Where Should I Put My 401k Money After Retirement?

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If you have spent years cultivating your retirement wealth, you should have enough money to support yourself by the time you reach retirement age. Even if you still need to grow a little more wealth, keeping your money in your 401k account may not be the best course of action. Yet, what can you do with your money?

While there are a few different options to consider in managing your savings after you retire, most people are turning to precious metals investing. This option provides benefits that you won't get from other types of investing, and you'll have easy access to your funds when you start taking distributions. Here is an overview of managing your post-retirement wealth and why buying gold and silver might be better for your financial future.

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Where Should I Put My 401k Money After Retirement?

Make a Plan for Taking Your Retirement Distributions

It's important to know when you can start taking distributions from your 401k or IRA to help you avoid early withdrawal penalties. In most situations, this means waiting until you reach age 59 and a half, but you may be able to start withdrawing from your retirement savings sooner. If you leave your job in the year you turn 55 or later, you can start taking distributions at that time.

Before you decide to start taking early distributions, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, regardless of when you start taking payments, you'll be required to pay income taxes on all of your distributions. Second, early distributions will increase the time you'll have to support yourself on your retirement wealth. For these two reasons, many people prefer to work for as long as possible and delay taking distributions from their 401k or IRA accounts.

When you reach age 72, you will be required to start taking 401k distributions. The IRS does make an exception if you're still working at age 72 and own less than 5% of the company at which you work. Under those conditions, you can avoid forced distributions. Once you leave your job, you will be required to start taking the minimum payouts.

Where Should I Put My 401k Money After Retirement?

Why Can't You Leave Your Money in Your 401k?

In some cases, you might be able to leave your retirement savings in your 401k account after you retire. Your ability to do so will depend on the plan manager and your employer. In many cases, retiring employees must roll their funds over into an IRA because former employees are no longer eligible for the company's plan. In that case, you'll be given a deadline for rolling your savings over into an independent IRA.

If you're not required to roll your funds over, leaving them in your 401k may be an option. You can decide to keep your 401k account active and change to an investment strategy with less risk. An advantage of keeping your funds in a 401k is that it can't be taken as a part of a bankruptcy settlement. The same may not be true for a traditional IRA.

Most people do prefer to roll their funds over, however. If a recession or heavy inflation adversely affects the economy, your 401k investments will suffer. In an extreme situation, you could lose the bulk of your savings. You'll avoid this risk altogether and enjoy greater peace of mind by rolling your funds over into a self-directed IRA at the time of your retirement.

Where Should I Put My 401k Money After Retirement?

Choose Between a Traditional and Self-Directed IRA

When deciding on where you should put your 401k money after you retire, the two main choices are a traditional IRA and a self-directed IRA. With a traditional IRA, your account custodian will manage trades on your behalf, and that can take some of the control out of your hands. The custodian has a fiduciary responsibility to act in your best interests, but that doesn't mean they will always make the investments you would choose for yourself. While you can recommend investments, the custodian doesn't necessarily have to follow your recommendations.

In a self-directed IRA, you maintain control of your retirement investments. Unless you hire a third-party financial advisor, you won't have anyone to guide your investments. While this means you'll have to learn more about your options and how to read the market, it also means you have greater control over how your money is invested.

Another advantage of a self-directed IRA that goes hand-in-hand with greater investment control is the ability to invest in physical assets. You can invest in cryptocurrency, real estate, or precious metals, which are all investments prohibited in a traditional IRA. While the IRS still regulates these types of investments, you can use them to grow and protect your retirement wealth.

Where Should I Put My 401k Money After Retirement?

Reasons to Invest in Gold and Silver

Paper investments, such as stocks and mutual funds, are more common, but there are several reasons people are turning to alternative types of investing. As you will learn, investing in precious metals can benefit you immediately and throughout your retirement.

Avoid Financial Losses Due to Economic Downturns

When a recession or a similar economic catastrophe strikes, the value of paper investments will falter. In a very short time, any stocks or funds that you hold may lose enough value to cause you to suffer a significant loss of your savings. If this occurs when you're young, you will have the time to adopt a more aggressive investing strategy to regain those losses. If you're close to retirement or already retired, that might not be an option.

If you convert your retirement wealth to a self-directed gold IRA, your holdings of gold bullion or coins will retain your savings. You won't have to worry about losing value since there's a greater demand for gold during economic downturns. You will feel confident that your gold holdings will still be there for you throughout the recession. When the economy rebounds, your gold will still be just as valuable or its worth may have increased.

Experience Consistent Growth as the Value Appreciates

Gradual inflation increases the costs of everything and that includes gold and silver. This means the gold you purchased just a few years ago would be worth significantly more in today's market. Just as real estate values increase over time, precious metals become more valuable as they are held for longer. This means you don't have to do anything other than to hold onto the gold in your vault.

There may be brief periods in which the worth of gold drops, but these dips are rare and short-lived. As long as you check the market before you sell your gold, you shouldn't be adversely affected by a dip in gold prices. When the market rebounds, you can sell your gold and enjoy a good return on your initial investment. Buying more gold over time can help you maximize your returns as well.

Take Advantage of Increasing Demand

Even in good economic times, more people are looking to gold as a way of safeguarding their savings. Since gold doesn't experience long-term losses in value, buying gold bullion and coins is the best way of protecting your retirement wealth. As the demand for gold increases and our economy goes through normal periods of inflation, the value of gold will increase. This will create greater demand for gold.

By buying gold that meets IRS-approved purity standards today, you can take advantage of greater demand in the future. While others will be scrambling to buy some gold at higher prices, you will already have gold in your vault. You can even use your gold to take advantage of heightened demand. If you're patient and you use your gold to secure your retirement, selling your gold when its worth is at a peak can help you amass more savings for your retirement.

Leave Something Behind for Your Loved Ones

When you start investing in gold earlier in life or take on a more aggressive investing strategy, the value of the gold in your vault may be worth more than the amount you'll need to live out your retirement. This means you'll have gold remaining in your vault at the end of your life. Your gold IRA company's representative can help you set up a beneficiary for the contents of your vault, allowing you to pass your gold holdings onto a spouse or another loved one.

An important thing to note is that the contents of a self-directed IRA won't go through the probate process. This is because the ownership of those assets, including the gold in your vault, will pass directly to your beneficiary at the time of your death. As soon as you die, your loved one will take ownership of the remaining gold and silver in your vault. Your beneficiary can use it to help them manage their finances after you're gone, or they can save it for their own retirement.

Where Should I Put My 401k Money After Retirement?

The 3 Top Self-Directed Gold IRA Companies

While there are many self-directed gold IRA companies that can help you roll over your 401k, some companies aren't as good as others. You'll want to choose a company with a highly-rated level of customer service since you'll need their help in rolling your funds over and managing your gold holdings. There are three companies that are widely known for meeting these basic requirements better than other companies. Those top three organizations are listed below.

Augusta Precious Metals

Augusta is praised for its transparency in regard to the fees they charge as well as for the vast supply of educational resources they offer. Customers find their online webinars especially helpful. The company maintains a staff of professional economists to help their customers evaluate their investments and retirement goals.


There are several reasons that Goldco has earned a strong and positive reputation among investors. To begin, their prices are very competitive and they provide enough information to help their customers feel confident with their purchases. The staff is knowledgeable and customers find them to be patient and communicative.

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.

Augusta Precious Metals

Founded by famed NFL quarterback, Joe Montana, Augusta Precious Metals has earned countless five-star awards since its 2012 inception. The football star hired a team of financial advisors to help him create a gold IRA service that exceeds customer expectations. When you decide to roll over your 401k or another retirement account, you'll be connected with a live agent who will talk you through the process. This will include helping you learn how to make gold and silver purchases after you have funded your account.

To start your account, you will have to roll over a minimum of $50,000 from your 401k or IRA. From creating your Augusta account to notifying the IRS of your rollover on time, the live agent will help you with every step of the initial process. Once your account is set up and funded, you can begin buying gold.

Augusta offers a wide range of products that you can either buy outright or use to fund your self-directed gold IRA account. These products are available in gold and silver and they include Canadian Maple Leaf coins, American Eagle coins, and America the Beautiful coins.

In addition to buying gold or silver, you'll need to use an IRS-approved depository to store your gold and silver holdings. Augusta uses three facilities that are trusted by investors and the U.S. government alike. They are Equity Trust, the Gold Star Trust Company, and Kingdom Trust. As a trusted partner with each of these depositories, Augusta will help facilitate communications with the depository of your choosing. This means you can access your vault anytime without an inconvenience.

Augusta Precious Metals also maintains a library of useful educational resources to help you learn more about investing in precious metals. Many of the educational resources developed by the company are created by Delvyn Steele, a prolific economist with a Harvard education. In addition to helping you learn more about investing in gold and silver, these resources will teach you how to evaluate the state of the market. This type of training can be applied to the current market and future changes to ensure you can make better-informed investing decisions.

#2. Goldco


As a privately-held company, Goldco focuses on asset and wealth management, and they have expertise to simplify any type of funds transfer. In addition to facilitating a 401k or IRA transfer, they can also help you transfer funds from a 403b account. If you don't want to open a self-directed gold IRA account with them, they can help you directly purchase gold or silver products.

When you open a self-directed gold IRA with Goldco, you'll have a choice of several different coins, which are American Eagle, Freedom and Hope, and Maple Leaf coins. Among their other gold offerings, you can also purchase gold bullion or bars.

Although most investors associate Goldco primarily with gold, you can also open a self-directed silver IRA. With this type of account, you have an equally broad range of silver products to buy, such as silver American Eagle, Lucky Dragon, and Maple Leaf coins. As with their gold products, you can buy silver bars and bullion.

Goldco is dedicated to high-quality customer service for as long as you maintain an account with them. They will communicate with your 401k or IRA plan administrator to make your rollover as efficient as possible. Their assistance will ensure you won't face IRA income taxes or penalties on your rollover. Once you roll your funds over into your new account, you can begin buying the precious metals of your choice.

Goldco is highly known for the vast library of educational materials they offer. Even before you commit to opening an account, they will send you a free startup kit. The kit will include a video guide with information on investing in precious metals, expanding your retirement savings, and the benefits of holding precious metals in a self-directed IRA account.

As an added bonus, you'll receive a gift of silver that's equivalent to 10% of your purchase

American Hartford Gold

Since their 2015 founding, American Hartford Gold has maintained a steady A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. They have also maintained consistently high ratings on TrustPilot and Google. Customer reviews for the gold IRA company prove that those ratings are well earned.

In addition to gold and silver bars and coins, you can also buy platinum products from American Hartford Gold. If you're buying precious metals directly, the products can be delivered securely to your home. However, the IRS requires the use of third-party depositories for funding a self-directed IRA. The two government-approved depositories used by American Hartford Gold are Delaware Depository Service and Brinks Global Services.

In addition to their high quality in customer service and educational resources, American Hartford is known for their generous buyback program. This program allows their customers to avoid costly liquidation fees in selling their gold or silver products. They keep their fees limited to maintenance and storage, so you won't have to pay extra for things like shipping, setting up your account, or insuring your precious metals.

As with the other more popular gold IRA companies, American Hartford is especially helpful with the rollover process. Since most people aren't familiar with how this process works, getting that extra assistance is worthwhile. In addition to avoiding IRS penalties, the help of their customer service team will lead to a faster rollover process. This means you won't lose time that you could otherwise spend growing your retirement wealth.

Last Words

It's important to note that you don't have to wait until retirement age to start using a self-directed gold IRA account. In fact, making this move sooner can help you enjoy the benefits of precious metal investing for longer. The gold IRA company you choose to work with can help you simplify this process today.