Contributor, Benzinga
February 16, 2024

American Hartford Gold is the best gold IRA due to their strong reputation, expertise in the field, excellent customer service, wide range of gold and precious metal products and competitive pricing.

If continued market volatility and high inflation have you concerned about your retirement, a gold individual retirement account (IRA) might be for you.

Gold and other precious metals can diversify your investments outside of stocks, bonds and cash, hedging against a sagging dollar and rising inflation and protecting you against uncertainty and economic downturns.

That’s why you might want to consider investing in a gold IRA, a retirement account that acts like a traditional IRA but helps diversify your investments, getting you into gold and, in some cases, silver, platinum and palladium.

The best gold IRAs offer transparency in pricing, education, good customer support, ease of account setup and purchase of metals and more. Let’s take a look at five of the best gold IRAs.

Quick Look: Best Gold IRA Companies

Best Gold IRA Companies

Choosing the right company to help you invest in gold and other precious metals is important. With that in mind, here’s some key information about the best gold IRA companies.

Best for Hedging Against Inflation: American Hartford Gold Group

Market leader American Hartford Gold Group is family-owned and offers gold, silver, platinum and palladium bars and coins. This company requires a minimum investment of $10,000.

With a combination of their industry experience, customer service, product offering, and competitive pricing American Hartford Gold a reputable and trustworthy option for individuals looking to invest in a Gold IRA.

Pros

  • Convenient online account
  • Price movement information
  • Available customer buyback

Cons

  • Catalog doesn’t show pricing
  • U.S. shipping only
  • Investment loss risk

Best for Beginner and Expert Investors: Gold Gate Capital

Gold Gate Capital has a reliable reputation, extensive experience, and a comprehensive range of services. With their years of expertise in the precious metals market, Gold Gate Capital understands the complexities and fluctuations of the market, allowing them to provide informed guidance for investors. Additionally, they offer a wide selection of investment options and have a user-friendly platform that makes it convenient for clients to manage their Gold IRA portfolios.

Recognized as one of the fastest-growing and most reputable precious metal companies, Gold Gate Capital provides a platform that delivers gold and silver for beginners and experts.

Pros

  • Competitive pricing
  • Unconditional, zero-fee buyback
  • Consultancy service

Cons

  • No pricing transparency
  • No platinum or palladium

Best for Simplicity: Red Rock Secured

Gold IRAs are more complex than standard IRAs, but Red Rock Secured is known for its simplicity of use, education and customer service.

Red Rock Secured has a strong reputation and a track record of providing excellent customer service. They prioritize their clients' needs and ensure that they have a smooth and hassle-free experience in setting up and managing their gold IRA accounts. 

Red Rock Secured offers a wide range of investment options, allowing investors to diversify their portfolios effectively. They provide access to high-quality gold and other precious metals, along with competitive pricing and transparent fee structures, ensuring that investors can maximize their returns without hidden costs eating into their savings. They also provide educational resources and expert guidance, enabling clients to make informed investment decisions.

Pros

  • No maintenance fee
  • Low minimums for investment
  • 7-day price protection

Cons

  • No pricing transparency
  • Limited to gold and silver
  • No online account

Best for Customer Service: Lear Capital

  • securely through Lear Capital's website
    securely through Lear Capital's website
    Best For:
    Retirees Wanting Security Against Market Crashes
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Reputation and trust are paramount when investing. Lear Capital is a full-service precious metal dealer that’s been in business for more than 25 years and completed $3 billion in transactions.

Lear Capital offers a wide range of investment options, making it easy for clients to customize investments according to specific needs and goals. Their customer service provides guidance on investment strategies and addresses any concerns or queries ensuring that their clients receive personalized attention and support.

They also strive to provide fair and reasonable pricing for the purchase and storage of precious metals, giving clients confidence that their investments are well-managed and optimized for maximum returns.

Pros

  • Price match guarantee
  • 24-hour no-risk guarantee
  • Personal account concierge

Cons

  • No live chat on website
  • Purchase minimum of $15,000
  • Relatively high fees

Best for Education: Birch Gold Group

Birch Gold Group is a team of former wealth managers, financial advisers and commodity brokers working to educate investors. The company has earned the trust of many investors for over a decade, demonstrating their experience and expertise.

They offers a wide selection of gold and precious metals products, providing various options, including gold bars, coins, and bullion. Birch Gold Group has a team of knowledgeable and responsive investment specialists who assist investors throughout the entire process. They prioritize transparency and integrity. Providing clear and concise information about fees, storage options, and other important details.

Pros

  • Access to several metals 
  • Longstanding trust
  • Personal service

Cons

  • No buyback guarantee
  • Lack of performance tracking 
  • $10,000 minimum purchase

What is a Gold IRA?

A gold IRA is an individual retirement account that’s self-directed. It can be a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA, allowing tax-deductible contributions and tax-free distributions, respectively.

To keep physical precious metals, like gold, silver, platinum or palladium in your retirement account, you must set up a gold IRA, also known as a precious metal IRA. The Internal Revenue Service generally doesn’t allow traditional IRAs to invest in commodities. A gold IRA is the only type that can invest in bullion bars and coins.

The IRS sets the standard for the quality of assets like metals and requires you to buy and transport them through dealers and facilities it sanctions and insures.

Advantages of a Gold IRA

Gold IRAs offer several advantages to investors working on building a retirement nest egg.

  • Tax advantages: Gold IRAs take tax-deductible contributions, allowing your investments to accumulate tax-free; the Roth version offers tax-free distributions.
  • Hedging against volatility: The low correlation with stocks gives you diversity in your overall investment portfolio to guard against losses during downturns.
  • Hedging against inflation: When prices rise and your buying power dips, the value of gold typically increases.
  • Long-term investing: Gold and precious metals, which aren’t liquid, are practically tailor-made for IRAs, which are designed for long-term holding.
  • Self-direction: You have control over your investment choices, although you’re limited by the metals available.

While you’ll call the shots for your account, it’s still a good idea to consult a financial professional before opening a gold IRA.

Disadvantages of a Gold IRA

Gold IRAs also present certain disadvantages if you’re investing for retirement:

  • Higher fees: You must have a custodian to store and manage your gold. Fees paid for custodial services typically run higher than fees paid to maintain a traditional IRA.
  • No tax-advantaged income: While appreciation isn’t taxed, your investment won’t pay dividends or accumulate interest. The tax advantage comes from the capital gain from selling your gold later.
  • Required minimum distributions: Even if you want to hold on to your gold, you’ll have to begin taking required distributions at a certain age, just like standard IRAs.
  • Concentrated risk: Gold and other precious metals can be good for hedging against inflation and volatility but limit the diversity of your investment.
  • Illiquidity: Gold is well-suited for the long-term outlook of an IRA, but that also means it would be hard to sell if you need the money. Any distribution before 59 ½ also would come with a 10% tax penalty.

Choosing a Reputable Gold IRA Company

While the IRS regulates companies providing gold IRAs, it’s important to research your precious metal dealer carefully. Read reviews, compare multiple companies before investing and run your questions and concerns by your financial adviser.

When deciding on a gold IRA company, you’ll want to consider the following aspects: fees, customer support, available metals, educational content, pricing, ease of use, transparency and customer satisfaction.

Investment Options and Flexibility

A gold IRA is designed to hold approved physical metals, such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium bars and coins. However, a gold IRA can also hold gold stocks of mining and production companies, gold mutual funds invested in bullion or stocks and gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Additionally, you can roll over a qualified account, such as a 401(k), 403(b) or 457 plan, into a gold IRA.

Fees and Costs Involved

Gold IRAs are unlike many other investments. You have to buy, transport, store and maintain bars or coins. The extra services come with fees higher than standard IRAs.

The type and amount of fees vary by dealer, but you can expect to see startup, annual, shipping, storage and transaction fees.

Tax Benefits and Regulations

Gold IRAs receive the same tax treatment as standard IRAs. Your annual contribution limits are the same — $7,000 in 2024, $8,000 if you’re 50 or older — and they’re tax-deductible.

The value of your metal appreciates tax-free but is subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty before 59 1⁄2 years of age and a required minimum distribution later. Also, your tax break will come from the capital gain from selling the gold later.

The gold Roth IRA has tax-free distributions and no RMD as long as you live.

Consider Whether a Gold IRA is a Good Fit for You 

Gold and other precious metals have long been used to safeguard retirement accounts against market volatility and inflation. Even so, it’s important to talk to your financial adviser before investing in a gold IRA or gold Roth IRA.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

How do gold IRAs work?

A

Gold IRAs are similar to standard IRAs but are more complex to set up. You must work through an IRS-approved dealer and custodian to buy and store the physical metal.

 

Q

Are gold IRAs safe?

A

All investments come with risks. However, gold IRAs can be relatively safe investment vehicles to protect your retirement funds against volatility and inflation.

 

Q

Are gold and silver IRAs a good idea?

A

Whether a precious metal IRA is a good idea or not is an individual choice based on risk tolerance and other factors. Talk to your financial professional for more personalized advice.

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