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Retirement is something that you plan for throughout your entire life. Whether you've created your own accounts or left things up to the investment manager of an employee-managed plan, this income is a big deal. The more you save, the more you have to live on. The more your investments make, the more passive income you have as time goes on.
But your retirement is also vulnerable. We're seeing more and more evidence of that as we go through turbulent economic times. The 2008 financial crash was supposed to be an event that happens just once in a lifetime. But then there was the crash following the COVID-19 pandemic, plus all of the unpredictable market fluctuations in between.
When so much of your retirement depends on the stock market and other investments, these economic fluctuations have an immediate personal impact. If you're not retired yet, they impact your ability to save. If you are retired, they impact your stream of income. Plus you might not be able to budget properly if your nest egg is worth just a fraction of what it once was.
The Point of Gold IRAs
In 1997, the IRS made it legal for people to keep precious metals like gold and silver in an IRA through the Taxpayer Relief Act. This legislation outlined strict rules for how these accounts can operate, what items can be kept inside, and how the holdings must be reported.
Unlike traditional stocks and bonds, precious metals can't be kept in your usual traditional IRA. You need a self-directed account. You won't have an investment manager, so you retain total control of what you buy. But you will have a custodian that maintains the account and keeps track of your holdings, giving you updates and regular reports.
Gold and silver perform very well during turbulent economic times. If you look at the price of gold over the past two decades, you'll see that it shot up during the 2008 financial crisis. Then it shot up again during the 2020 pandemic. These are tangible assets, meaning that you can hold them in your hands. They also have a set price determined by the global markets on a minute-by-minute basis.
Most investors say that people should invest some of their retirement into gold and silver. That's a way of hedging against issues like inflation and stock market crashes. Your portfolio will be balanced enough for you to ride out the economic waves while waiting for the world to return to normal.
Some retirees have chosen to put all of their holdings into gold and silver. Keep in mind that if you do this, you won't have any passive income from retirement. But if you've saved up enough over the decades, that might not matter. You can slowly budget out and spend the money you've earned without worrying about what the economy does.
Gold IRA companies are gold dealerships that have expertise in the IRA rules. They help people open self-directed accounts, and then they help you choose whatever precious metals are best for you. The best of these companies have a high level of transparency, honesty, and ethics.
All of the companies we're about to review have incredible consumer reviews and reputations. They are well established within the industry, and they work hard to make sure that their clients are educated. But there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to each.
Our ultimate top choice is Goldco. This company has the kind of service that will benefit 99% of consumers. If you're wondering about what's needed for a precious metals IRA, Goldco's experts are a great place to get started.
Best Gold IRA Companies
Goldco got started in 2006, a few years before the major financial crisis hit. The company has worked with thousands upon thousands of clients, helping them connect with precious metals for retirement. They have also worked with celebrities like Chuck Norris and Sean Hannity, both of whom now act as brand ambassadors.
Both Chuck Norris and Sean Hannity state that they won't do business with another gold dealer. They believe that Goldco is the best of the best. In addition to recommending the company to their fans, they also recommend it to friends and family in general.
Goldco's online reputation is also extremely positive. There are very few complaints online, particularly compared to the number of satisfied customers. Most complaints have also been resolved to the satisfaction of the customer. The majority of complaints were related to unsolicited calls, although Goldco disagrees that these calls were not solicited.
The Business Consumer Alliance has evaluated Goldco and awarded a perfect score of AAA. Similarly, the Better Business Bureau gives their top possible score of A+. On both Trustlink and Trustpilot, Goldco has hundreds of reviews that culminate in a 4.9 star rating. Consumer Affairs gives 4.8 stars with several hundred reviews.
One of the chief principles that Goldco operates under is stability. They believe that gold is an important investment for any customer that wants to maintain the stability of their portfolio. As such, they want each customer to get whatever products will most clearly help with this goal.
Gold has been traded for thousands of years, long before the stock market or the internet were invented. It has been a global source of wealth and power across nations and continents. Even with so many different changes within the modern world, gold still has important buying power.
When you go to the Goldco website, you will see tools that help you understand the gold reporting. For example, you can look at charts that show the prices of different precious metals in real time. The actual company inventory is made up of popular, well-performing bullion that is easy to liquidate. There are more than 15 official coins created by global sovereign mints.
There are silver and gold bars as well, all of which meet the purity requirements to be kept in an IRA. A few of Goldco's coin offerings might be collectibles that are not eligible for an IRA, so you'll have to ask your expert about what's right for you.
Goldco has a buyback program for when you're prepared to sell your metals. They will purchase the metals for a higher price than you'll get with the competition. That's a great deal no matter whether you hold onto the metals until you retire, or you decide to divest some of your holdings early.
They claim that their buyback prices are the best in the industry. While it's difficult to prove this without seeing whatever algorithm they use, there are many past customers who say that they're satisfied. These customers state that they were able to hang onto their gold for long enough to turn a profit with Goldco, even despite the normal spread when selling precious metals.
There are also certain promotions that you can access when you get started. For example, if you invest a certain amount, you might get 10% of that purchase back in silver. This silver is shipped right to your door rather than being kept in your IRA, and you won't face any penalties for owning it. So you can do whatever you want with it!
It's important to double check that these promotions are still active and that you qualify when you get started. Some promotions run for a limited time or have strict requirements.
The fees to use Goldco's services are straightforward. You need to buy at least $25,000 in precious metals if you want to use their IRA services. Then you'll pay just $50 as a setup fee. For this price, your company representative will handle absolutely everything about the account, including talking to your custodian for you.
You'll also need to pay your custodian and depository company. If you work with Goldco's preferred custodian and one of their preferred depositories, the cost for maintenance is $80. Then the cost for your vault is $100 yearly if your storage isn't segregated, and $150 if it is. Both types of storage go through regular audits and high levels of security.
There aren't any extra fees added to your transactions. In addition, the fees will remain flat rather than being a percentage of your holdings. And if you invest enough with your first purchase, then Goldco may offer to waive all of the fees for your first year. That includes the setup fee, the custodian fee, and the storage fee.
Augusta Precious Metals boasts more than a decade of experience working within the gold industry, having been founded back in 2012. The company employs a host of different experts at all stages of the investment process. They also have a special setup that allows for more personalized services.
Because of their expertise and streamlining, Augusta has garnered many positive reviews. In fact, they have been almost universally praised. There haven't been any complaints filed with the BBB as of writing, and the company provides customers with a direct number to call if they have issues. Judging by the lack of public complaints, any potential issues seem to be resolved quickly.
The BCA gives a rating of AAA, while the BBB gives a rating of A+. On Trustlink, the average score is 5 out of 5 based on over 250 reviews from prior customers. Consumer Affairs shows average ratings of 4.9 stars, and Facebook shows average ratings of 4.8 stars based on about 80 reviews.
When you look into the things that set Augusta apart, one of the first you'll run into is the company's approach to education. Most companies have resources for clients to educate themselves, but Augusta goes the extra mile. They have an entire job position called the Director of Education. This is currently filled by an economic analyst who first trained at Harvard.
You get access to these educational tools even before you decide to work with Augusta specifically. The company doesn't try to rope people in if gold isn't the right choice for them. They simply try to inform you of your options, even if the best choice for your portfolio costs them a potential sale.
When you go to the Augusta website, you'll find an entire page that's dedicated to avoiding silver and gold scams. Then when your actual account is set up, you'll have customer support for a lifetime. At any time, you can log in to see how your holdings are doing, ask for an update, or ask for insights regarding the current economic state of the world.
Getting Set Up
One of the easiest parts of working with Augusta is getting set up. You will work with a single person throughout the entire process. There are dedicated departments that each focus on one part of the signup and buying process. So if you have questions, there are always experts with the answers, no matter how niche those questions are.
Your representative will take you through the paperwork, help you choose your custodian and depository, and work with your custodian for you. Then they'll help you decide exactly what gold and silver products you want to buy. The package will be shipped to your chosen depository and handled by your custodian.
When you visit the Augusta website, you can view their five step process for establishing an IRA.
The first step is meeting your agent. This is a dedicated person who will answer your questions and learn about you. They will help you explore the available options to choose what's best for you. Then the second step is to become educated on the industry, using information and insights that are difficult to find anywhere else.
The third step is to go through the IRA processing paperwork. This involves creating your account, rolling over your funds, and working with your custodian. Your Augusta partner will manage the majority of this for you, so you don't have to.
Then the fourth step is to work with the order desk. These experts will help you create a diverse but solid portfolio from precious metals. You can get product recommendations based around your specific goals and concerns.
Finally, the fifth step is confirmation. This is a simple phone call, where you'll confirm the price, quantity, and type of products that you're buying. Augusta will handle all of the logistics from there, such as shipping your items out and having your custodian put them away.
The one thing that you'll need to keep in mind is that because of the expert level of education offered, Augusta's minimum to use their services is $50,000. But their maintenance and custodian costs are very competitive when compared to others on the list, at just $100 per year for each. Like Goldco, the setup cost is $50 paid up front.
American Hartford Gold is a special company in the industry. They offer many of the same things as the top competitors, and they have amazing reviews. But at the same time, they don't have investment minimums. So even if you only have a few dollars to spend, you can invest in silver using their products.
The experts behind the company have spent their careers working in finance, investment, and the general precious metals world. For example, the CEO has worked with precious metals for over a decade. The company president has worked with retailing precious metals for over a decade as well.
When you invest with American Hartford Gold, you get access to a lifetime warranty on the products. There are premium bullion coins that are eligible for an IRA, as well as other collectible coins that must be purchased with cash. Numismatic collectibles are riskier investments, and the IRS has forbidden them from being held in retirement accounts.
American Hartford Gold is among the fastest-growing companies in the world. In fact, in 2021, it was rated as the top fastest growing gold company within the US. It operates out of California.
The BBB rates the company A+, while the BCA rates them A. While this isn't the highest possible rating from this organization, it is a very solid assessment. When you look at past consumer reviews on sites like Google and Trustpilot, the average is 4.9 stars with thousands of reviews.
American Hartford Gold also has the celebrity endorsement of Bill O'Reilly. He has recommended the company while touring and promoting his new books.
As mentioned, American Hartford Gold has fewer fees than many of the company's competitors. You don't have to pay anything to set up a gold IRA, nor do you have to meet a minimum investment threshold. In fact, the company's website explicitly says that they don't have any investment minimums.
The company also works hard to advertise their products. New customers can access certain promotions, like receiving free silver with qualifying purchases. There are no hidden transaction fees, no matter whether you're buying or selling your precious metals.
Some promotions are also available. If you invest enough into your account, American Hartford Gold might waive your signup fees for three or more years. As for the storage cost, it's usually $100, though it will vary depending which depository you use. The cost of the custodian is $80 in most cases.
How It Works
When you sign up for a precious metals IRA, you will purchase gold or silver from the American Hartford Gold inventory. It only takes a few minutes to create an account with the company online. Or you can call to speak to a representative over the phone, and they'll walk you through the process.
You'll have several depository options, depending on the services that you use. For example, if you buy collectible coins to keep in a personal portfolio, then you might choose to have the items shipped to your house. If you use your retirement funds to buy bullion, then you'll need to keep them in a depository.
American Hartford Gold works with several US depositories that are run by private security companies. Their main partnered companies are Delaware Depository and Brinks Global Services. Both of these partners operate depositories in tax-advantaged areas that are highly secure and kept outside of the central US banking system.
You can buy items using funds from your IRA, or you can make individual purchases for your basic portfolio. If you are buying things with cash, it's a good idea to store your items securely outside the banking system. Home storage is vulnerable and often doesn't have the most robust insurance policies.
#4. Birch Gold Group
Birch Gold Group has the longest history of any company on the list, since they started back in 2003. The company is made up of a huge team of experts with backgrounds in every kind of finance. They have also received the endorsement of Ben Shapiro, who praises them frequently on his podcast and talk show.
Birch Gold Group has established a long-lasting and positive reputation in the industry. Since starting out, they have worked with thousands of clients all over the US. They believe that companies need to have a strong history in order to set themselves apart from the competition.
The BBB rates Birch Gold A+, while customers on the same page give an average rating of 4.9 stars. That shows that past consumers almost universally have good things to say. There are similarly positive reviews on sites like Consumer Affairs and Trustpilot.
The customer service team is fully dedicated to helping clients pick whatever is best for their goals. For example, you might choose different products if you want short-term growth instead of long-term stability. You can ask your representative any potential questions that you have about the inventory options.
When you look at the company's inventory, you will find that they have one of the largest and most varied inventories in the industry. Not only do they have the usual gold and silver options, but they also allow you to buy platinum and palladium. Some people prefer to buy these more expensive metals because their rarity gives them more potential for growth.
There are also varying promotions and sales that you might be able to take advantage of. For example, for Black Friday one year, the company offered free silver to people who bought a qualifying number of other precious metals.
As you have come to expect, Birch Gold Group does have certain fees to get started. These are a little steeper than those of Goldco and Augusta, in that you have to pay a wire transfer fee in addition to the setup fee. The setup fee costs just $50, but the bank wire transfer is an additional $30, for a total startup cost of about $80.
If you buy at least $50,000 worth of precious metals when you get started, Birch Gold Group will waive these fees entirely. Not only that, but they will pay for your first year of storage and maintenance. Combined custodian maintenance costs are $180 yearly.
If you want to use Birch Gold's services, it's recommended that you have at least $10,000 to start. Now, that's significantly less than some of the other options on the list. But it might be a little bit too much for some people. If Birch Gold's minimum investment isn't accessible to you, then you might want to look at Noble Gold and American Hartford Gold instead.
Like the previous company on the list, Birch Gold most frequently partners with Brinks Global Services and Delaware Depository. These companies give you access to a variety of secure vaults across the US.
When your package is shipped, it is insured the entire time it's in transit. Once it arrives and is processed, your vault itself will be fully insured as well. So you can have peace of mind no matter what part of the process you're in.
These vaults frequently undergo audits and inspections. There are third parties that will verify the holdings, making sure that your account reflects the actual physical metals in question. There are strict laws from the IRS regarding these audits.
#5. Noble Gold
While every company on this list has some options for cash purchases, Noble Gold goes a step further. Not only do they have IRA services with pure bullion, but they also have Survival Packs to buy with cash. The company operates under the assumption that gold is an important investment no matter who you are.
Noble Gold has a positive reputation across the entire internet. If you look at sites like Trustlink and Consumer Affairs, you'll find dozens of reviews, most of which are positive. You'll also find that there haven't been entries for Noble Gold on sites that commonly record and warn about scams.
The BBB and BCA both give Noble Gold top ratings and accreditations. The company is even associated with the official sovereign mint in Canada, as they are able to access certain Canadian products at a lower price than others.
Noble Gold is very transparent about their fee structure. You can find answers to fee questions on their website itself.
You won't pay any taxes or penalties if you transfer funds into your new IRA from your existing retirement account. To facilitate a rollover, Noble Gold asks that you have at least $5,000 to spend. If you're contributing directly from your savings instead of rolling over your funds, you only need $2,000.
That's because the rollover paperwork is complex and requires a lot of communication with your custodian. It can also take several days or even weeks to process. You must complete the process within 60 days of creating the new account to avoid penalties.
The storage cost is $100 or $150, again depending on whether you segregate your holdings or not. When working with Noble Gold's preferred custodial partners, expect to pay $80 annually to maintain your account.
Royal Survival Packs
These days, more and more people are turning to gold in case of disaster. Gold and silver make a vital part of an emergency planning kit. They retain their value if your currency loses its value, they're easy to liquidate thanks to their longevity, and they aren't usually at risk of seizure by the government. Not only this, but they also can't be "hacked" the way digital assets and digital banking can.
Royal Survival Packs are packs of coins that are meant to help you during a disaster. You can choose how much to invest. A few thousand dollars will give you enough bullion to stay afloat for several weeks, especially if you aren't supporting a family. The more you invest, the better your chances of making it through a large scale disaster.
People who invest huge amounts of money will be given custom portfolios. You'll talk with your Noble Gold representative about your exact concerns and exactly what you need to keep your family safe. They'll hand pick the best portfolio for these purposes.
The other interesting service is the Noble Ambassador program. This is a type of survival pack, except it is only eligible to people who live outside of the US. With this service, you will purchase gold and have it stored in the US. Then you'll have wealth accessible if you ever need to flee your home country for some reason.
With the Ambassador selection, the company will personally work with you to create the right portfolio. They'll talk with you about the depository options available. They can also help you with setting up disaster planning. Noble Gold's employees operate with a high level of discretion and consider customer confidentiality to be of utmost importance.
When you're deciding on the right gold investment company for your retirement account, we highly recommend using Goldco. Though every company on this list goes above and beyond for their customers, Goldco sets itself apart with consistently excellent service. They have been established in the industry for over 15 years, and they definitely have the expertise to back that up.
But any of these companies will be a solid fit depending on your needs. They all have affordable fee structures that don't come with any hidden transaction costs. They all work with reputable custodian and storage partners. They all have a strong commitment to educating their clients about the precious metals industry.
Augusta Precious Metals is a good choice for high net worth individuals who want access to the ongoing customer care policies. But Goldco will also give you a lifetime of service without the same high minimum price.
American Hartford Gold is a super accessible option for those without a ton of spending money, since there isn't a minimum investment of any kind. You don't even need to pay a fee to get set up. But as a trade off, you will generally need to buy bullion that's a few years old instead of recently minted.
Birch Gold Group has a solid reputation and backing from Ben Shapiro. Noble Gold is a good choice if you want to invest in gold with your personal savings, rather than using your IRA funds. But they do also have a robust range of IRA services.