Gold and other precious metal IRAs are an investment and carry risk. Consumers should be alert to claims that customers can make a lot of money in these or any investment with little risk. As with any investment, you can lose money and past performance is not a guarantee of future performance results. Consumers should also obtain a clear understanding of the fees associated with any investment before agreeing to invest.
Gold IRA Reviews
The following companies currently offer gold IRAs and have been rated highly by customers, the BBB, and the press. Find your investor profile — with the company that best matches it — below.
Lear Capital Review
Great Service |
This company is well-versed in assisting customers with IRA and 401(k) rollovers. The majority of their customers already have retirement accounts and wish to diversify those accounts with silver and gold investments.
Gold coin options. Screenshot: Lear Website
Lear is a market leader in the buying and selling of bullion. Their knowledge of the gold and silver markets is established in the private markets and translates well to their IRA management. Their experts should be able to help you find the right precious metal for your needs and personal tastes. The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
A $200 annual fee is all you pay for management of your IRA. The fee covers the costs of storage, custodian management, and quarterly statements. There are no additional fees from Lear Capital for maintaining your IRA, although there may be costs associated with buying, selling, and transfer of assets. The IRA investment minimum is $25,000 and they sometimes lower that figure for brief promotional periods.
Read our full Lear Capital review.
Great Retailer |
This company has recently made a big splash in the industry, with a strong endorsement from former presidential candidate and U.S. representative Dr. Ron Paul.
Ron Paul author at Goldco. Screenshot: Goldco Website
Goldco has also carved out a reputation for personalizing their services to suit the needs of customers. The company is known for it’s professionalism, careful attention to clients, and consultative approach to help meet customers’ retirement goals.
With its recently-built, state-of-the-art storage facility and the ability to store your precious metals separately, this company is designed for the investor who wants access and accountability. The modest $200 annual fee (waived the first year) is a bit higher than other companies, but gives you the ability to see your own, individual metals assets at any time.
Orion Metal Exchange Review
Most Competitive Pricing |
Coin options. Screenshot: OME Website
Orion Metal Exchange (OME) offers investor direct pricing and over 50 years of precious metals investment service. While Orion is based in Los Angeles, it has options for investors in all 50 states to invest in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium for their IRAs.
The company displays their list of the IRS-approved coins on their website. Orion recommends these precious metals to be stored at one a local Brinks or Delaware Depository location. Although home storage is an option with OME, it is not recommended by the company for IRS compliance.
The costs for an Orion Metal Exchange Gold IRA are minimal. We like that Orion Metal Exchange doesn’t charge a setup or transfer fee, and the company will pay for storage for up to three years.
For more information, read our full Orion Metal Exchange review.
Patriot Gold Group Review
No Fee for Life IRA |
Coin options. Screenshot: Patriot Gold Group Screenshot
If you are looking for a company that makes investing in gold affordable, one option stands out – Patriot Gold Group. We like the company for making getting started a straightforward, 24-hour turnaround 3-step process with no fees for life. Also notable is Patriot Gold Group’s claim to always put customers in touch with owners of the company. And there are no management fees for gold or silver IRAs, so costs are manageable and tied to the purchase of assets.
You can initiate a gold IRA account online by filling out their online form with your basic information and the best time to be reached. You can rollover an existing IRA into a gold IRA or start a new gold IRA from scratch.
Patriot Gold Group has a 5-star rating at ConsumerAffairs, a AAA rating from the Business Council Alliance and a seasoned management team. If you’re interested in more information, contact the company at (844) 524-9001 or get a free investor kit online.
Read our comprehensive Patriot Gold Group review.
Oxford Gold Group
Flexible Pricing |
Oxford Gold Group has been around for more than 20 years, and has become popular among people hoping to protect their assets against uncertain markets and a potential downturn in the economy.
This company works with investors to develop an investment strategy for minimizing risk, and then uses that approach to inform investing in precious metals. Oxford is proud of their custom friendly service and convenient access to their 24/7 customer care team- should question arise during your investment journey.
Whether you are an experienced investor or just getting started, Oxford Gold Group has experience to help you meet your goals. Getting started with a gold or silver IRA with Oxford Gold Group consists of three steps:
2. Second, an Oxford Gold Group account executive will contact your current IRA custodian to get the ball rolling on the rollover process. Once finalized, it takes about three to five business days for your funds to transfer into your new Precious Metals IRA.
3. Finally, once your new IRA is funded, your account executive will speak with you about the metals options available and walk you through choosing the best ones. After you’ve made your selection, the metals are shipped to the depository and stored.
Read our comprehensive Oxford Gold Group review.
Birch Gold Group
Great Online Education |
Since 2003, Birch Gold Group has been selling physical gold, silver, platinum and palladium to be put in an IRA or kept for physical possession. They’ve since become a leading company in Precious Metals IRAs and strive to educate consumers on the best way to turn precious metals into a long-term investment.
Birch Gold Group offers IRA-approved precious metals to be placed in or rolled over to a Precious Metals IRA. This offers a layer of protection unique to this type of IRA. The company will educate you in person or online about how Precious Metals IRAs can diversify your portfolio, hedge against inflation and show strong growth potential.
In addition to its “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau, Birch Gold Group has won numerous awards including five stars with TrustLink touting their customer service and a “AAA” rating with Business Consumer Alliance
Read our complete Birch Gold Group review for more details.
American Hartford Gold
Great Buyback Plan |
Based in Los Angeles, American Hartford Gold specializes in Gold and Precious Metals IRAs. Signing up for a Precious Metals IRA is simplified to a three-step process with American Hartford Gold Group. The first step is to call a American Hartford IRA Product Specialist who walks you through the necessary paperwork. Next, you’ll fund your account. If you’re rolling over an existing account, your new Precious Metals IRA will have funds transferred to it within three days. Once your new Precious Metals IRA has funded, you can select your metals. Finally, you’ll purchase your precious metals which will be stored in an IRA-approved vault.
American Hartford Gold stands out thanks to its BuyBack Commitment. This lets customers sell their precious metals while avoiding additional fees during the liquidation process.
For more details, read our full American Hartford Gold review.
Additional Gold IRA Companies
Lexi Capital helps customers convert their existing IRA, 401(k), annuity or other retirement accounts. Read our comprehensive Lexi Capital Review to learn more.
The Gold Financial Group takes care to explain gold investing and the precious metals each client is interested in. To learn more about the company, read our Gold Financial Group Review.
American Precious Metals Exchange is one of the largest precious metals dealers specializing in precious metals for Gold IRA accounts. Check out our APMEX comprehensive review.
Rosland Capital’s specialists help clients choose precious metals that are in compliance with IRS rules for Gold IRAs. Check out our Rosland Capital comprehensive review.
JM Bullion buys and sales precious metals such as gold, silver, copper and platinum. Check out our JM Bullion comprehensive review.
Our Research Methodology
To identify top gold IRA providers, we analyzed 10 data points to give you a well-rounded review of each provider. We sourced feedback and reviews from real consumers and consulted with finance experts. We also considered these features:
- Licensure and credentials
- Fees, such as transfer and setup, annual management, and storage costs
- Access to educational information and investment resources
- Customer service and support availability
- Industry reputation
- Storage options
- Minimum investment requirements
- Options for precious metals
We also requested starter kits, as most companies allow interested investors to call for a starter kit or more information. We wanted to narrow down the list to those that would answer your questions right away, either with a live chat rep, or an easy-to-use request form. Companies that responded within a few days (or quicker) stayed on our list.
Basically, we followed our own buying tips to uncover the best providers. Companies that obscured their prices, had difficult or confusing policies and procedures, and/or limited investment and storage options were eliminated. The result of our analysis is the best gold IRA companies for you, a friend, or a family member to consider.
Tips for Choosing the Right Gold IRA Company
The three most significant considerations for finding the best gold IRA company are consumer ratings, customer service and reputation.
- Be a skeptical investor; only work with reputable companies that are committed to customer education
- Make sure you buy IRS-approved and IRA-approved coins from a reputable company
- Understand potential tax penalties for selling and home storage options
Before investing in gold, you should know exactly what you’re getting. Ask lots of questions and do your due diligence. Going into a transaction of this magnitude unprepared or without the right knowledge could cost you money in the long run.
How to Choose a Gold IRA Company
Buy IRA-approved metals: Per IRS rules, you can hold only certain types of gold and precious metals in an IRA. JM Bullion has a good list of IRA-approved metals you can use to guide your investments. The metals that don’t appear on this list have not been deemed pure enough, and you won’t be able to use your IRA funds to purchase them. To be IRS-eligible, gold bars must have a 99.5% purity, silver 99.9% purity, and platinum and palladium 99.95% purity.
Metals must also meet other qualifications pertaining to their condition (near perfect), weight, and authenticity.
Store it properly: Unless you want to incur taxes for storing your gold at home, it’s important to invest with a gold IRA company that has vetted and partnered with reputable, IRS-approved storage facilities. While many IRAs offer you the ability to keep your gold in separate storage away from the metals of other investors in the same facility, beware of any company that provides an option to store them at home in a safe or bank deposit box. This is not an IRS-approved method and could result in tax penalties.
Hold your gold until maturity: If you need access to your IRA funds, you can take distributions from your gold IRA like a traditional IRA. In most instances, you can opt to receive the actual bullion or the cash value of your precious metals. But remember that early withdrawals before 59 1/2 attract a 10% penalty, and taxes apply.
What Are the Typical Gold IRA Fees?
In addition to the cost of the metals themselves, you’ll need to budget for other fees related to establishing and maintaining a gold IRA.
- Setup fees: An application fee to process a new account or initiate an IRA/401k rollover. These fees range from $50 to $275, but some custodians wave this expense for larger accounts.
- Transaction fees: A flat fee to purchase or sell metals within the account. Fees are typically about $40 per transaction.
- Account maintenance fees: Annual fee to maintain your account. These fees can vary from $75 to a few hundred dollars per year, though some custodians may offer discounts based on account size.
- Wiring fees: IRA custodians will charge a wiring fee of about $25 for each outgoing wire.
- Storage fees: A percentage of your investment or a flat fee paid in exchange for holding and securing your metals in an approved depository. Some custodians may include insurance costs in their storage fees.
- Shipping fees: A flat fee to move your metals to and from the depository.
Options for Storing Your Gold
When deciding where to store your gold investments, your options are limited. The IRS has only a few approved depositories for gold, silver, platinum, and palladium depositories. Examples of IRS-approved depositories include Delaware Depository Service Company, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, and CNT Depository.
Under IRS law, you cannot store your investments at home or in a safe deposit box — without incurring a fee, at least. If you store them at home, the IRS will consider it a withdrawal and levy taxes (if it’s a traditional gold IRA) and/or penalties (if the withdrawal takes place before age 59 1/2).
Many gold IRA companies partner with a third-party storage firm or secured depository. When researching companies to invest with, ensure they’ve partnered with reputable facilities and ask how they handle transportation and insurance coverage. Then, determine how they’ll be stored. Allocated storage means your metals will be stored alongside the metals of other investors. Commingled, or segregated storage, keeps your investments separate from assets held by other investors in an individual storage box or vault.
What to Consider Before Investing in a Gold IRA
There are pluses and minuses to investing in a gold IRA.
It helps diversify your portfolio
Most retirement experts have recommended that 5-15% of your total portfolio be in precious metals, with some even suggesting up to 20%. Whether you choose to put that allocation into gold alone — or mix it up with silver, platinum or palladium – investment firms must follow the rules to protect your wealth. If the economy (or stock market) takes a turn, having your money in gold can potentially reduce your losses.
It’s a safe way to grow your investments
The price of gold has risen steadily over time, reaching its highest price ever in 2020. The average annual return of gold in 2020 was 24.6%, which was the second-highest return among assets that year (silver had the highest). In the shorter term, gold outperforms stocks, especially during times of uncertainty. Experts deem it a safe bet for growth because it usually outpaces the value of the dollar, which can fluctuate during inflation, political upheavals, and plummeting stock markets.
It comes with higher fees
The cost to have a custodian to store and insure and buy, ship, and transport your assets is pretty steep. You’ll also have to budget for annual custodial fees, which tend to be higher than traditional IRA management costs.
It offers fewer tax advantages
Though you can deduct contributions made to a traditional gold IRA, you can’t tax the interest, dividends, or returns. You will only see a tax break on capital gains if you sell your gold for a profit.
Frequently Asked Questions about Gold IRAs
Here are answers to the most commonly-asked questions regarding gold and precious metals IRAs. Review them to get an understanding of how an account can be started to help you build wealth in retirement.
What is a gold IRA?
A Gold IRA is like a traditional IRA (Individual Retirement Account), except the assets held are physical gold bars, coins, or other precious metal pieces. Unlike a traditional IRA, which deals in paper assets, you will own the actual assets represented by your investments.
What do gold IRA companies do?
Gold IRA companies open and operate self-directed IRAs like gold IRAs. A reputable gold IRA company can assist you with purchasing, storing, and selling your gold investments, as well as rolling over traditional IRAs, 401(k)’s, and eligible retirement fund account assets to a gold IRA account. While these custodians are not as widely available, some popular gold IRA companies include Orion Metal Exchange, Oxford Gold Group, Lear Capital, and Goldco, among others.
How do I sell my gold IRA?
If you want to cash in on your funds once the account matures, you can withdraw the assets, send them to your home, and sell them outright. Alternatively, you can leverage the company’s buy-back program and allow the custodian to take back possession of the metals and do what you want with the funds. Some investors might opt to get a cash distribution, buy a different asset, or transfer funds to a different account. Most gold IRA companies have a buy-back option, but the terms differ. Be sure to confirm your rights before investing.
Are gold IRAs safe?
Any investment carries risk, and gold IRAs are not a sure thing. You must carefully weigh the pros and cons of investing in physical bullion. If you feel that investing in gold is a worthwhile and manageable risk, you’ll likely find a gold IRA with similar assurances.
Do gold IRAs only handle gold?
Gold IRAs are also called “precious metal IRAs” because they can hold silver, platinum or palladium investments. These metals can be in bar or coin form as long as the assets meet purity standards and other requirements set by the IRS.
Can I do a gold IRA rollover?
Yes. In fact, many of those who choose to invest in a gold IRA do so with funds they acquired while using a traditional IRA or company-managed 401(k). Retirees are also making the switch to gold with accounts they take with them upon leaving the workforce. Many investors choose to roll over just a portion of their IRA or 401(k) to a gold IRA as a way to diversify their nest egg.
How much do I need to get started?
Yes. Many investors fund a gold IRA with funds from a 401(k) or traditional IRA. All gold IRA rollovers must follow the same tax rules for funds rolled into a traditional or Roth IRA. Many investors choose to roll over just a portion of their IRA or 401(k) to a gold IRA as a way to diversify their nest egg. Keep in mind that you’ll need to abide by annual IRA contribution limits to avoid penalties. In 2023, you can contribute $6,500 into a self-directed IRA ($7,500 if you’re over 50).
Is it better to buy gold bullion or collectible coins?
You can choose to purchase bullion and coins for your IRA. They’re both valued per ounce based on the price of gold, but some believe coins are the safer choice. This is because coins are easier to transfer (sell-back), sold at higher premiums, and not as easily counterfeited.
Some of the most common coins include:
- American Eagle gold coin
- American Eagle silver coin
- American Eagle platinum coin
- Maple Leaf palladium coin
No matter what you choose to purchase, make sure you work with a reputable gold IRA company with a competitive buy-back policy. However, transaction costs may be higher for bullion.
Related Gold IRA Resources
Readers of this Gold IRA guide also found these related articles helpful.
Read about the different forms of physical gold you can purchase, where you can purchase it and tips for buying gold.
There are many ways to invest in gold in addition to a Gold IRA. Check out seven of the most popular forms of investing in gold.
Multiple factors affect the price of gold including inflation, monetary policy and supply. Read about the various things that can affect the price of gold.
Concluding Thoughts on Gold IRAs
Gold IRAs can be a smart investment, and you have options for choosing a Gold IRA company.
Investing in a Gold IRA is one of many ways to plan for retirement, and if you choose to do so, you should be aware of the way to do it wisely. There is likely a company out there that represents your values in price, customer service, product, and storage. These companies earned our top spots among all categories:
The Best Gold IRA Companies
|Best For||Gold IRA Company||Phone|
|1||Competitive Pricing||Orion Metal Exchange||(888) 607-4685|
|2||Great Buyback Plan||American Hartford||(877) 672-6779|
|3||Flexible Pricing||Oxford Gold Group||(888) 200-5586|
|4||No Fee for Life IRA||Patriot Gold Group||(844) 524-9001|
|5||Great Deals||Monetary Gold||(844) 207-6614|
|6||Great Customer Service||Gold Alliance||(855) 913-0481|
|7||Great Education||Advantage Gold||(888) 851-5919|
|8||Great Customer Protection||Red Rock Secured||(888) 907-3593|
|9||Great Online Education||Birch Gold Group||(888) 200-5586|
|10||Great Services||Lear Capital||(888) 717-0870|
|11||Great Customer Service||Lear Capital||(855) 721-0753|
|13||Great Selection||Noble Gold|