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Gold IRA Rollover Comprehensive Guide for the Best Investment Options


Considering the state of the global markets, it is easy to feel like we are just a few steps away from facing a full-blown economic crisis. It is times like these that cause people to start thinking of ways to secure their futures better.

The search for better investment options has revealed that precious metals offer investors a viable solution to protecting their hard-earned money in the face of growing economic uncertainties.

It seems more and more people are beginning to accept that investing in precious metals, such as gold and silver coins, is a good hedge against inflation.

Evidence of this shift in investors' mindsets is the emergence of many gold IRA rollover companies, some of which have been experiencing record-breaking growth recently.

Even knowing of the lack of capital gains and the inability to physically own the gold in your individual retirement account (IRA), people still view this as the right investment decision. This gold IRA rollover guide will help you take your first steps to become a gold IRA account owner.

Quick Tip: Here are the top Gold IRA rollovers based on our experience and research:

#1 GoldCo (Best Overall) 

#2 Augusta Precious Metals

#3 Birch Gold Group

#4 American Hartford Gold

Continue reading to learn more about why we chose these four companies and thoroughly discuss the pros and cons.

What Is a Gold IRA Rollover?

Compared to other retirement accounts, a gold IRA account is not as well-known as, for example, a 401k. If you are reading this, you most likely have a traditional IRA account and wish to use part of it to invest in gold and other precious metals IRAs.

To do this, you will need to perform what is known as a gold IRA rollover. The most common of these is a rollover of a 401k to a gold IRA.

In other words, a rollover is when you invest in physical gold and silver coins or bullion by taking funds from a traditional IRA account, such as a simple IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, or 401k, and opening a self-directed IRA, such as silver and gold IRAs.

Specific rules govern the gold IRA rollover process, such as only being allowed to hold onto funds from retirement accounts for not more than 60 days before investing the money into a new gold IRA account.

Is There a Difference Between a Gold IRA Rollover and a Gold IRA Transfer?

While the two may sound the same, there are key differences between a gold IRA rollover and a gold IRA transfer. Of the two, a gold IRA transfer (or indirect rollover) is a lot more secure while a gold IRA rollover has more rules that investors will need to be aware of.

To make it clearer for investors who wish to buy gold using funds from their 401(k), here are some of the differences between a transfer and a rollover:

  • The 60-day transfer rule only applies to a gold IRA rollover and not to transfers
  • In a gold IRA rollover, early withdrawals before the age of 59 and half years will attract a 10% penalty, but there are no penalties in a transfer
  • An IRA gold transfer is not taxable, while any violation of the 60-day rule in rollovers is regarded as a taxable event
  • Only a single rollover can be done in any one year while there are no restrictions on the number of transfers that can be made

The most crucial difference is that in a transfer, the funds are moved directly from one custodian to another without ever reaching the account owner's bank account. This is why some people prefer to transfer funds rather than go through the rollover process.

Types of Accounts Eligible for a Gold IRA Rollover

Having a retirement account does not necessarily mean that one can choose to do a gold IRA rollover at any time. There are rules in place that determine whether an account is eligible or not.

The following is a list of the types of accounts from which you can fund a gold IRA:

  • Employer-sponsored 401(k)
  • Self-directed 401(k)
  • Traditional or Roth IRA
  • TSP
  • 403(b)
  • 457(b)

Which Are the IRS-Approved Precious Metals?


Just because precious metal is deemed valuable does not mean it can be used in a self-directed gold IRA. The IRS guidelines are stringent regarding the type and quality of precious metals approved for use as part of IRA investments.

Gold, platinum, and palladium have a purity of not less than 99.5%, while silver is pegged at 99.9%. Investors need to be wary of these things if they choose to buy from their own precious metals dealer rather than one of the more trusted gold IRA providers.

Examples of IRS-approved precious metals held by a self-directed IRA custodian are:

  • American Eagle Gold Coins
  • Canadian Gold Maple-Leaf Coins
  • Valcambi Gold Combi Bars
  • Credit Suisse Gold Bars
  • Johnson Matthey Gold Bars

The Advantages of Owning Physical Gold

When most people think of an individual retirement account, the things that come to mind are 401k accounts, stock market investment options, and similar paper assets. However, there are certain advantages of investing in physical gold, such as:

  • Hedge Against Inflation

Gold and other precious metals have historically shown excellent resistance to global market trends. Looking at gold and silver markets, you will notice that there is hardly ever a considerable drop or sharp price increase. As a result, they provide a lot of protection against inflation, unlike investing in fiat currencies that constantly drop in value over the years.

  • Diverse Portfolio Investment Options

The beauty of a gold IRA rollover is that you do not have to use your entire portfolio to invest in gold. By using a part of the value of your account, you will be able to spread your funds over a diverse group of investment options.

While you use your precious metals IRA as a safety net in case the market turns, you can take risks in other paper assets with the rest of your money, which offers a great win-win scenario.

  • Gold Has Intrinsic Value

Besides the fact that gold is the most popular of all precious metals, it has the actual value that will help to maintain its high demand. It is used in jewelry, medicine, Nanotechnology, manufacture of computer components and is always in high demand from governments and financial institutions.

Gold IRA or 401(k)? Which Is Better as a Retirement Strategy?

When deciding to diversify their retirement accounts, the question on everyone’s lips is whether a gold IRA or 401(k) is the better option. This is not an easy question to answer without looking at the individual circumstances of each potential investor.

The following key points are worth considering when choosing between a 401k and gold IRA account:

  • A well-diversified portfolio is the most attractive option, meaning you have to find a balance between a 401k and a gold IRA
  • Physical gold and precious metals offer a hedge against inflation, making the better choice in times of economic uncertainty
  • Self-employed individuals without the benefits of having employer contributions may find that opening a gold IRA is better in the long run
  • Gold IRAs have a lot more benefits for younger investors who still have many years of employment to look forward to
  • Without an existing retirement account, such as 401k or Roth IRA, to rollover funds from, a gold and silver IRA account is a good option because investors can directly purchase gold from the custodian

While opinions differ on the better option between a traditional 401k and Roth IRA and gold and silver IRA, the important thing is not to put all your eggs in one basket. When you diversify your account, the risk is spread across many platforms, safeguarding your investment portfolio against unexpected market fluctuations.

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Costs Associated With 401(K) and IRA Accounts

401k and self-directed IRA accounts come with specific fees that investors must consider before opening a retirement account. They both offer tax benefits to the account owner, but the following fees apply to each retirement account option:

401(K) Account Fees

401k account owners are usually charged between 0.5% and 2% of the value of the retirement account portfolio based on the following factors:

  • The workplace retirement account provider
  • Number of people on the plan
  • Size of the retirement savings accounts
  • An annual fee of less than 1% of the plan

IRA Account Fees

In most cases, a gold IRA or Roth IRA will charge an annual contribution, called custodian fees, towards the maintenance of the retirement account. This fee is usually between $30 to $50 and includes any applicable advisory and transaction fees.

Contribution Limits for 401k and IRA Accounts

Another thing that affects the financial impact of opening a 401k or gold IRA is the contribution limit associated with both options. An employer may contribute up to 6% of their employee's contribution to a 401k account provided that certain conditions are met.

Such employer contributions are not available when opening gold IRAs and are worth considering when comparing the costs of the two types of retirement accounts.

Steps to Doing a 401K Rollover to Gold IRA


The administrative tasks associated with a gold IRA rollover are best left to an experienced gold IRA provider. Many rules and regulations govern any precious metal purchases. It is best to approach a qualified custodian, such as the Birch Gold Group, Augusta Precious Metals, or the American Hartford Gold.

The gold IRA provider will help with the following:

Step 1: Check Account for Eligibility

Not all accounts are eligible for a gold IRA rollover. An account may be deemed ineligible for several reasons, such as when the money has not been sitting in the 401k account for a long enough period to make funding a precious metal purchase possible.

Step 2: Open a Precious Metals IRA

Once eligibility has been confirmed, the next step is to open a precious metals IRA with a custodian. The gold IRA provider will handle all the required paperwork and advise you on any tax advantages you may be entitled to.

Step 3: Start the 401K Rollover Process

The next step is to start the rollover process from a 401k to a gold IRA. The amount you choose to roll over will depend on the type of precious metals you wish to purchase and how diverse you want your portfolio to be.

Step 4: Buy Gold and Other Precious Metals

Although the precious metals market is relatively stable in terms of prices compared to other investments, such as mutual funds and stock markets, it is full of scammers. The risk of being sold low-value or fake gold and silver is accurate.

This is why a custodian will provide a precious metals specialist to assist in purchasing IRS-approved precious metals only. Once the purchase has been confirmed, the safest way to store gold and silver is in an IRS-approved depository.

Step 5: Continue Investing With Regular Contributions

Regular engagement with precious metals specialists is important to buy gold stocks to increase the size of your retirement portfolio. Besides gold, there are other alternative investments such as silver, platinum, and palladium coins if you wish to diversify your physical assets.


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A Good Gold IRA Rollover Strategy Is Important

It is not enough to simply choose to buy gold and similar precious metal physical assets without a proper strategy in place. The investor's unique circumstances play a big role in deciding how they choose to go about transferring funds from an existing IRA to a new account.

Things such as how many years are left until retirement and the risk tolerance of the investor all come into play when deciding to diversify into alternative assets. Gold and silver coin investment may be a good option for those who wish to minimize risk and are, at most, 10 years away from retiring.

A good strategy for retirement planning involves investing in different types of traditional IRAs as a buffer against economic downturns. The stock market, for example, has been very volatile lately, especially regarding cryptocurrency.

The good thing about diversifying into precious metal-based traditional IRAs is that as things get worse in the broader global economy, more and more people will turn to trusted investments, such as the gold and silver markets. This will increase the spot price of these commodities, which is excellent news for those already owning them.

How To Choose Your Gold IRA Allocation

After opening a new account for alternative assets, the next big decision will be regarding the size of allocation set aside to fund the account. Most well-known investors have adopted the 5-10% rule for allocation, which seems to work well for the majority of people.

However, for those with higher risk tolerance, there are huge gains to be made by exceeding this recommended allocation. New account owners can use the following evaluations as a guide to deciding on their allocation:

  • Historical performance of their gold IRA over the last five years
  • Economic projections over the next five years or more
  • Number of years left until reaching retirement age
  • The original intention behind choosing to invest in self-directed IRAs

With regards to the intention behind starting a self-directed individual retirement account the following three reasons are worth discussing:

Diversification Orientation

The economic uncertainty has left many investors in mutual funds, stock market portfolios, bonds, and other assets feeling very exposed and hence the need to diversify through a direct rollover to a gold IRA.

Those who fall into this category usually opt for the 5-10% rule for determining allocation. This leaves them with enough funds in their original IRA to continue investing in markets that are more familiar to them while knowing they have adequate protection in case of disaster.

Inflation and Debasement Orientation

If concerns over currency debasement and rampant inflation are the main driving forces behind initiating a gold IRA rollover or an indirect rollover, it makes sense for investors to allocate a bigger chunk of their portfolio towards a precious metals IRA.

The US dollar, for example, is currently battling against the highest levels of inflation it has seen in many years.

While the situation has not deteriorated to alarming levels at the moment, it is still a good time to move money invested in a 401k to a gold IRA just in case the improvement that everyone is hoping for does not happen.

The good thing about investing in a precious metal account is that if inflation is brought back under control, selling off your gold reserves will not be a problem because one of the advantages of gold is that it is highly liquid and always in demand.

Systemic Collapse Orientation

While very few people are yet to reach a point whereby they feel like there is no hope for economic recovery and that we are headed for a total collapse of the system, there are those who may feel that way.

These investors are most likely going to invest a much larger chunk of their retirement accounts into buying actual gold. They are more likely to allocate up to 30% of their retirement investments towards gold IRA funds.

This level of panic investment is not widespread as there is still a lot of optimism about the future of the economy.

How Do I Designate Beneficiaries?

Before your gold IRA can be approved, you need to assign a list of beneficiaries to the account in the same way you would do for a traditional IRA. When married in a community of property, your spouse will be the beneficiary.

However, in situations where your primary residence is not in a community of property, you are allowed to choose any other person or group of people to receive the benefits from your IRA should you pass away.

It is also possible to choose a third party as a beneficiary even though you are in a community of property. However, for this to happen, there has to be a consent form signed by both spouses.

Choosing a beneficiary requires the provision of their full name(s), date of birth, and social security number. If, for any reason, you change your mind regarding the designated beneficiary, you can select a new one using forms that will be provided to you by your custodian.

How To Choose the Best Gold IRA Companies

To better safeguard your investment, it is better to take care when selecting the best custodian to handle your gold IRA rollover. Choosing the best gold IRA company depends on the following:

Selection of Precious Metals

Most custodians offer a limited selection of precious metals to their clients. This means when you wish to make a purchase, your choices will be limited to gold and silver coins, gold bullion, and one or two other precious metals.

However, the best gold IRA companies, such as the ones mentioned in this gold IRA rollover guide, will allow investors to buy platinum and palladium coins as well as many other rare precious metals.


A precious metals IRA custodian who loses the money invested by clients in precious metals and gold IRAs will soon gain a poor reputation among investors. A quick look at the customer reviews of your chosen gold IRA company will tell you whether investing in a gold IRA with such a gold IRA provider is a good idea.

Setup Process

With the right gold IRA custodian, clients who wish to purchase precious metals will find the entire process to be easy. While some precious metals IRA custodians may take weeks to finalize a gold IRA rollover, a good gold IRA company will have a streamlined process that makes buying physical gold seem simple.

Associated Fees

Buying gold and precious metals can be very costly, so new gold IRA account owners need to try to minimize all other costs associated with their individual retirement accounts.

Just like any other traditional or Roth IRA, your precious metals retirement accounts will come with certain custodian and storage fees. These fees differ from one precious metals IRA company to the next.

It is, however, equally important to avoid gold IRA companies that claim to offer free services as these are likely to be scams. The best precious metals IRA company will have not only affordable custodian fees but also offers other services, such as financial planning advice.

Other Perks

The top gold IRA companies are always competing with each other by offering many perks to their clients. If you take the time to research each option, you may find a custodian offering benefits that will make investing in a self-directed IRA easier.

One example of such perks is the buyback option offered by most legitimate gold IRA companies. This allows you to sell your gold and silver bullion and precious metals back to the company without being charged any extra custodian fees.

Some of the Top Gold IRA Companies Worth Considering in 2022

Precious metals IRAs can be a life-changing choice with lots of retirement benefits to the new gold IRA owner. This is especially true when the gold and silver retirement account is opened with the right custodian.

The following are some of the top custodians to consider for your 401k to gold IRA rollover:

#1 Rated: Goldco (Highly Recommended)



Goldco is a privately owned gold investments custodian that has grown to be one of the most well-known gold IRA companies in the industry. With roots in wealth and asset protection, the company has now diversified its services to include managing precious metals IRA retirement accounts.

The many years of experience handling 401k to gold IRA rollovers have helped Goldco to gain the required knowledge to be considered one of the most trusted custodians for your gold and silver IRAs. They have a wide selection of gold coins, gold bullion, and other precious metals to choose from.


  • The online catalog has prices that are both clearly shown and reasonable
  • Investors are given 10% value of their purchase in the form of precious metals as an appreciation gift on behalf of the custodians
  • Goldco has been around for decades, making them one of the most experienced custodians on this list
  • The fee structure is budget-friendly
  • A diverse selection of products to choose from


  • The initial activation fee charged to new investors is rather high
  • There are no platinum or palladium options available
  • Educational material dealing with product information and market value is scarce meaning clients who want to be better informed will have to look elsewhere for that information
  • Check out the Full GoldCo review here

—> Visit Goldco’s Official Site.

#2 Augusta Precious Metals



Choosing to open an investment portfolio for a precious metal IRA is a long-term that is not entered into lightly. The process may seem quite complicated for new gold IRA owners, but with the right custodian investing in physical precious metals can be quite rewarding.

This is why Augusta Precious Metals has a dedicated panel of experts that help those who wish to open a precious metals retirement savings account to make good choices.

While it mainly deals with helping customers set up their gold IRA rollover, it also accommodates clients who do not have an existing 401k or traditional IRA to purchase gold and silver bullion coins directly.


  • Pricing and fee structure is straightforward without any hidden costs
  • The 401k rollover to a gold IRA is very fast
  • Stellar customer feedback and reviews
  • It has a cash-back policy for the benefit of clients who change their minds about their investment strategy
  • Provides lifetime support and services to all its clients
  • The company is fully insured against any losses during transportation or storage of your precious metals
  • The wide range of precious metals, from gold to silver bars, is very impressive


  • Does not have platinum and palladium reserves, which are quickly becoming very popular investment options
  • Precious metals cannot be ordered online, meaning you have to go to the physical address to make your purchase
  • There is a minimum investment amount that may be too high for some investors

—> Visit Augusta Precious Metals

#3 Birch Gold Group



The first gold IRA company on our list is the Birch Gold Group. This is a privately owned precious metals IRA custodian that helps customers with every step of their gold IRA investments.

Furthermore, the gold IRA custodian offers services ranging from a gold IRA rollover, direct purchase of gold and silver, financial advisor services, and help with choosing the appropriate storage facility.

Birch Gold Group is widely regarded as one of the safest options for opening precious metals retirement savings accounts. They also have an impressive selection of precious metals to choose from, as well as well-known gold and silver bullion coins.


  • The fees are clearly explained on the website, and all transactions are open and transparent
  • All fees and storage costs are affordable
  • Reasonable minimum investment requirements make it more accessible to a wider range of investors
  • New investors can benefit from the many educational materials available on the website
  • Has great customer reviews
  • A wide range of precious metals are available


  • The flat fee may be too much for those investing in smaller portions
  • It is not available to international clients
  • The 401k to gold IRA rollover takes up to a month to be approved

—> Visit Birch Gold Group

#4 American Hartford Gold



Anyone interested in purchasing physical gold or silver will appreciate the extensive precious metals knowledge that the experts at American Hartford Gold have. They not only help those with an existing retirement account to do a gold IRA rollover but also assist with the direct purchase of physical precious metals for those without retirement funds.

Setting up a gold IRA rollover is simple for those who choose American Hartford Gold as their gold IRA custodian. All that is required is to fill in the online form on their website. A gold IRA agent will call you and assist with the rest of the process.

The company has also been trying to attract younger investors who, before now, had not considered investing in a self-directed IRA account. This makes it a good option for those new to precious metals investment portfolio accounts.


  • Customers regularly give positive reviews, including five-star ratings
  • All investors are offered a repurchase guarantee in case they ever need to sell their precious metals in future
  • Their customer support is excellent, with advisors available to assist customers at any time of the day or night
  • The initial investment is low enough to attract investors on a tight budget
  • Their precious metal stocks are substantial and diverse


  • Custodial fees for maintenance, storage, and annual fees are higher than average
  • The online catalog of products does not include prices, meaning you will have to contact the custodians directly to get this information
  • Shipping is only available for residents of the United States

—> Visit American Hartford Gold

Reasons against a Gold IRA Rollover

We have looked at the many benefits of doing a gold IRA rollover and provided you with the best gold ira companies for rollovers. However, are there any reasons why an investor shouldn't choose this route? While the benefits of a rollover to a gold IRA far outweigh the disadvantages, the following are some important considerations:

  • Limited Legal Security

In cases where the investors face litigation, federal law protects against 401k accounts being used as part of compensation or punitive damage payments. A gold IRA only has limited protection from regional law, and the level of protection varies greatly.

This means the more money invested in a gold IRA, the more exposed the investor is in litigation cases. Therefore, if lawsuits are possible, it is better to stick to a 401k account until everything has been resolved.

  • Fewer Loan Options

If there is an emergency and you require quick access to cash, having an active 401k will give you access to receiving loans. However, these options are greatly diminished if the bulk of your retirement account is in the form of a gold IRA.

  • Cost of Account Maintenance

Gold in physical form attracts a lot of storage costs due to the need for extra security to prevent robberies. The IRS states that the custodian must hold gold in a safe and secure storage facility and that the reserves must be fully insured.

All these measures mean added costs to handling physical gold, and it is the investor who will bear the brunt of these costs.


Who Holds the Gold in a Gold IRA?

The IRS does not allow physical gold in an IRA to be kept by the account owner. This is mainly done to protect investors against scammers and other dangerous criminals and limit the incidents of fraudulent behavior by the investors themselves.

Additionally, the responsibility of holding on to the gold is given to the gold IRA company chosen as custodian. It will work with approved international depository services providers, such as the Delaware depository, to store gold in a secure facility.

This is one of the main reasons some investors are deterred from investing in gold IRAs because they cannot physically keep the gold themselves and end up taking the risks of dealing with various metals dealers.

How Can I Transfer My 401k To Gold IRA Without a Penalty?

Wondering how to move 401k to gold without penalty? The best way to transfer funds from a 401k to a gold IRA is through a gold IRA rollover. The process is straightforward and should not be subjected to any penalties as long as you meet the stipulated requirements.

One thing to be careful of is that you are only allowed one rollover to a gold IRA annually. Meaning any other rollovers you do will attract a penalty of 10%. You should also meet the age requirements to avoid being punished by the IRS.

Are Gold IRAs a Good Idea?

The question of whether or not it is a good idea to invest in gold IRAs has to be answered according to the investor’s circumstances.

A Gold IRA is a worthwhile investment if you are a young, fully employed person who earns a good salary. You can choose to leave those funds alone for many years while your investment grows, growing you a good savings portfolio by the time you retire.

Self-employed investors can also benefit from this IRA rollover guide because they do not have access to 401k funds. Hence, they need to handle their retirement savings in another way, such as buying gold and silver bars.

What Are the Risks of a Self-Directed IRA?

The major risks of a self-directed gold IRA are the lack of access to loans in emergencies and the non-existent federal protection in case the investor is sued.

A gold IRA has fewer risks than a 401k when considering things like inflation and the global economic downturn because investing in gold will act as a shield against such things.

How Is Gold Taxed in an IRA?

While you pay taxes on your gold investments, it will be at the marginal tax rate. You will only be asked to pay over 28% in taxes when you fall into the higher earning income bracket.

What Should I Buy for My Gold IRA – Bars or Coins?

Both are solid investment choices, but gold coins usually command better spot prices due to the extra minting and commemorative designs that are included on them.

Final Word on Gold IRA Rollovers

Regardless of whichever high-value metals you choose to invest in, doing a gold IRA rollover is a great idea when looking at the current state of the economy. Whether the situation improves or deteriorates will not affect those fore-sighted enough to have moved some of their savings to a gold IRA.

The process is quite simple if you follow the rules outlined in this gold IRA rollover guide. Many reliable gold IRA companies offer world-class services to investors. Make the right choice for your future, and invest in a gold IRA today.


This post is provided by a third party who may receive compensation from the companies whose products or services are mentioned.