Hustling and saving up for the future are critical virtues of Americans, so it is normal to think of retirement options even as a working adult.
To widen your safety net with your investments, do not just stick to paper assets and find something that maintains stability over time, like precious metals. While their luster may seem intimidating, you have precious metals IRA companies that will demystify the process and smoothen out your transactions for you. You have to pick the right one!
Overview of the 5 Best Precious Metals IRA Companies of 2023
To help you choose the best precious metals IRA company that fits your needs, through our trial and error, we put together an overview of the best gold IRA companies for you.
#1 Goldco: Editor's Choice - The Most Trusted and Reliable Gold IRA Provider (4.9/5)
Goldco is the runner-up because of the extensive education they provide to gold IRA investors. They have a library of informational content (e.g., webinars, articles, blog posts, and videos) that neophyte investors will find invaluable.
They also have specialists that assist new investors with their account setups and any transactions they make with the company. Moreover, as the IRA process is complicated, they provide excellent customer service that accommodates their client's concerns.
After putting it to the test, we found their website user-friendly. They provide forms on the website to start with opening an SDIRA. After the setup, they will be assisted by an account specialist who will help them transfer their money from an existing IRA to their newly established IRA.
The precious metals chosen by the investors will then be stored in an IRS-approved partner depository. Based on our first-hand experience, investors also have the option to receive their returns in physical assets or cash.
Extensive educational program for investors (e.g., 15 books and 21 videos available for download)
Offers a wide variety of retirement investment options
Offers a wide range of metal designs like Gold Buffalo Coins, Gold American Eagle Coins, and Royal Mint Gold Lunar Series
Accommodating customer service
Short transaction waiting time for their gold investments
Offers great buyback guarantees
Smooth rollover process
Low annual and management fees
Limited precious metals options for palladium and platinum investors
Lack of fee structure transparency
#2 American Hartford Gold: Runner up - Renowned for its Competitive Bullion Prices (4.8/5)
Third on the list of premier precious metals IRA companies is American Hartford Gold. This company also has one of the best customer services among the IRA companies in the United States. When we trialed this product, we found that they offer reasonable fees and competitive prices.
Moreover, after conducting experiments with it, we found that their gold IRA rollover process is hassle-free and can be condensed into three steps. They also provide a specialist who can answer your concerns and assist you in managing your account.
American Hartford Gold also offers an investor education program to explain better how precious metals IRA works. Moreover, they have safe depositories where you can store your physical assets. Then, after it matures, you can have it delivered to your doorstep or in cash.
They are also highly rated on various multiple platforms.
Their buyback program has no liquidation fees
They offer client education
They have accommodating customer support
Door-to-door delivery for your physical assets, if you choose it
They provide a gold buyback guarantee
Physical gold bullion deliveries are sent through a nondescript package which guarantees their safety
Has penalty-free and tax-free rollovers
Incomplete pricing catalog
No international shipping is available
#3 Augusta Precious Metals: Offers an Excellent Buyback Program (4.6/5)
Augusta Precious Metals is one of the longest-running companies on this list, and they stand out for a reason. Through our practical knowledge, one of the reasons they stand out is their transparency. They will already break down the fees from the initial consultation so you can prepare your funds in advance.
Moreover, they have a team of experts available to answer your queries or other investment-related concerns. Augusta Precious Metals have the highest minimum investment requirement in this roster of precious metals IRA companies. However, they do not charge transaction fees.
Our team discovered through using this product that, instead of transaction fees, their products are subject to bid, and spreads are generally 5% for standard bullion products and 33% for premium products, as per their Transaction Agreement. We have found from using this product that they also have an excellent buyback program that takes the burden of selling physical assets off the shoulders of their investors.
As for their storage facility, Augusta Precious Metals is partnered with the Delaware Depository, one of the country's most well-known storage facilities. There are also no management fees since the account you will use is self-directed.
They are reputable, and their two Stevie Awards evidence this for Customer Service Success and Sales Distinction of the Year. They also have a 5-star rating on Trustlink and an A+ rating on BBB.
A Harvard-trained economist leads their precious metals experts
5-star reviews from Trustlink, A+ from BBB, and two Stevie Awards accounting for their reputation
Extensive investment support to clients
Cost-efficient product pricing
Partnered with Delaware Depository as a precious metals storage facility
Multiple options for gold IRA investments (e.g., precious metal coins, premium gold, and bullion)
High cost of entry
Limited precious metals options
#4 Birch Gold Corporation: Experienced Staff Providing Top-notch Service (4.5/5)
Birch Gold Group is well-known for its lower investment requirement compared to other precious metals IRA companies. Our investigation demonstrated that the low cost of entry allows small-time investors to take their chances with precious metals.
Furthermore, they have two decades of field experience and have been reputable ever since. Their reputation is evidenced by their client reviews and how they swear to the services of Birch Gold. They have a solid financial team who assists and educates investors in their decisions.
Birch Gold upholds its mission of empathy, efficiency, investment education, and transparency in its services. They also implement a flat rate structure which is beneficial for bulk buyers.
More options for precious metals, especially for platinum and palladium investors
Base investment requirement of $10,000 which is a good starting amount for starting precious metals investors
They offer free shipping for over $10,000 purchases
They have an excellent track record in the investment and finance industry
Quick transfer to depositories after purchase
They do not have an overseas depository option
Some prices are not posted on their website, so you may need to reach out to their customer service
#5 Red Rock Secured: Leaders in Setting up At-home Gold IRA Solutions (4.2/5)
Many of the gold IRA service providers we review here have dealt with clients in the billions. Some of the most successful businesses (like Red Rock) have been around for over a decade.
Some unsatisfied buyers are expected with sales of that magnitude and duration. It only takes one dissatisfied customer to unleash a torrent of online complaints. Is Red Rock Secured dependable?
Compare Red Rock's price guarantee with those of its rivals. Red Rock Secured stands out from the crowd thanks to this unique perk.
Red Rock guarantees the value of your precious metals purchase for a specific time after purchase. Suppose you put $100,000 of your retirement fund into gold three days ago, and today the price fell by 10%.
Red Rock would reverse the trade and reinvest the $10,000 if you already have that much in precious metals in your IRA. You may rest easy knowing your purchase is protected by this beautiful service.
The Business Consumer Alliance's top rating of AAA and the Better Business Bureau's highest rating of A+ are positive indicators. TrustPilot is full of glowing reviews written by satisfied consumers.
Low account minimums that let you buy rare metals.
Worth Free Silver Up to $5,000.
Your account is free for as long as you want to keep it.
On the company's website, there needs to be more information about the staff besides the CEO.
Only a few choices of precious metals.
What Is a Precious Metals IRA?
You may be familiar with what an individual retirement account (IRA) is, or the more common one is the traditional IRA. Precious Metals IRA is a type of personal retirement account, specifically a self-directed IRA or SDIRA.
SDIRAs are more flexible than traditional IRAs because you can invest in unconventional assets with this account. Examples of such investments are cryptocurrency, real estate, and precious metals. Though they differ in the assets they can acquire, they have similarities, like their contribution limits.
Here are their differences to better familiarize yourself with individual retirement accounts, SDIRAs, traditional IRAs, and Precious Metals IRAs. First, when you fund your traditional IRAs, they are not taxed or pre-taxed. They are also tax-deferred as they mature.
Moreover, traditional IRAs have a contribution limit of $5,500 annually per account. They are the most common investment type for retirement accounts because they house paper assets like bonds, stocks, and mutual funds.
However, there is a looming danger in solely relying on this type of resource as they depend on a country's economic state. Since economic conditions can be vulnerable to external factors like the pandemic, so do these paper assets. In short, there will be poor purchase power when there is inflation, and your investment may depreciate rather than grow.
The relative non-volatility aspect is why precious metals IRAs have attracted investors. First, their contribution limit is $30,000 annually. They also allow transfers and rollovers. This feature means that if you have a 403(b) or 401(k) account, you can roll over or transfer them into a precious metals IR account. These options allow people to diversify their retirement savings and avoid total loss of funds.
Another difference between traditional and precious metals IRAs is that the latter has specific IRS-imposed regulations. Failing to follow such rules could lead to tax penalties of at least 10% of your withdrawn amount.
To maintain your precious metals IRA, you must have an IRS-approved custodian who will assist you in managing your account, like recording your account transactions. They also keep the purchased precious metals in depository vaults and keep them in tip-top shape.
To maintain your account, you may spend at least $300. This amount does not include initial fees for the purchase of precious metals and their shipping to their respective depositories. But, the amount may differ depending on the company you choose to invest precious metals in.
Advantages Of Precious Metals IRAs
As mentioned above, paper assets may be a common type of investment, but they can be risky if they are the sole investments in your portfolio. Despite their unfamiliarity, looking into other options like precious metals may benefit you in the long run. Here are some of their advantages:
Diversification of Assets
Again, market volatility is one of the most significant risks an investor has to endure. However, by diversifying your assets, you can have a safety net to maximize the growth of your investments.
Precious metals have been proven to be stable over time. Despite the many changes in economic growth, uncertainties, or economic depression, precious metals like gold appreciate rather than depreciate over time.
They have a steady demand as multiple industries need them for their products. The finite supply of precious metals also contributes to their price appreciation as time passes.
There are different forms of precious metals: coins, bars, and bullion. You can also purchase gold, silver, palladium, or platinum in the forms mentioned earlier.
Some well-known examples of forms of precious metals are:
Canadian Maple Leaves
American Gold Eagles
For people interested in cryptocurrency, some companies offer Bitcoin. However, for this article, the focus would be on precious metals.
Apart from directly investing in four main types of precious metals and their varying available forms, you also have the option to invest in them indirectly. "Direct" precious metals investments involve purchasing physical assets and having your custodian safeguard them.
"Indirect" precious metals investment includes purchasing shares from mining companies. Another way is to buy government bonds using your existing assets and get paid with interest after a specific timeframe.
"Direct" precious metals investments are for safeguarding your retirement funds. However, by engaging in "indirect" investments, you can turn precious metals with added paper assets into a source of passive income. This option allows your money to grow like paper assets while having the stability of precious metals, incurring steady growth to your money until retirement.
This passive source of income may also be exempted from tax delays depending on IRS rules, meaning you will wait to pay the taxes. On the other hand, if you are subjected to tax delays, you will not be required to pay any taxes on your earnings!
A Safe Way to Save
Paper assets may lead to possible growth, but having a stable investment like precious metals may serve you better in the long run. Currently, many countries around the world have been experiencing high commodity prices and even hyperinflation. The United States of America is not an exemption from that, and many people feel its effects already.
Considering the circumstances, it is imperative to consider where you put your retirement savings. You cannot be too confident in one asset of your investment portfolio, especially those influenced by the economy's volatility.
Having precious metals in your investment portfolio may become your hedge against inflation as their movement in the market is opposite to paper assets (e.g., gold coins). In addition to that, silver is used in various industries like the electronics and medical industry.
Knowing the necessity of precious metals in the economy and their value appreciation over time, a portion of your retirement fund would not go down the drain!
Most individual retirement accounts could be more flexible, meaning you have less control over how your assets are constructed and managed. Moreover, you can only make use of your funds after retirement. Also, the fees necessary to fund and maintain your account are automatically deducted from your monthly or annual savings.
However, there are exceptions to that general rule. One is precious metals individual retirement accounts, which allow their account owners to choose the products they want to invest in. This means that the choice is yours if you can select only one type of precious metal or have various precious metals in your portfolio.
Is A Precious Metals Individual Retirement Account (IRA) an Excellent Way to Save for Retirement?
The short answer is yes. It may have downsides, but the benefit of having gold, platinum, silver, and palladium in your investment portfolio outweighs the former. Moreover, you can combine more than one precious metal in your account. You can also choose to purchase different forms of precious metals. These options mean you can keep your gold coins, silver bars, and platinum bullion all in one account.
Some additional information regarding the forms of precious metals is that before 1997, only U.S.-made precious metals were IRS-approved to be included in IRAs. However, now you have more options as long as the Internal Revenue Service approves them.
As mentioned previously, there are many types and forms of precious metals. However, you cannot just invest in gold, platinum, silver, or palladium. The precious metals you invest in must meet the standards set by the IRS; these are:
Gold precious metals must be 99.5% pure
Silver precious metals must be 99.9% pure
Platinum and palladium precious metals must be 99.95% pure
Some of the widely known and accepted products that meet these criteria are:
Australian Koala bullion coins
PAMP Suisse bars
Canadian Maple Leaf coins
American Eagle coins
The last one does not meet the 99.5% purity standard for gold, but the IRS accepts it. Also, the following rare coins are only accepted under self-directed IRAs.
Apart from the accepted products, you must consider some factors if you want to purchase precious metals for your IRAs. You have to consider your funds, as precious metals are more expensive than other investment options.
They are more pricey because of the setup, transaction, custodial, and storage fees, which are all unavoidable. Setup fees are necessary as you need an SDIRA to purchase precious metals. Custodial fees are for the maintenance of your account, including the required paperwork. Lastly, storage fees are necessary as you cannot keep your precious metals at home. They have to be held at IRS-approved depositories to safeguard and keep them in their prime state.
How Much Your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) Should Be Made of Gold, Silver, or Platinum?
A saying goes, "do not put all your eggs in one basket," and this is the rule you should abide by in making investment choices. While our findings show many advantages of investing in gold, silver, or platinum IRAs, that does not mean that you put all of your funds in these accounts.
Instead, our research indicates that experts advise investors to incorporate about 5% to 10% of retirement funds into precious metals and then diversify the rest across different markets and assets.
As mentioned previously, there are also different ways of investing in precious metals so you can refer to that. From our experience, investors should know their goal in diversifying their accounts. This action is necessary to make a more comprehensive safety net for one's future.
Gold IRA Rollover
A gold IRA rollover is a technique that allows account holders to transfer their funds into a new gold-backed individual retirement account. The rollover makes it easier for individuals to fund their gold IRA accounts and diversify their portfolios.
This rollover process involves withdrawing funds from an existing IRA account and then re-depositing it to a new one (e.g., a gold-backed one). This whole process should be done within 60 days and is done by a different custodian or administrator.
Gold IRA Rollover vs. Gold IRA Transfer
Rollovers and transfers are two options for how investors can fund their gold IRA account. Gold IRA rollover has a more complex process, with several rules and conditions that individuals must follow. If you break any of the IRS-imposed regulations, you may be penalized.
On the other hand, a gold IRA transfer is a more straightforward process and is more secure. A risk-managed strategy also protects the movement between accounts.
To make it easier to understand, here are the lists of differences between gold IRA transfer and rollover rules:
Gold IRA Transfer Rules
1. There is no 60-day duration rule.
2. There are no penalties for early withdrawals.
3. There are no annual limits.
4. There are no withholding taxes.
5. The account is not taxable.
Gold IRA Rollover Rules
1. The account holder must complete the transfer within 60 days.
2. The violation of the 60-day rule will incur a penalty wherein the distributed funds are deemed taxable as ordinary income.
3. Early withdrawals made by account holders under 59 ½ years old are penalized 10% of the total withdrawn fund.
4. Only one rollover per year is allowed.
5. If the rollover is from a personal IRA to another IRA, no tax will be withheld.
Gold IRA transfers are more advantageous and are hence more preferred by investors. For one, the transfer is done through third parties when moving funds. There is also minimal human error compared to roll over.
Furthermore, since there is no 60-day limit for processing, there is no pressure or anxiety in waiting for your funds to get transferred. There is also less likelihood of being penalized by the IRS as experienced custodians handle the transfers.
How To Rollover From a 401k to Gold IRA
Now that we've identified the difference between a rollover and an IRA transfer, you may wonder how to roll over your current 401(k) to a gold IRA. Well, here it is.
Among the individual retirement accounts, 401(k) is the employer-sponsored one. If you are a working adult, you may already have this. So, if you are looking into diversifying your portfolio to a new Gold IRA, here are the steps you need to take:
Find a Gold IRA Company
Finding a reputable Gold IRA company should be your priority. Our investigation demonstrated that while multiple firms offer Gold IRA rollovers, you have to find one that matches your objectives so they can provide you with the services you need.
Gold IRA companies have different features, minimum investment requirements, and other special deals. Based on our practical experience, especially if you are a neophyte, it will significantly benefit you if the firm you choose has educational resources or videos about precious metals investments.
Researching and then choosing is a must because the company you will select will handle the paperwork and transactions of your Gold IRA. They are at the frontline of your investments. Moreover, the process takes time, so take note of firms that communicate well with their clients. Also, they typically have experts so that they can offer financial advice or other investment-related topics.
Choose a Gold IRA Custodian
After matching with a gold IRA company, you must find a trusted administrator or custodian. These two are essential as they handle the paperwork and transactions since you cannot physically store the gold you purchase.
Your custodian or administrator manages your Gold IRA account, records all your transactions (e.g., purchases of precious metals), provide documentation, and handles other IRS-related services. Apart from the purchase of precious metals, they also coordinate the selling of your gold.
Since custodians are imperative in gold IRAs, your chosen custodian must be reputable and structured since they are responsible for many tasks related to your SDIRAs.
Set Up the Account
After your company and custodian search, you can now move toward setting up your account. The two are responsible for setting up your account, helping you acquire your precious metals, and selling them later. They also oversee the transactions and ensure that the precious metals you purchase are safely transported to and stored in IRS-approved depositories.
In line with your custodian's tasks, they will have to ensure that your Gold IRAs comply with the regulations imposed by the IRS, from the purity level of the precious metals to the storage of your physical assets. They also document your transactions, and the number of precious metals purchased and then send the documentation to you and the IRS.
In line with the companies listed above, all require a minimum investment amount for precious metals IRAs. However, some do not. It all depends on what you can and choose to invest in.
Rollover Your Funds
Now it's time to roll over your funds. The savings from your existing IRA can be deposited in your new Gold IRA rollover account, and then it will be transferred to your chosen custodian. This is a direct rollover from your previous IRA trustee. The rollover process may seem complicated, but your provider and custodians will help.
Purchase Your Preferred Precious Metals
After the funds are secured in your new Gold IRA account, you and your Gold IRA provider will choose precious metals to purchase, and then the latter will arrange for them to be transported in a secure depository.
You can also purchase other physical precious metals like silver, palladium, and platinum and add them to your account.
Things To Look For In A Good Precious Metals IRA Company
As per our expertise, the following are features that you should consider when choosing a precious metals IRA company you can invest in.
First is buybacks, programs that allow you to sell the physical assets back to the company and receive a payment within market value. These deals are one of the most reliable ways to liquidate your physical precious metals assets upon retirement. Choosing a Gold IRA company that offers good buyback deals will also provide a reasonable cost as you liquidate your assets.
A precious metals IRA company with good buyback deals would have a simple buyback process with little to no charges for liquidation. Moreover, they should arrange shipment before asking you to pay the fees.
You also have the option to receive your withdrawals as physical precious metals or in cash. If you choose money, it will be wired to your bank account or in check. You will receive it as a package if you decide to have it as a physical asset. But don't worry, and the package will be discreet and secure!
Gold IRA Fees & Cost
Apart from good deals, you must consider the company's costs and fees. Most premier Gold IRA companies require minimum investments, which can be as low as $2000 to as high as $50,000.
The services and products offered may be similar, but it depends on the company's price, especially when they have an expert team to guide your investment process. You may even receive access to multiple scholars who can influence your investment decisions for the better.
Moreover, the whole setup of an SDIRA requires more effort and staffing than an account solely for paper assets would, from the account setup, administration, commissions, transactions, purchases, maintenance, storage, transportation, documentation, etc. It involves a lot of work, hence the multiple fees. This should caution you to choose a company with a transparent fee structure and effectively communicates when there is a markup.
Setup fees are usually charged upfront and are required before setting up your account. They could be anywhere from $50 to a few hundred dollars. Though, there are instances wherein this fee is waived if the investor makes a significant initial deposit.
On the other hand, we discovered that storage fees often depend on the number of precious metals the account owners have. If you have large accounts, you will likely incur higher storage fees. Also, the base rate for storage fees varies for every precious metals IRA company.
As for the custodians, they will likely charge you maintenance fees for the administrative work that they do. The costs also vary and may depend on the company policies or the paperwork they must accomplish.
The list of product fees is usually on the company's website. If you see that it is incomplete, be sure to ask them, especially if it's about the product you want to invest in.
How To Open A Gold IRA Account
To set up a self-directed gold or precious metals IRA account, you have to undertake the following steps:
Choose a Gold IRA Custodian
Standard IRA companies do not offer precious metals, so you need custodians. Custodians are the only ones approved by IRS to manage alternative investment assets like precious metals. They can be an equity trust company, a bank, or an institution approved by the IRS.
Your Gold IRA custodians are there to ensure that your assets have the proper documentation and are securely stored in depositories.
Choose a Dealer
After looking for and choosing a trusted custodian, you can then entrust them with your money to choose a reputable precious metals dealer. Like selecting a precious metals company and custodians, choosing a dealer is also essential.
You have to comb through multiple dealers and compare different firms based on years of experience, qualifications, and deals they have provided to their clients. Moreover, you have to investigate their legitimacy.
It will be a loss for you if their precious metals products are not up to IRS standards. Hence, check whether they are a part of the Professional Numismatic Guild, Industry Council of Tangible Assets, and American Numismatic Association, as these organizations could back a company's legitimacy. You can also check reviews from verified sites to check other clients' experiences with the company.
Choose Which Items to Buy
Once you have chosen a dealer, look into their catalog and carefully select what you intend to add to your account. You can ask your gold or silver experts if you want to add gold and silver coins and bullion to your account.
If you wish to invest in platinum or palladium, make sure that the dealer you chose has them, as some companies' products are only limited to silver and gold. Communicate with your dealer and precious metals experts about which to add to your account, depending on what is available.
Moreover, market shifts can cause price fluctuation, leading to product markups. Do not be surprised when the purchasing fee is higher than your past one, and these fluctuations are relatively expected and normal. You just have to find a company that will be transparent regarding these changes.
To minimize risks, you can add well-known precious metals products to your account, like Canadian Maple Leaf Coins, Australian Koala Bullion, Gold Buffalos, and American Gold Eagles. As you become more experienced, you can shift to riskier and rarer bullion.
Pick a Storage
After choosing the products you wish to add to your account, you must select a storage facility to secure them. Most gold IRA companies already have partnered depositories, which are IRS-approved so you can entrust these depositories regarding the safety of your physical assets.
Delaware Depository Service, International Depository Service, and Brinks are some of the best storage facilities in the country, as indicated by our tests.
As there are multiple depositories across the country, choosing the one closest to you and your budget is more beneficial. If you have enough funds, you can even select segregated-type vault storage so your precious metals do not get mixed with other people's physical assets.
Finish the Transaction
Once you are confident with everything you have chosen, you can now proceed with the transaction. After that, your physical assets will be managed and taken care of by your custodians and your chosen depository.
How To Make A Withdrawal From A Precious Metals IRA?
Time has passed since you made a precious metals investment, and now you want to withdraw some of them; what do you have to do? Drawing from our experience, you have two options.
The first option is the buyback option, wherein you sell it back to your IRA provider. With this option, you will receive its market value in check or cash. The second option is to deliver your physical assets directly to your home. The shipping costs may or may not be covered by you, depending on the company. This way, you have the freedom of how or where to sell your precious metals.
However, you may incur tax penalties if you fail to sell your withdrawn physical assets within two months.
Final Thoughts - Precious Metals IRA Companies
Setting up a new individual retirement account, especially one that can hold physical assets like precious metals IRA, can be confusing and expensive. However, even though you are a neophyte investor in this industry, you will be assisted by a team of experts if you choose a company that puts your needs and experience as a client first.
We determined through our tests that this is the standard that Goldco has set in the industry. They take on clients and treat them as individuals with different needs, experiences, and objectives and meet them accordingly.
Our analysis of this product revealed that this company excels in assisting its clients through the whole SDIRA process, from setup to storage to withdrawal. Based on our observations, they are also transparent with their clients and are effective enough to be rated excellently across multiple verified platforms.
It is essential to partner with a precious metals IRA company that considers you an individual instead of just a cash flow. After trying out this product, we believe that Goldco deserves its rank as a top precious metals IRA company.