Updated November 5, 2022

What is Gold IRA

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Gold IRAs are a popular method of investing in precious metals for retirement. Read this guide to find out the benefits and what to look out for.

Interested in investing in precious metals for your retirement? If so, you may be considering a Gold IRA.

Gold IRAs are a type of self-directed individual retirement account. You can use them to invest in precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. Then you can enjoy the tax advantages that come with an IRA.

But is a Gold IRA right for you? Before you decide, you should know what they are and how they work.

In this detailed guide, you'll learn everything you need to know about Gold IRAs.

What is a Gold IRA?

A Gold IRA is a special type of retirement account that lets you invest in physical gold and other precious metals. Just like regular IRAs, you get tax advantages.

But you must open a self-directed IRA in order to hold gold coins and bullion. There are also strict IRS rules you have to follow.

A good gold IRA company will help set you up with an IRS-approved custodian, purchase allowed coins, and store them properly. This is important so you stay compliant with the IRS.

Many will let you invest in the most common types of IRAs such as Roth, Traditional, SIMPLE, and SEP IRAs. Each one has its unique features but offers tax-advantaged retirement investing.

IRA TypeBefore RetirementAfter Retirement
RothContributions are taxed and are not tax-deductibleEarnings and withdrawals are not taxed
TraditionalContributions are not taxed and are usually tax-deductibleWithdrawals are taxed
SEPEmployers can make contributions that are not taxed and are usually tax-deductibleWithdrawals are taxed
SIMPLEEmployers must contribute, and employees can make contributions that are not taxedWithdrawals are taxed

While gold is the only precious metal you will find in all Gold IRAs, many let you invest in other precious metals too. Silver, platinum, and palladium are other popular options.[1]

Goldco is one Gold IRA provider that offers a large range of precious metals. You might consider investing in a range of precious metals like platinum and palladium to diversify your Gold IRA.

Government restrictions also require that precious metals in an IRA meet certain purity requirements, which vary by metal.[2] There are other requirements too, such as your bullion must be uncirculated and proof coins need to come with certificates of authenticity.

Fortunately, most Gold IRA providers will help you meet these regulations and make your precious metals retirement investing as easy as possible.

What are the Benefits of a Gold IRA?

There are several reasons why you might be considering investing in a Gold IRA for your retirement.

Many people see gold as a strong investment option. It's had a long history of use, it's accepted worldwide, has a limited supply, and has potential uses for various industrial and technological endeavors.

Did you know gold may be in your pocket right now? Gold is often used in electronics because it conducts electricity, is difficult to tarnish, and is easy to mold. Computer chips, circuit boards, and cell phones often use it, which means you may have already invested in gold!

Gold and other precious metals are seen by many as a hedge against stock market volatility and inflation. Some people also like gold and other precious metals for the simple reason that it's an investment that they can see and touch. You can see the actual gold in your IRA by visiting the depository where it's kept.

What makes gold investment appealing to you?

Investing through an IRA will also save you money in taxes. Below you'll learn a couple of ways a Gold IRA can save you money that would otherwise have gone to the government.

Volatility of the Stock Market

A large percentage of the population invests its retirement savings solely in the stock market. While the stock market has consistently trended upward, its steady rise hasn't been without ups and downs.

If you're only invested in the stock market and need to withdraw when it's down, you could lose some of your hard-earned money. Of course, you could also profit by withdrawing when the market is up.

The trouble is that you cannot predict whether the market will be up or down, so you're subject to the volatility of the market.

But gold and other precious metals prices do not correlate to the stock market. When stocks are down, gold is sometimes up.

By choosing to invest in gold and stocks, you have more options for protecting your money.

Hedge Against Inflation

While experts aren't entirely in agreement, some believe that gold holds its value better than the dollar.

Throughout history, inflation has made the dollar consistently lose value over time. This means the money you have today is worth a little less tomorrow. If inflation skyrockets, it can be worth a lot less.

But if these experts are right, investing in gold loses less value. It can even appreciate significantly, giving you a better investment return later in life.


It is possible to buy gold and invest in precious metals on your own.

The reason you might consider doing it through an IRA instead is taxes. The IRS considers gold a capital asset, meaning you'll have to pay taxes on it when you sell.

By investing through a gold IRA, you can save money on taxes. You either buy gold with post-tax dollars and avoid paying taxes on your withdrawals, or buy it with pre-tax dollars and only pay taxes when you take distributions during your retirement.

What to Look For in a Gold IRA

With several Gold IRA providers to choose from, it helps to know what factors to consider when deciding on one. It's also important to remember that not every IRA is right for everyone.

Here are some common questions you should ask when considering a Gold IRA:

What metals do they support?
While every Gold IRA will include gold, some allow you to invest in silver, platinum, and palladium. Holding more than one precious metal can diversify your portfolio since these metal prices don't always correlate.

Sometimes the price of gold goes down, but silver goes up.

How much does it cost to start a Gold IRA?
The minimum investment requirement can be the deciding factor for whether you use one provider or another. Minimum investments may range from as low as a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands.

Most Gold IRAs require an investment of $15,000 to $25,000. But many providers provide perks for those who deposit larger amounts initially.

Want to start a Gold IRA with a low investment? Try Advantage Gold Group. They let you start a Gold IRA without a required minimum investment. They were founded in 2014 and get generally positive reviews from customers.

Is the minimum requirement of $15,000 too steep for you?

How long have they been in business?
While it's no guarantee of quality, more years in business generally means a more experienced provider and a better reputation. Some Gold IRA providers have been around for decades, others only a few years.

For instance, Noble Gold is one of the youngest Gold IRA providers, having been founded in 2016, while Birch Gold Group was founded in 2003.

What do their customers say?
In addition to reading professional reviews, it often helps to check popular resources such as the Better Business Bureau, Trustpilot, and the Business Consumer Alliance to find out what people are saying about a particular provider.

The best providers pride themselves on excellent customer service, which should be reflected in their reviews.

Is your IRA gold safe?
Storage is an important factor when it comes to a Gold IRA. You aren't allowed to store IRA-related gold at home, so you'll need a depository.[3] But Gold IRA providers will have relationships with depositories already and include it as a part of their service.

But where is the depository located? You may prefer to find one with a location near you, although depending on where you are, it may prove difficult or impossible.

Beware of Gold IRA scams: Like any investment, some bad actors might try to take advantage of your inexperience. FINRA recommends keeping an eye out for these signs when investing in precious metals:
  • Avoid aggressive salesman: Investing in a Gold IRA is the beginning of a relationship that can last decades. There's no need to rush it.
  • Research the Gold IRA company: The NFA provides a free tool to search for salespeople who have had disciplinary action.
  • Check the fees: Most IRA companies charge a small amount in fees for storage and maintenance. But if some fees don't make sense, do inquire at similar companies to compare.

Are they also a precious metals dealer?
The government imposes strict regulations on what precious metals can and cannot be included in an IRA. If your IRA provider also sells precious metals directly, it can make funding your IRA easier and reduce the risk of purchasing ineligible metals.

Do they have a buyback program?
When it comes time to take distributions from your Gold IRA, you'll need to sell your gold to get money from your account.

If your IRA provider has a buyback program, it ensures you won't have to go to the trouble of selling your gold on your own. Of course, you won't be required to sell to them—you'll simply have the option.

How much can you put in a Gold IRA?
Contributions are set by the IRS and may vary by year. In 2021 and 2022, the maximum contribution to a Gold IRA was $6,000, or $7,000 if you are 50 or older.[4]

How do I transfer my IRA to gold?
Rolling over an existing IRA is fairly simple, and you'll find a wealth of assistance from your IRA provider when you sign up for a new Gold IRA account.

Bottom Line

With a Gold IRA, you can find a way to add healthy diversification to your retirement savings investments through tax-advantaged purchases of precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.

Gold IRA providers usually offer plenty of assistance in setting up and funding your account and rolling over existing retirement accounts. All that's left to you is to decide whether you think gold is a good investment and which gold IRA provider is the best fit for your needs.


  1. ^ Internal Revenue Service. Publication 590-A Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), Retrieved 7/13/2022
  2. ^ U.S. Code. 26 USC 408: Individual retirement accounts, Retrieved 7/13/2022
  3. ^ Internal Revenue Service. IRA FAQs: Investments "If my IRA invests in gold or other bullion, can I store the bullion in my home?", Retrieved 7/13/2022
  4. ^ Internal Revenue Service. IRA FAQs:Contributions, Retrieved 7/13/2022

Jeremy Harshman is a creative assistant 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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Best Gold IRA Companies

By Jeremy Harshman - Tips for Investing
Seeking a stable investment for your retirement? Consider a gold IRA. Review the 7 best gold IRA companies in this guide.
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