Many investors are thinking about how to roll over their 401k account into a Gold IRA. Gold IRAs offer investors many advantages. Investing in precious metals, such as gold and silver, through an individual retirement account enables investors to obtain some protection for their retirement planning. A Gold IRA lets you invest in actual physical gold – something you can’t do with a traditional 401k account.
There are several good reasons for the increasing popularity of Gold IRAs. First, as noted, a precious metals IRA gives you access to holding physical gold and silver, in the form of bullion (gold bars or rounds) or coins. Physical assets can add significant diversification to a total investment portfolio that consists primarily of paper assets such as stocks or bonds. Second, precious metals have historically been a solid hedge investment against inflation. That’s a key consideration since US inflation is the worst it’s been for forty years - with a 9.1% rise in the CPI (Consumer Price Index) year-on-year for June 2022. Finally, the tax advantages enjoyed by IRA investors are substantial – a great way to minimize your tax liabilities on retirement account investments.
An easy way to get started with a Gold IRA is to roll over funds from another retirement account you have, such as a 401k. As long as you’re careful to follow the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules, you can transfer money from your 401k into a Gold IRA without incurring any tax penalties. There are professional Gold IRA companies that can handle all the necessary paperwork for you.
This article is a complete “how to” Gold IRA rollover guide to moving money from your 401k into a Gold IRA, along with reviews of the best Gold IRA companies you can use to set up and manage your precious metals IRA.
Our top three Gold IRA companies, all well-established and widely respected firms, are the following:
* Please Scroll Down further down for more info on our three top companies.
What is a Gold IRA?
Before you invest in a Gold IRA, let’s make sure you know exactly what a Gold IRA is. “Gold IRA” is the term commonly used to refer to any IRA that is invested in physical precious metals. So, a “Gold” IRA may be invested in gold, or it may actually be a Silver IRA, Platinum IRA, or Palladium IRA.
Precious metals IRAs are a type of self-directed IRA (SDIRA). That means that you are the person who’s totally in charge of selecting the investments for your account – rather than, for example, the manager of a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF).
Self-directed IRAs allow you a lot more freedom of choice in investing. You can invest in many different types of financial assets beyond just the usual Wall Street products such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. That’s a significant advantage over 401k accounts, which usually offer only a very limited choice of investments - for example, a choice of just three or four mutual funds. In contrast, a self-directed IRA can be invested in any of the following assets, just to name a few:
- Gold and other precious metals
- Real estate
- Venture capital and private equity investments
- Joint ventures and other business partnerships
- Raw or farm/ranch land
- Promissory notes
About the only notable type of investment excluded from SDIRAs is collectibles.
What Makes Gold a Good Investment?
More and more investors are turning to gold and silver as “safe haven” investments during this time of rapidly increasing inflation and economic uncertainty. Gold has a well-established track record as a reliable store of value, and as one of the few financial assets that manages to keep pace with inflation. One of the oft-repeated maxims about gold is that an ounce of gold will always be enough to buy you a good, tailor-made suit. That was true when gold was just $35 an ounce, and it’s still true with the price of gold around $1,500-$2,000 an ounce today.
Many paper currencies have come and gone, eventually becoming worthless. In contrast, the value of gold typically increases when the economy and the stock market turn sour. Although, like any investment asset, the price of gold has experienced both ups and downs, gold has always maintained some value – it’s never become worthless.
Being recognized as a good hedge, or protection, investment against economic downturns and rising inflation, investments in gold may hold a special appeal as part of your retirement planning. A Gold IRA can be an investment vehicle that helps you protect the money that you’ve worked hard to earn and save for your retirement.
Investments in gold, silver, and other precious metals can help to diversify your total investment portfolio because the price movements of gold and silver are not strongly correlated with overall stock prices. (In other words, during times when investments in stocks may be falling, gold investments may be rising in value.) Having a well-diversified portfolio is a common investment strategy used to reduce risk and volatility.
The Advantages of Owning Physical Gold
You can invest in gold and other precious metals in a number of ways, including investments in mining stocks, collectible coins, and ETFs or mutual funds. Owning physical gold in a Gold IRA offers specific advantages over paper assets such as gold stocks or ETFs.
Here are some of the key advantages that physical gold investments offer:
- Identity theft and frauds perpetrated by online “hackers” are a growing threat to people’s financial security. Physical gold offers real financial security because it’s an investment asset that can’t be hacked or stolen online.
- You can hold physical gold investments anonymously. In an era when many people are increasingly worried about government intrusion and power, that’s an important advantage. The unfortunate truth is that governments can easily seize any and all money that you have in a bank account. Many citizens of Cyprus learned this fact the hard way in 2013, when in response to an economic crisis, the country’s central bank seized millions of dollars of citizens’ money that was held in bank accounts, literally overnight.
- In addition to protection from government seizure, physical gold, such as gold bullion, is also much more protected than cash from seizure or attachment by creditors. That fact alone makes gold and silver bullion look appealing to many investors.
- Investments in physical gold don’t carry any counterparty risk. Other investments, such as stocks, are at least partially dependent on the performance of third parties (e.g., a company’s board of directors). But the intrinsic value of gold exists independent of what any other parties do. Your investments in physical gold are not at the mercy of the performance of, say, some fund manager.
In addition, the physical gold or physical silver (or platinum or palladium) held in a precious metals IRA confers the substantial tax advantages that come with all IRAs. Contributions to a traditional IRA reduce your taxable income for that year, and your investing profits are tax-deferred until you begin making withdrawals. With a Roth IRA, all your profits earned are tax-free. And you can buy and sell gold or silver within your Gold IRA as often as you like, without generating any taxable capital gains event.
Reasons to Consider a Roth IRA for Your Gold Investing
Your Gold IRA can be set up as any one of the various types of IRAs – a traditional IRA, a SEP (Simplified Employee Pension) IRA, a Spousal IRA, or a Roth IRA. Which type of self-directed IRA is best for you will depend on your personal financial circumstances right now, and on what you expect your financial situation to be when you retire.
For example, if you expect to be in a lower tax bracket when you retire than the tax bracket you’re in now, then you may lean toward going with a traditional IRA setup. Conversely, if you think you’ll likely be in a higher tax bracket when you retire than you’re in now, you’ll probably find a Roth IRA more favorable. The primary reason for this is the fact that all the capital gains accumulated in a Roth IRA are tax-free.
Unlike with a traditional IRA, the contributions you make to a Roth IRA are not tax-deductible. So, you don’t get any tax benefit at the time of making contributions. However, that drawback is usually more than offset by the substantial tax benefit you get from having all the capital gains in your Roth IRA grow tax-free, as long as you wait at least five years before making any withdrawals from the account.
Potential Roth IRA Profits – An Example
If the price of gold were to rise sharply between now and the time when you start taking withdrawals, owing zero taxes on all your Roth Gold IRA capital gains could add up to huge windfall profits for you.
Using a very simple example, let’s say you contributed a total of $100,000 over the years to a Roth Gold IRA. And let’s assume that the value of gold increased by 500% over that same time frame. (That’s not at all such a far-fetched projection. The price of gold has increased from just over $300 to over $2,000 in the first two decades of the 21st century. And many market analysts predict that the price of gold, currently around $1,800 per ounce, may rise to somewhere between $5,000 to $10,000 within the next 10-15 years.) So, your $100,000 in gold in your Roth IRA would then have increased in value to more than $500,000 – that’s half a million dollars of return on investment (ROI) for you, and all tax-free! And all that tax-free money doesn’t put you in a higher tax bracket, and it also can’t be counted against you in regard to qualifying for financial aid programs such as Medicaid.
“All other things being equal”, there are a couple of other factors that make Roth IRAs very attractive to investors. With a Roth IRA, there are no “required minimum distributions” (RMDs). If you have a traditional IRA, starting at age 70 and a half, you are required to withdraw – and pay taxes on – a certain portion of your IRA funds. There’s no such requirement with a Roth IRA. If you want, you can just let your Roth Gold IRA continue to increase in value, never take any withdrawals, and then leave the account to your children when you die.
Another potential advantage - The rules on penalty-free withdrawals if you need to take some money out of your Gold IRA prior to retirement (or age 59 and a half) are more lenient with a Roth IRA than those for a traditional IRA. For example, you can take a withdrawal without tax penalties if it’s for a first-time home purchase or for university level education expenses.
Doing a 401k Rollover to a Gold IRA
A Gold IRA rollover refers to creating a Gold IRA that is then funded by transferring money from a previously existing retirement account, such as a 401k or another IRA. In other words, you’re rolling over money from one retirement account into another retirement account. The rollover is necessary because a self-directed Gold IRA is a special type of retirement account, one that has specific IRS rules that govern how the account must be set up and managed, as well as what investment assets can be held in the account.
A 401k is an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan. It offers a convenient way to save and invest for retirement because you just elect to have a specified portion of each paycheck withheld and deposited into your 401k account. There’s also a tax benefit, as the money invested in your 401k grows tax-deferred. You don't have any tax liability until you withdraw the funds from your account.
Why Move Money from Your 401k?
However, many investors find it ideal to transfer at least some of their financial assets out of an employer-provided 401k account because a self-directed IRA offers so much more choice and flexibility in regard to available investments.
With most 401k plans, your only investment choices are typically a handful of mutual funds or a GIC (Guaranteed Investment Contract). A GIC is a money market account that only pays minimal interest. It’s present as an option in a 401k simply to provide an acceptable investment choice for investors who have a very low risk tolerance and, therefore, aren’t even comfortable having their money invested in a relatively low-risk mutual fund, such as an index fund. So, a 401k may work just fine for you if you have a very, very low risk tolerance, but it’s likely to be rather disappointing if you want to at least have the opportunity to generate sizeable returns on investment.
Ordinarily, if you withdraw money from a traditional IRA, 401k, or other tax-advantaged retirement account, then you have to pay taxes, and perhaps tax penalties, on the withdrawal. However, if you roll the funds over into another tax-advantage-eligible account within the IRS’ specified 60-day limit, then no taxable event is created.
Types of Retirement Account Rollovers – Direct and Indirect
There are two ways that a 401k to Gold IRA rollover can be executed:
- Direct rollover, trustee to trustee
- Indirect rollover, trustee to client to trustee
The easiest way to roll funds over from your 401k account into your new Gold IRA is to do a direct rollover. After setting up a Gold IRA, you simply contact your 401k plan administrator, the person who is your trustee for that account, and instruct them to transfer the amount of funds that you want to put into your Gold IRA to the custodian trustee of your Gold IRA. (You will get a custodian trustee for your Gold IRA as part of the account setup process. Your Gold IRA trustee can give you all the necessary information to give to your 401k plan administrator to facilitate the funds transfer.)
You’ll receive an IRS Form 1099-R that notes the 401k withdrawal/transfer, but in box 7 of the 1099 form, there should be a distribution code of “H”. That distribution code indicates to the IRS that the transfer is not a taxable event. Therefore, the normal 20% tax withholding rule does not apply to a direct rollover. No taxes will be taken out of, subtracted from, the funds you want ot roll over into a Gold IRA.
With an indirect rollover, your 401k plan trustee disburses a check to you, in the amount of your 401k funds that you want to invest in your Gold IRA. You then have 60 days to deposit the money into your new Gold IRA. Just make sure that the money is credited to your Gold IRA within 60 days from the stated withdrawal date of funds from your 401k. If you hold the money beyond that 60-day allotted timeframe, the money you received from your 401k will be subject to taxes and any applicable tax penalties.
Note: An indirect rollover is further complicated by the fact that your 401k plan administrator will send 80% of the requested withdrawal amount to you and withhold the other 20% and send it to the IRS to cover potential tax liability. The IRS Form 1099-R that you receive from your plan administrator will show both the amount of funds disbursed to you and the 20% that is withheld for tax purposes.
However, in order to avoid any potential tax liability, you have to deposit into your Gold IRA the full 100% withdrawal amount, not just the 80% that you received. Thus, you’ll have to put up 20% of the deposit out of your own pocket. You will get the 20% back after filing your taxes for that year, provided that you make your deposit within the 60-day time limit and follow all the other IRS rules for a Gold IRA. But that doesn’t help you out when you have to come up with extra money to complete your rollover.
Because of this 80/20 rule, most investors opt for doing the much simpler direct rollover.
Most 401k retirement accounts generally allow for IRA rollovers. However, requirements and rollover eligibility do vary from plan to plan, so it’s important that you check with your plan’s administrator. Just tell them what you propose to do – rollover funds from your 401k into a Gold IRA – and they will be able to tell you what’s allowed and what procedures have to be followed.
If you are at least age 59 and a half - or if you’re at least age 55 and are no longer working for the employer who provided your 401k plan – then there should be no problem with transferring your 401k funds to a Gold IRA. But if you’re still working for the company providing the 401k plan and are age 54 or younger, then you may not be eligible to receive an “in-service withdrawal” without incurring a tax liability. If that’s the case, then you’ll need to either wait until you’re older or have left the company – or look to get the necessary funds to open your Gold IRA from another source.
Even if your 401k plan doesn’t ordinarily allow for a withdrawal or transfer of funds while you’re still employed by the company, you may still be able to have such a transfer executed. Most 401k plans have a “hardship withdrawal” exception that your plan administrator can use to disburse funds to you as long as he or she is willing to help you. Having such an exception granted is something that’s usually pretty much solely at the discretion of the plan administrator.
Setting up Your Gold IRA Account
The process for setting up a Gold IRA is simple and straightforward. The primary decision you have to make is choosing the right Gold IRA company. Because Gold IRAs are a special type of self-directed IRA, there are dozens of financial services companies that specialize in offering Gold IRAs.
Any Gold IRA company can set up a Gold IRA for you. However, beyond the initial setup of your account, the various Gold IRA companies differ widely in terms of the level of services they offer directly. You should also consider the following factors when choosing a company to handle your precious metals IRA:
- Minimum initial investment required
- Shipping (Do they charge to ship gold and silver coins or bars that you buy to your IRA storage facility? Do they charge to ship your precious metals to you when you make a withdrawal? – If so, how much?)
- Access to information and education on the precious metals market provided
- Customer service
Step One – Create your Gold Individual Retirement Account
So, your first step in getting a Gold IRA is to research Gold IRA companies and choose one to set up your account. (In the next section of this article, we compare and review the top three Gold IRA companies for you.) Your choice will likely, in addition to the factors outlined above, depend primarily on things such as your level of investing expertise and how “hands on” you want to be in the management of your Gold or Silver IRA.
Part of the account setup process also involves making a decision as to whether you want your account set up as a traditional IRA or as a Roth IRA, a subject that we’ve already covered.
Step Two – Initiate Your 401k Rollover
Once you have a Gold IRA created, the next step is to contact your 401k plan administrator and initiate the transfer of money from your 401k to your new IRA. Again, a direct rollover, where the trustee of your 401k transfers money to the trustee of your Gold IRA, is the easiest method, and is also the best way to make sure that your rollover is executed without any tax penalty.
You can transfer all, or just part, of your 401k funds. In addition to meeting any minimum deposit requirements that your Gold IRA company has, the level at which you initially fund your account should be decided as part of your overall financial planning – and more specifically, your retirement planning.
You may wish to consult a financial advisor, but ultimately the decision is yours. Many financial planners recommend committing about 10% of your total investment capital to precious metals. However, you may want to be more, or less, aggressive with investments in gold and silver. Think about your expectations for inflation and the economy, your risk tolerance, and other financial assets that you’re already invested in or plan to invest in.
Step Three – Meeting IRS Custodian and Storage Requirements
Two important IRS rules for precious metals IRAs are as follows:
1 – You must have a custodian trustee appointed to manage your account. Since your Gold IRA is a self-directed IRA, you make all the decisions regarding buying and selling precious metals investments, but your decisions must be executed by an IRS-approved custodian trustee. The trustee will also handle all necessary reporting to the IRS regarding your account. Custodian trustee firms are typically banks, trust companies, or similar entities.
2 – You must keep your precious metals in an IRS-approved storage facility. You can’t just keep your gold or silver in a drawer at your home. Brinks and Delaware Depository are two of the most well-respected companies that provide IRS-approved storage of IRA gold and silver.
Meeting these two requirements is actually part of the process of the initial setup of your Gold IRA, but we’re putting them as “step three” here since they don’t matter in any practical sense until your account is funded and ready to invest with.
Some Gold IRA companies, such as Regal Assets, will provide custodian and storage services directly for you. It’s all handled “in-house” as part of the Gold IRA services they provide. With many other Gold IRA companies, you’ll have to contact and arrange custodial services and precious metals storage yourself. Most companies, if they don’t directly offer such services, have established partnerships with third-party custodian and storage providers that they will put you in contact with.
Step Four – Invest!
The next step, once your account is all set up, you have custodian and storage facilities arranged, and your funds rollover from your 401k has arrived – is the fun part: buying gold and silver (and/or platinum or palladium)! You can choose to invest in gold and silver bullion, coins, or both.
Gold bars, or bullion, are available in sizes ranging from 1/10 of an ounce up to several ounces. Gold and silver coins are also minted in different sizes. The most commonly purchased bars and coins are the one ounce size.
The IRS only allows precious metals investments in your Gold IRA that meet its purity, or “fineness”, requirements. These requirements are as follows:
- Gold, platinum, or palladium bars or coins must have a minimum purity of 99.5%.
- Silver bullion or coins must have a minimum purity of 99.9%.
*Exception: The IRS allows one exception to its normal purity requirements – the American Gold Eagle coins. These coins, produced by the U.S. Mint, have been very popular with investors ever since their introduction in 1986. A gold American Eagle coin is 91.67% pure gold (22-karat gold) – the rest of the coin consists of a mixture of copper and silver.
Collectible, or numismatic, coins – although popular investments – are not approved precious metals for IRA investments, commonly because they don’t meet the IRS purity requirements.
What Should You Buy for Your Gold IRA – Bars or Coins?
Although gold and silver coins, many of which feature famous designs, are more aesthetically attractive, they are usually a less efficient precious metals investment than gold and silver bullion. That’s because coins typically carry a larger premium over the spot (cash market) prices of gold and silver, as compared to bullion bars.
When buying gold bullion (or silver, platinum, or palladium), you can rest assured that your purchases meet with IRS approval by only purchasing bullion bars minted by a well-known, respected minter that guarantees the bullion’s purity, which is clearly stamped on their products. Three gold and silver minters with spotless reputations are the Swiss banking firm, Credit Suisse, Johnson Matthey, and the Perth Mint of Australia. Credit Suisse mints gold bullion that is 99.99% pure gold. In addition to bullion bars, the Perth Mint also produces a variety of gold and silver jewelry.
Your Gold IRA company will give you a list of IRA-approved bullion (bars or rounds) and coins. Most all of the companies that buy and sell gold and silver online also maintain a current list of IRA-approved products, even if they don’t provide Gold IRAs.
Step Five – Continue Investing with Regular Contributions
After making your initial gold and silver purchases with the funds rolled over from your 401k account, you can continue building your investments in precious metals year by year.
For tax year 2022, the IRS allows annual contributions to both traditional and Roth IRAs of up to $6,500. Individuals who are 50 and older can contribute an additional $1,000 per year.
Of course, the amount of additional investments that you make should be determined in light of your overall financial planning and existing investment portfolio.
Whenever you wish to make additional purchases of precious metals for your IRA, you simply send what’s known as a “buy direction letter“ to your custodian trustee, instructing them as to what to buy, where to buy it, and for what price.
The Top Three Gold IRA Companies
The best Gold IRA companies make your venture into investing in precious metals a simple process. They will guide and advise you every step along the way, carefully explaining all the procedures, so that you thoroughly understand all the aspects of your Gold IRA. They make setting up custodian trustee services and IRS-approved storage services quick and easy. All you have to do is tell them which precious metals you want to invest in – gold, silver, platinum, palladium, or “all of the above” – and they will provide you with a clear list of precious metals coins and bullion bars and rounds to choose from, that all satisfy the IRS requirements for fineness (purity) for precious metals held in an IRA.
It's important to read Gold IRA company reviews and comparisons before making your decision. Weigh the pros and cons of each company, keeping in mind that different providers offer significantly different levels of service, charge different fees, and have varying minimum opening deposit requirements.
Definitely make sure that you use a company that’s fully licensed and insured as a Gold IRA provider. Our top three Gold IRA companies, all well-established and widely respected firms, are the following:
In short, Regal Assets, of Beverly Hills, California, offers everything you want in a Gold IRA provider. That explains why it’s become recognized as a premier Gold IRA company in just the few years since its founding in 2009. It heads our list of top Gold IRA companies for several reasons. First and foremost, it’s one of the few Gold IRA firms that directly provides, “in house”, all the services you need to set up and manage your account: account setup, including IRS-approved precious metals available for purchase, custodian trustee services, and approved storage facilities (with your choice of storage within or outside of the United States).
Not many other Gold IRA companies offer the kind of “one-stop shop” services available from Regal Assets. Instead, custodian services and storage are frequently provided by third-party companies – and involving third parties usually means additional fees for managing your account.
Regal holds several noteworthy distinctions in the financial services world, where it’s ranked #20 on the Inc 500 list of financial services firms. It is a member of the Forbes Finance Council and was voted the “Best Gold IRA Company for IRA Rollovers” by the editors of Investopedia.com.
Regal is a recognized leader in the field of alternative investments. It was the first Gold IRA company licensed to offer cryptocurrency investments in a tax-advantaged IRA account.
Regal offers a “buy-back guarantee” on all the precious metals products that it sells, and it will handle your 401k rollover into a Gold IRA free of charge.
Dallas, Texas-based JM Bullion is one of the oldest and most well-respected online retailers of precious metals coins and bullion in the world. It’s hard to find a gold or silver coin – bullion or collectible – that JM Bullion doesn’t have somewhere in its inventory. It’s not every gold and silver dealer that has the Armenian Noah’s Ark one-gram gold coin or the Croatian Dalmation dog coin in stock.
Unlike Regal Assets, JM Bullion was originally founded as simply a precious metals dealer, not a Gold IRA provider. But since expanding its services to include Gold IRAs, its website now has a separate section where it offers a wide array of IRA-approved coins and bullion.
JM Bullion is especially appealing to investors who are interested in acquiring gold and silver beyond the confines of Gold IRA investments. It features many of the most-desired collectible coins, such as the Indian Gold Eagle and the Saint Gaudens Double Eagle. Gold and silver investors stop by the JM website regularly to check out the “On Sale” and “New Arrivals” sections.
Headquartered in Montreal, Kitco has been around much longer than Gold IRAs have even been available – since 1977. Like JM Bullion, Kitco was originally a gold and silver dealer – although it would be incorrect to say that they were originally an ”online” retailer, since they’ve been serving the precious metals market since before there were any “online” retailers!
In addition to being one of the top providers of Gold IRAs, these days Kitco is regarded as the pre-eminent website for news, analysis, and commentary on the gold and silver markets. Many precious metals commodity futures and mining stock traders rely on Kitco for up-to-the-minute market news and sentiment, as well as extensive information on publicly-traded mining companies.
Kitco provides live, interactive charting and historical data on all four precious metals. And its market coverage includes both the foreign exchange (forex) and cryptocurrency markets. The website offers an extensive archive of educational materials, and hosts podcasts with roundtable discussions of the gold and silver market throughout each week.
Kitco doesn’t offer the comprehensive, in-house Gold IRA services that Regal does – it farms out custodian and storage services to third party providers. But it can definitely tell you what the hottest coins and bullion products are, and give you clues as to probable future gold prices.
Therefore, its primary appeal is to investors who are not only interested in having a Gold IRA, but who are also interested in collecting precious metals coins or in making investments that lie outside of those approved for an IRA.
Who Should Do a 401k Rollover into a Gold IRA? - Summary
Rolling over funds in a 401k account into a self-directed Gold IRA may be a good idea for any or all of the following reasons:
- You already have a significant amount of investment assets in your 401k or other retirement savings accounts, and your 401k account is eligible for rollover into an IRA (check with your plan administrator)
- You want to secure some investments that can help you hedge your exposure to stock market risk and that have historically performed well in high-inflation economic environments
- You’d like to further diversify either your overall investment portfolio or, more specifically, your retirement planning investments with investments in precious metals
- You’re dissatisfied with the extremely limited investment choices available with your 401k plan
A Gold IRA offers significant tax advantages. As a self-directed IRA (SDIRA), it offers you much more freedom and flexibility in investment choices. And in the current extremely uncertain economic times, a “safe haven” investment in real/physical assets may offer you a unique opportunity to generate large returns on investment. In addition, physical gold is a financial asset that has much less exposure to theft, possible confiscation of money by the government, or potential seizure by creditors.
If you think opening a Gold IRA may be a good investing strategy, consult with a financial advisor about whether a Roth or traditional IRA is better suited for you, and research and compare different Gold IRA providers.
Well, I hope this Gold IRA rollover guide has been helpful to you. While I can’t promise you that gold will prove to be a hugely profitable investment, I can tell you that it’s an investment that the ultra-rich nearly always seem to hold in substantial amounts.
Gold IRA FAQs
What Precious Metals Can I Invest in with a Gold IRA?
All four of the precious metals – gold, silver, platinum, and palladium – are eligible Gold IRA investments, as long as they meet the IRS requirements for purity. You can hold a mix of different precious metals in a single account. The term, “Gold IRA”, is a generic term used to designate an IRA that holds any physical precious metal investments. (So, for example, your “Gold IRA” might technically be a Silver IRA if you only invest in silver coins or bullion, but it will still be referred to as a Gold IRA.)
A few select companies are licensed to also include specific cryptocurrency investments in an IRA.
What Type of Retirement Accounts Can I Own Precious Metals In?
You can hold precious metals and other alternative assets (such as real estate) in many retirement accounts, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Traditional, Roth, or SEP IRAs
- Self-directed Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
- Self-directed Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)
The IRS rollover rules and rules on eligible precious metals for investments in a retirement account are generally the same across all the various types of retirement accounts. However, different types of accounts have different individual contribution, income, and distribution limits and requirements.
What is a Gold IRA Custodian Trustee?
A Gold IRA custodian trustee is a financial services company approved by the IRS to manage your Gold IRA for you. The trustee executes your buy and sell orders, arranges for shipping your precious metals purchases to your selected IRS-approved storage facility, and reports your account activity (contributions, distributions, etc.), as necessary, to the IRS.
IRA custodian trustee firms are typically a bank, credit union, or trust company.
What If I Miss the 60-day Rollover Deadline?
Well…don’t. Again, we recommend having your 401k plan administrator do a direct rollover by sending the money from your 401k directly to the trustee of your new Gold IRA.
Seriously, if you miss the 60-day deadline to move money from your 401k account into your new Gold IRA, then your withdrawal of funds from your 401k usually creates a taxable event, and you may have to pay both income tax and tax penalties. There are two possible “rescues” for you in that situation. First, you may qualify to be exempted from having to pay tax and/or penalties under one of the IRS’ hardship provisions. Second, and probably a better bet, you can send the IRS a letter explaining that you missed the deadline due to circumstances beyond your control (but you’d better be able to make a convincing case - like, “I was on my way to the bank to transfer the money when I was attacked by a grizzly bear. You can see in the attached photo that he chewed one of my legs off.”).
Written By: J.B. Maverick – An active investor who has written hundreds of articles, blogs, and eBooks on personal finance and investing for dozens of different investor information websites, including Investopedia.com, and acted as an advisor and editor for the Financial Educators Council.