Gold and silver IRAs are increasingly popular in the retirement savings industry- and for good reason. Opening a precious metals IRA is an excellent way to diversify your retirement portfolio, hedge against inflation, and protect your wealth.
The question is: What gold IRA company should you choose to open your account? There are many options available, several of which have been around for quite some time and have great reputations, so picking one can be tricky. We are here to help with the search.
Below, we review our three top-rated gold IRA companies for 2023, including an overview of the best features, must-know details, and specific reasons why we believe they are the best. We have also covered some other key information about opening and maintaining a gold IRA account for good measure.
What Is a Gold IRA?
Before we begin, let us explain exactly what a gold IRA is and who it is for. In a nutshell, a gold individual retirement account is a type of savings account that works almost exactly like any other IRA, meaning you can build tax-advantaged savings up to a certain amount annually to be withdrawn once you reach a certain age.
The difference? As the name suggests, these IRAs let you convert your money into physical precious metals such as gold and silver. This is the only IRA that lets you purchase and store gold. Others only allow for paper assets in the gold industry.
Gold IRAs are self-directed, but you must have an appointed custodian to handle transactions on your behalf. The IRS imposes this rule, so it is non-negotiable if you want to avoid any expensive penalties.
What do Gold IRA Companies Do?
A gold IRA company is essentially your one-stop shop for all the services and support you need to open, fund, and hold a precious metals account. They arrange the setup, assist with fund transfers, and often offer custodian services as part of the package (meaning they can facilitate your gold purchases).
Once your account is up and running, they also offer storage solutions for your physical precious metals (in most cases, but there are some exceptions) and sell gold products at good prices- sometimes with deals and promotions for customers.
The Three Best Gold IRA’s Today
Opening precious metals IRAs is a lot easier than you might think, thanks to the top gold IRA companies that offer comprehensive services to help you do it. Gold IRA investors should research their options to find the best fit before committing to a dealer.
The three following providers are, in our opinion, the best gold IRA companies of 2023. We base that on the range of services offered, the level of support provided, and what people have to say about them on trusted review sites.
GoldCo is considered by many to be the best gold IRA company in the US, and it takes the number one spot on our list.
It is one of the most popular providers in the US and has been since its inception in 2011. The reputation GoldCo has built as a trustworthy gold IRA company and precious metals dealer is due largely to its exceptional customer support department.
Across the board, GoldCo provides high-quality services as a gold broker and IRA company that makes it easy to access and maintain an account. Clients work closely with a dedicated service representative for assistance when they need it, and the impressive level of support is reflected in the customer reviews online.
As well as happy customers, GoldCo is also endorsed by several public figures and has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. The Business Consumer Alliance also gives GoldCo top marks, with a coveted AAA rating.
- GoldCo goes beyond simply helping people set up their gold IRAs- it also offers educational resources on its website so people can better inform themselves about the gold industry and how to invest in it.
- Customer service agents are available via a live chat function on the website, alongside automated responses for FAQs.
- You can work with specialists in the precious metals industry through GoldCo for guidance and strategic suggestions for how to use your Gold IRA funds.
- GoldCo offers storage and custodian services and is a fully licensed gold and silver dealership.
- The customer service department at GoldCo is second to none.
- You gain rewards and deals just for having an account- including as much as 10% of your investment returned in silver coins to be held as part of your account.
- Overall, the prices are competitive.
- GoldCo’s buy-back program ensures account holders can sell back their precious metals to GoldCo at the same price they bought them, providing a little extra investment security and peace of mind.
- The reputation GoldCo has built as one of the best gold IRA companies is backed by top reviews from multiple trusted entities.
- The minimum investment amount is comparatively high to most gold IRA companies, at $25,000.
- Although GoldCo offers competitive pricing, you need to speak with an account representative for full pricing details.
- You cannot buy platinum or palladium through GoldCo.
- There is a general lack of information disclosed without contacting someone directly, but this applies to most leading gold IRA companies.
Overall, GoldCo ticks the boxes for reliability, professionalism, support, and varied services. The only real downsides are the absence of platinum and palladium products and a high minimum investment requirement that could price out some investors. If you have $25,000 or more to invest in gold, then GoldCo is our top recommendation.
2: Augusta Precious Metals
Another excellent company for opening a precious metals IRA account is Augusta Precious Metals.
It has been around for almost as long as GoldCo and is right up there at the top of every list of the best gold IRA dealers in the business. What really sets Augusta Precious Metals apart from the competition is its transparent pricing- something you don’t readily find with the majority of these companies.
Aside from being open and honest about the costs involved in opening an account with them, Augusta Precious Metals stands out for its top-tier services, including working with the best storage facilities and an impressive customer support team.
Augusta Precious Metals is praised for its integrity, support, and high-quality systems, earning an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and a AAA Business Consumer Alliance rating.
- You can choose from several custodians with a range of fees to suit your budget.
- Augusta Precious Metals is a licensed dealer of gold and silver.
- When you purchase precious metals through Augusta Precious Metals, you have a money-back guarantee.
- The customer support is very good and available through multiple channels.
- You can find detailed information about the fee structure- something you don’t find easily with most of the competitors.
- Augusta Precious Metals guarantees fair pricing on all purchases.
- Every client is appointed a personal account representative for tailored, individual service.
- There is a range of educational resources available through the Augusta Precious Metals website.
- It has one of the highest minimum purchase limits, set at $50,000. This makes an account unaffordable for many investors.
- You cannot purchase gold or other precious metals online via Augusta Precious Metals- you need to do it through a representative from the company.
- There are no platinum or palladium products available.
If you are looking for a straightforward but comprehensive service that focuses 100% on self-directed gold IRAs then Augusta Precious Metals is an excellent choice. The minimum investment requirement is high, but if that fits in with your portfolio, it is certainly worth considering this company.
3: American Hartford Gold
Taking the third spot on our list is American Hartford Gold- a well-known company that competes on all fronts with the big two named previously, but has a significantly lower investment requirement that makes it more accessible to more people.
With over a decade of trustworthy reputation behind it, American Hartford Gold has become the go-to dealer for smaller gold investments with big benefits, including fair pricing, great service, and varied purchase options.
Like the other gold IRA companies on our list, American Hartford Gold has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, but it ranks slightly lower with the Business Consumer Alliance, with AA rather than AAA. It is still a very high rating based on a vast number of positive reviews.
- American Hartford Gold offers personalized advice and assistance for a range of retirement savings accounts, including gold IRAs.
- You can also benefit from the company’s advanced investment management solutions.
- There is a complete library of educational resources and insights into the gold investing industry available on the American Hartford Gold website.
- Two choices of top-tier IRS-approved depository facilities are available for storing your physical gold.
- The minimum investment for a gold IRA is much lower than the other top gold IRA companies on our list, so it is the best choice for smaller portfolios.
- You can purchase a range of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium products through American Hartford Gold.
- All physical gold products are stored in the most secure facilities in the country.
- A free consultation service is available for every new client.
- American Hartford Gold has a price match guarantee on its precious metals, so you know you are getting the best deal.
- There is very little information available regarding pricing on the website, so you need to contact a representative for details.
- You can’t ship gold outside of the US.
- It is not as highly rated as the other two top gold IRA companies by the BCA.
When you first get into precious metals investments, the main question on your mind is probably how to set up a gold IRA account. It is actually fairly simple- especially when you work with a highly recommended company such as GoldCo, Augusta Precious Metals, or American Hartford Gold.
Once you pick a provider, most of the process is handled for you, but it is still good to know how it all works.
It begins with the basic setup, where you provide some details, and your gold IRA providers create the account for you. You then need to arrange the following:
- Appoint a custodian.
- Choose a storage facility.
- Decide how much you want to deposit.
- Arrange the transfer.
- Buy physical gold and other precious metal products.
Many gold IRA companies provide a custodian and storage option as part of their service, but you can decide to use someone or somewhere else- as long as they are approved by the IRS.
Funding precious metal IRAs is possible in several ways. If you have funds available in your normal account, you can simply arrange a deposit and wait for your custodian to confirm the arrival.
Other options include rolling over funds from an existing traditional IRA or a 401(k) account. To do this, you need to direct the administrator of the current savings account to send the funds to your personal account (an indirect rollover) or straight to your gold IRA via the custodian (direct rollover or transfer). If you choose an indirect rollover, you have 60 days to deposit the full amount into your gold IRA.
Your gold IRA investments are 100% self-directed, but only your custodian can facilitate the purchase of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium products. First, you should research the products you want to buy and decide how much you want.
Then, your custodian can complete the purchase and arrange the storage.
There are three types of gold IRAs available for retirement investors, all of which allow you to invest in gold (physical gold) and other precious metals.
- Traditional gold IRA
A traditional gold IRA is the most popular option. It is the standard choice for most retirement savers, since the rules are straightforward and they are easy to transfer funds to from your existing retirement accounts.
You can make tax-deductible deposits at any time and can withdraw them without paying extra taxes once you are 59.5 years old. There is also a time limit on withdrawals once you turn 72. You then need to withdraw an agreed annual minimum or face IRS interference.
- Roth gold IRA
Roth gold IRAs are very similar to traditional gold IRAs. They have the same contribution limits and early withdrawal penalties, but there are a couple of differences.
The first is that contributions to a Roth IRA are generally made with after-tax money, meaning the tax advantage is not immediate.
Secondly, there are no required minimum distributions with a Roth IRA- as long as you are the original owner. That means you can leave your funds there for as long as you like and withdraw them when you see fit.
- SEP gold IRA
This one is a little different. SEP gold IRAs are designed for self-employed individuals and staff members working for small businesses. You can contribute up to $61,000 annually, or up to 25% of your income, and you don’t pay any tax on it until retirement.
Let’s take a look at the general pros and cons of owning a gold IRA account, regardless of what company you hold it with.
- Diversify your retirement portfolio
- Hedge against inflation
- Tax-free savings growth
- Invest in physical precious metals
- Many products to choose from
- Low-risk investment
- Self-directed investment account
- Plan for your retirement
- Wealth protection
- Higher fees than traditional IRAs
- Storage is required for your physical assets
- Heavy penalties for early withdrawals
- Low return investments
- Custodian required for any precious metal purchases
If you want to invest in the gold industry but don’t want to open a gold IRA, there are some other options.
One possibility is to invest in paper gold, which is essentially the rights to gold stocks in a certain mine. It is a way of hedging against inflation and potentially yielding returns without owning any actual precious metals.
You could also trade gold on the commodities market. It works in the same way as FOREX or cryptocurrency, in that you buy and sell gold (in theory) based on fluctuating values.
Gold EFTs (exchange-traded funds) and other stocks also provide a way into the market without a gold IRA, and you can also buy precious metals on a smaller scale and store them independently.
The IRS imposed several rules and regulations on gold IRA owners regarding how much they can contribute and when they can withdraw their funds. Here is a brief overview of the must-know details.
- Annual contribution limits are capped at $6500 if you are under 50 years old. Over 50s can contribute an additional $1000 each year, bringing the limit to $7500.
- You can make withdrawals at any time, but if you do so before you are 59 years and six months old, you will have to pay a 10% tax penalty.
- Any gold purchased with gold IRA funds must be at least 99.4% pure. Silver should be 99.95% pure, and platinum or palladium products should be 99.99% or higher.
- Once you reach 70 years of age, you must begin making withdrawals. The minimum annual withdrawal amount is set based on your account total, life expectancy, and some other contributing factors.
- You can rollover a lump sum from an existing retirement account, but it must be completed within 60 days to avoid paying extra tax.
- Rare or collectible gold coins are not allowed.
Unfortunately, there are a number of scams in operations relating to the gold IRA industry, making it more important than ever to choose a reputable gold IRA company to open your account and purchase your gold.
One of the most problematic scams comes from gold sellers who misrepresent the quality of their gold. It is only after people buy it that they realize it is not as pure as expected- and may not qualify for the IRS regulations on gold IRAs.
There are also some fake gold sellers who never deliver the products after the payment is received, or they do send it, but it is not real gold.
Another thing to look out for is companies advertising home storage gold IRAs. It is not permitted to store your gold at home once you buy it using the funds in your gold IRA, regardless of what some companies claim.
The IRS expressly states that gold must be held in an approved storage facility. Otherwise, you are likely to attract an investigation and potential penalties for breaking the rules.
A little under 11% of Americans own physical gold in a gold IRA.
Gold tends to have higher returns than stocks and bonds during times of economic uncertainties.
People between the ages of 55 and 64 are most likely to own a gold IRA.
Around 186 tonnes of gold are mined in America every year.
China has the world’s largest gold mining industry, with 330 tonnes on average annually.
Gold only fell by 2% during the stock market crash, compared to 33% for stocks and bonds.
The average annual return on gold in 2020 was 7.3%.
What are your long-term saving goals?
How much of your portfolio do you want to convert into gold?
Have you fully understood the rules and regulations that go along with a gold IRA?
Do you know where you want your gold to be stored, or are you happy to go with whatever option the gold IRA company of your choice suggests?
What precious metals products are you interested in, and have you checked that they pass the purity requirements?
The best gold IRA companies are the ones that provide comprehensive services and excellent customer support. You want to pick a company that ticks all the boxes, has a reliable reputation and reasonable fees, and makes you feel confident that your investment is in good hands.
Remember, a gold IRA is self-directed, so the company will not be making investment decisions for you. You will, however, rely on them in a custodial role- as well as use them to manage and maintain your account over the years.
Our top pick is GoldCo, but Augusta Precious Metals and American Hartford Gold are close runners-up. Any of these three gold IRA companies would be an excellent choice for your gold investments.
Here are a few more frequently asked questions about gold IRAs and the companies that provide them.
It is a good idea to invest some of your retirement portfolio in physical gold through a gold IRA for several reasons. The primary benefit is the diversification it offers- gold is known for its reliability long term, and is extremely unlikely to lose its value significantly.
All investments come with risk, but as a well-established safe haven, your wealth is better protected when converted to gold.
That said, you should always discuss the option with a financial advisor before going ahead with the move- and it is not a good idea to convert all of your savings into gold. The risks are low, but it is also unlikely to yield high returns on your investment.
Can I store other precious metals in a Gold IRA?
A gold IRA is not limited to gold products alone. You can also invest in silver, platinum, and palladium coins, bullion, and bars. There are IRS regulations on exactly which precious metal products are allowed, predominantly based on their purity.
You gold IRA providers, if they are reputable, only sell or promote bullion, coins, and bars that pass IRS regulations, so if you buy through them, you don’t have to worry about your precious metals being suitable.
Are there tax advantages on a Gold IRA?
Yes, there are. A gold IRA has the same tax benefits as a traditional IRA- as long as you follow the rules and don’t make any early withdrawals. These include deductions on your taxable income, deferred tax payments on deposits, and the chance to grow your savings tax-free.
Break the rules, however, and you can expect hefty tax penalties on the funds involved.
Are there other reputable gold IRA companies I can use?
There are many well-established and trusted gold IRA companies out there beyond the three deemed the best on this list. Some others include Birch Gold Group, Noble Gold, Oxford Gold Group, and Patriot Gold Group.
What is the minimum investment in a gold IRA account?
The minimum investment requirement for a gold IRA depends on the company you open your account with.
It ranges from around $5000 to $50,000, so it is important to do your research beforehand to find a company that is suitable for your budget.