How to Rollover a 401k to Gold IRA

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Transferring 401k to Gold

Rolling over your 401k to a gold IRA offers exceptional benefits, such as creating a hedge against inflation and moderating market volatility. One of the most important steps that you can take as you prepare for the rollover is to choose the best gold IRA company. Are you ready to learn more about how to select a great gold IRA company?

Converting your old 401k to a gold IRA is a relatively straightforward process that may be completed in far less time than you may initially assume. The first step in the process is to research gold IRA companies. While there are several reputable providers to choose from, you may discover that they vary in critical areas. These may range from their fee structures and online services to their minimum investment requirement and more.

Once you have found the gold IRA company that you wish to use, you simply open an account directly through that company. In most cases, many of the setup steps can conveniently be completed online. Once your new account is opened, you can work between your old 401k provider and your new gold IRA company to transfer the funds. This may involve a few phone calls and the completion of required paperwork.

While the process of rolling over your 401k to a gold IRA is easy to do, you should not rush through it. The gold IRA company that you select can dramatically impact your overall investment experience. More than that, it affects your access to different types of investments and even how quickly your account balance grows because of the fees charged. With this in mind, you understandably need to know more about the best gold IRA companies and their many differences. These are some of the top companies to consider.

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Best Companies for Your Rollover:

Augusta Precious Metals

Augusta Precious Metals stands apart from other gold IRA companies with its commitment to maintaining transparency through its pricing. The company prides itself on its competitive fees and on helping customers maximize the profitability of their investments.


Goldco Precious Metals is well-known for providing white-glove service to its customers. This gold IRA company strives to help customers make educated investment decisions through its knowledgeable customer service agents and its online educational resources.

American Hartford Gold

The thing that sets American Hartford Gold apart from other companies is that they don't require a minimum initial investment. Even though they forgo that minimum, they don't let that interfere with the high quality of customer service they offer. The company has built a strong reputation by ensuring their customers have positive experiences with them.

Birch Gold Group

Birch Gold Group consistently focuses on maintaining exceptional customer service standards. It offers a robust range of products and numerous educational options for its customers to take advantage of.

Noble Gold Investments

Noble Gold Investments maintains a reasonable investment requirement, flat fees and great customer service. As a result, it has developed a strong reputation with new investors and smaller investors.

Augusta Precious Metals

Augusta Precious Metals is a reputable gold IRA company that focuses on transparency. The company’s customers always know upfront what they are buying and how much their purchase will cost. With the company’s guaranteed fair pricing, investors can make their purchases from Augusta Precious Metals with a high degree of confidence.

Augusta Precious Metals

Transaction fees directly impact the profitability of your investments, so working with a gold IRA company that maintains great pricing is essential. Augusta Precious Metals actively provides its customers with a straightforward fee structure that is easy to understand. This makes it convenient for investors to make purchases that are aligned with their investment goals. More than that, the fees offered by Augusta Precious Metals are competitive, and this enables customers to optimize their returns. Because IRAs are self-managed, there will not be a management fee.

Augusta Precious Metals, which has been in business since 2012, offers more than low, transparent pricing. The BCA has provided Augusta Precious Metals with its highest rating possible. This is combined with the gold IRA company’s unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction and a solid customer guarantee. This family-owned company offers a week-long price protection guarantee. It also takes pride in providing accessible, quality customer service.

The great experience that Augusta Precious Metals provides extends beyond the buying experience. This company meets its customers’ storage needs by associating with the Delaware Depository. It also has a strong buyback program. While the company does not provide platinum or palladium investment options, it does enable you to diversify through investments in silver bullion and coins.

Pros & Cons of Augusta Precious Metals


  • Transparent pricing.
  • Low fees.
  • Guaranteed fair pricing.
  • Money-back guarantee.
  • Silver and gold IRA.


  • limited selection of investment options.
  • Unable to complete online transactions.

For investors who expect the gold star treatment from their gold IRA company, Goldco Precious Metals is a top pick. This gold IRA company excels in customer service, and its friendly, educated account reps always go above and beyond to help each customer make knowledge-based investment decisions.


Goldco Precious Metals was established in 2006, and it quickly gained a well-deserved reputation for providing customers with exceptional service. In fact, the company’s emphasis on delivering a great customer experience at every turn has resulted in almost flawless reviews on trusted platforms like Trustpilot and Consumer Affairs.

All customers have direct access to a knowledgeable representative. This representative will guide you through your initial rollover and all of your future investments. This gold IRA company’s primary goal is to help you make sound investments without a hassle. To work toward this important goal, Goldco Precious Metals also offers many online resources for its customers to use. For example, the website has a robust education center that offers you easy access to investment-focused videos and e-books. There is also a blog with regular posts that enables you to continue learning about gold investing.

When you initially contact Goldco Precious Metals for more information, you may request a free guide related to the company’s services and investment opportunities. You simply need to provide your contact information to receive the guide. A representative can also answer all of your questions about minimum requirements, account fees, gold storage and other relevant information. Most aspects of opening an account and rolling over your old 401k into a gold IRA can be completed online through Goldco Precious Metals.

Pros & Cons of Goldco Precious Metals


  • Offers exceptional educational resources.
  • Maintains a reasonable fee structure.
  • New account holders receive free silver coins valued at 10% of their initial investment.


  • Requires a minimum investment.
American Hartford Gold

American Hartford Gold is a Los Angeles-based company focusing on precious metals investment. Here, customers can choose from the various forms of precious metals available, like coins, bars, and bouillon. The company provides excellent customer service by offering doorstep deliveries and other avenues like TSP, 401K, and IRA accounts. The company is client-centric. They offer conference calls to their customers every month. Here, customers receive updates regarding the market and their investments.

American Hartford Gold

Also, they can ask questions or raise any concerns to the management.

The company is focused on exemplary leadership and fair pricing. This fast-growing company has received positive ratings from organizations like Better Business Bureau. Customers have also expressed their satisfaction by giving it a 5-star rating.

The company has some of the most experienced employees in the industry. These knowledgeable workers are crucial to the success of the business. They provide clients with helpful investment tips to ensure they reap maximum benefits. At times, gold and silver prices fluctuate due to economic changes. At American Hartford Gold, clients have the opportunity to sell their precious metals at the buyback price.

Client confidentiality is a top priority at American Hartford Gold. All client information is kept private and only accessed by authorized personnel. This commitment to data privacy is one of the company's key policies. They believe it is vital in enhancing relationships with clients.

Pros & Cons of American Hartford Gold


  • Free and fully-insured delivery is provided.
  • Openness and trust in all business dealings. Before committing to a purchase, clients will know any associated fees.
  • Purchases and all business dealings will be kept entirely confidential. Your shipment will arrive in unmarked packages.
  • Provides expert packaging and shipping services. At Hartford Gold, they follow industry standards to protect the quality, purity, and worth of our precious metals.
  • Expertise and experience in the market. Company staff comprises knowledgeable individuals who provide insightful analysis and recommendations to investors at all levels of expertise.
  • Customers enjoy low liquidation fees.


  • The price listing is unavailable on the company’s online catalog.
  • Shipping of products is confined only within the United States.
Birch Gold Group

Birch Gold Group is a respected precious metals company that maintains high internal standards, and the result is an exceptional investor experience. With multiple precious metals to choose from, this gold IRA company offers an easy solution for protecting retirement assets against market volatility.

Birch Gold Group

Birch Gold Group was established in 2003, and it is based in Burbank, California. This gold IRA company offers an extensive range of gold investments with clearly displayed pricing for each option. However, its fee structure is not accessible online. Birch Gold Group also offers a rich selection of silver, platinum and palladium options, and this makes it easy to maintain a diverse portfolio while still protecting your investments against volatile market conditions.

This respected company is one of the largest of its kind in the United States. In fact, this gold IRA company has served more than 13,000 customers since it was formed almost two decades ago. It has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and high ratings with Trustpilot, TrustLink and the BCA. More than that, it supports customers throughout their full investment experience. For example, it provides two storage options, including the Delaware Depository and Brink’s Global Services.

Birch Gold Group takes pride in the level of customer service that it provides. It offers numerous educational resources, and it provides new customers with a free information kit upon request. While many resources are available via the website, the company has an extensive team of professionals waiting to support customers directly as needed.

Pros & Cons of Birch Gold Group


  • Great customer service.
  • Excellent educational resources.
  • Several lucrative investment opportunities.


  • Hidden fee structure.
  • Minimum investment requirement.
Noble Gold Investments

Noble Gold Investments is a popular gold IRA company for smaller and new gold investors because of its low minimum investment requirement. The company focuses on both education and customer service to create a great experience for investors.

Noble Gold Investments

While Noble Gold was relatively recently established in 2016, it has already made a positive mark in the industry. In fact, the BCA has rated it with a BB. In addition, Consumer Affairs gives it a five-star rating. There are also many positive reviews posted from satisfied customers on third-party review platforms. This gold IRA company is particularly popular with new gold investors as well as smaller investors.

This is because it has a straightforward fee structure and a low minimum investment requirement. In fact, customers only pay $80 annually for service and $150 for storage. These fees hold steady regardless of the size of the account. The fees may be proportionately on the high end for new investors, but they are more competitive as the account grows.

Another reason why Noble Gold is popular with new and smaller investors is its focus on education. The company offers a free investment guide as well as detailed pages covering investments in gold, silver and other types of precious metals. Customers are also assigned to a dedicated financial advisor for personalized assistance with purchases and other needs. This gold IRA company uses U.S. and Canada-based storage locations through International Depository Services. It also maintains an excellent buyback program.

Pros & Cons of Noble Gold Investments


  • Minimal investment requirements.
  • Many educational resources.
  • Flat fee for storage & service.


  • The flat fee may be high for those with low balances.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Gold IRA?

An IRA is an individual retirement account that is self-directed. The contributions made to an IRA use pre-tax dollars, and the assets are only taxed later when you take distributions. A traditional IRA enables you to purchase investments like stocks, bonds, ETFs and other types of paper assets. With a gold IRA, you can purchase precious metals exclusively. Investment options include gold, silver and other types of acceptable precious metals. The gold and other precious metals that you purchase are held in a secure depository.

Be aware that the IRS maintains quality standards for the precious metals that can be invested in a gold IRA. This means that bullion and coins must have a specific fineness in order to qualify. In addition, the IRS only permits investors to hold specific types of coins in their gold IRA. Some of the acceptable options are the Canadian Maple Leaf and the American Gold Eagle. Your gold IRA company’s representative can help you to determine which investments qualify for your investment account.

What Are the Costs of Opening and Maintaining a Gold IRA?

The fees for each gold IRA company vary, so it is important to compare fee structures carefully before you open your account. Through your research, you may discover that there are three main categories of fees. Many, but not all, gold IRA companies charge an initial account setup fee that is required upfront. This often ranges between $50 and $150. Take note that some gold IRA companies will eliminate this fee for very large initial deposits.

In addition to the setup fee, you may be responsible for paying an annual administrative or maintenance fee. Commonly, this fee is between $50 to $150 per year. Because the gold that you purchase is held in a secure depository, you also are required to pay a storage fee. While some gold IRA companies have a flat storage fee, many will charge between $50 to $300 per year based on the size of your investment account.

As you compare gold IRA companies’ fees, be aware that some companies charge an additional fee for each transaction. This is usually not listed as a commission fee. Instead, it may be built into the cost of the metal. For example, you may pay a markup over the metal’s spot price. This markup can vary significantly.

Companies that use a middleman for precious metal purchases usually have a higher markup. Some companies take pride in maintaining transparency in this important area. Because others are not transparent, you should not assume that a company does not have a markup simply because it is not disclosed.

Are Gold Coins or Bullion a Better Investment?

The valuation criteria for gold coins and bullion are similar. However, sovereign coins often have a higher premium than bullion. There are a few reasons for this. For example, sovereign coins are recognizable and coveted. In addition, their size makes them easier to trade. Some examples of sovereign coins are the Canadian Maple Leaf and the American Eagle.

You may think that a small bullion bar would be easy to trade as well because it only weighs an ounce. However, this is not the case. The increased challenge associated with selling bullion often yields a higher markup regardless of size. Some gold IRA companies have a great buyback policy that may make it easier to sell your gold investments when you are ready to do so. Their transaction fees for coins may be lower than for bullion, however. The larger bullion bars are often more popular with institutional rather than private investors.

Where Do You Store Gold for a Gold IRA?

The IRS does not permit investors to store gold IRA investments at home. Instead, the gold and other precious metals must be stored at an approved depository or with an acceptable custodian. In most cases, your gold IRA company will work with a specific depository or custodian. As you research gold IRA companies to use for your new investment account, it is important to pay attention to this matter.

Generally, reputable gold IRA companies will handle all logistical aspects of transferring the gold to the depository or custodian. This includes making arrangements for transportation and insurance for the precious metals while they are en route to their destination. Because companies vary significantly in this area, it is important to inquire about a gold IRA company’s registration, licensing, bonds and insurance up front before you open an account and make an investment.

Do You Need a Gold IRA to Invest in Gold?

Opening a gold IRA account is only one of several ways that you can invest in gold. For example, you could purchase shares of a gold ETF, but this lacks the stability and other benefits associated with purchasing precious metals. You could also purchase gold coins and bullion outside of an investment retirement account. Keep in mind that there are pros and cons to consider. Your personal investment goals may also impact your decision about whether or not to open a gold IRA account.

The most significant benefit of opening a gold IRA account is the ability to defer tax liability until you sell the assets and tax distributions. When you purchase gold bullion or coins outside of a retirement account, your account may be subject to fewer fees. You may be able to store your precious metals at home.

Before you invest in precious metals, it is important to note that the primary growth occurs with value appreciation. Precious metals do not produce regular income. Many people, such as retirees, want or need their assets to generate income. If you invest in precious metals, it may be important to diversify your investments so that your other assets produce sufficient income prior to your 72nd birthday. This is when you are permitted to take withdrawals without a penalty.

It can be a smart investment decision for younger investors to purchase precious metals. However, some younger investors may not be financially ready to meet the minimum investment requirements that some gold IRA companies have while also still maintaining a diverse portfolio. If this is the case, investing in gold-based stocks or ETFs until sufficient funds are available could be a reasonable alternative.

Do You Need to Use a Gold Investment Company?

If you purchase gold outside of an IRA, you do not need to work with a gold investment company. If you plan to open a gold IRA and to purchase precious metals through your retirement account, a gold investment company is essential. There are strong benefits associated with working with a reputable gold investment company.

For example, some gold IRA companies offer a range of specialized services and perks. These may include personalized customer service from a knowledgeable gold representative, educational resources, a buyback program, assistance with storing your gold assets and more.

When you invest in gold independently, you may be on your own in these areas. Gold investing is different from other types of investments that you may have made previously, so it may be beneficial to have the built-in support and infrastructure that a gold investment company provides.

What Should You Look for in a Gold IRA Company?

It is easy to assume that all gold IRA companies would more or less be the same, but this is not the case. For example, the fee structure can vary considerably. This can directly impact the profitability of your investment account. When you research gold IRA companies, you will notice considerable differences in annual fees as well as markups or transactional fees.

Not all gold IRA companies are transparent about their fee structures, so it is important to make direct inquiries about fees and markups. In addition, you should compare the prices of fees as well as coins and bullion carefully before selecting a company to work with.

The expertise and reputation of gold IRA companies also vary. Some companies have been offering their services for several decades, and others may have only been established within the last year or two. Third-party review websites make it easy for you to learn about the personal experiences that other investors have had with those companies.

You may feel more confident about your selection of a gold IRA company if it has maintained positive reviews over many years. The expertise and reputation may also be evidenced through a company’s ratings by organizations like the BCA, the Better Business Bureau, Trustpilot and others. Companies with great ratings from these and other organizations generally will proudly display this on their website.

Gold IRA companies also may offer different services and benefits. Many offer educational resources for their customers to refer to, but the quality and depth of these resources can vary. Some also have a blog or otherwise make regular efforts to elevate their customers’ knowledge of gold investments. The level of customer service provided can vary as well.

Some companies even assign a dedicated representative for customers to work with for all transactions. Free upfront consultations are also available through some companies. Other types of services and benefits available may include full assistance with the storage of your investments, a buyback program and more.

Do Gold IRA Companies Offer Other Types of Investments?

Gold has been and continues to be one of the most popular precious metals to invest in. It is often viewed as a solid and reliable hedge against inflation and volatility. However, many investors understandably prefer to diversify their portfolios to include other types of precious metals as well. Many, but not all, gold IRA companies allow investors to purchase other types of precious metals.

These may include silver, palladium and platinum usually. However, some companies only offer one or two types of precious metals. Be aware that not all of the products offered through these companies may qualify for your IRA account. Take advantage of a gold IRA company’s initial consultation to explore the specific types of investment products that it offers.

How Secure Is a Gold IRA Investment?

Gold is a hard asset rather than a paper asset, so it is important to think about the security of your investment. This includes while it is being transported and while it is in storage. Most gold IRA companies have a specific custodian or depository that they work with. Because of this, it is important to research its affiliated depository carefully. Look for details like the location of the storage facility.

Some storage facilities are located in remote areas that are fairly inaccessible. They also may be well-guarded by security systems as well as personnel. The security of your investment may also be impacted by insurance coverage maintained by the facility. The annual storage fee associated with your account covers the cost of all of these measures.

How Easy Is It to Make a Withdrawal From a Gold IRA Account?

A gold IRA is subject to early withdrawal penalties in the same way that a traditional IRA is. Regardless of when you are interested in withdrawing funds, the process may be the same. This process can differ from company to company, so it should be researched carefully before you finalize your selection of a gold IRA company. Consider that some companies charge a withdrawal fee, and this fee can vary considerably. A withdrawal fee can negatively impact your net profit from the investment.

Another important difference is the length of time it may take you to access your funds. Gold IRA companies generally have a processing time range for converting the gold into cash. Then, they may only offer specific methods for obtaining the funds. Some may offer an electronic transfer, and others may only mail a paper check to you, for example.

Does Quality or Fineness Matter When Investing in Gold?

The IRS maintains quality or fineness requirements for acceptable gold investments, so not all gold coins and bullion will qualify for your gold IRA. Generally, you should look for 22-karat or 24-karat gold. Many sovereign coins, such as American Eagle and Canadian Maple Leaf coins, are acceptable investments as well. Your gold IRA company representative should be able to direct you to approved investment options. Many, but not all, gold IRA companies will specifically state the quality of the gold product and its acceptability for an IRA on their websites.

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