Diversifying one’s investment portfolio with precious metals is a smart move, especially for securing wealth against market volatility. And when it comes to retirement planning, IRA is an ideal choice for investing in precious metals. However, with numerous gold IRA companies available, it can be a daunting task to pick the best one.
Thus, we have conducted extensive research to compile a list of the three most trusted precious metals IRA companies for 2023.
Our article includes a comprehensive review, fee comparison, and crucial details to help you decide the right company for your precious metals IRA investment.
Augusta Precious Metals 🥇 — The Leading Gold IRA Company
Goldco 🥈 — Runner-up, Trusted Company
American Hartford Gold 🥉 — Best for Small-Balance Investors
All of these companies offer gold IRA accounts; however, despite providing similar services, they each have their unique advantages and disadvantages. Continue reading to learn more.
1. Augusta Precious Metals — Best Gold IRA Company Overall
What makes it stand out?
Augusta Precious Metals has gained recognition for its gold and silver IRA products, with an emphasis on gold IRA investments. The platform presents a broad selection of gold bullion and premium gold alternatives, which include prominent assets like American Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs, American Eagle Proofs, Gold Canadian Eagles, American Buffalo, and Australian Striped Marlin.
The company prides itself on offering coins and bars with a 99.5% purity level, with the exception of the American Gold Eagle coin, which has a purity level of 91.67%. Augusta does not impose management fees; however, clients must be aware of the IRA setup and depository storage fees.
Augusta Precious Metals is the best gold IRA company you can find online. As someone who has been researching and investing in precious metals for several years, I can confidently say that Augusta Precious Metals is one of the best companies in the industry.
One way a business can distinguish itself from the competition in this market is to prioritize transparency. Augusta Precious Metals, a family-owned company, has accomplished this by implementing a simple and transparent fee system. As a result, they have emerged as one of the top gold IRA companies overall.
Augusta Precious Metals is a trusted gold IRA company that provides complete information regarding expenses when setting up a gold IRA account with them. This includes one-time fees, transaction-related costs, and yearly expenses. The company’s philosophy is that informing clients of their upfront expenses helps them be better prepared for their investment journey. As a result, clients feel more confident and assured when investing in their gold IRA.
Furthermore, Augusta Precious Metals offers a money-back guarantee if clients are unsatisfied with their services. They also have price protection policies to help first-time gold IRA owners and investors navigate buying gold without taking on excessive risks.
While Augusta Precious Metals excels in transparency and customer service, they have received criticism for their limited product selection and high investment minimum. Specifically, the company does not offer a wide variety of palladium and platinum products and focuses on gold and silver bullion and coins. Also, the clients must invest a substantial amount at the outset to begin working with them.
2. Goldco — Best for Customer Service
What makes it stand out?
Goldco is an exceptional choice for individuals seeking to add gold to their IRA portfolio. The company offers self-directed gold and silver IRAs and offers clients various funding options. These include rollovers for 403(b)s, thrift savings plans, savings accounts, and IRAs, offering clients flexibility in how they fund their accounts.
Investor education is crucial in making informed and confident investment decisions. Goldco, a prominent company in the precious metals industry, stands out for offering its clients an extensive investor education program.
Upon becoming a Goldco client, gold IRA investors gain access to a library of informative materials, including blogs, eBooks, webinars, and free guides. The company’s website also provides client-exclusive tools, such as real-time price monitors and precious metals market analysis. The goal is to present information in an easily digestible format, enabling clients to make the best possible investment decisions.
Goldco’s “White-Glove Service” is another standout feature. This extreme yet non-intrusive corporate hand-holding pairs client with a specialist who guides them through every step of a process or transaction.
Despite their high transparency regarding fees, Goldco does not disclose their costs upfront. Therefore, clients must inquire about pricing before proceeding. Additionally, a minimum investment requirement of $25,000 to open a gold IRA account is currently the second-highest investment minimum in the industry.
Despite these minor concerns, Goldco boasts a fast order-clearing rate, with transactions completed within hours to a day.
3. American Hartford Gold — The Lowest Minimum Investment
What makes it stand out?
American Hartford Gold offers multiple gold coins and silver, similar to other gold IRAs mentioned. In addition, it provides rollover support from a range of accounts, such as traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, thrift savings plans, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and 457 plans.
The company’s gold selection includes various options, such as Saint Helena Sovereign Gold, Australia Wildlife Gold, Canadian Buffalo, American Eagle, American Eagle Proof, and more.
Like other precious metals IRA companies, American Hartford Gold promises competitive product pricing and reasonable fees. However, where the company truly excels is in its customer service.
Reviews have consistently praised the attentive and professional staff at American Hartford Gold. They are known to respond promptly to inquiries and swiftly address client concerns. Additionally, the company’s hotline is available 24/7, ensuring clients can transact with them regardless of location and time of day.
Unfortunately, American Hartford Gold is infamous for its relatively slow transaction speeds. It can take 3 to 5 days for an order to clear, with shipping taking up to a week. Furthermore, the company only offers to ship to clients within the US territories.
How We Ranked The Best Gold IRA Companies
We evaluated several factors to rank the top gold investment companies, including reputation, experience, and client reviews. These companies have excellent reputations and extensive expertise in the market, and their clients have given them positive feedback for their exceptional service.
Reputation and Reviews
Reviews are the most significant factor when selecting a gold IRA company. Our list includes companies prioritizing customer service, offering comprehensive guidance, and adhering to IRS standards. In addition, each company has received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and positive client testimonials.
The Ease of Setup
Ease of use and setup is another essential factor when selecting a gold IRA company. All the companies on our list provide representatives to guide you throughout the setup process, ensuring that everything complies with IRS standards.
Costs and Fees
These are the most challenging factors to detail, as prices in the precious metal world can change rapidly. While we could not find up-to-date pricing information on each company, we offer general details on what you can expect to pay. Gold IRA providers typically charge a commission based on a percentage of your precious metals purchase, around 5%.
Additionally, expect a one-time setup fee of less than $200 and annual fees of around $300 for account maintenance and storage. The best gold IRA companies are known for transparency, and representatives should disclose all fees upfront.
Selection of Products
The selection of gold and silver products is essential when choosing a gold IRA company. All the firms we reviewed offer IRS-approved precious metals, including gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. Additionally, they provide educational resources to learn more about the various products.
Potential buybacks are an essential consideration as well. All the companies on our list participate in buybacks, allowing you to sell precious metals if needed. However, if you cash out any of your funds before you reach the age of 59.5, you will pay a 10% penalty to the IRS. Therefore, we recommend precious metals investing only if you can afford to forget about the value until retirement.
What is Precious Metals IRA?
For those aiming to protect their savings from inflation and economic downturns, a precious metals IRA is one of many options available. But what distinguishes a precious metals IRA from a traditional IRA?
A traditional IRA is a retirement savings account funded with pre-tax dollars that enjoy tax-deferred growth. Conversely, a precious metals IRA is a retirement account that is funded with physical gold, silver, platinum, or palladium. A precious metals IRA offers investors greater investment choice flexibility and control, making it a favored option for those looking to diversify their investment portfolio.
Unlike traditional IRAs, which have annual contribution limits of $5,500 (or $6,500 for those over age 50), precious metal IRAs have much higher limits of $30,000 per year. Investors also have the option of rolling over their existing 401(k) or 403(b) accounts, making them an appealing choice for those looking to boost their exposure to precious metals.
However, it’s important to note that managing a precious metals IRA can be complicated and costly. An IRA custodian is responsible for managing the account and a depository vault stores the physical assets. Special IRS rules also apply to the use of a precious metals IRA, and failing to meet certain conditions can result in tax penalties. Additionally, maintaining an IRA can cost up to $300 per year, not including fees incurred when purchasing and shipping precious metals.
Despite the complexities and costs associated with precious metals IRAs, they remain a popular choice for those looking to protect and diversify their retirement savings.
What Are the Advantages of Precious Metals IRAs?
Setting up a precious metal IRA has several compelling reasons. Firstly, diversifying your portfolio by investing in physical precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium can add a less volatile asset class with a finite supply, reducing your overall risk.
Precious metals come in different forms such as coins, bullions, and bars from various countries, offering additional diversification opportunities. Some IRAs also allow for the storage of digital currencies like Bitcoin, providing even more diversification opportunities.
A precious metal IRA also offers the ability to invest in other assets like stocks and bonds for generating passive income while preserving the value of your savings. Income generated from these assets may be subject to tax deferments or exemptions, making them an attractive long-term investment option.
In uncertain economic conditions, a precious metal IRA can provide safety and stability. Precious metals have high intrinsic value and demand, making them a reliable investment that can withstand market fluctuations and inflation. Investing even a small portion of your wealth in precious metals can protect the majority of your savings from economic volatility.
Finally, a precious metal IRA offers a level of control not found in other retirement solutions. You can customize your IRA to contain only the assets you prefer, whether that be gold, silver, palladium, platinum, or rare coins and bars. Moreover, every IRA company has a process in place to facilitate the buying and selling of assets within the account.
Although there are limitations in place to prevent tax-related abuses, a precious metal IRA is an attractive option for diversifying your portfolio, generating passive income, and safeguarding your savings from market volatility.
Why Buy Physical Precious Metals?
Several financial experts suggest that mutual funds and stock markets may be at risk of correction and overvaluation, similar to historical incidents in 1929, 1987, 2000, and 2008. In order to balance the market risk, stock market investors must consider investing in precious metals, not just gold stocks, as they are vulnerable to market risks and volatility, which can impact their business risk. During times of financial instability, physical gold has been a top-rated financial asset. Precious metals are an investment class that does not pose liability to anyone else.
The possibility of inflation
To prevent a recession, the U.S. government has utilized an easy monetary policy and increased spending to inflate the economy. Precious metals have historically provided protection against inflation and profit opportunities, as demonstrated by the significant rise in precious metal prices in the 1970s when inflation rates reached double digits.
The 21st century wealth protection
Rising levels of national and international strife, terrorism, war, devaluation of the U.S. Dollar, overvalued stocks, bonds, and real estate markets are legitimate concerns for investors today. These economic events also increase the possibilities of inflation, deflation, recessions, depressions, and even more challenging times in the near future.
For thousands of years, in good and bad times, physical precious metals have offered investors a dependable, long-term, and tangible method of holding wealth. Unlike paper investments such as stocks and bonds, which can be worthless overnight, precious metals investments have genuine intrinsic value. Given the current uncertain environment, it is appropriate to consider investing in precious metals as an alternative strategy.
Top Precious Metals Investment Options
For those looking to diversify their retirement portfolios, a variety of precious metals can be added. These metals hold significant value due to their rarity, usefulness in multiple industries, and ability to store value. Common choices include gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. Read on to learn more about each option.
Gold is the most renowned and popular metal for investment. For this reason, lots of investors turn to gold individual retirement accounts (gold IRAs). Gold stands out due to its malleability, durability, and its conductivity of heat and electricity. It is predominantly used for crafting jewelry and as a form of currency. It is also crucial in industries such as electronics and dentistry.
Gold has always been considered valuable since its discovery. Investors often choose gold investments over other financial instruments like bonds and stocks. Gold is a go-to choice during periods of political or economic turmoil and as a safeguard against rising inflation.
Various methods exist for investing in gold. Some individuals may purchase physical gold in the form of coins, jewelry, or bars, while others may opt for gold stocks or shares in royalty and mining companies.
Each gold investment option has its pros and cons. Drawbacks may include storage and insurance costs and the potential underperformance of gold stocks. On the flip side, advantages of gold investments may include the ability to monitor prices and the potential to outperform gold stocks and ETFs.
Following gold, silver is the second most well-known precious metal commodity. Silver is an indispensable industrial metal in fields such as photography, electronics, and electrical manufacturing. Its electrical properties make it crucial for solar panels. Silver is also used in jewelry, coins, bars, and silverware production.
In certain situations, silver’s value can exceed gold prices during periods of high investor and industrial demand. However, due to its dual role as an industrial and precious metal, silver’s price tends to be more volatile than gold.
Gold and silver investments prove to be the most stable ones. But what about platinum? Similar to silver, platinum is predominantly found in the industrial sector. Its properties are vital to the automotive industry, where platinum is used in the production of catalytic converters, reducing vehicle emissions. The computer and petroleum industries also rely on platinum.
Platinum belongs to a group of six platinum-group metals (PGM), which also includes palladium, iridium, rhodium, ruthenium, and osmium. These metals have shared properties and are often found in the same mineral deposits.
Although palladium is a rare and valuable metal, it is not as heavily focused on by investors as gold and silver. Consequently, gold IRA companies typically offer limited palladium options in their offerings.
Palladium has applications in industrial products and the electronics market. Additionally, it is used in groundwater treatment, medicine, jewelry, dentistry, and certain chemical processes.
Is Silver or Gold IRA Good for Retirement Investment?
Precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium can be stored in a precious metals IRA in various forms such as bullion coins, small bullion bars, and proof coins. These products can be sourced from the United States or from other nations across the globe, as long as they are approved precious metals before storing in precious metal, gold, or silver IRAs.
It’s important to note that in the past, the circulation of internationally-minted products was not allowed, limiting investment options to American Gold Eagles and Gold Buffalos, as well as some US-specific bars and coins. However, in 1997, the IRS began allowing coins from other countries to be circulated in US IRAs.
To ensure compliance, it’s essential to verify that what you are buying passes IRS standards and is an approved precious metal. For gold, this means the purity must be at 99.95%, while for silver, platinum, and palladium, the purity must be at a near-perfect 99.99% or higher.
Counterfeits are another issue to consider when investing in precious metals. The federal and state governments are cracking down on the circulation of fake coins and bars, but the problem persists. To protect your investment, it’s vital to only make purchases through a legitimate and reputable gold IRA company. By taking these precautions, a Silver or Gold IRA can be a sound investment option for retirement.
How Much of Your IRA Should Include Precious Metals?
If you’re thinking about storing precious metals in your IRA, it’s essential to diversify your investments. Experts suggest you allocate only 5-10% of your IRA to precious physical metals rather than putting all your eggs in one basket.
You shouldn’t invest 100% of your IRA in precious metals for a few reasons. Firstly, diversification is vital to protecting your investments and reducing your risk. Secondly, precious metals aren’t great at generating income, unlike stocks and bonds that pay dividends.
The only way to profit from precious metals is by selling them, which can be complicated and come with fees. Plus, precious metals aren’t always recession-proof, despite what some people may believe.
To protect your investments and hedge against economic downturns, spreading your money across different market sectors is a good idea. By making small, thoughtful investments in different areas, you can build a diverse portfolio that will give you the best chance of success in the long run.
How to Open a Precious Metal IRA
Opening a precious metals IRA can be a bit more complicated than setting up a standard IRA due to several differences. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t anticipate the process. Here are some steps you can expect when opening a precious metals IRA.
Find a self-directed IRA custodian
Unlike regular IRA companies, none of them is allowed to manage precious metals IRAs. Instead, you’ll need to find a self-directed IRA custodian, a bank, an equity trust company, or another IRS-approved institution. Make sure to research and choose a trusted custodian and be aware of any fees they may charge.
Choose a precious metals dealer
Once you have a custodian, you must find a reputable dealer to purchase precious metals. Look for dealers in industry groups like the Industry Council of Tangible Assets, the Professional Numismatists Guild, or the American Numismatics Association. You can also ask your IRA company for recommendations.
Decide what products to buy
The availability and prices of gold and silver coins and bars can fluctuate, so do your research and choose products you’re familiar with. Start with standard products like American Gold Eagles or Canadian Maple Leaf coins and gradually move on to rarer and riskier products.
Choose a depository
The precious metals IRA company won’t store your purchases, so you must choose an IRS-approved depository facility. Look for one that’s close to you and fits your budget. Also, consider choosing segregated-type vault storage for extra security.
Complete the transaction
Once everything is set up, you can complete your purchase. Your custodian, IRA company, and depository service will manage your accounts and assets, but check the value of your orders regularly.
Choosing a Trustworthy Gold IRA Custodian
When you acquire precious metal IRAs, the responsibility of storing these valuable metals falls on you. However, the IRS prohibits gold IRA owners from keeping the metals at home. Your optimal choice is to entrust your assets to a reputable gold IRA custodian.
Custodians are often credit unions, banks, brokerage firms, or other financial organizations that have obtained federal authorization to offer asset custody services. While gold IRA companies may suggest particular custodians, clients are free to select any dependable custodian for their precious metal storage.
Finding the ideal custodian for your gold IRA storage can be daunting. We advise you to carefully evaluate multiple custodians, focusing on their credentials. A trustworthy custodian should possess the necessary licenses, insurance, and registrations to deliver reliable services and safeguard your assets.
Assessing a custodian’s reputation can help gauge its dependability. Browsing customer reviews on the BBB website allows you to learn from others’ experiences with custodians and gives you an insight into what you might expect.
Similar to conventional IRA options, you will need a broker to invest in a gold IRA. Fortunately, the companies on our list serve as brokers, streamlining the entire process of acquiring precious metal IRAs.
How Do You Make a Withdrawal from a Precious Metals IRA?
When withdrawing from your precious metals IRA, you have two options. The first is In-Kind, which involves physically delivering your precious metals to your address. While this option might entail shipping costs, you can sell your gold on the market at your discretion.
The second option is a purchase by the depository, whereby the storage facility will buy your requested gold withdrawal at a price that closely mirrors the current market value. However, remember that IRA withdrawals are subject to tax laws, and failure to sell within two months can result in tax penalties. That’s why consulting with a financial advisor, or lawyer is recommended before deciding on your IRA withdrawals.
Where Are the Precious Metals Inside Your Gold IRA Stored?
The storage of precious metals in a gold IRA account requires particular measures. Personal safes with advanced home security systems are insufficient to store gold investments.
The IRS regulates the storage of physical gold, silver, platinum, or palladium in a Gold IRA. According to the IRS, these precious metals must be in the custody of a trustee, such as a federally insured bank, credit union, savings and loan, or another pre-approved facility. These entities can store the precious metals as a single, shared fund or detail individual assets.
To comply with all relevant accounting, security, reporting, and auditing standards, a trustee that is not a bank must demonstrate to the IRS that it will. A custodian may choose to use a private depository with an endorsement from a commodities exchange.
An acceptable storage entity must have top-tier security measures, including devices that detect sound, movement, and even slight vibrations. High-tech timed locks that automatically relock are additional security measures. In addition, these facilities typically have 24/7 monitoring.
Furthermore, storage facilities must carry substantial insurance policies of up to $1 billion. The storage facilities used by the best Gold IRA companies we recommended come with a top-tier reputation. If a company proposes a dubious storage arrangement, including storing your precious metals, it is a significant red flag.
Any unofficial or unapproved storage facility or arrangement for physical gold storage will result in your gold IRA being disqualified by the IRS. Goldco, Augusta Precious Metals, Birch Gold Group, Noble Gold Investments, and Regal Assets are among the best Gold IRA companies, each with its storage options.
Storage locations used by the best Gold IRA companies with IRS approval have the security and insurance to protect your precious metal investment. If you have any questions about storage, consult with your Gold IRA representative; ultimately, the decision rests with you.
What Is a Gold IRA Rollover?
The gold IRA rollover is a fundamental concept in the alternative investment process, transferring value from a traditional retirement account to a gold IRA.
You can transfer value from a traditional or Roth IRA without tax penalties. Once you select a gold IRA company, you will complete an application and a transfer request form. Since you will not possess the funds, the rollover is a direct transfer from your existing IRA to your gold IRA account, which may take up to two weeks. Your representative will then assist you in purchasing precious metals.
Gold IRA rollovers are also possible from a 401(k), 403(b), 457(b), or Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees, provided that you no longer work for the entity that provided the account. If you are still employed, you may perform a partial rollover if you meet age requirements.
When a direct transfer is used, the existing custodian will send a check to the gold IRA company to assist in purchasing precious metals. You will receive a check in your name if the transfer is indirect. You must deposit these funds and forward them to your gold IRA company within 60 days.
If you are not yet 59.5 years old and miss the deposit deadline into your precious metals IRA account, you will be subject to a 10% tax penalty for early withdrawal.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Gold IRA?
Starting a new gold IRA account (individual retirement account) typically costs between $100 and $300, which covers account setup but does not include the purchase, storage, or insurance of the actual gold. This amount comprises a one-time account establishment fee and a yearly management fee, both ranging from $50 to $150. Investors planning to add a gold IRA to their portfolios should be aware of the various extra expenses associated with this type of account.
How Does a Gold IRA Function?
A gold IRA is based on the acquisition of tangible precious metals and offers tax advantages similar to a traditional IRA. Due to the inclusion of precious metals, this account type often comes with distinct costs not associated with other retirement accounts. Numerous government regulations govern the purchase, handling, and storage of gold, silver, platinum, or palladium intended for a gold IRA. These guidelines frequently form the basis for the extra costs linked to these investments.
Additional Gold IRA Charges
Gold IRAs tend to be pricier than conventional IRAs, so account holders should prepare for a range of fees in addition to the account setup costs and the purchase price of eligible precious metals.
These fees, also known as spread or seller fees, are applied on top of the purchase price of gold and silver. They can be either a flat rate or as much as 33% of the purchase price.
Gold IRAs often impose a flat annual maintenance fee of up to $300, with the initial year’s fees typically included in the account setup fee at a reduced rate. This covers administrative tasks like statement processing and record-keeping for the account.
The IRS requires that purchased precious metals be stored in an approved depository, commonly called a vault. These facilities charge fees that typically range from $175 to $225 per year.
These charges, separate from the spread, are levied by an administrator who facilitates the buying or selling of precious metals in the gold IRA. On average, this fee is $50 per transaction.
As this account is supported by physical assets, liability insurance is necessary to safeguard the investment in case anything happens to the precious metals. This is often included in storage fees, raising the yearly average to around $300.
If a gold IRA is closed without transferring the investment to another account, an average fee of $150 is imposed.
Final Thoughts on Gold IRAs
Choosing a gold IRA investment path is a great option to diversify your retirement portfolio and reduce the fluctuation of your assets. By partnering with the best gold IRA company, you can benefit from a seamless setup process, collaborate with a financial advisor who has the required industry knowledge, and select from an extensive range of precious metal coins and bullion.
To find the most suitable gold IRA service for your requirements, we suggest having a consultation with each company and weighing their pros and cons. However, since all the gold IRA providers on our list offer comparable services, you can confidently choose any of them to assist with your gold IRA investment.
If concerns about your retirement fund have been bothering you, a gold IRA investment might be the solution. Explore the companies on our list today to initiate the transfer of funds from your existing retirement account to a more secure gold IRA.