How To Move Your 401k to Gold Without Penalty + Top 3 Gold IRA Companies for 401k Rollovers

Sponsored: A Gold IRA lets you invest in actual physical gold – something you can’t do with a traditional 401k account. Let’s review the process.

(Iron Monk Solutions, sponsored)

In 2024, many investors are thinking about rolling over or transferring part of their 401k into a Gold IRA, which is a special type of self-directed IRA (SDIRA) that is allowed to hold physical gold and silver, with several advantages. One of the best companies in this industry is Noble Gold, a longtime American precious metals dealer and gold IRA specialist.

Before we dive further into the process, here are three top-rated companies for those seeking to transfer or move part of their 401k to precious metals, and we’ll dive into each company’s fees and offerings later in this article:

(Iron Monk Solutions, sponsored) Noble Gold, Best Gold 401 gold rollover overall.

URL: http://noblegoldinvest.com/

Highlights: Lowest fees for their bullion products. Low minimums. Great reviews across the board.

Phone: (626) 605-3152

(Iron Monk Solutions, sponsored) Augusta Precious Metals, Best for HNW Investors.

URL: http://www.augustapmira.com

Highlights: Five-star service for large investors. Joe Montana and Mark Levin on board. Higher margins on their premium coins. Great reviews across the board.

Phone: (844) 615-4484

(Iron Monk Solutions, sponsored) Silver Gold Bull, Best for Gold Bars.

URL: http://silvergoldbullonline.com/

Phone: (877) 707-4707

Highlights: Low fees specifically on gold bars. 4 billion dollars in transaction volume. Great reviews across the board.

* Please Scroll further down for more info on our three top companies.

Remember: a Gold IRA lets you invest in actual physical gold bullion – something you can’t do with a traditional 401k account.

Physical assets can add significant diversification to a total investment portfolio that consists primarily of paper assets such as stocks or bonds. Central banks are well aware of this fact and have been buying physical gold at a record pace in recent years, with China and Turkey’s central banks taking the top ranks among the world’s gold buyers recently.

Largest increases / decreases

Recent events have underscored the importance of gold as a hedge asset. War and geopolitical conflict around the world has caused yet another surge in gold prices as more investors seek the relative safety of gold over stocks.

Understandably, more and more retirement investors are asking how they can add this important asset to their retirement accounts such as their IRA or 401(k).

The USD under threat?

Russian government sources recently announced the introduction of a gold-backed currency that all BRICS nations—an alliance that, as of 2024, consists of 11 emerging economies—will be using to transact with each other, replacing their need to use the US dollar. This move alone has led many American investors to add gold to their own 401k and IRA portfolios.

XV Brics Summit

In 2022, Bank of America reported last year that the traditional 60/40 portfolio (that’s 60% stocks and 40% bonds) experienced its worst returns in over 100 years, which makes diversification in 2024 more important than ever. Since conventional assets are failing, many investors are looking elsewhere for the financial security they need.

Second, precious metals have historically been a solid hedge investment against both inflation and deflation. Inflation is still far higher than Americans would like it to be, and there’s no telling whether the Fed’s sky-high interest rate campaign will be able to rein in inflation for long.

Tax Advantages for 401k Rollovers to Gold

Finally, the tax advantages enjoyed by 401k and IRA investors can be 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, 403b, TSP or other. 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.

What is a Gold IRA?

Before you invest in a Gold IRA, let’s make sure you know exactly what it 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 another metal and called differently. (E.g.: Silver IRA, Platinum IRA, or Palladium IRA)

Precious metal 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). Also, these SDIRA’s can be Roth or Traditional, depending on whether you want after-tax or pre-tax contributions.

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.

Why Aren’t There Any “Gold 401k” Accounts?

401k accounts are employer-sponsored retirement plans, and most employers deal with large traditional financial institutions for providing these plans to their employees.

Now, as you can imagine, popular traditional institutions like Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Vanguard and the likes DON’T deal with alternative investments like gold, silver, real estate, Bitcoin or anything that is “outside the financial system”. They only offer “paper investments” that they can keep fully controlled in-house, like stocks, mutual funds, ETFs and paper currencies.

The other reason that 401k accounts don’t allow gold investments is that employers don’t want the headaches that come with giving each employee their own self-directed retirement plan. They would rather deal with a bank or traditional financial institution that manages all the investments in-house, while employees get to focus on their day-to-day job. However, SOME 401k plans may give you self-directed privileges. Inquire with your employer if your 401k account allows physical gold and silver investments.

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, 403b 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.

Types of 401k Account Rollovers – Direct and Indirect

Please be aware that there are two ways that a 401k to Gold IRA rollover can be executed:

  1. Direct rollover, trustee to trustee

  2. Indirect rollover, trustee to client to trustee

Here’s a table showing the differences between both…


Direct Rollover

Indirect Rollover


Funds are transferred directly from your 401k account to your Gold IRA by the trustees.

Your 401k plan trustee disburses a check to you, and you have 60 days to deposit it into your Gold IRA.

Tax Withholding

No taxes are withheld.

20% is withheld for potential taxes, which you must make up out of pocket when depositing into your Gold IRA.

IRS Form 1099-R Code

Distribution code "H", indicating no taxable event.

Shows the disbursed amount and the 20% withheld.


Simplest method; avoids taxes and penalties.

Must deposit 100% of the withdrawal amount into Gold IRA within 60 days to avoid taxes and penalties. Complicated by the need to cover the 20% tax withholding out of pocket. Most investors find the direct rollover simpler and more direct.

401k Rollover Eligibility

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 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 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 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 401k rollover to a precious metals IRA:

  1. Initial Setup Fees

  2. Annual Fees (Storage & Admin)

  3. Premiums on gold products (This is where it can get costly)

  4. Minimum initial investment required

  5. 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?)

  6. Access to information and education on the precious metals market provided

  7. 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 Noble Gold, 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.

Understand What You’re Buying

Your chosen Gold IRA company will give you a list of IRA-approved bullion (bars or rounds) and coins. Most 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. It’s important that you understand the differences between: bullion coins, premium coins and gold bars. Pay attention the premiums you’re paying! Here’s a comparison table:




Best For

Bullion Coins

Widely recognized and easy to trade. Valued for gold content.

Lower premiums over spot price

Investors seeking gold exposure with relatively low premiums

Premium Coins

Although very speculative, there may be some potential for higher appreciation due to collectibility value.

Much higher premiums. Market value can be subjective. 

Investors interested in collectible value and potential for scarcity (highly speculative)

Gold Bars

Lowest premium over spot price. Maximizes amount of gold for investment.

Less liquid than smaller coins. Fewer potential buyers for large bars.

Investors looking to maximize gold quantity and minimize costs.

The Top Three Companies for Gold 401k Rollovers

The best Gold IRA companies will make your venture into investing in precious metals through a 401k rollover a simple and secure process.

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:

(Noble Gold | IronMonk Solutions, sponsored) Noble gold logo.

#1 – Noble Gold Investments: Best Gold IRA Provider Overall for Gold 401k Rollovers

URL: http://noblegoldinvest.com/

Phone: 1-877-646-5347

Location: Texas

CEO: Collin Plume

Assets Offered: Gold, Silver, Platinum, Palladium. (Available in Coins and Bars)

Gold IRA Annual Fees: $250 per year

Margins on Coins/Bars: Low for Bullion Coins & Bars. Medium on Premium Coins.

Storage Types Offered: Segregated and Non-segregated. (Exclusive Texas Storage Available!)


  • Expert with 401k & IRA Rollovers

  • Transparent Management Team

  • Very Competitive Fee Structure for IRA-Approved Gold & Silver Bullion

  • Great Rating Profile on sites like the BBB, BCA, TrustLink, Google, etc.

  • Collin Plume is a Renowned Expert in the Gold IRA Niche.

  • One of the Biggest Gold Retailers in the World


  • No prices or catalogue listed on their website

Noble Gold Investments is one of the best companies when it comes to adding gold & physical bullion coins and bars to your IRA or 401k. Since its inception in 2016, the Texas based company quickly grew to become one of the most reputable Gold IRA companies, mainly due to its competitive prices on bullion, great support and non-pushy sales approach.

Collin Plume, the company’s founder & CEO, told us that the company’s mission is to focus on educating new clients, especially if they are beginners in the precious metals space. He believes that gold and silver AREN’T for everyone, which is why he doubles down on education and support for new clients. You can find Mr Plume speaking about precious metals investing on various podcasts, radio and TV shows.

Noble Gold Investments has some of the best ratings out of any company we reviewed, which is another reason it made our top 3 shortlist for 401k rollovers to gold. You certainly will enjoy your experience dealing with them if you want to invest in bullion coins and bars using your existing 401k.

Lastly, Noble Gold is the only company we reviewed that offers an exclusive Texas-based storage vault, which might be interesting to many 401k investors interested in deep south storage.

To learn more about Noble Gold:

(Augusta Precious Metals | IronMonk Solutions, sponsored) Augusta Precious Metals Logo.

#2 Augusta Precious Metals: Best for High Net Worth (HNW) Investors

URL: http://www.augustapmira.com

Phone: 844-615-4484

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Assets Offered: Gold, Silver. (Available in Coins and Bars)

Gold IRA Annual Fees: $80 to $250 per year. (N.B.: Depends on Your Products & Storage Options)

Margins on Coins/Bars: Low for Bullion coins & Bars. Medium-to-High on Premium Products.

Storage Types Offered: Segregated and Non-segregated.


  • Non-Commissioned Sales Team.

  • Stellar Review Profile Across the Board

  • Separate Compliance Department Ensures The Process is 100% IRS Compliant

  • NFL Hall-of-Famer Joe Montana is a Client & Team Member of Augusta


  • No Pricing on the Website

  • Higher Margins on Certain Premium Coins

  • Higher Minimum Investment than Other Companies ($50,000)

Augusta Precious Metals is a high-end Gold IRA company that caters to investors that have at least $50,000 to allocate to precious metals. They assembled a unique team that includes a Harvard-educated Economist and Joe Montana, the NFL Hall-of-Famer.

In fact, they told us that Joe Montana himself gets on the phone to discuss their gold investment opportunity with new customers, which in itself is quite impressive.

Augusta Precious Metals is also big on compliance. It’s the only company with a separate compliance department. Their mission is to ensure that all i’s are dotted and all t’s are crossed, so to speak. Isaac Nuriani, the company’s CEO, told us that he wants the process to be fully compliant with IRS regulations, to avoid any bad surprises down the line.

Augusta is also one of the only firms with a no-commission sales floor, meaning that you can get honest and no-pressure advice from the phone reps when you call.

Augusta developed a unique Gold Webinar to educate new clients. They believe that gold investing ISN’T for everyone and that each new investor needs to fully understand what they’re getting into before getting started.

To learn more about Augusta:

(Silver Gold Bull | Iron Monk Solutions, sponsored) Silver Gold Bull Logo.

#3 – Silver Gold Bull: Best for Gold Bars

URL: http://silvergoldbullonline.com/

Phone: (877) 707-4707

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Assets Offered: Gold, Silver, Platinum, Palladium. (Available in Coins and Bars)

Gold IRA Annual Fees: $100 to $250 per year, depending on products and storage options.

Margins on Coins/Bars: Low for Bullion Coins & Bars. Medium for Premium products.

Storage Types Offered: Segregated and Non-segregated.


  • Over 3 billion dollars in transactions.

  • One of largest gold retailers in the world

  • Lowest fees for certain types of gold bars

  • Awarded by Newsweek Magazine

  • Over 300,000 five-star reviews


  • No pricing available on the website

  • Canadian company (with US location in Nevada)

Silver Gold Bull, based in Alberta (Canada) with offices in Las Vegas (Nevada), is a highly regarded gold retailer that has over 300,000 five-star reviews on ShopperApproved, which is a record amongst gold companies we reviewed.

As a well-established company in the industry, Silver Gold Bull has been consistently recognized for its outstanding services. They have received praise for their trustworthy practices and have garnered a loyal customer base over the years. With their dedication to maintaining high standards, Silver Gold Bull has achieved an impressive A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, reinforcing their credibility.

Silver Gold Bull stands out among other gold and silver investment companies for various reasons. Firstly, their extensive experience and expertise make them an ideal choice for individuals seeking to invest in precious metals through a 401k or IRA. Their track record of successful rollovers and transfers to Roth or Traditional Gold IRAs provides reassurance to new investors who value a seasoned and reliable partner

Learn more about Silver Gold Bull:

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 economic turmoil

  • 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

If you think rolling over your 401k to a Gold IRA may be a good investing strategy to diversify and protect your overall portfolio, we highly recommend that you 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.


Q: Why can’t I Invest in Gold within my existing 401k?

A: As we covered earlier in this article, traditional brokerages and financial institutions only deal with paper gold investments. These include gold futures, gold funds, certificates and gold mining stocks. Physical gold investments are only allowed through a self-directed Gold IRA, which is why you need to work with a company that can assist you in doing a rollover or transfer from an existing 401k into a new specialized SDIRA.

Q: What Precious Metals Can I Invest in with a Gold IRA?

A: 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.

Q: What Type of Retirement Accounts Can I Own Precious Metals In?

A: 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 contributions, income, and distribution limits and requirements.

Q: What is a Gold IRA Custodian Trustee?

A: 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.

Q: What If I Miss the 60-day Rollover Deadline?

A: 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.”).

As always, we recommend that your do your due diligence before investing in any new asset class. Always speak to your financial advisor before making an investment or asset allocation decision. Do your own research and learn more about Precious Metal IRAs and other forms of alternative asset IRA’s (such as Silver IRAs and Bitcoin IRAs) to determine if a Gold IRA is right for your investment strategy.

Request Free Gold 401k Rollover Infokit from Noble Gold

For those that do NOT want to handle any part of their 401k rollover process and would rather work with a gold company that will handle it all for them, consider Noble Gold Investments which is our top-rated company for gold retirement accounts.

You can request their free infokit if you want to learn more about their process, fees and other relevant information.