Contributor, Benzinga
February 28, 2024

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.

  • Account minimums: $10,000
  • Initial purchase requirement: $10,000
  • Fees: Annual IRA fee of $75 for accounts valued at $100,000 or less, $125 for accounts valued at $100,001 or more

Pros

  • Convenient online account
  • Price movement information
  • Available customer buyback
  • A+ rating with the BBB

Cons

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

Best for a Variety of Investment Options: Advantage Gold

Advantage Gold has built a strong reputation as a trusted and reputable precious metals dealer, with years of experience in helping clients with their gold IRA investments. They provide secure storage options and a wide range of gold and other precious metals investments.

Advantage Gold prides itself on providing excellent customer service, ensuring that clients receive personalized attention and support throughout the process of setting up and managing their gold IRA accounts. Additionally, they provide clients with access to a wealth of educational resources and information on precious metals investing and IRA options.

  • Account minimums: $25,000
  • Initial purchase requirement: $25,000
  • Fees: Fees vary from $100 to $200 annually, depending on the account type

Pros

  • Impressive educational resources
  • Excellent customer support
  • Has a buyback program
  • A+ rating with the BBB
  • Consumer Affairs: 5 Star Rating
  • Trust Link: 5 Star Rating

Cons

  • High account minimums
  • Not all pricing available on the website

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.

  • Account minimums: $10,000
  • Initial purchase requirement: $10,000
  • Fees: $100 new account set up fee and $85 annual custodial fee

Pros

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

Cons

  • No pricing transparency
  • No platinum or palladium

Best for Customer Service: Lear Capital

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.

  • Account minimums: $10,000
  • Initial purchase requirement: $10,000
  • Fees: $280 for first year set up and maintenance and $200 annually

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.

  • Account minimums: $10,000
  • Initial purchase requirement: $0
  • Fees: $50 account set up fee and $100 management fee

Pros

  • Access to several metals 
  • Longstanding trust
  • Personal service

Cons

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

Best for Low Fees and Account Minimums: JM Bullion

JM Bullion is a well-established precious metals dealer that was founded in 2011. The company specializes in the sale of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium products, offering a wide range of bullion and collectible items to investors and collectors.

As a gold IRA provider, JM Bullion allows individuals to invest in physical gold and other precious metals as part of their retirement portfolio. The initial purchase requirements for opening a gold IRA with JM Bullion may vary depending on the specific products and quantities desired. 

  • Account minimums: $0
  • Initial purchase requirement: $0
  • Fees: Fees can vary from $75 per year to a few hundred dollars per year

Pros

  • No commissions or fees for their services
  • Wide range of precious metals investment options
  • Access to live market price updates of precious metals 
  • Automatic buy-back tool

Cons

  • Only ships within the U.S.
  • Customer support team only available Monday through Friday from 8am to 6pm CST

Best for Gold and Silver Coins, Rounds and Bars: Silver Gold Bull

Silver Gold Bull offers a diverse array of gold and silver products, including bars, coins, rounds, and bullion. These products are of high quality and are IRS-approved for use in IRAs. The variety of products caters to different investor preferences, whether they prefer the liquidity of coins, the purity of bars, or the affordability of rounds.

One unique feature of Silver Gold Bull's offerings is their selection of vintage and rare coins, which can add a historical and collector's value to an investor's portfolio. 

  • Account minimums: $0
  • Initial purchase requirement: $0
  • Fees: One-time account set-up fee of $50, an annual $225 storage and custodial fee for pooled storage, and $275 annually if you opt for segregated storage

Pros

  • No minimum for IRAs
  • Wide range of product offerings including gold, silver, platinum, palladium, collectibles, jewelry, copper rounds and more
  • Multiple payment options available, including cryptocurrencies
  • Multiple account options available

Cons

  • Fees not available online
  • Newer IRA company

Best for Tangible Precious Metal: American Precious Metals Exchange (APMEX)

American Precious Metals Exchange (APMEX) is a well-known and reputable precious metals dealer that offers a wide range of gold, silver, platinum and palladium products for investors. APMEX is known for its exceptional customer service, secure shipping and diverse selection of products.

They focus on providing a seamless and trustworthy buying experience. Whether customers are looking to invest in physical bullion or collectible coins, APMEX offers a variety of options. In addition to their extensive product range, APMEX is also dedicated to providing up-to-date market information and educational resources to help customers make informed investment decisions. 

  • Account minimums: $2,000
  • Account set up fees: $2,000
  • Fees: N/A

Pros

  • No commissions fees
  • No minimum order amount
  • Accessible, safe, and reliable 
  • Wide range of prices means providing a lower barrier to entry

Cons

  • Poor customer service
  • Some payment methods incur a 4% fee

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.