One of the 2007-2008 global recession outcomes is that gold became an ideal investment option for most people. The precious metal is typically less volatile than the stock market and provides a viable way to cushion oneself from inflation.
As a long-term investor, if you’d like to make the most of this kind of investment, it’s advisable to get a gold IRA account.
Unfortunately, setting up this account may be tricky, mainly because you have to find the right company to handle the bureaucracy for you. If you get this wrong, you can end up making massive losses.
Let’s check out some of the top gold IRA companies that you can find out there.
- Top 7 Gold IRA Companies In The United States
- Factors To Consider When Choosing a Gold IRA Company
- Reasons for Opening a Gold IRA Account
- Gold IRA Rules and Regulations
- How a Gold IRA Works
- Storage Options for Gold Bullion
- Gold IRA Fees to Expect
- Why is a Gold IRA Rollover a Smart Way to Invest in Gold?
- FAQs on Gold IRAs
Top 7 Gold IRA Companies In The United States
After thorough research on the leading gold IRA companies in the US, we narrowed it down to the following seven entities. Check out our detailed review of each one of them.
1. Goldco Precious Metals
The first company on our list has been in the game for the past 14 years and mainly specializes in gold and silver IRAs. As if that’s not enough, it also allows you to acquire gold and silver bars and coins.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives it a rating of A+ while Autopilot gives it 4.8 out of 5 stars.
What it Offers
Goldco has a wide variety of educational resources that cover gold IRA and precious metals. These include videos, articles, price charts and eBooks, and there is a lot that you can learn from them.
We were pleased that the company offers you these resources before you open an account so that you fully understand what you are getting yourself into.
Besides the minimum $25,000 required to open an account, you will have to part with $260 for the first year and then $180 annually for the years that follow.
2. Noble Gold Investments
Next up is Noble Gold which has dealt with precious metals for around 25-years, and within that period, it has served over 70,000 customers. When it comes to ratings, BBB gives it an A+ while Trustpilot gives it 4.9 out of 5 stars.
What it Offers
One reason for the high rating of Noble Gold is the educational aspect, whereby it does its best to educate its customers. Its main website is packed with handy resources such as news, precious metal encyclopedia, and price charts.
In addition to that, there are tools meant to help you make reasonable financial decisions, including a minimum distribution estimator and portfolio comparison calculator.
All in all, customer care is one reason we would recommend you try out this company.
From what we gathered, you will pay $260 in your first year, followed by an annual fee of $180 for the coming years.
3. American Hartford Gold
Based in Los Angeles, California, this corporation has been in this venture for six years. We can tell that it is a reliable firm based on the A+ rating from BBB and 4.9 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot.
What it Offers
A glance at this company’s website would tell you that the developers want you to keep up with the prices of precious metals, gold, silver, and platinum. There is a whole section whereby you will get price charts and market news on the mentioned metals so that you can spot the price movements.
Other than that, the company also provides you with resources meant to guide you into having an easy time opening a gold IRA account.
Most of all, the customer support is quite impressive, and all our queries were attended to without fail.
Once you open your gold IRA account with American Hartford Gold, there is a flat $180 annual fee that you should be ready for.
4. Regal Assets
If experience is what will make you comfortable, then that is what you will get from Regal Assets. For around five decades, this company has been in the business of precious metals and has gone to attain an A+ rating from BBB and 4.9 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot.
What It Offers
Even though the company’s website is relatively limited in terms of resources, you can still gain a lot from what is available. For instance, the FAQs section features clear answers to lots of questions regarding the industry.
Further, the customer response was quite impressive, whereby there is a representative always on stand-by ready to promptly respond to your queries.
Accounts below $200,000 attract an annual fee of $150, while those over $200,000 have a fee of $25. We advise that you should always be prepared for a higher fee when setting up your account.
5. Oxford Gold Group
Here is another top Gold IRA company that you should look at. It has been in business since 2017 and mainly deals with gold and precious metals IRAs. In addition to that, the company also specializes in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium home deliveries.
Oxford Gold Group has an A+ rating on BBB and 4.9 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot.
What It Offers
We were pleased with the emphasis that this company places on educating its clients. The website is packed with numerous videos, articles and a learning center, all with the aim of helping you make sound investment choices.
The customer support was equally impressive, whereby a company rep will give you all the information you need concerning account opening, the fees and how you will benefit from the company in the long term.
From the above, you can tell that the company excels in terms of customer support and the educational resources that it offers.
In your first year, you will pay a membership fee of $325 and then an annual fee of $180 for every year after.
6. Patriot Gold Group
At times, the team running the company should be enough to give you the confidence to invest in it. For instance, Patriot Gold Group features a team with over five decades of experience in the industry. So, don’t expect much to go wrong.
The rating on Trustpilot is 4.6 out of 5, while BBB gives the company an A+ rating.
What It Offers
The outstanding aspect of Patriot Gold is that you get to work directly with its owners. Further, the company offers numerous educational materials so that you fully grasp the different investments you are interested in.
We have no complaints about customer support as the company representatives will promptly and thoroughly respond to any queries you bring forward.
Let’s now look at the company’s fee structure, which we found to be unique compared to the other Gold IRA companies we have looked at.
If you have an account balance of less than $50,000, you will be charged an annual fee of $180, while an equivalent one-year fee will be waived.
For the balance ranging from $50,001 to $100,000, the annual fee remains at $180 while an equivalent of two-year fees will be waived.
Finally, if you have an account balance of over $100,000, your account will not incur any fee whatsoever.
7. Augusta Precious Metals
Closing down our list is a company with several storage facilities spread throughout the US, and it specializes in Gold and Silver only. Like most of the other companies we have looked at, Augusta Precious Metals has an A+ rating on BBB and 4.9 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot.
What It Offers
The company offers its clients gold and silver IRAs and cash purchases. Further, it offers free shipping and insurance and a 100% money-back guarantee. Even though the company works with multiple storage facilities throughout the US, the locations change from time to time, and it is a good idea to make prior confirmation.
We couldn’t find much information on the fees, but we know that there is a $50,000 minimum requirement for both cash and IRA purchases.
Factors To Consider When Choosing a Gold IRA Company
How did we end up with the list of top Gold IRA companies? Well, there are certain factors that we looked at, and we shall discuss them below.
1. The Ratings
When you look at the company’s reviews from its customer base and notice that majority of them are positive, that is an indicator of its reliability and trustworthiness.
In addition to that, you can look out for ratings from bureaus such as BBB (Better Business Bureau) and Trustpilot, as they also tell you how much you can trust that particular company. Then, there are various websites whereby clients tend to give their feedback, such as Yelp and Complaint Board, and you can gauge the quality of service and professionalism that the company delivers to its clients.
You could also look at the firm’s presence on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and note how it engages its clients. Note that a reputable company tends to have a massive following and never leave their customers hanging.
Lastly, if you notice anything fishy such as bots and paid reviews, that is a red flag, and you should think hard before trusting the company with your cash.
2. The Fee Structure
Next up is the fee structure, whereby we recommend that you go for a company with flat annual fees rather than one whereby its fees grow with the account size. This especially applies to medium and large investors who intend to grow their account size with time.
In our research, we came across companies that charge massive fees per year for large accounts. So, we insist that you only choose Gold IRA companies with flat rates or are free and won’t increase your fees as your account grows in size over time.
The other important factor to consider is its efficiency and the length of time it takes to deliver the precious metals. Some customers reported waiting up to two months for their accounts to be set up and for the delivery of their metals.
No one has this patience in the current unpredictable economic landscape, and if you want to be sure of your wealth’s protection, you shouldn’t allow months to elapse before you acquire your assets.
In this instance, we advise that you choose companies that allow you to set up your account within the same day, and if it takes too long, you should be done by the following day.
Then, you will know a top Gold IRA company if it allows you to fund your account within 3-5 business days. The significance of this is that you will now be ready to purchase and sell your gold.
4. The Customer Support and Company Reps/Salesmen
Another thing you should look at is the attitude of the company salesmen, whereby some tend to push you towards investing in collectibles and numismatic coins for the sake of their profits. Keep off such companies since collectibles are not ideal for investors, nor are they approved by the IRS for IRAs.
Then, any time you contact the company, always gauge how knowledgeable and helpful they are and should not push you into going for collectibles.
5. Alternative Investment Options
Since your gold IRA is a self-directed one, it should be capable of accommodating alternative investments in the future. So, you should look out for a company that offers alternative investment options that you could include in your portfolio, such as cryptocurrencies or annuities.
If you intend to expand your investments in the future, it will make sense if you settled for a company that offers the particular assets you are interested in.
6. Time In Business
Note that just because a company is relatively new in the business doesn’t mean that it cannot be relied on to deliver what is expected of it. However, more time in the business points to experience and implies that the company has dealt with more clients and therefore learns from its mistakes.
7. Company License
It is common for fraudulent individuals to set up a website and claim that their business is legit. So, it is up to you to do the extra work to ensure that you are dealing with something that has met all the legal requirements.
An intelligent way of doing this is by checking out the company’s license beforehand, as this is proof that it is on the right side of the law.
8. Depository Storage
You should also look at the depositories that the company uses or recommends. This is because they have a significant impact on your operation costs and your investment’s security.
9. Company Buyback Programs
It is also vital that you choose a company whose buyback programs have fair values. This will ensure that you do not encounter any trouble when it comes to cashing in your account.
Reasons for Opening a Gold IRA Account
Why do people invest in precious metals such as gold, silver or platinum? The reasons are quite many, and we shall look at some of them.
1. Portfolio Diversification
We believe you understand the risk that comes with putting all your money into a single investment or asset. So, if your portfolio lacks precious metals, a gold IRA could a smart way of diversifying your portfolio.
Next, there is always a chance that the economy, or the stock market, to be specific, takes a turn for the worst. In such a situation, you could reduce your losses if you had your money in gold.
This economic security should mainly be considered by those close to their retirement as it will do a great job of minimizing the risk of loss in their portfolio.
3. Provides a Cushion Against Inflation
Any time the US dollar’s value drops, the same thing happens to your purchasing power. Historically, gold has outpaced the dollar’s value, and this implies that gold investments could help protect you from this loss.
4. An Investment that is Likely to Grow
Over the past few years, the price of gold has been rising steadily. So, it would be a sure bet if you are looking for an investment that will continue growing.
All in all, gold is a safe investment and can withstand most of the market fluctuations and downturns.
Gold IRA Rules and Regulations
IRS has a set of rules that determine how gold IRAs are set up and maintained. Note that all IRAs have their set of rules governing how they run.
Let’s have a look at some of the rules and regulations for gold IRAs in detail.
The first thing you need to know about the tax regulations concerning gold IRAs is that all distributions are subject to income tax at the point of withdrawal. Early distributions attract a 10% levy unless they feature in a predetermined exclusion.
As for the profits, they can be assessed further via a capital gains tax.
The next thing you need to know is that if you intend to open a gold IRA account, you should use the services of an administrator who deals with precious metals and is approved by the IRS. And in case you don’t know, we are referring to brokers and custodians who will be handling all the logistics of opening the account.
These administrators will act on your behalf, and you will give them all the directions of what they should be doing.
All the gold and any other precious metals making up your IRA need to be held in vault facilities that IRS has approved. Keep in mind that if you hold gold with you, IRS will consider this to be a distribution and will hit you with taxes or even penalties.
Types of Precious Metals
By now, you must know that there is a limit to the gold, silver or other metals that you can include in your IRA.
Since gold IRAs are self-directed, you will have more direct control over the account and decide to include a broader range of investments than you would with a traditional IRA. However, with gold, you will need a broker to buy the gold and a custodian who will be the account administrator.
Keep in mind that these custodians, who include brokerage firms, banks, or trust companies, only facilitate the safekeeping of the securities and management of the account on your behalf. They do not sell the gold to the clients directly, and the choice of the ideal custodian lies squarely with you.
The contribution limits to a gold IRA are set at $6,000 annually and rises to $7,000 once you attain 50 years of age. If you are wondering how the funding will be done, you could do so through a rollover or a purchase via your administrator.
Limitations to Early Withdrawals
If you are thinking about making an early withdrawal, you should be prepared to face a 10% penalty. However, several exceptions are allowed for this rule, and they include:
- If the IRA owner dies and the beneficiary needs access to the funds
- If the IRA owner becomes disabled or is hospitalized and doesn’t have any means to clear the hospital bill
- If the owner loses employment and needs to gain access to the funds
- If the IRA owner needs to acquire a house for the first time or needs to pay for a family member’s education
There is an age restriction of 59 ½ years if you need access to your gold IRA. However, you do not have to start taking distributions at that age. This (taking distributions) will start once you attain the age of 70.
How a Gold IRA Works
If you want to use a retirement account to invest in physical gold, you will require a self-directed IRA as these are the only accounts through which you can acquire hard assets, including precious metals, real estate and others.
The law requires LRA accounts to have custodians such as banks or any other institution maintain the account’s records, handle disbursements and make the necessary reports to IRS.
When it comes to funding a gold IRA, you could either roll over or transfer funds from an existing IRA, 401K, 403b, and 457b accounts. Alternatively, you could also make a direct contribution to your account, whereby you can contribute up to $7,000 a year, depending on your age.
Once the funding aspect is settled, it is now time to choose the precious metals you would like to purchase and then direct your custodian to purchase via your account.
Further, they can recommend a storage facility where your purchases can be stored.
We have already discussed in detail the penalties that you will face if you ever feel like withdrawing money from your IRA before you attain 59.5 years.
Storage Options for Gold Bullion
We all know that gold and other precious metals are at significant risk of being compromised. Therefore, the storage for gold and gold IRAs is a topic that we cannot ignore.
Note that besides keeping the commodities safe, storage is also vital for an accurate inventory.
Let’s now look at the different methods you could employ to store the gold making up the gold-based IRAs. IRS has set several strict regulations to ensure the precious metals receive utmost protection not to compromise their quality.
1. US-Based Vaults
There are six depository vaults approved by the IRS holding the metals, making up all precious metal IRA accounts in the US. These metals include gold, platinum, silver, and palladium.
These vaults include:
- Brinks security
- Scotia Mocatta
- HSBC Bank USA
- CNT Depository
- JPMorgan Chase North America
- Delaware Depository
It is up to you to decide whether local or international storage is more viable. However, in the US, there is always a likelihood of your gold being confiscated.
2. Offshore Storage Vaults
Previously, all gold related to IRA had to be stored within the US borders. However, with time, this rule was relaxed, and investors had the freedom to store their gold overseas.
Even though these offshore vaults aren’t in the US, they are IRS-approved, and if you look at their names, they are not entirely new. They include:
- JPMorgan Chase Bank- Singapore and London
- Brinks Security- London
- Scotia Mocatta- Toronto
- HSBC Bank USA- Zurich, London, Singapore, and Hong Kong
- Regal Assets- Dubai and Singapore
3. Segregated Storage and Co-Mingled Storage
We are now going to look at two primary ways through which you can store your gold in a depository vault. The first method is co-mingling, whereby your gold and that of other investors are heaped together in a single vault room.
The main advantage of this group storage is that it translates to lower costs for the depository company. After that, the gold is tracked in a single inventory with designations for the clients that own them.
As for segregated storage, you will sign a contract with the vault facility and your gold will be stored and inventoried separately. This storage could either be in a separate room or a safe deposit box. Whichever option it is, it will be away from the group metal cache.
Note that with the different storage options, the vault facility will charge you a higher premium.
4. Home Storage
Lastly, you could try out home storage, although IRS strongly recommends against it. Even with that, you will not be breaking any law by going this route.
How does it work? Well, you will create an LLC and then house the metal in a safe at your place of residence. In the end, you will be your own trustee, and there will be no third parties to the deal as the IRS preferred for gold IRAs.
The main area of concern that the IRS has with this method is that withdrawals will be made without its oversight.
Gold IRA Fees to Expect
It is also essential that you know the different fees that gold IRAs will attract that you wouldn’t find in a traditional IRA. With this in mind, you can strike a balance between what you’ll be paying and what you will receive in return.
Here are the costs that you should keep in mind.
Account Setup Fees
Even though it is normal for an IRA account to attract some fee when starting it, a gold IRA will likely cost you more since this is not an ordinary situation.
By now, we know what gold IRA storage entails, and it is therefore vital that you understand the costs that you will incur as you secure your precious metal.
The cost valuation is done either monthly or annually and is affected by various factors. These issues include whether the gold is stored in the US or an offshore vault or is stored separately or co-mingled.
In general, it all depends on the storage agreement that you settle on.
Once again, this is a fee that you should expect with any IRA, although the cost is likely to be higher with gold IRAs. After all, you are transacting and dealing in precious metals.
It does not matter where you purchase your gold, but you should be prepared for some markup on top of the prevailing market rate. This is especially so with the US-based dealer, whereby this markup aims to cover costs such as overheads that they incurred.
Note that these extra charges are one-time and may vary depending on the type of transaction you are dealing with.
Close Out Costs
A major problem presents itself if you ever decide to close out your account and sell your gold. Some dealers will look for transactions that rate under market value, while some will buy back the gold at market rates.
Whichever scenario that you will face, you can see that the risk of losing money is quite significant when cashing out.
Why is a Gold IRA Rollover a Smart Way to Invest in Gold?
Even though most of us understand the benefits of investing in precious metals such as gold, silver, and palladium, very few of us have the cash needed to purchase these metals directly. And should you have large sums of money for the gold, it will be subject to loads of taxes, and this is one of the main reasons why gold IRAs have grown in popularity so much.
With this phenomenon, you can now add or rollover gold, silver and other precious metals into a precious metals IRA. Such an account is ideal for novice gold investors after the security of physical gold and silver.
Further, these accounts also work for investors with existing retirement accounts such as IRAs, 401(k), 403(b) plans.
In the past, such retirement accounts only featured stocks, bonds, US Treasury Bills and mortgage-backed securities. However, at the moment, retirement investors get to enjoy the security of an IRA account, in addition to physical silver and gold.
Most people heading towards retirement have opted for precious metal IRAs in gold, silver, and platinum to diversify their assets and minimize the effects of inflation on their retirement savings.
Lastly, we have already mentioned that all the coins and bars that IRS has approved have to be held in insured and licensed depositories for safekeeping. After that, you can take them home depending on the federal rules for withdrawal.
FAQs on Gold IRAs
Let’s now look at and attempt to answer some common queries regarding gold IRAs.
IRA stands for Individual Retirement Account. So, a gold IRA is such an account holding gold coins, gold bullion, and gold bars. It is a self-directed account whereby you will be the owner of the physical assets held in the account.
Yes, you can, although IRS strongly recommends against this. Instead, the body has some set guidelines on the ideal locations where you could store your physical gold and other precious metals.
Yes, you can, and this is one of the common ways new investors get started. An IRA custodian could help you do a rollover or transfer your current traditional IRA or 401(k) into a gold IRA.
We shall conclude our discussion by telling you that opening a gold IRA is a smart way of diversifying your portfolio away from the stock market and cushioning yourself from inflation. However, you should be wise enough to seek the services of a reputable IRA gold company to help you in opening your account since the process can be confusing.
Luckily, we have outlined the top gold IRA companies, and you cannot go wrong by going with any of them. All in all, you should take your time and research each company thoroughly so that you fully understand which one satisfies all your gold investment needs.
Blake is a self-made online day trader with a knack for adventure. On his free time, he loves reading and learning new methods in the trading as well as improving his jiu-jitsu skills. He currently resides in New York City.