California, the company shows its high rankings with the BBB, Google Business, and Consumer Affairs.

    You can chat with a specialist who will explain the latest news in the stock market and how it might affect gold prices and your IRA. The thorough process empowers you to make educated decisions about retirement goals, fully understanding the risks and growth potential.

    Pros

    • An excellent one-on-one process, where specialists explain gold investment.
    • Wide range of gold IRAs with metals from around the world.
    • Frequent updates of the financial market and transparent explanation of all fees.

    Cons

    • Averagely high set up charges and annual fees, which are not explained onsite.
    • The company only does business in the U.S., which not all investors will appreciate.

    American Hartford Gold - Best Client Satisfaction

    American Hartford Gold icon

    American Hartford Gold was started with the intent to help Americans avoid market volatility after retirement. With high ratings from the Business Consumer Alliance and Google Business, they have a fine reputation. 

    The company even received the Better Business Bureau's annual five-star rating three times in a row. Hartford Gold provides research and education and market news, and a consultation with a Senior Portfolio Manager who helps teach you about the market. 

    The company helps clients establish a gold IRA account with a qualified custodian, with no tax penalties.

    Hartford Gold also features gold coins on-site and has been featured on mainstream news sites like Forbes, Fox News, and The Wall Street Journal. 

    The company is also actively involved in charity, giving to three veteran organizations with its profits.

    Pros

    • Lifetime client support with a guarantee of customer satisfaction.
    • Free precious metals storage with the purchase.
    • Low annual fees and buyback guarantee.

    Cons

    • Does not publish enough gold price information.

    Advantage Gold - Best Customer Service

    Advantage Gold icon

    Advantage Gold claims to be the industry leader in precious metal IRA rollovers, and since the company won the Best of TrustLink Prize three years in a row, it's hard to deny their success. 

    The Los Angeles-based company can convert IRA or 401k accounts into gold and educate clients during every step of the way. 

    The customer service for Advantage Gold has been ranked high, not only for generous buyback policies, but also for promptness, full-service customer assistance, and thousands of positive reviews. 

    Not only does the company have a favorable rating from the Better Business Bureau, but they also verify positive reviews by way of TrustLink and TrustPilot.

    Pros

    • Customer service helps with educating clients, explaining how an investment works.
    • Also provides an extensive online resources page for more gold investment reading.
    • Get a free guide that teaches you how to protect your assets, by rolling over a 401k.

    Cons

    • Founded fairly recently, in 2014.
    • No direct online purchase.

    Augusta Precious Metals - Best Customer Experience

    Augusta Precious Metals icon

    Augusta Precious Metals offers a "partner" in gold IRA investment, a team that will help educate you on market conditions and protect your savings. Since 2012, the company has been offering knowledgeable and education-focused investment opportunities to its clientele.

    Citing celebrity clientele, like Joe Montana, and high ratings from the likes of Google Business, Facebook Business, the National Ethics Association, and the BBB, the company seeks to empower its customers. 

    Augusta offers four departments devoted to giving you the best customer experience, including a customer success agent, an economic analytics team that helps with studying the market, a processing team that handles the legal work, and the order desk, which lets you choose metals. 

    Staff also helps with 95 percent of the legal paperwork, including transfer and rollover forms.

    Pros

    • Augusta offers phone and webchat for client education.
    • Company waives fees for the first year.
    • Four departments devoted to a great customer experience.

    Cons

    • No online orders.
    • High minimum orders, $25,000 for cash purchases and $100,000 for IRA.

    Regal Assets - Best Product Offerings

    Regal Assets logo

    Regal Assets claims to have one of the "highest rating profiles" in the industry for its almost ten-year history, citing praise from Inc 500, Forbes, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, and even celebrities like Dennis Miller and Laura Ingraham.

    The company helps clients transfer IRA or 401k accounts and 403(b), SEP, and TSP plans. What makes Regal Assets unique is that clients get additional product offerings not available elsewhere. 

    You can get segregated metal storage worldwide at a low cost (no shared ownership), fully insured assets, as well as the right to have gold bullion delivered to your front door anywhere in the world since affiliated vaults are located in various worldwide cities. 

    You also get a low flat rate for your account's life, not a percentage of your investment. These products, along with full-time surveillance and guarded vault protection, make Regal one of the world's most recognized gold investment firms.

    Pros

    • Worldwide delivery with a secure system.
    • Lifetime flat rate of $250 per year.
    • Private, insured and segregated storage in your name.

    Cons

    • Fairly high minimum of $5000 to start.
    • Some complaints of higher-than-average gold prices.

    For those wanting to secure their financial future the marketplace includes a multitude of options: the litany of employer-provided 401(k) options including 403(b)s, health savings accounts, cash balance pension plans, non-qualified annuities, and of course the alphabet soup of IRAs - traditional IRA, Simple IRA, SEP IRA, and Roth IRA.

    Add to that latter group one more option - the gold IRA.

    While investing in gold IRA's is a much-discussed topic in certain circles - they have a prevalence for advertising on certain cable channels.

    It remains outside of the mainstream and one of the least understood options for investing.

    Some of the most common questions, aside from what, exactly, is a gold IRA, include:

    • Is investing in a gold IRA a wise use of my retirement funds?
    • Is the precious metal market much too volatile to be a suitable place for my money?
    • Is the gold market simply just a scam to drain me of my hard earned retirement funds?

    While plenty of questions surround gold IRAs and their respective lists of risks and rewards, there are also plenty of answers.

    In this Guide to Investing in a gold IRA we detail both the up- and downsides to gold IRAs, take a look at precious metals scams and tips for avoiding them, and how to get started with investing in a gold IRA.

    What is a Gold IRA Account?

    What is a gold ira?

    Before jumping into the specifics of gold IRAs, let's take a quick look at the separate components - gold and an IRA - as they relate to investing.

    Gold is a precious metal commodity.  It is considered a diversifying investment, much like stocks and bonds or real estate.

    It's also viewed as a hedge against the more erratic behavior - relatively speaking - of the US dollar. 

    Investment strategies include holding gold as protection against inflation or as a means to profit from increases in gold prices.

    A prime example of why gold could be considered an attractive investment involves looking at the metal's prices today and those almost 50 years ago.

    At the beginning of 1970, gold's value was at $35 an ounce. At the end of 2018, an ounce fetched $1,282 on the open market.

    Compare that to if you held $35 in cash in 1970. Yes, it's still worth $35 in cash today, although its buying power is now significantly reduced thanks to inflation.

    Of course, there is more to gold investment than comparing time frames half a century apart.

    Later on, we will review the pros and cons of gold investment and why it's not necessarily for everyone. For now, let's touch on the other part of the equation in a gold IRA - the IRA.

    Individual retirement accounts or IRAs are just that - retirement investment accounts.

    Traditional IRAs lets an individual contribute pre-tax funds towards their retirement investments. The accounts can grow without the assessment of dividend or capital gains taxes. 

    Ultimately, the assessment of income tax only occurs when you withdraw money from the traditional IRA.

    Another well-known IRA is a Roth IRA, which is similar in most respects to a traditional IRA except that it is established using after-tax funds. Traditional and Roth IRAs only hold cash or stocks and bonds.

    Merging all of those concepts together, a gold IRA is an IRA account where the investment is gold, whether in IRS-approved in bars and coins, or other precious metals (which we outline below) versus the more traditional IRA holdings of stocks or bonds.

    The account can be set up using either pre- or post-tax income.

    What You Should Know Before Investing in a Gold IRA

    Unlike traditional or Roth IRAs, there are a lot of small details involved with holding a gold IRA.

    Considered a self-directed IRA, there are specific rules governing these accounts as dictated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

    Options for Gold IRA Investing

    The most important aspect of a gold IRA is understanding what you can and cannot invest in as part of your precious metal IRA.

    More than just gold, precious metals also include silver, platinum, and palladium, each of which has an approved list of bullion bars and coins that can part of a precious metal IRA.

    Since this guide focuses on gold, though, the critical factor for meeting IRS standards is that the gold must adhere to a purity grade of 0.995 or higher. 

    As of this writing, that includes the following:

    IRA Eligible Gold Bars & Coins

    American Gold Eagle Coin

    American Gold Eagle Coin

    American Gold Buffalo Coin

    American Gold Buffalo Coin

    Australian Gold Kangaroo Coin

    Australian Gold Kangaroo Coin

    Australian Lunar Series Coin

    Australian Lunar Series Coin

    Austrian Gold Philharmonic Coin

    Austrian Gold Philharmonic Coin

    British Britannia Coin

    British Britannia Coin

    Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Coin

    Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Coin

    Gold Chinese Panda Coin

    Gold Chinese Panda Coin

    Credit Suisse Gold Bar

    Credit Suisse Gold Bar

    Johnson Matthey Gold Bar

    Johnson Matthey Gold Bar

    Valcambi Gold CombiBar

    Valcambi Gold CombiBar

    Conversely, the IRS forbids what is known as collectibles within the gold or precious metal IRAs.

    These items, while popular and often included as part of substantial private collections or other investment pursuits, often do not meet the IRS purity standard or are valued at a much loftier level. 

    The unapproved list, unsurprisingly, is far more substantial.

    However, gold investments are not solely about the physical metal itself.

    Additional gold investments include peripheral considerations or a "paper" investment called exchange-traded funds or ETFs.

    These include:

    • Gold commodity exchange-traded fund
    • Precious metals commodity futures
    • Precious metal mutual funds
    • Stock in gold mining companies

    Gold paper investments may be more attractive for those investors who are more risk-averse towards holding physical gold, and if your interest lies in even greater diversification of your gold investments, it's worth discussing paper options with your broker.

    Gold IRA Rules & Regulations

    Gold IRA Rules

    As with all IRAs, IRS rules govern how gold IRAs are established and maintained.

    We cover a few of the items more in-depth (administrators, storage), but here is a quick overview of some key rules and regulations for gold IRAs.

    Administrator Rules

    If you want a gold IRA, you are required to open it with an administrator who handles precious metals and is approved by the IRS.

    Even though you direct it personally, administrators (brokers, custodians, etc.) are still necessary to act on your behalf.

    Storage

    Gold and other precious metals that make up an IRA require storage in vault facilities approved by the IRS.

    Actual possession of the gold on your part is deemed a distribution by IRS, which means they are subject to taxes or penalties.

    Tax Regulations

    Distributions - taking physical possession of the gold - are subject to income tax at the point of withdrawal.

    Early distributions see a levy of 10% unless it falls under a predetermined exclusion (see below). Profits can see further assessments via capital gains tax.

    Contribution Limits

    Gold IRA contribution limits are $6,000 per year, increasing to $7,000 annually once you turn 50 years of age.

    It can be funded via rollover or with a purchase made through your administrator.

    Age Limits

    Access to your gold IRA are restricted to age 59½, although you are under no requirement to start taking distributions at that age.

    You will, however, have to take distributions beginning at age 70.

    Early Withdrawal Limitations

    We use the word limitations because while there is a 10% penalty for early withdrawal, there are a number of exceptions to the rule, including:

    • IRA owner becomes disabled or is hospitalized without means to pay the medical bill.
    • IRA owner dies, and their beneficiary requires access to the funds.
    • IRA owner loses employment and needs access to funds.
    • IRA owner wants to purchase a new, first time home (can use up to $10,000) or fund a family members education.

    Precious Metal Types

    As we identified earlier there is a limit to the precious metals included in your self-directed IRA.

    The IRS stipulates a minimum purity requirement for gold of 0.995 or 24 carats, which you can find in a limited number of products.

    As we noted earlier, gold IRAs are self-directed, meaning the individual investor has more direct control over the account and can include a broader range of investments in the account than a traditional IRA.

    However, when dealing with gold, you will require the services of a broker to purchase the gold and/or a custodian to serve as the account administrator.

    This is one area where investing with metals can get tricky. Custodians are federal or state-approved agencies such as banks, brokerage firms, credit unions, savings and loans, or trust companies that serve as asset-custody providers.

    In other words, these services facilitate safekeeping of the securities and management of the account for the individual investor. They do not, however, directly sell the gold to the clients.

    The acquisition, or the identification of the dealer, falls to the actual investor. 

    Due to the nature of the gold market, though, many custodians are likely to have recommendations for preferred dealers or vice versa.

    The choice for both though remains with the investor. 

    Unfortunately, when dealing in gold, not everything is black and white. Precious metal investing is highly specialized, and scams are prevalent.

    To ensure you make a sound investment, you'll need to conduct plenty of research as to which firms will best fit your needs.

    In regards to finding the right companies to deal with, look for transparency - both in how they conduct themselves and the fees involved in their stewardship or the acquisition of the gold.

    You want your investment to make money, not lose it.

    Reputation in the gold market is equally as important. Review third party ratings and consumer reviews to find the ones that add up to a good overall experience.

    Better Business Bureau
    Business Consumer Alliance
    Trustlink

    Services like the Better Business Bureau, Business Consumer Alliance, and Trust Link are excellent reference points. But also follow your own instincts. 

    When interviewing different groups, be aware of those looking to make a quick sale as opposed to those genuinely wanting to earn your business and your trust.

    Just because gold IRAs are less popular than traditional ones, doesn't mean they are any less regulated.

    Legitimate groups will be current on their required licenses, bonds and insurance, and registrations.

    If something seems out of place, or a firm makes excuses for anything that is out of date, look elsewhere.

    Finally, you'll want to find a firm that has your interests in mind. Every investor is different, and all have different goals.

    The best companies recognize this and will be able to tailor their services to your specific needs.

    When it comes to finding the right dealer, the choice often comes down to two options: buy local or buy online.

    At first glance, a local purchase might seem the more attractive option - it's immediate, you can negotiate face to face, it's a tangible transaction, and there are no shipping or handling fees.

    However, gold purchased locally can see a significant markup thanks to overhead. A buyback may also prove problematic if the original purchase was made on a large scale.

    Alternatively, online transactions help mitigate a lot of the risk involved in buying gold. Prices are lower. Account management is more robust.

    In addition, they are better equipped to fulfill large orders, which is particularly crucial if you hope to make a sizable gold investment.

    For the majority of investors, online purchasing is the smarter option. In the same way you would custodians, look for dealers that are transparent, reputable, and will view you as a valued client, not an easy target.

    Gold Bullion Storage Options

    Gold Storage Options

    One of the more unique aspects of gold and Gold IRA's is storage.

    Whether by theft or fraud, gold and other precious metals are at risk for being compromised.

    As such, the IRS deemed it necessary to protect these IRA related commodities within agency approved vaults. 

    This storage is not just for safeguarding but to also ensure accurate inventory.

    Even with the strict IRS storage regulations, there are several methods for housing the gold that makes up gold-based IRAs.

    Here are the details on each. 

    US-Based Storage Vaults (recommended)

    Six IRS approved depository vaults hold practically all of the metals that make up every precious metal IRA account in the country.

    Not only gold, but also silver, palladium, and platinum.

    The six vaults include:

    • Brinks Security
    • CNT Depository
    • Delaware Depository
    • HSBC Bank USA
    • JPMorgan Chase Bank North America
    • Scotia Mocatta

    While storage in both the US and foreign territories are viable, the international option may be more attractive for those who fear possible confiscation of their metal.

    There is a precedent for it having occurred once in the US, in the 1930s. Seizure is less likely in places like Dubai or Singapore. 

    Offshore Storage Vaults (recommended)

    Not long ago, storage of IRA-related gold had to be within US borders. The IRS recently relaxed this stipulation allowing investors the opportunity to house their gold IRA internationally.

    However, as they do in the US, the offshore vaults are IRS-approved and possess some familiar names.

    • Brinks Security - London
    • HSBC Bank USA - Hong Kong, London, Singapore, Zurich
    • JPMorgan Chase Bank  - London and Singapore
    • Regal Assets (int. vaults only) - Dubai and Singapore
    • Scotia Mocatta - Toronto

    Co-Mingled Storage & Segregated Storage

    As each name suggests, there are two ways to store your gold at a depository vault. The most common method is co-mingling, where your gold and the gold of other investors are lumped together in a single vault room. 


    This group storage typically serves as a means to lower costs for the depository company. The gold is then tracked as a single inventory with designations for which clients own which metals.


    The alternative is segregated storage. In this scenario, in contract with the vault facility, your gold is stored and inventoried separately - either in its own room or a safe deposit box - away from the group metal cache.

    Although the separate storage is seemingly a more appealing alternative to the less secure collective storage, the vault facility will charge a higher premium for this method. 

    Home Storage (not recommended)

    The last means of gold storage - at home storage - is one that is not recommended and strongly frowned upon by the IRS - even if they have not yet altogether outlawed it.

    The basic principle involves you, the investor, creating an LLC, and housing the metal in a safe at your residence.

    Effectively you become your own trustee, as opposed to the third-party trustee the IRS intended for gold IRAs. 

    The issue then becomes that any withdrawals made are done so without the oversight of the IRS.

    Again, while the method is highly frowned upon by, it's important to understand the existence of this loophole as some gold IRA companies may promote it as a viable option.

    If they do, you may want to look elsewhere for a company to do business with.

    Associated Gold IRA Fees

    Gold IRA Fees

    A gold IRA may be a worthwhile option for diversifying your retirement portfolio, but it will come with certain costs that more traditional IRAs don't.

    Keep this in mind as you research different precious metal IRA companies and services and weighing what you'll have to pay for what you get in return.

    Account Setup

    This cost may be common with any type of IRA, but due to the uniqueness and special circumstances surrounding gold IRAs, a firm might change a higher than normal fee to start the account.

    Broker/Custodian Fees

    Another standard IRA fee, these annual expenses may again be higher than a traditional IRA due to dealing and transacting with precious metals.

    Seller's Fee

    Regardless of where you purchase your gold, prepare to purchase it with some level of markup on top of the current market rate.

    More so with local dealers (to cover overhead, among other considerations), these additional charges are one-time fees that may also vary based on the specific transaction type (different between purchasing bullion versus coins versus proofs versus bars).

    Storage Fee

    We already outlined the intricacies of gold IRA storage, and it's critical to recognize that securing your gold comes with its own costs.

    Depending on the specific storage agreement, vaulting costs are incurred either monthly or annually and can vary widely based on several factors including whether the gold is housed in the US or offshore or is kept co-mingled or maintained separately.

    Close Out Expenses

    A significant drawback to the gold IRA transpires should you decide to close out the account and sell your gold.

    Dealers will look for transactions under market value while some firms will buy it back at market rates.

    In either case, depending on current market value and your original purchase, you could risk losing money when cashing out.

    10 Gold IRA Scams & How to Identify & Avoid Them

    Gold IRA Scams

    Make no mistake, the world of investment draws in its fair share of scammers.

    After all, unscrupulous people prey on individuals hoping to maximize every last cent of their income to secure a bright future. 

    Due to its misunderstood nature, and the leg work required on the part of the investor to make the investment happen, gold IRAs, in particular, lend themselves to a number of scams.

    From a well-honed pitchman targeting the novice investor to companies exploiting the "too good to be true" hopefulness of people aiming for big returns - making a smart gold investment also means protecting yourself against making a bad one.

    Before contracting with any group, heavily research several companies or dealers you're considering doing business with, and be alert for any of the following ten precious metals scams.

    #1. Gold Access is Limited

    Or in a worst case scenario, it is non-existent. This scam often preys on the novice investor who is uncertain of how to verify that their gold was actually purchased on their behalf.

    Similar falsehoods also crop up when a custodian is trying to hard-sell self-storage options, which we've already pointed out is a bad idea.

    Reputable administrators will be able to provide you an iron-clad certification that gold purchases have been made in your name and that gold is in a proper vaulting facility.

    #2. Numismatic Coins

    To avoid being ensnared by the (false) promise of numismatic coins, you must recognize the difference between them and bullion coins.

    Numismatic coins are most often rare collection pieces that have a much higher value than whatever metal makes up the coin itself (due to scarcity, significance, or collectibility).

    Dealers may push the numismatics over the IRS-approved bullion coins to much higher profit for themselves while leaving unsuspecting customers with nothing for their IRA.

    Legitimate numismatic coins may be fine as a standalone collection item, but they cannot be part of your gold IRA investment.

    #3. False Representation

    Misleading business practices can crop up in any number of ways, but one of the most prevalent in regards to gold IRAs, is convincing a client they are investing in gold, when in fact they only end up with nothing more than a gold certificate.

    The fallout in this scam is similar to that of limited gold access except that you do get verification, but with limited or no gold supporting it. 

    #4. Push Towards Non-diversification

    A healthy retirement portfolio is one that is diversified, with varied investments and assets.

    Greedy salespeople have been known to push the false narrative that "all that glitters is gold," in an attempt to guide investors in placing the majority of their investments in precious metals.

    Regardless of how believable the pitch may sound, gold IRAs are niche investment products, that serve as a moderate, long-term hedge against unforeseen economic scenarios.

    No more than 10% to 15% of your overall portfolio should be dedicated towards gold.

    #5. Unsolicited Offers

    Offers that seem too good to be true usually are, but that doesn't stop nefarious salespeople from trying to convince you otherwise.

    Whether it's a phone call or email, always approach unsolicited offers with a highly critical eye - even those that originate with seemingly reputable companies. 

    One other consideration to be aware of with unsolicited offers is an unannounced in-person sales visits.

    These interactions often target the elderly, putting them on the spot with the salesperson taking advantage of what they deem an easy target.

    #6. Meaningless Grading or Certification

    Be wary of any dealers that offer gold grading or certification as an add on service.

    This scam involves the considerable markup of a service that, through an investors own diligence and research, should cost next to nothing.

    Again, going back to the importance of research, there is no greater protection from markup scams like these than your own verification process.

    #7. Home Storage

    We've touched on it several times, but will reiterate it again - home storage is a non-starter when it comes to precious metals IRAs, including gold.

    Be highly suspect of any gold IRA firm that tries to sell you on its merits.

    Chances are likely they will be aiming to take advantage of you in other ways as well.

    #8. Broker's Commission

    It's crucial for new gold investors to realize that gold is a long term investment with no actual guarantees of huge returns.

    Sure it's seen a huge rise over the past 30 years, but growth in the past decade has been relatively modest. 

    Certain dealers will zero in on this misunderstanding and convince an investor to borrow money from them to purchase their gold.

    The investor believes the return on the gold will far outweigh any interest on the loan, when in fact the opposite is true.

    This is ultimately a high-risk transaction that bets big on odds not typically in the investor's favor. 

    #9. Leverage Accounts

    This tactic involves an investor that uses a broker for the purchase of gold having to pay the broker's commission by way of a significant markup on the gold.

    Usually, this happens when the broker recommends the use of a dealer with whom they have a working relationship.

    You can avoid this scam by cutting out the broker completely and working with the dealers directly.

    You'll still need a custodian, but this is a more direct and economical path to gold ownership.

    #10. Undocumented Fees

    Finally, be wary of hidden or unreported fees from any person or firm you may deal with during the gold IRA process.

    From brokers and custodians to dealers and storage, there are plenty of known fees associated with gold, which makes it easy for companies to take advantage of the situation by slipping in extra costs.

    By no means do we want to scare you off from the potential upside of a gold IRA.

    But again, the uniqueness of dealing with precious metals, and the lack of general understanding that untrained investors bring with them, opens up the gold business to its share of scammers.

    It's important to protect yourself.

    Gold IRA Pros & Cons

    After reading through the finer points, the final piece of the puzzle before moving forward a gold IRA is looking at the pros and cons of this highly specific investment.

    To be sure, investing in gold is not well-suited for most investors. For others, though, it could make sense within the context of their current portfolios or investment strategies.

    Let's take a look then at the more significant pros and cons of gold IRAs

    Pros

    • Gold is a Wise Long Term Bet: Historically, gold performs well. Consider our earlier example of what $35 in cash bought you in the 1970s versus what it buys you today.  $35 for an ounce of gold in 1970 is now worth roughly $1,300. It's never a bad idea to have that type of proven appreciation in your retirement portfolio.
    • Gold Maintains Value: Even when it's down, relative to past performance, gold can add consistent value to your portfolio. This acts as a powerful hedge in times when the dollar and the traditional market of stocks and bonds underperform, or inflation is on the rise.
    • Gold Provides Portfolio Insurance: Gold performed well during the financial downturn of the late 1970s and more recently during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. It's an excellent asset to have in your possession when times are turbulent.

    Cons

    • Gold is a Long Play: If you're hoping for substantial, instant profits, you won't see it through gold investment. Barring anything catastrophic, gold value moves slowly, with only the most committed investors seeing any real profits.
    • Gold Only Yields Gold: Unlike stocks and bonds which produce dividends and interest, respectively, gold yields no such financial gain. Its value is solely predicated on what it's worth within the current market at a specific point in time.
    • Gold Isn't for the Faint of Heart: There's a lot of work involved on the part of the investor in establishing a gold IRA (along with a lot more costs versus regular IRAs). Then there is a lot of trust placed in the institutions you must deal with and in believing your investment is a safe and sound one - all for an investment in which you'll almost never see the tangible result.

    How to Get Started

    While there are several moving parts, getting started with a gold IRA, is, for the most part, a relatively simple process.

    Step: 1

    First, you'll want to determine if you're going to roll over funds from an existing IRA or transfer them.

    In a rollover, you receive the funds from the originating account and deposit them into the new gold IRA, usually with your custodian. 

    You have 60 days in which to complete this transaction.

    Otherwise, the IRS will consider it a withdrawal, and you will be taxed accordingly and levied the 10% early withdrawal charge (if under the age limit for distributions). You are only allowed a single rollover annually.

    In a transfer, the money moves directly from the old account to the new gold IRA. There is no limit on the number of transfers you can make.

    In either case, you can roll over or transfers funds from a 401(k) or 403(b) retirement plan or from a traditional or Roth IRA.

    Step: 2

    The next step involves selecting your gold IRA custodian. As previously detailed, you'll need to heavily research the pluses and minuses of several providers not only to find one that is reputable and trustworthy but will also work towards meeting your investment goals.

    As part of this process, you also want to determine your specific gold IRA investment strategy. Generally speaking, you do not want to invest any more than 10% to 15% of your overall portfolio towards gold IRAs.

    If it's merely diversification you're hoping to achieve, then anything around 10% or lower should suffice. If you are hedging against any loss of value in paper currencies, then investment anywhere between 10% and 15% is quite common.

    However, if your aim is to wager on the potential for gold to significantly increase in the short term, 15% (or higher) allocation could result in major profits.

    As expected, though, this approach also carries with it major risks, should the market move in the opposite direction.

    Step: 3

    The last step comes when you're ready to make the actual gold purchase. 

    We'll reiterate that online dealers are a far better solution versus local dealers, particularly for those first time gold IRA investors or those looking to avoid higher markups.

    As you would with custodians, seek out only those IRS-approved dealers with favorable ratings, transparent pricing and policies, and excellent reputations with their clients.

    Best Gold IRA Company (#1 Rated)

    Goldco logo

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    After researching and reviewing all of the major gold IRA companies and custodians for several years, Goldco checks all of the boxes when it comes to trustworthiness, customer reviews, management fees, and storage options.

    Final Thoughts: Is the Risk of Gold IRAs Worth the Reward?

    Admittedly, gold IRAs are not for everybody. They are very much a niche product that may not fit within more conventional portfolios.

    However, if you're searching for ways to diversify otherwise straightforward investment strategies, a gold IRA could prove a wise, long-term approach to hedge against potentially unfavorable market conditions in the future.

    Just remember that gold, much like every other investment, is driven by a marketplace that moves both up and down. High returns are indeed possible, but so are huge losses, and it may take decades for either to occur.

    If you want to add gold to your investments, perform plenty of research on your own, and consult with a trusted financial advisor to determine if there are any advantages to including it to your financial plan.

    All that glitters may not be gold, but it has the potential to add a nice sparkle to the right investment portfolio.

    best choice

    Goldco logo

    Overall Rating

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    • Annual Fee: $175-$225
    • Promotion: 5% back on metals over $50k

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    Noble Gold Investments Logo

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    • Annual Fee: $225
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    Birch Gold Group logo

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    • Annual Fee: $180
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