401(k) to Gold IRA Rollover Guide

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I'm Donny. I'm a world traveler, investor, entrepreneur, and online marketing aficionado who has a big appetite to compete and disrupt big markets. I thrive on being able to create things that impact change, difficult challenges, and being able to add value in negative situations.

A 401(k) is a retirement plan. As a participating employee, you can contribute to it pre-tax, reducing your taxable income and increasing your take-home pay.

Your money grows tax free until it is withdrawn upon retirement, whereupon it is taxed as regular income. But what if you need to diversify your portfolio?

Learn more about gold IRA rollovers and how to convert a 401(k) into an individual retirement account (IRA) backed by gold.

Key Takeaways
  • A gold IRA rollover involves converting a retirement account into a precious metal IRA.
  • When a gold IRA rollover occurs, funds transfer from your old platform to your new gold IRA account.
  • Gold investments enable you to hedge against inflation by appreciating over time and are a reliable way to ensure a secure retirement.

Goldco is a leader in the precious metals industry, with over a decade of experience helping customers protect their retirement savings. 

We earn a commission if you invest, at no additional cost to you.

What is a Gold IRA Rollover?

A gold IRA rollover refers to the process of converting a 401(k), 403(b) or similar retirement account into a gold IRA. When this occurs, you withdraw money from your old retirement investment platform.

The price of gold has risen significantly in recent years, making it a valuable investment asset. Gold has historically maintained its market value even during economic recessions.

As a result, gold IRA rollover has become an increasingly popular option to hedge against inflation. For instance, a prosocial business can offer employees a 401(k) plan with a gold IRA.

As an employee, you are able to roll over your shares directly into gold or silver products if the company sells. Thus, you are protected in the event of a stock market downturn.

How Does a Gold IRA Rollover Work?

Begin by contacting your plan administrator and asking them to transfer cash to your new gold IRA. You have the option to initiate the rollover on your own.

However, if you are under 59 ½ years old, you have just 60 days to complete the process. Otherwise, you will be subject to an early withdrawal penalty of 10 percent and will need to pay income tax on the withdrawn funds.

As a consumer, you can avoid taking on this risk directly by allowing your gold IRA business to manage the process as an institution-to-institution transfer.

This means your money is never in your hands, eliminating the potential for income tax liability or early withdrawal penalty.

Once you move to a gold IRA, you will need to give your account number to the organization in charge of your old retirement fund so that they can transfer your money to your new account.

Depending on your former account type, this process could take a few days to a few weeks.

Precious Metals IRA Calculator

Use this calculator to estimate the value of your retirement fund if you invest a portion of it in precious metals.


Gold IRA Transfer vs. Gold IRA Rollover

You can choose between a rollover or a transfer when investing in a gold IRA. An IRA physical gold transfer involves moving money from one custodian to another.

Therefore, no money is taken from your account and given to you. Instead, retirement funds are transferred directly between unrelated parties.

For you, the account holder, it is a streamlined, hands-off procedure that your custodians manage. The key distinction between IRA transfers and rollovers is that with transfers, the disbursed funds never come into contact with your bank account.

Transferring assets between retirement savings accounts is a safer and more risk-adjusted method. As an account holder, you may incur steep IRS penalties if you violate these regulations. Transfers carry fewer restrictions than rollovers.

Gold IRA TransferGold IRA Rollover
There is no time limit on the transferThere is a 60-day window within which you must transfer your funds into your gold IRA
There are no early withdrawal penaltiesIf you are under the minimum withdrawal age of 59 ½, disbursed funds are subject to a 10-percent early withdrawal penalty
Funds are not subject to taxThe disbursed funds are taxed as regular income if the 60-day limit is exceeded
Gold IRA transfers have no annual limitsOnly one rollover is permitted per 365-day calendar year
Tax withholding is non-existentThere is no tax withholding if a rollover is conducted from a personal IRA to another IRA.

The IRS imposes a hefty financial penalty for anyone failing to comply with the rollover rules. However, if you choose a premium company, such as Goldco, to manage your gold IRA transfer, it will automatically take care of the process, and you will not become liable.

Eligible Retirement Accounts

The following accounts are eligible for a gold IRA rollover.

Traditional IRA

Contributions to traditional IRAs and their profits are tax-deferred until you withdraw them. In other words, you do not pay any tax on your money until you begin withdrawing it in retirement.

Roth IRA

A Roth IRA allows investors to make withdrawals and grow their money tax-free. You must make Roth IRA contributions with after-tax money since they are not tax deductible.

However, all account earnings, including investment gains, are tax free in retirement.


Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRAs are conventional plans established by businesses as a means of paying contributions toward their employees’ retirement.

However, IRAs opened at banks are not eligible.

Simple IRA

Simple IRAs are not subject to the same annual contribution caps as regular IRAs, and unlike traditional IRAs, contributions are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.


A 401(k) plan is the retirement plan favored by companies because employees are permitted to make tax-deferred contributions, which are invested on their behalf.

You pay flat fees into your company-sponsored retirement account, and your employer may match those contributions.


A 403(b) is a tax-advantaged retirement plan for employees of non-profit institutions, such as hospitals and churches, and some public sector organizations, such as schools and libraries.

A 403(b) allows you to build your retirement portfolio tax efficiently.


A 457(b) plan is a type of employer-sponsored retirement plan for state, local and federal government employees.

Participants of the 457(b) plan receive some of the same tax benefits as those of the 401(k) plan.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

The TSP is a retirement savings plan specifically for federal employees and members of the uniformed services.


Goldco is a leader in the precious metals industry, with over a decade of experience helping customers protect their retirement savings. 

We earn a commission if you invest, at no additional cost to you.

IRS Rules & Tax Penalties

Below is a list of the IRS rules you must follow as an investor to avoid penalties.

Contributions – As an account holder, you must contribute to your gold IRA with after-tax funds. Your filing status and salary may limit the amount of money you can contribute to a Roth IRA.

Your contribution deduction is valid if neither you nor your partner has a workplace retirement plan. Suppose you have a family-owned retirement plan through your employment, and your income exceeds certain thresholds.

In this case, the amount you can deduct for contributions to a traditional IRA may be restricted.

Rollovers – Account owners can transfer their IRA into a qualified retirement plan if the retirement plan’s rules permit the rollover.

You must finish the rollover by the 60th day after receiving the payout. If a financial institution makes an error in the transfer and other requirements are satisfied, you qualify for an automatic waiver of the 60-day rollover period.

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) – You must withdraw RMDs annually, beginning when you turn 72. You can calculate the RMD for each year by multiplying the balance in your IRA account as of December 31 of the previous year by the appropriate distribution period or life expectancy factor.

If you have a Roth IRA, RMDs are not necessary. However, over the age of 70 ½, if you hold a SEP IRA or Simple IRA, both you and your employer must withdraw minimum distributions.

Early Withdrawals – Anytime is ideal to take distributions from your IRA, including SEP and Simple IRAs; no proof of hardship is necessary.

Nevertheless, payouts constitute taxable income and may be subject to an additional 10 percent tax if you are under the age of 59 ½, unless an exemption applies.

If you withdraw money from your Simple IRA during the first two years of participation, you will incur an additional 25 percent tax penalty.

The 10 percent extra tax is not eligible for any exceptions for hardships.

Deductions – The IRS allows you, as an investor, to deduct the total amount of your IRA contributions up to the maximum contribution cap.

You can take IRA deductions on your taxes, which reduces your taxable income. You can deduct any contributions you choose to pay into a gold IRA, and you have until the tax filing deadline, including extensions, to make any such contributions in a given year.

The amount you contribute to your IRA may qualify as a federal income tax return deduction.

How to Rollover 401(k) to Gold IRA

The following is a step-by-step guide on how to roll over a 401(k) to a gold IRA.

1. Look into and select a gold IRA provider – The first step to a successful 401(k) rollover and more effective management of your retirement savings is to find the best gold IRA providers.

For instance, Augusta Precious Metals is an excellent IRA provider with a 4.95 out of 5-star rating on Trustpilot.

The best platform successfully executes the rollover and gets your gold investment career off to the best possible start.

2. Consider your custodial options – Finding and appointing a gold IRA custodian, such as the Better Business Bureau, for your precious metals IRA account is the next step.

A reputable gold IRA company serves as your middle-man on the minimum investment and collectibles with Equity Trust.

A custodian’s primary duty is to serve as a facilitator. Their responsibility is to keep track of all your transactions on your gold IRA account.

When necessary, they will provide both the IRS and you, as the account owner, with documentation to ensure you remain IRS compliant.

Use the Better Business Bureau to find legitimate custodians with an A+ rating.

3. Select the proper account type – The type of account you choose depends on how much money you want to invest and how long you plan to keep your gold IRA.

Different retirement accounts are available, including self-directed IRAs, which allow you flexibility in your investments.

Whether you purchase physical gold or bullion coins depends on your risk tolerance, time horizon and investment options.

4. Open a gold IRA – In order to set up your account, you must transfer funds to the value of the minimum deposit.

This step, including authorizing the transfer, involves a great deal of paperwork, which your custodian will assist with.

5. Begin rollover process – A rollover occurs when you transfer your assets from your existing 401(k) to a rollover gold IRA.

To initiate the rollover, you must contact your current custodians and request that they move the money into your new account.

6. Invest in precious metals – Once the money is in your gold IRA account, you can begin investing your money in precious metals in the form of gold bars, silver IRAs, palladium or bullion bars.

How to Rollover IRA to Gold IRA

This section will look at the ways you can roll over your IRA to a precious metals IRA account.

1. Get in touch with your existing IRA account administrator – You will need to contact the administrator of your existing IRA to get the ball rolling.

This will make the process much easier.

2. Complete the necessary documents – After you have contacted the administrator of your existing IRA, you will need to give them some basic information.

This data includes your new account information, the amount of money you would like to transfer and any buy-back program involved.

3. Wait for the transfer – After you have filled out all of the required paperwork for your new gold IRA investments account, you can expect to receive a check from your current administrator within a few days.

4. Choose the gold type you want to purchase – Once you the funds appear in your gold IRA account, you can begin choosing the type of gold you wish to invest in.

You can purchase gold coins such as the Gold Maple Leaf or American Gold Eagle, bullion bars or bullion coins.

5. Direct your account custodian to make the purchases – Once you have selected the type of gold you want, you will need to contact your account custodian and authorize them to purchase your gold.

6. Transfer your precious metals to a safe storage facility – After you have completed the above steps for your gold IRA, you will be able to place your coins or bullion in a safe storage facility.

Such international depository services include the Delaware Depository, an IRS-approved facility that offers different storage options at reasonable fees.

Whichever secure storage facility your custodian uses, it must be IRS approved.

Are Gold IRAs a Good Idea?

Gold IRAs are an excellent choice if you are looking for portfolio diversification, to make an intelligent investment or to create a retirement income stream.

Investing in physical metals is quick and easy if you already have a self-directed IRA. Simply open a custodial account and begin buying gold and silver products.

Gold IRA Rollover FAQ’s

Here are the frequently asked questions regarding gold IRA rollovers.

How do I convert my IRA to gold without penalty?

Convert your IRA to gold without liability through a transfer with no restrictions or via a rollover within 60 days.

Can I roll my IRA to gold or silver?

You can move your IRA over to gold or silver coins with high volatility and liquidity to hedge against inflation with the aid of a reputable gold IRA company.

What is a self-directed IRA?

A self-directed IRA is an IRA you can use to make investments yourself without a custodian’s involvement and with the aid of educational resources.

Can I take physical possession of my gold inside my IRA?

Yes. You can possess physical gold or liquidate your precious metal investments to receive cash.


Goldco is a leader in the precious metals industry, with over a decade of experience helping customers protect their retirement savings. 

We earn a commission if you invest, at no additional cost to you.

I'm Donny. I'm a world traveler, investor, entrepreneur, and online marketing aficionado who has a big appetite to compete and disrupt big markets. I thrive on being able to create things that impact change, difficult challenges, and being able to add value in negative situations.

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