What is a Gold IRA? Here are five companies that can help diversify your portfolio with metals.

Sponsored: Top 5 Gold IRA Companies Reviewed


A precious metals IRA may be the best way to see out the current economic troubles.

Inflation is the worst it has been for forty years in the US - with a 9.1% rise in CPI year-on-year for June 2022.

And this is a problem for investors. High inflation reduces the value of any cash we have squirreled away in a 401(k), savings, or traditional IRA account.

The stock markets are officially in bear territory too. The S&P 500 Index was down over 20% between the new year and the middle of June. During the same period, the Nasdaq 100 Index was down 30%.

With a special kind of self-directed IRA called a gold IRA, you can aim for a stress-free retirement by hedging against inflation and market uncertainties.

A gold IRA (Individual Retirement Account) offers tax advantages as well as allowing you to invest in physical gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. That means you get to own gold bars as well as certain bullion coins.

Retirement investors say you can’t beat that feeling of having wealth stashed away as precious metals you can touch with your own hands.

And that reassuring feeling is backed up by data.

Gold, for example, has steadily climbed in value for decades. Mankind’s favorite precious metal is viewed as a safe haven when inflation rises — or when things go south with the general economy. When financial markets were just recovering from the Covid crisis last year, for example, the price of gold hit an all-time high of over $2,000 per ounce.

Below we look at five of the best gold IRA companies. But before we get to our gold IRA reviews, let’s make sure we know what’s on offer here with a precious metals IRA.

Summary Gold IRA Reviews Table

Gold IRA company Gold IRA management in-house? IRS-compliant coins/bullion? Crypto IRA options? Flat IRA storage & management fee?
#1 Regal Assets

‘Regal Assets Logo from regalassets.com'
#2 JM Bullion

‘JM Bullion Logo from jmbullion.com'
#3 Kitco

‘Kitco Logo from online.kitco.com'
#4 Apmex

‘Apmex Logo from apmex.com'
#5 GoldSilver

‘GoldSilver Logo from goldsilver.com'

‘Summary table by Jules Blundell'

MOST USER-FRIENDLY WEBSITES: www.apmex.com, www.regalassets.com, www.goldsilver.com

‘Summary table by Jules Blundell'

How does a Gold IRA Work?

A gold IRA - or precious metals IRA as it is sometimes known - is a form of Individual Retirement Account. This means that a Gold IRA is an IRS-approved financial vehicle.

There are many types of IRAs. Conventional IRAs allow investment in cash, stocks, bonds, ETFs, real estate, and other assets.

Gold IRAs, on the other hand, allow you to invest in real physical gold, silver, platinum, and palladium - provided certain conditions are met (see below).

The important thing to understand about IRAs generally is that you can have as many IRAs as you like. But you can only invest up to a certain amount each year across your whole portfolio of IRAs: $6,000 if under 50 years old and $7,000 if over 50 years old.

Standard IRAs offer the benefit that any money which you put into them in a given year will not be considered taxable income. If you have a Roth IRA (which is not suitable for everybody), your IRA investment will be taxed - but any profits will not be.

What are the 6 Key Benefits of a Gold IRA?

There are 6 key benefits to investing in a Gold IRA:

  1. You make the decisions.
  2. Protect your portfolio against inflation.
  3. Protect your portfolio against the stock market crisis.
  4. Diversify your portfolio.
  5. Protect yourself against financial system failure.
  6. Gold IRA tax advantages.

1: You Take the Decisions

With a self-directed Individual Retirement Account (IRA), investors get far more choice about where their retirement funds are invested than with an employer-based 401(k) account.

Conventional IRAs allow the investor to put money into stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), real estate, and unit trusts.

Gold IRAs allow the investor to invest directly in physical bullion: gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. You choose which metals to invest in. You choose whether to invest in bars, coins — or both.

If you are aged under 50, the IRS allows you to contribute $6,000 a year to IRAs. This is the total contribution you can make, regardless of how many IRAs you have. If you are aged over 50, a contribution limit of $7,000 applies. If you are aged over 70.5 years, no contribution limit applies. A 6% penalty applies for excess contributions.

You can check out what the IRS says about contributions to your IRA here.

2: Protect your Portfolio against Inflation

Inflation in the US is currently running at over 8%. But, by contrast, interest rates offered by banks for savings accounts are around the 1% mark. This means that retirement investors who put their savings in cash will lose spending power; their cash, over time, becomes worth less compared to what it can buy. This is a big problem.

Another big problem for investors right now is that the stock markets have been in freefall since the new year. And as long as the US Federal Reserve continues its policy of Quantitative Tightening (ie. reducing the supply of money), downwards price pressure will persist. The Ukraine Crisis, which is destabilizing supply lines in key commodities like gas and wheat, is also a key problem.

Institutional investors are unlikely to give the markets a boost with confident investing until these issues look like they are coming to an end.

So what is the retail investor - which means you and me - to do?

Gold is traditionally seen as a hedge against inflation. That does not mean, though, that its value always outstrips inflation. Certainly between 1973 and 1979 it did: the price of gold rose 35% as inflation averaged 8.8%. This inflation-beating performance has not been matched to the same extent since …

… But what we can be sure of with gold is that there is a limited supply. The US Geological Survey estimates that there are roughly 50,000 tonnes left to mine. This cap on the supply of gold means that its value will always be supported (thanks to the basic economic law of supply and demand).

The same cannot be said of cash. During the Pandemic, in particular, governments worldwide printed more money - and this oversupply is partly responsible for the price inflation we see.

3: Protect your Portfolio against Stock Market Crisis

Gold is a global commodity and is not tied to the performance of any particular stock or bond.

Gold is therefore seen as a safe haven in times of stock market crisis. Historically, investors have pulled their money from riskier investments like stocks and piled into gold. This has tended to push the price of gold up when markets go south.

(Source: Regalassets.com)

We have seen the ‘safe haven’ effect this year as the Ukraine situation has worsened. From $1811 USD per troy ounce on January 4th, 2022, the price of gold soared to hit a high of $2039 USD per troy ounce on March 8th, 2022.

Price of Gold Up 80% in 7 years

Since 2015, the price of gold has risen by over 80%. We can confirm this rise from the chart below, which plots the price of the key LMBA US gold benchmark price since 2012:

Gold Price 2012-2022: LBMA US Benchmark

Source: www.gold.org/goldhub/data/gold-prices

On November 30th, 2015 the price of a troy oz of gold was $1,016. On May 27th, 2022, the price was $1,851. That’s an increase of 82%.

4: Diversify your Portfolio

One way of managing risk with investments is to ensure that you do not put all your eggs in one basket (as the saying goes). This means spreading your total investment around different asset classes.

Precious metals offer a distinct advantage when it comes to diversifying your portfolio. As we have mentioned above, the price of gold sometimes goes in the opposite direction when stock markets fall. This is called ‘inverse correlation’.

Most asset classes other than precious metals — stocks, bonds, ETFs, and unit trusts — tend to move together. This means that, if there is a bear market, diversifying among them does not have a significant positive effect.

5: Protect Yourself against Financial System Failure

In the financial world, assets can be divided into two types: paper assets, and non-paper assets.

Conventional IRAs allow you to invest in stocks, ETFs, bonds, and funds. These are paper assets which mean that you can use a normal IRA to:

  • Buy shares in gold mining companies.
  • Buy ETFs which invest in a basket of gold companies.
  • Trade in gold as a commodity.
  • Trade off a gold index.

These are all indirect ways of benefiting from the price of gold, which has risen roughly 80% since 2015. But these are paper assets. The problem with paper assets is that, in the event of a global crisis of enormous proportions, confidence in the financial system may collapse. And paper assets will collapse too. They will become worthless.

This problem does not apply to investors owning real, physical precious metals. In fact, in the event of a meltdown of the financial system, owners of real gold will be at an advantage since physical gold has always been used as a currency in its own right.

6: Gold IRA Tax Advantages

Gold IRAs offer the same tax advantages as conventional IRAs.

What is the Tax Treatment of Gold in an IRA?

The tax treatment of gold in an IRA varies depending on the type of IRA.

Any money put into a standard IRA is not considered taxable income by the IRS. But, when you come to ‘make a distribution’ and sell your precious metals, any profits will be taxed.

With a Roth IRA, distributions are not taxed. But tax is paid on money that you invest in a Roth IRA.

If you think that your marginal taxes will be higher when you come to retire, then it makes sense to pick a Roth IRA. If, on the other hand, you think that they will be lower, a standard IRA makes sense.

Gold IRAs are available in both standard and Roth formats.

You can check out some general FAQs about IRAs provided by the IRS here.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Gold IRA?

It depends on the company you use.

Annual fees usually start around the $250 mark. All gold IRA companies insist that you make a minimum investment too. Augusta Precious Metals, for example, sets a minimum investment of $50,000. Noble Gold, on the other hand, sets a minimum of $2,000. Regal Assets, a one-stop provider featured below, asks for a minimum investment of $10,000.

What 4 Things Must I Get Right with a Gold IRA?

  1. You need to master the paperwork. Gold IRAs are about tax, so you have to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s.
  2. You must appoint an IRS-approved ‘custodian’ to handle 1. above.
  3. You need to buy the right sort of precious metals. You have to secure the right level of purity (which depends on the metal) and whether it is stored as bars or coins.
  4. You have to store your gold in a special repository approved by the IRS.

How Do I Open a Gold IRA account?

Opening a Gold IRA account is pretty easy. Just find a good gold IRA company to work with, and they will walk you through the process. Make sure to do your research and compare several companies before making a decision.

When it comes to choosing a gold IRA company, it's important to find one that has a long history of good customer service, as well as one that offers competitive rates and fees. It's also important to make sure that the company is fully licensed and insured.

What is the Best Type of Gold IRA Company?

The easiest way to set up and run a gold IRA is to appoint a company that offers an all-in-one service.

Sure, you have to pick a ‘custodian’ company that runs the paperwork; that’s the big IRS requirement. But luckily some companies will act as a custodian as well as sort out the other two issues: sourcing the right type of precious metals and storing them for you in an IRS-approved vault.

With some Gold IRA companies, you must buy your gold and arrange your storage. But this can involve lots of phone calls trying to get different companies to work together. It is much easier to find a company that does everything for you, preferably at a flat fee.

So how do you pick a gold IRA company?

There is only one answer to this question. You must do your research. For that, you will need internet access.

Reviews and Reputation

Browsing through reviews is a good way to build up a picture of a gold IRA company. Some review and accreditation sites to consider are Facebook, Google Business, Consumer Affairs, Better Business Bureau, Business Consumer Alliance, Trustlink, Trustpilot, and Yelp.

You can check out whether any complaints have been made against a company - or any legal action taken - with the Better Business Bureau and the Business Consumer Alliance.

Bear in mind that no company has a spotless reputation. It is all too easy for a customer to be in a funk and write a nasty review. Sometimes customers get annoyed because the value of their investment has dropped because of market conditions, but they blame the gold IRA company instead.

Ease of Setup

Setting up an IRA usually takes 4 steps:

  1. Contacting a gold IRA company by phone.
  2. Filling out the paperwork (which the company will usually handle as much as it can). Buying precious metal bars and coins.
  3. Buying precious metal bars and coins.
  4. Arranging for the bullion to be stored in an IRS-approved depository (the top companies will arrange this automatically for you.)

The top gold IRA companies often make setting up an account easier by supplying a free starter pack in the mail. Investors just sign up for the starter pack on the company’s website - without any obligation to sign up for an IRA. Then they can check out how the company does business before taking the plunge and signing up.

Fees and Costs

A few companies - like Regal Assets, reviewed below - offer a flat annual fee. This usually covers setting up your IRA, overseeing the paperwork, and storing your bullion in an IRS-approved depository. The only extra fee payable is the cost of individual crypto transactions if cryptocurrency is bought too. Some investors find this a very convenient arrangement.

Other gold IRA companies break down their fees into:

  1. Set-up fees.
  2. IRA management per year.
  3. Precious metals storage in an IRS-approved depository.

On the upside, look out for special promotions which often waive the first year’s fees. On the downside, look out for excessive premiums on bullion purchases. The best way to check you are getting a good deal is to compare prices from several gold IRA company websites.

Choose from Gold, Silver, Platinum, and Palladium Assets

Some companies offer a massive range of precious metal assets. This can be quite confusing. The key thing to remember is to buy only bullion that is marked as ‘IRA-compatible’ or ‘IRS-approved’. Other companies offer a more streamlined selection of IRS-approved bullion only, which takes the anxiety out of purchasing; the IRS will penalize you if you buy the wrong type of bullion.

Below we take a look at 5 gold IRA companies that are thought to be among the best: Regal Assets, JM Bullion, Kitco, APMEX, and Goldsilver.com.

Top Gold IRA Companies: Summary

Best all-in-one gold IRA provider: Regal Assets

Best for market news: Kitco

Best for choice of IRS and non-IRS bullion: JM Bullion/APMEX/Goldsilver.com

Best for easy website: Regal Assets/Goldsilver.com/APMEX

Of the firms reviewed, we recommend Regal Assets without hesitation. For a flat fee of $250 per annum with no hidden fees, Regal Assets does it all for you:

  • Sets up your gold IRA.
  • Gives you nothing but IRS-approved bullion to choose from (so you don’t get it wrong and buy bullion the IRS won’t accept).
  • Arranges storage in an IRS-approved vault.

#1 Regal Assets - Best Overall Gold IRA Provider

Year Founded: 2009
Web address: https://www.regalassets.com/
Office Location(s): Los Angeles (LA), Waco (TX), Toronto (CA), and Dubai (UAE)
Phone Number: 1877-205-1104

'Regal Assets Logo from regalassets.com'

Asset Offered: IRA-Approved Gold, Silver, Platinum, And Palladium Bullion (Available in Coins, and Bars)
Storage Types Offered: Segregated, and Non-Segregated
Gold IRA Annual Fees: Flat Rate Of $250 per year (Segregated), Or $100 Per Year (Non-Segregated)

Founded in 2009, Regal Assets was made a Forbes Financial Council member in 2018 and is an Inc 500 company. The firm counts celebrities as clients: NBA player Karl Anthony Towns JR, actor Jordyn Wood, and Hollywood producer Rob Weiss. The firm has attracted more than 1500 five-star reviews on Birdeye.

Experts from GoldIRAguide.org say that Regal Assets is ‘the number-one-rated gold and retirement investing firm in North America’ as well as ‘an international phenomenon in alternative asset management.’

Regal Assets is different from a traditional precious metals dealer. The firm offers only IRS-approved bullion, so you can’t make a mistake with your gold IRA. What’s more, Regal Assets is authorized to act as a custodian for your gold IRA, supplies a wide choice of bullion, and arranges for IRS-approved storage of your precious metals haul. With this firm, you do not have to do the running: Regal Assets will do it all for you.

A specialty of Regal Assets is IRA rollovers. An IRA rollover is when you convert an existing IRA or 401k into a special precious metals IRA. 95% of the firms’ business comes from masterminding this process, and the service is free. Investopedia.com gave Regal Assets the title of ‘Best Gold IRA Company for IRA rollovers’ in 2021.

Ever heard of a cryptocurrency IRA? Regal Assets was the first company in the precious metals IRA sector to offer crypto coverage too. That means you can invest in 25 different crypto coins (and counting) as well as load up on precious metals. You choose what to mix and match.

Crypto prices have fallen dramatically over the first half of 2022. Some fear that this is the end of the $1.5 trillion sector. But spectacular tumbles are normal in the history of crypto. It is a volatile asset sector for sure. But crypto has historically shown astonishing returns, as Regal illustrates on its website:

(Source: regalwallet.com)

Six Regal Assets portfolios allow you to choose a ready-made investment combination to suit your budget.

Package Value Contents
Merchant $5,000 A reserve of gold and silver for swift liquidation at times of emergency.
Knighthood $10,000 A handsome trove of gold and silver.
Legacy $25,000 A combination of metals and crypto.
Kingship $50,000 Designed as a sturdy part of a diversified retirement portfolio. Contains metals and crypto.
Dynasty $100,000 Designed to anchor an individual’s retirement plan. Contains metals and crypto.
Coronation $250,000 Regal’s top portfolio designed for high-net-worth individuals. Contains metals and crypto.

Tyler Gallagher, founder, and CEO of Regal Assets Full-Service explains, ‘it can be confusing to navigate all the IRS rules and regulations when it comes to owning alternative assets as part of a retirement account. We developed a process involving multiple accredited partners in which we handle everything on behalf of the client, from working with their existing IRA or 401k custodian, to the storage of their assets at a secure and accredited depository.’

#2 JM Bullion - Fast-growing US Precious Metals Dealer

Year Founded: 2000
Web address: https://www.jmbullion.com/
Office Location(s): Oklahoma City (OK)
Phone Number: 1-800-276-6508

‘JM Bullion Logo from jmbullion.com'

Asset Offered: Gold, Silver, Platinum, Palladium, and Copper Metals. Numismatic (Collectibles), And Bullion Available (Coins, And Bars)
Storage Types Offered: Depends On Custodian Selected
Gold IRA Annual Fees: Depends On Custodian Selected

Founded in 2011, JM Bullion has been doing great business ever since. The firm ships over 60,000 bullion orders monthly to customers’ homes, with free shipping for orders over $199. With over 300,000 customer reviews on its website, the firm has attracted an overall satisfaction rating of 4.8/5.

What’s useful about the JM Bullion site is that precious metals for your IRA have their own clearly-marked section. That means you can’t buy bullion that the IRS won’t accept for your IRA.

As a specialist bullion retailer, JM Bullion works with partners to provide IRA custodianship (New Direction) and IRS-approved storage (TDSVaults).

#3 Kitco - Best for Market News

Year Founded: 1977
Web Address: https://www.kitco.com/
Office Location(s): Montreal (CAN)
Phone Number: 1-877-775-4826

‘Kitco Logo from online.kitco.com'

Assets Available: Gold, Silver, Platinum, And Palladium Bullion (Coins, and Bars Available)
Storage Options: Depends On The Custodian Selected
Gold IRA Annual Fees: Depends On The Custodian Selected

Founded in 1977, Kitco boasts 45 years of successful trading in bullion and a deserved reputation as the best source of gold and commodities market news. Kitco’s online news hub is stuffed with real-time price information, feeds from top news outlets, interactive charts, and in-depth articles. If you want to get educated on gold, Kitco is the place for you.

Kitco CFO Nizar Tabet says, ‘we want to provide the best price and are very transparent in our pricing. We want to show customers exactly what they are paying for, so on our website, we provide information services and live market prices.’

With a Canadian focus, Kitco offers gold IRA custodianship through a range of partners. IRS-approved storage of precious metals can then be made available via one of these custodians.

#4 APMEX - Joint Best for choice of IRS and non-IRS bullion

Year Founded: 2000
Web Address: https://www.apmex.com/
Office Location(s): Oklahoma City (OK)
Phone Number: 1-877-775-4826

‘Apmex Logo from apmex.com'

Asset Offered: Gold, Silver, Platinum, Palladium, and Copper Metals. Numismatic (Collectibles), And Bullion Available (Coins, And Bars)
Storage Types Offered: Depends On Custodian Selected
Gold IRA Annual Fees: Depends On The Custodian Selected

Founded in 2000 in Oklahoma City, the American Precious Metals Exchange has been doing business online for 17 years. The firm’s selection of bullion (both bars and coins) is huge, and the website is very easy to use.

IRA-approved bars and coins have their own website section. If you want to stock your IRA, do not stray away into APMEX’s giant showcase of rare coins (tempting though it is). Rare coins are considered by the IRS to be ‘collectibles’ and therefore not permitted in a precious metals IRA.

APMEX can provide IRA custodianship via business partners. Storage can be arranged too via IRS-approved provider Brinks.

#5 Gold Silver - Joint Best for choice of IRS and non-IRS bullion

Year Founded: 2005
Web Address: https://goldsilver.com/
Office Location(s): Santa Monica (CA)
Phone Number: 1-888-319-8166

‘GoldSilver Logo from goldsilver.com'

Asset Offered: Gold, and Silver Bullion (Coins, and Bars Available)
Storage Types Offered: Depends On Custodian Selected
Gold IRA Annual Fees: Depends On The Custodian Selected

Founded in 2005, Goldsilver.com is another online bullion stalwart. The firm, headed by Youtube precious metals celebrity Mike Maloney, offers a massive selection of bullion-backed up by a website that is packed with information and easy to use.

Usefully for IRA investors, Goldsilver.com steers clear of the ‘numismatics’ (rare coins) that the IRS does not approve for IRAs.

Goldsilver.com president Alex Daley says, ‘we don't carry collectibles and other high- or subjective-mark-up products that you find at far too many gold retailers. Instead, we focus on the highly-recognized, low premium, widely-traded bullion coins, and bars.’

The firm works with several IRA custodian partners and promises a simple process to coordinate the purchase and storage of bullion (via IRS-approved Brinks) with setting up a gold IRA.

Our Tips for Finding a Broker or Custodian for your Gold-based IRA

  • Download free information packs from gold IRA companies. You can go to a gold IRA company’s website and ask to be sent an information pack in the post. This will not commit you to sign up with the company. But it will give you a good idea of what the company is like.
  • Browse through online reviews. Expect all companies to have the odd bad review. Often customers leave bad reviews because they are in a bad mood rather than there being anything wrong with the company.
  • Check out whether a company has had legal action taken against it. Head to the Better Business Bureau or Business Consumer Alliance website. Do not, though, write a company off because of historical legal action: some states are known to be a little trigger-happy when it comes to enforcing regulations on IRA companies in general.

What Is the Minimum Investment for a Gold IRA?

The minimum investment for a gold IRA differs massively between gold IRA companies. You will need to do your research to find out which level suits you. One of the lowest minimums is offered by a firm called Noble Gold at $2,000. One of the highest is set by a firm by Augusta Gold, at $50,000. One of the firms featured above, Regal Assets, sets a threshold in the middle of the pack at an approachable $10,000.

The Various Types of Gold that may be included in a Precious Metals IRA

Investors in a gold IRA can invest in gold, silver, palladium, and platinum. The IRS permits investing in bullion bars or coins. (Bullion means raw metal).

IRS rules for Investing in Precious Metal Bars

Precious metal bars must be produced by manufacturers accredited to certain standards (ISO 9000, TOCOM, NYMEX, COMEX, NYSE, LME, LBMA, LPPM, ISo 9000.

Small bars must be produced to exact weight specifications.

Bars must also be of minimum purity levels:

  • Gold: 99.5%
  • Silver: 99.9%
  • Platinum: 99.95%
  • Palladium: 99.95%

You can check out the IRS code on precious metals here.

IRS rules for Investing in Precious Metal Coins

It is something a loophole that certain coins may be invested in a gold IRA.

The IRS views coins as ‘collectibles’. Generally, collectibles - like paintings and antiques - are not allowed as investable items in an IRA. But with bullion coins, the IRS makes some exceptions:

IRA Coins allowed Precious metals
American Eagle Gold, Silver, Platinum
American Buffalo Gold
Canadian Maple Leaf Gold, Silver, Platinum, Palladium
Austrian Philharmonic Gold, Silver
Chinese Panda Gold
Britannia (post-2013) Gold, Silver
Australian Kookaburra Silver
Australian Koala Silver, Platinum

Gold American Eagle

(source: Regalassets.com)

22 karat.

This coin features Lady Liberty on the front, holding a torch and an olive branch.

The back of the coin has an eagle theme. Coins minted pre-2021 feature 3 eagles. Post-2021, a side profile of an eagle is shown.

This coin was first released by the US Mint in 1986. It is available in different weights: 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz.

A caption on the back reads ‘E Pluribus Unum.’ This means ‘From many, one’.

Gold American Buffalo

(source: Regalassets.com)

24 karat.

On the front, this coin features the head of an American Indian man. The head was modeled as a composite of three historical American Indian chiefs: Big Tree, Iron Tail, and Two Moons.

The back features a buffalo in profile.

This coin is available in 1/10 oz, ¼ oz, and ½ oz.

In the proof version of this coin, struck for non-circulation, a ‘W’ is shown on the back of the man’s neck.

Gold Canadian Maple Leaf

(source: Regalassets.com)

24 karat.

On the front, this coin features a profile view of Queen Elizabeth II of England and Canada. The back features an image of the Canadian Maple Leaf.

This coin is available as 1 troy ounce, 1 gram, ½ oz, ¼ oz, 1/10 oz, 1/20 oz, and 1/25 oz.

Gold American Eagle

(source: Regalassets.com)

22 karat.

This coin features Lady Liberty on the front, holding a torch and an olive branch.

The back of the coin has an eagle theme. Coins minted pre-2021 feature 3 eagles. Post-2021, a side profile of an eagle is shown.

This coin was first released by the US Mint in 1986. It is available in different weights: 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz.

A caption on the back reads ‘E Pluribus Unum.’ This means ‘From many, one’.

Gold American Buffalo

(source: Regalassets.com)

24 karat.

On the front, this coin features the head of an American Indian man. The head was modeled as a composite of three historical American Indian chiefs: Big Tree, Iron Tail, and Two Moons.

The back features a buffalo in profile.

This coin is available in 1/10 oz, ¼ oz, and ½ oz.

In the proof version of this coin, struck for non-circulation, a ‘W’ is shown on the back of the man’s neck.

Gold Canadian Maple Leaf

(source: Regalassets.com)

24 karat.

On the front, this coin features a profile view of Queen Elizabeth II of England and Canada. The back features an image of the Canadian Maple Leaf.

This coin is available as 1 troy ounce, 1 gram, ½ oz, ¼ oz, 1/10 oz, 1/20 oz, and 1/25 oz.

Types of coins that are not allowed in an IRA include:

  • Historic coins (coins minted pre-1933).
  • Numismatic coins (coins that are valuable because they are rare or old, or both).
  • Proof coins (ie. coins that are specially minted for non-circulation). There are two exceptions to this rule: American Gold and Silver Eagle proof coins are allowed.

If all these rules seem confusing, do not worry: a top gold IRA company will be happy to show you precisely what coins you can buy safely without incurring IRS penalties.

Can I Take Physical Possession of Gold in my IRA?

You may not keep your IRA gold or other precious metals at home. This is an important rule with gold IRAs. You may physically possess your bullion when you make an ‘IRA distribution’. But if you take your bullion out before retirement age, you will pay a penalty.

What Exactly is a 401(k) and How Does it Work?

A 401(k) is a retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer.

Investors may ask ‘why 401k is good?’ The answer is that 401(k) plans work automatically once you have set them up. You can elect to have a portion of your paycheck withheld and deposited into your 401(k) account. The money in your account grows tax-deferred, meaning you don't have to pay taxes on it until you withdraw the funds at retirement.

There are two types of 401(k) plans: traditional and Roth. With a traditional 401(k) plan, your contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, reducing your current taxable income. Your withdrawals in retirement are taxed as ordinary income.

With a Roth 401(k) plan, your contributions are made with after-tax dollars, so there are no taxes owed on your withdrawals in retirement.

Why Should you Invest in Gold for Retirement 401(k)?

With a standard employer 401(k) account, you may be able to invest in ‘paper’ gold. This means the gold in 401k accounts which you fund will feature stocks in gold companies, gold ETFs, or funds that host shares in gold companies. Whether this option is available to you depends on what packages your employer offers.

Generally, though, you cannot have a ‘gold 401k’ in the sense of investments in gold alone. Your employer - or ex-employer - is likely to have 401(k) schemes on offer which feature investments diversified across asset classes.

What is a Gold IRA Rollover?

A ‘rollover’ happens when a gold IRA account is formed using funds taken from another type of retirement account - usually a 401(k).

This process is known by several different terms, including:

  • 401k to gold IRA rollover.
  • 401k gold rollover.
  • 401k to gold rollover.
  • Gold 401k rollover.

A ‘transfer’, by contrast, is what happens when funds are taken from one IRA account and used to start or top up another IRA account.

How do I roll over my 401(k) to a Gold IRA?

The good news is that the top gold IRA companies will handle this process for you, often free of charge. You will need only sign some papers.

Can I Buy Gold with my Rollover IRA?

You certainly can. Once a gold IRA company has handled the rollover of funds to your fresh, new gold IRA, you can buy bullion. Remember that you will need to store your gold in an IRS-approved depository.

Should I Hold all my Retirement Savings in a Gold IRA?

The short answer is: No!

The whole point of a gold IRA is to give your retirement portfolio exposure to assets that are not part of the stock market system of stocks, bonds, ETFs, funds, and trusts.

But you do not want to go all out on a gold IRA. Expert investors are generally agreed that your gold IRA should form between 5% and 10% of your overall IRA portfolio.

(Source: Regalassets.com)


Best all-in-one gold IRA provider: Regal Assets

Gold IRAs make a lot of sense as part of retirement planning. You wouldn’t want to put all your savings in gold (any more than you would with any other asset class). But you can have as many IRAs on the go as you want - provided you do not exceed the maximum investment per year (of $6,000 if aged under 50, $7,000 if aged over 50).

Gold has always exerted a fascination over society. It is the ultimate status symbol. What’s more, its value has gone up 80% since 2013. And, when stock markets falter, gold has been sought in the past as a haven, pushing the price of gold up whilst all other prices fall. Of course, past performance is not a reliable indication of what will happen in the future. But, at the very least, a gold IRA allows investors to physically own gold as part of a tax-efficient retirement strategy.

The key thing with gold IRAs is to sign up with a reputable provider. We hope our review of five popular gold IRA companies is useful as a starting point for your research.

This article should not be interpreted as financial advice. Investors should seek professional assistance from a registered Independent Financial Advisor (IFA). We recommend that you consider all the options when it comes to your strategy for retirement. To find out more about how a Gold IRA can work for you, give Regal Assets a call on 1-877-962-1133.

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About the Author

Jules Blundell is an experienced finance writer and investor. He leverages his First Class degree from Cambridge University and his time with various London investment banks to crunch key topics for accessible and educational reading.


Is a ‘gold IRA’ the same as a ‘precious metals IRA’?

Yes. These terms are interchangeable.

Can I store bullion and/or coins for my IRA at home?

No. This is a key issue with gold IRAs. All precious metals must be stored in an IRS-approved depository. Most gold IRA companies will put you in touch with an approved depository. A few top companies will arrange storage for you automatically.

What is ‘segregated storage’?

Segregated storage is a special form of storage. It costs a little more than normal storage. Segregated storage means that your coins are kept in the depository in their own area. This means that, when you come to withdraw them, they will be exactly the coins you deposited. This is not vital for investment purposes with a gold IRA, because you are not allowed to save rare, unique coins anyway. But it can bring peace of mind. With normal storage, coins and bars of the same type are stored together, regardless of their owner.

What are ‘proof coins’?

Proof coins are minted especially for non-circulation. Proof coins tend to cost more than normal coins.

Can I put proof coins in my IRA?

The only proof coins allowed in a gold IRA are the gold and silver American eagle.

Do all gold IRAs allow you to invest in crypto too?

No. Only some companies, like Regal Assets, allow you to invest in cryptocurrency alongside precious metals.

What are historic coins?

These are coins minted pre-1933. Historic coins are not permitted in IRAs.

What does ‘Karats’ mean?

Karats are an indication of purity. 24 Karats is the highest purity available with precious metals.

What does ‘Mint state’ mean?

This is a score given to rate the state of a coin. Coins are scored on a range of MS-61 to MS-70. Bullion coins are generally MS-70.

What are ‘Numismatic coins’?

These coins are not permitted in gold IRAs. So do not be fooled by companies pushing them! Numismatic coins are collectible coins that owe their value to their scarcity, rarity, or date of minting. You can collect and trade numismatic coins at home to your heart’s content - but you may not save numismatic coins as part of your gold IRA.

What is the ‘Spot Price’?

This is the trade price for bullion.

What is the ‘Premium’?

With an item, the premium is the difference in price between a) the spot price for the bullion in the item and b) the asking price for the item. So, for example, if a 1oz American Eagle were on sale for $1,850 and the spot price of gold was $1,800 an ounce, then the premium would be $50.

How much is a Troy Ounce?

This is the special unit of weight used with precious metals. A Troy ounce is just under 3 grams heavier than a normal ounce. A Troy ounce weighs 31.1g.

Extended Summary Table

Gold IRA provider #1
Regal Assets

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JM Bullion

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‘Kitco Logo from online.kitco.com'

‘Apmex Logo from apmex.com'

‘GoldSilver Logo from goldsilver.com'
Forbes Council Member
Inc 500 Company
Years In Business 11 years 11 years 44 years 15+ years 15+ years
Hands-Off Service
Buyback Program
Sells IRS-Approved Bullion
Packaged Portfolios
Rollover Experts
‘Best for IRA rollovers 2021'
Awarded By Investopedia
Full Service Gold IRA
Free Investment Kit
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‘Summary table by Jules Blundell'