Updated April 20, 2022

Best Gold IRA Companies

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Seeking a stable investment for your retirement? Consider a gold IRA. Review the 7 best gold IRA companies in this guide.

Few investments have been around longer than gold. It's less volatile than other assets, and a hedge against inflation.

So, what's the best way to invest in gold?

One smart option is a gold IRA (individual retirement account). IRAs let you invest on a tax-free or tax-deferred basis.

In this guide, review the best gold IRA companies, the pros and cons of gold IRAs, and common fees to watch out for.

The Best Gold IRA Companies
  1. Goldco Precious Metals: Best overall
  2. Augusta Precious Metals: Best for transparent pricing
  3. Patriot Gold Group: Best customer service
  4. Noble Gold: Best buyback service
  5. Regal Assets: Best for IRA rollovers
  6. Advantage Gold: Best for beginners
  7. American Hartford Gold: Best account selection

What is a Gold IRA?

A gold IRA is a self-directed individual retirement account whose custodian has decided to offer the ability to invest in gold. Some of the top custodians include companies like Goldco Precious Metals, Augusta Precious Metals, and Patriot Gold Group.

Due to regulations imposed by the IRS, many retirement accounts, such as IRAs, are limited in what assets they can include. Most average IRAs include things like stocks and ETFs. But it's possible to invest in other assets as long as you can find a custodian who supports them.

So, what's the difference between investing in a gold IRA and simply buying gold directly? While gold may have some tax benefits, a gold IRA allows you to invest in gold on a tax-free or tax-deferred basis.

The only downside is, you can't access it until you turn 59½ without incurring a penalty.[1]

Is gold allowed in an IRA?
Gold is only allowed in self-directed IRAs that specifically identify it as an asset you can invest in. In most typical IRAs, gold is not allowed as an investable asset, which is the difference between a gold IRA and other types. Which assets you can invest in are determined by your IRA's custodian.

The 7 Best Gold IRA Companies

These are some of the biggest names in the gold IRA business, chosen for their strong track records and positive customer reviews, along with a range of helpful features for investors looking to diversify their retirement portfolios.

If you're interested in gold as an investment asset, one of these companies can help you get it at a tax-advantaged rate.

1. Goldco Precious Metals: Best Overall

Founded in 2006, Goldco is a highly rated gold IRA provider, with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.[2]

Goldco will help you open a precious metals IRA whether you're investing for the first time or rolling over an existing IRA or a 401(k), 403(b), TSP, a savings account, or any other tax-advantaged retirement account. There are no taxes or penalties for rollovers.

They charge a flat annual fee for gold IRA account holders, which varies by customer. Since the rate is consistent, it comes out to a lower percentage of your holdings the more assets you have invested in your account.

Gold held in one of their self-directed IRAs is safely stored in a depository they control, and you can take payments either in the form of gold or cash once you reach retirement age.

Precious Metals Offered
Gold coins, gold bars, silver coins, silver bars, platinum, palladium

Key Features

  • Gold, Silver, platinum and palladium IRA
  • Roll over existing retirement accounts
  • Educational materials: e-books and videos

Fees

  • Account Minimum: $25,000 recommended
  • Storage Fees: Depend on custodian
  • Annual Fees: $175; $225 for $100,000 investment or more

  • Competitive prices
  • Helpful educational resources
  • Rollovers are easy + no fees
  • High minimum investment
  • Flat rate fee more expensive for lower balances

2. Augusta Precious Metals: Best Transparent Pricing

Founded in 2012, Augusta Precious Metals is a family-owned gold and precious metals IRA provider. With Augusta, you can invest in physical gold and silver at tax-advantaged rates.

Augusta works with several trusted custodians, including Equity Trust, Gold Star Trust Company, and Kingdom Trust. To keep your precious metals safe, they're kept in a guarded depository and insured by Lloyd's of London.

You can easily set up your gold IRA with support from live agents, product preselection services to reduce confusion, and a simple buying process. They'll even help you with the paperwork.

Augusta stands out for their transparent pricing: they don't charge hidden fees, disclose their bid/ask spread, and offer continual updates to ongoing transactions. Augusta does charge a custodian account setup fee and depository storage fees.

Precious Metals Offered
Gold bullion, silver bullion, premium gold, premium silver

Key Features

  • Gold and Silver IRA
  • Insured by Lloyd's of London
  • Roll over existing retirement accounts
  • Buy-back program

Fees

  • Minimum investment: $5,000
  • Custodian account setup fee: $50
  • Custodian maintenance fee: $80 per year
  • Depository storage fee: $100 per year[3]
  • No commission fees
  • No management fees

  • Best transparent pricing
  • No commission or management fees
  • Doesn't offer platinum or palladium

3. Patriot Gold Group: Best Customer Service

An experienced gold IRA provider, Patriot Gold Group has won multiple Consumer Affairs awards for gold and silver dealers in the U.S.

Their team will guide you through the process of setting up a gold IRA, and once it's open, they'll manage it automatically with little effort on your part.

Patriot stores their gold in secure vaults across the U.S., but you can also store gold at home in your own safe. They provide free gold IRA investor guides for those interested in learning more about them, and allow for rollover of existing IRAs and 401(k)s into a self-directed gold IRA with them.

Patriot Gold Group has a reputation for excellent customer service, which helps them stand out from their competitors. They'll walk you through setting up your account either over the phone or online.

Unfortunately, their pricing and fees are not transparent without starting the application process. You'll need to contact them directly to decide on a plan.

Precious Metals Offered
Gold, silver, platinum, palladium

Key Features

  • Gold, silver, platinum and palladium IRA
  • Roll over existing retirement accounts
  • Excellent customer service

Fees

  • Account Minimum: $15,000
  • Account Setup Fee: $225 one time
  • Annual Fees: Depend on custodian; range from $5 to $250

  • Excellent customer service
  • Easy account set-up
  • High minimum investment
  • Pricing not transparent

What's the best gold IRA for beginners? Beginners should consider Advantage Gold for their gold IRA. They provide more educational materials than many of their competitors and their training program is designed to ensure you make an informed decision when opening your gold IRA. When you're ready to set up your account, the process is also pretty quick and easy.

4. Noble Gold: Best Buyback Service

Noble Gold was founded by Collin Plume in Pasadena, California, who has over 20 years in the precious metals industry.

Noble Gold helps prospective IRA holders decide whether a gold IRA is right for them by providing educational info and helpful advisors to answer your questions. If you decide to open an IRA, Noble Gold has a five-minute set-up process.

Noble Gold offers free shipping and competitive pricing on gold and other precious metals. They pride themselves on a "no hard sell" policy and a "no-questions-asked" buy-back feature.

Setting up an account is easy. Start by filling out some simple forms online and they'll get in touch to deal with the more detailed questions over the phone.

You can transfer and rollover existing IRAs or other retirement accounts easily, and with no additional taxes or penalties. Any precious metals purchased through a Noble Gold IRA are held in secure storage they provide.

Eligible accounts include 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457(b)s, TSPs, Roth, SEP or SIMPLE IRAs, and certain pensions.

Precious Metals Offered
Gold, silver, platinum, palladium

Key Features

  • Gold, silver, platinum and palladium IRA
  • Roll over existing retirement accounts
  • Excellent customer service

Fees

  • Annual Fees: $80
  • Storage Fee: $150 (if you store your assets in Texas or Delaware)
  • Custodian Fee: Varies by customer[4]

  • Excellent buy-back service
  • No pushy salespeople
  • Reasonable fees
  • Annual fees high for low balances

5. Regal Assets: Best for IRA Rollovers

Regal Assets is a Gold IRA provider founded by Tyler Gallagher with the goal of offering investors access to alternative investment options.

Unlike many other gold IRAs, they also offer a range of cryptocurrency investing options, which may interest investors looking for a combination of traditional assets and novel ones.

Regal Assets supports investing in silver, platinum, and palladium as well. By offering a mix of hard assets and digital assets, they believe they can provide protection against inflation and volatility, as well as profit.

Users can open a new IRA, or roll over or transfer an existing retirement account such as a 401(k), SEP, TSP, 403(b), or another IRA. Regal Assets doesn't charge any additional fees for rollover or transfer services.

Precious Metals Offered
Gold, silver, platinum, palladium

Key Features

  • Gold and cryptocurrency IRA
  • Roll over existing retirement accounts
  • Excellent customer service

Fees

  • Annual Fees: $250[5]
  • No extra transaction fees
  • No fees for rollovers or transfers

  • No fees for IRA rollovers
  • Flat fees
  • No transaction fees
  • Buying process inconvenient

Interested in crypto IRAs? This comprehensive guide breaks down what you need to know to invest in crypto for a comfortable retirement.

6. Advantage Gold: Best for Beginners

One of the newer arrivals on the gold IRA scene, Advantage Gold was founded in 2014, but they have a solid track record and positive customer reviews.

It's easy to set up an IRA with Advantage; just apply, your application will be reviewed by one of their investment professionals, and you can fund your account or rollover an existing retirement account.

If you're investing in gold for the first time, you may consider Advantage Gold because they provide more educational materials than many of their competitors. Their training program is designed to ensure you make an informed decision when opening your gold IRA.

You can buy your gold directly from Advantage; they also have a buyback program and excellent customer service.

Precious Metals Offered
Gold, silver, platinum, palladium

Features and Fees

  • Gold, silver, platinum and palladium IRA
  • Roll over existing retirement accounts
  • Educational materials

Fees

  • Account Setup Fee: $50 one time
  • Annual Storage Fees: $50 - $100 per year
  • Annual Account Fee: $95 - $250 per year

  • Easy for beginners
  • Extensive educational resources
  • Buyback program
  • Newer company
  • Can't buy online

7. American Hartford Gold: Best Account Selection

You can invest in gold and silver with a gold IRA from American Hartford Gold Group, another family-owned company operating out of Los Angeles.

Opening an account online is easy, and shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes, or you can work with one of their representatives to make it even simpler.

Once you've set up your account, you can fund it with a transfer, a rollover of an existing retirement account such as a 401(k), another IRA, a TSP (thrift savings plan), 403(b), or 457 account, or through new contributions.

Your gold is stored with Brinks Global Services or Delaware Depository, available in several locations throughout the U.S.

Precious Metals Offered
Gold, silver, platinum, palladium

Key Features

  • Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium IRA
  • Roll over existing retirement accounts
  • Excellent customer service

Fees

  • Annual Account Fee: $75 for accounts under $100,000; $125 for accounts over[6]
  • Annual Storage Fee: $100 per year

  • Easy to open account
  • Lots of account options
  • Fewer educational materials

Pros and Cons of a Gold IRA

Unsure whether gold IRAs are right for you? Get the quick takeaway with these pros and cons.

Pros

  • Gold is a hedge against inflation
  • Gold is a less volatile investment than stocks
  • Physical gold is not reliant upon technology like some investments

Cons

  • Often have higher fees than other retirement accounts
  • Gold is less liquid than some investments, and may be harder to sell
  • Investing in a gold IRA requires finding sources for IRS-approved quality precious metals

In 2018, the SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy issued an investor alert to warn investors of the potential risks of fraud associated with self-directed IRAs.[7]

How Do I Invest in a Gold IRA?

Investing in a gold IRA is pretty simple. Many of the companies we've discussed here have made a point of simplifying the process so that it's as easy as possible. Here's what you can expect:

Step One: Sign up
Once you've chosen which gold IRA custodian you'd like to use, visit their website and sign up.

They'll ask for a range of personal identifying information and usually guide you through the process of setting up an account.

Step Two: Transfer Funds
If you have an existing IRA, 401(k), or other retirement account, you may be able to transfer or roll it over into your new gold IRA.

Once that's done, you're ready to buy some gold.

Step Three: Invest and Wait to Withdraw
Many gold IRA providers also function as precious metals dealers and can offer you better prices on IRS-approved fine-quality gold than you might find elsewhere.

If they don't offer gold themselves, chances are they'll be able to point you in the direction of dealers they trust.

In most cases, barring exemptions or special programs, your gold will have to be administered by a custodian, and stored in an acceptable secure depository, not with you at home.[8]

At the age of 59 1/2, you'll be able to withdraw from your gold IRA without penalty.

Does Charles Schwab offer a gold IRA?
Charles Schwab doesn't offer a gold IRA, but it does offer the Invesco Gold and Special Minerals Fund, which can provide investors with exposure to the precious metals market by investing in stocks of companies that deal with mining, processing, and trading them. If you want to open a gold IRA, consider one of the companies above.

Why Should I Invest in a Gold IRA?

The biggest argument for investing in a gold IRA, such as the ones offered by Augusta Precious Metals, and gold in general, is that gold is a hedge against inflation.

While the value of the dollar has decreased over time, the price of gold has grown more than the dollar over certain periods of time. By buying your gold through an IRA rather than buying gold directly, you can avoid some of the taxes associated with savings accounts.

That said, it's also important to remember the downsides of investing in a gold IRA. It has higher costs due to upkeep than many other options, and requires opening a special account specifically for the purpose.

If you want to invest in physical gold, remember that traditionally diversification is considered an important tool for mitigating risk, so consider keeping gold as only a portion of your portfolio.

And if you want to invest in precious metals with more freedom and liquidity, you might consider a gold ETF instead, which gives you exposure to gold as an asset, but can be purchased through a regular retirement account.

Does Vanguard have a gold IRA?
You can't invest in precious metals directly with Vanguard. However, the Vanguard Global Capital Cycles Fund (VGPMX) includes precious metals and mining companies, which comprise about a quarter of this portfolio. If you want to invest in gold directly, you'll need to look elsewhere.

Common Gold IRA Fees to Watch out for

There are several fees commonly associated with a gold IRA. It's worth keeping in mind that gold IRAs tend to be more expensive than other, more traditional IRAs. Here are the fees you can expect.

  • Account Setup Fee: This is a one-time fee charged by some IRA companies when you open your account, and typically ranges between $50 and $150.

  • Annual Custodial/Administrative Fee: Charged by your IRA for managing your account. This also typically ends up somewhere between $50 and $150 per year.

  • Storage Fee: A fee charged to cover the cost of storing your physical gold. This is a cost that won't be associated with stocks and bonds, and will vary depending on how much you own. Usually between $50 and $300 per year.

  • Gold Markup: The amount that the IRA charges in addition to the spot or market price of your gold. Ideally, you'll choose a company that discloses it.

Bottom Line

Many see gold as a strong long-term investment vehicle, and with good reason. In a world increasingly reliant on technology, it can be reassuring to know that at least some of your retirement investments are based on something you can see and touch.

With these retirement accounts, your gold is safely custodied in a vault, and not putting lumps under your mattress. Whether you choose Goldco, Augusta Precious Metals, or any of the other providers on this list, it's easy to open a new account or rollover an existing IRA or another retirement account. All you have to do is get started.

Methodology

While there are many companies that claim to offer users access to a gold IRA, initial research suggested that there were in fact a total of 18 legitimate companies providing gold IRA accounts.

Once that was established, we narrowed the field based on consumer feedback from resources such as the Better Business Bureau and customer ratings of this selection of precious metals IRAs.

Once we were certain that every name on our list was a reputable gold IRA company, we examined their services in detail, in order to compare them.

By taking into account pricing for gold and silver and other precious metals, transparency, fees, educational resources, ease of use, customer service, and a range of other factors, we were able to determine with reasonable certainty which gold IRA companies provided the highest quality service.

References

  1. ^ Internal Revenue Service. IRA FAQs - Distributions (Withdrawals), Retrieved 3/16/2022
  2. ^ GOLDCO: Better Business Bureau profile. BBB. (n.d.). Retrieved January 4, 2022
  3. ^ Augusta Precious Metals. Augusta Gold & Silver IRA: Setup & Pricing Information, Retrieved 3/16/2022
  4. ^ Noble Gold. Gold IRA FAQs, Retrieved 3/16/2022
  5. ^ Regal Assets. Storage: Transparent, and FLAT Pricing Fee, Retrieved 3/16/2022
  6. ^ American Hartford Gold Group. IRA Investment Guide, Retrieved 3/16/2022
  7. ^ U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Investor Alert: Self-Directed IRAs and the Risk of Fraud, Retrieved 4/10/2022
  8. ^ U.S. House of Representatives. 26 USC 408: Individual retirement accounts, Retrieved 4/10/2022

Jeremy Harshman is a protector of art and writing at CreditDonkey, a personal finance comparison and reviews website. Write to Jeremy Harshman at jeremy.harshman@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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