Best Gold IRA Companies in 2022: Reviews, Comparison, Fees
*We may receive a referral fee from some of the companies featured in this article. This is not a financial advice article. Refer to a professional for financial advice.
When looking for the best gold IRA companies, you must do your research to make sure that you will be working with a trustworthy company. The best gold IRA company for you will depend on your goals and financial capacity.
This post reviews four premium gold IRA companies we have on the market now.
Top 4 Gold IRA companies at a Glance
- American Hartford Gold – Best Gold IRA Company overall
- Augusta Precious Metals – Runner Up
- Birch Gold – Best Gold IRA Staff Overall
- Goldco – Excellent Customer Service
#1 American Hartford Gold (4.9/5 Rating) Runner Up
American Hartford (AH) is a gold IRA company that allows clients to own precious metals physically. The metals are stored in an IRS-approved facility, from where the client can withdraw them when they retire.
AH is another company with exemplary customer support. All staff members are helpful and knowledgeable. They will explain to you the options suitable for your goals.
Also, AH is one of the best IRA companies in terms of price. Retirement Living gives them a good score in pricing, but they get the highest score in customer care on the Retirement Living platform.
You will receive your metals one week after opening your account. Also, an AH rep will update you about the latest news and trends.
AH’s advantages over other gold IRA custodians include:
- BBB – A+
- Business Consumer Alliance – AA
- Consumer Affairs – 4.7/5
- Trustpilot – 5/5
- TrustScore – 9.6/10
- Google Review – 5/5
- Exclusive buyback program for clients. The liquidation fee is decreased via the buyback program.
- Products: American and Canadian precious metal coins, silver bars (10 oz.), and Valcambi CombiBar Gold or Silver bar
- Some products come with 99.99% purity.
- Up to three years of free storage
- Free silver amounting to $1,500
AH disadvantages include:
- AH does not offer to ship its products to countries outside the US.
- Annual pricing is not listed on their website.
- Higher premiums on exclusive coins
#2 Augusta Precious Metals – (4.8/5 Rating) Runner Up
Augusta Precious Metals is one of the best gold IRA companies around, if not the best in the competition.
If you want a high level of customer support and a straightforward way to make an investment, you should work with Augusta.
That is because Augusta is one of the best companies that highlight education as the best way to customer support.
You should attend their web conferences where you will learn a lot. These conferences feature speakers who are Harvard-trained specialists.
Augusta Precious Metals also comes with a very high minimum requirement. The minimum is a $50,000 initial investment. You are allowed to make a higher amount of initial investment if you want.
Augusta’s advantages include:
- Ability to buy precious metals outside of an IRA – The items will be shipped to your home for your physical keeping.
- Insured physical shipping – Your precious metals are 100% insured, and in case your metals get lost during shipping, Augusta will refund the buying price.
- Coins – American silver and gold coins, Canadian silver and gold maple leaf, 2019 & 2020 Royal Canadian mints, etc.
- BBB – A+
- Business Consumer Alliance – AAA
- TrustLink – 5/5
- Trustpilot – N/A
- Google Reviews – 4.9/5
Augusta’s downsides include:
- High investment minimum – $50,000.
- They do not offer palladium and platinum coins.
#3 Birch Gold (4.7/5 Rating) Best Gold IRA Staff Overall
Birch Gold is another gold IRA company that guarantees simple execution of the rollover to a precious metal IRA. When you work with the Birch Gold staff, they will ensure that the process is simple and efficient for you.
With Birch Gold, your investment is protected by a company with a long history of excellent service for clients with gold and silver investments. From the company’s small beginnings in 2003, Birch Gold has developed to be one of the leading gold IRA businesses in the US.
Opening an account with Birch Gold is one of the best ways to build a hedge against the ups and downs of the market.
- High consumer ratings:
- BBB – A+
- Business Consumer Alliance – AAA
- TrustLink – 5/5
- Trustpilot – 4.8/5
- Fees are waived for the first year for $50,000+ transfers.
- Wide selection of products, including gold and silver coins, gold bars and rounds, palladium bars, rounds, and coins, and platinum bars and rounds.
- Free information kit
- The Custodian fee is not based on percentage value – meaning the annual custodian fee of $180 will remain the same no matter the amount of your investment.
- Birch Gold only caters to US investors
- Smaller product offering than competitors
- A high annual cost of $260 for administration and storage
#4 Goldco (4.6/5 Rating) Excellent Customer Service
Goldco specializes in helping clients diversify their TSP, 401K, and IRA into precious metals. Goldco depositories are insured companies, so there is no way you will lose your hard-earned money while with them.
The company offers high-quality gold and silver products, as it only trades precious metal products with at least 99.5% purity. Also, Goldco works with the best mints in the US, Canada, and Australia.
Goldco’s advantages over other gold IRA custodians include:
- The minimum initial investment is $25,000, which is mid-range compared to other companies.
- BBB – A+ (highest rating)
- Business Consumer Alliance – AAA (highest rating)
- TrustLink – 4.8/5
- Trustpilot – 4.8/5
- Google Reviews – 4.7/5
- Several products to choose from, including American Eagle and American Eagle Proof coins, Australian Striped Marlin, Liberty Coin, gold bars, American Bald Eagle, silver bars and coins, British Lunar series, Saltwater Crocodile, Luck Dragon, Gold Buffalo, Freedom of Hope, Freedom Coin, and Military Guinea.
- First-year fees are waived, and 10% back in silver coins (for new clients only)
Some of Goldco’s disadvantages include:
- Goldco does not offer palladium and platinum coins – Platinum and palladium perform well during periods of economic recovery.
- Investors cannot open an account online.
- Existing gold and silver metals cannot be added to your account. You need to buy any holdings for your gold IRA via Goldco.
Why You Should Invest in a Gold IRA Company
So, should you invest in a gold IRA company? It depends on how you see it and the pros and cons.
Here are things to consider when deciding if you should open a gold IRA account:
- Such an investment is a self-directed investment. It means you are allowed to participate in selecting investments outside of your core retirement while remaining to be within the original retirement plan and receiving the related tax benefits.
- Gold IRA accounts have higher fees compared to Roth IRA or traditional IRA, which invests only in mutual funds, bonds, and stocks.
- Gold IRAs are a hedge against market crashes and inflation. However, gold IRAS also concentrate in one asset class.
- The shifting price of gold. In 1997, the US Congress approved the use of gold and other metals as securities in an IRA. In 1999, gold was valued at $255 per ounce and averaged around $1,937 per ounce in the middle of 2020.
In March 2021, the price per ounce stood at around $1,737. There is significant growth for gold but there is also retrenching.
Gold IRAs are a growing investment trend that appeals to investors who think about it as a way to diversify their portfolios. Because the prices of precious metals move up when the value of paper assets moves down, investors see gold IRAs as an insurance policy against inflation.
In the past, there was not so much demand for gold IRAs because they involved complicated transactions, and investors did not like complicated processes.
An investor would choose a custodian and also a depository. Then they would buy precious metals and have them moved to the depository. Thus, it is important for gold IRA companies to simplify the process if they want to attract more investors.
Since the market crash of 2008, more and more people are turning to gold IRAs to make sure that their retirement money is protected. Such an interest remained strong to this day because of increased geopolitical risks and the impact of the stimulus programs of the Federal Reserve.
Benefits of a Gold IRA
There are many benefits you can get from a gold IRA account, including:
The Rising Price of Gold
Why is the price of gold rising? There are many reasons.
Number one, investors have long been enamored by gold, and its price has increased in the last 50 years.
Number two, central banks and governments consider the metal an important asset. Governments have gold as an important item in their vaults.
Number three, investment demand for gold, especially from ETFs, is also increasing.
Number four, the usual movement for gold is opposite that of the US dollar, making gold a haven against inflation.
In 2022, the price of gold is expected to increase. Commodity experts reported in March 2022 that the expected rise in the value of gold is attributed to:
- Russia-Ukraine war
- The ruling out of the interest rate hike by the US Fed
- Prices of major commodities soaring to multi-year highs
Long-Term Safeguard and Protection
Having a gold IRA is a way to provide long-term safeguard and protection to your retirement money. Although gold and other precious metals are not inflation-proof, they are a hedge against inflation.
During times of high inflation, gold tends to increase in value as people want to get alternative options to protect their money. With a gold IRA, you have an asset that maintains its value over the long term, ensuring that your family’s financial future is secure.
Moreover, the precious metals you own via a gold IRA account are stored safely in an IRS-approved vault in a high-security location. All accounting and security that you need are provided, and all your precious metals are insured. Even the shipping of your items is insured.
The tendency for investors is to invest in instruments that guarantee high returns. That is okay, but it also leads to people putting their eggs in one basket, which is very risky.
Putting all your eggs in one basket makes the risk as high as the return. So, for all investors, the advice is to diversify their portfolios. A diversified portfolio makes the risk spread across varying instruments.
Such an opportunity to diversify comes with precious metal investments. As a result, you will have more peace of mind, and other additional benefits, including:
- Reduced impact from market volatility
- Reduced time in monitoring your portfolio
- Helpful in achieving long-term investment plans
- Benefits from compounding interest
Depending on the type of the IRA account, there are distinct tax benefits from owning such an account:
- Traditional gold IRA – This type is tax-deferred. Your gains and contributions are not taxed. In many cases, these are tax-deductible, too. You will be only taxed when you liquidate your precious metal assets during retirement.
- Roth gold IRA – This type is an after-tax account and works similarly to any Roth IRA. While you do not have tax deductions upfront, you will not have to pay any tax when you start distributing during retirement or liquidation.
- SEP gold IRA – For this type, your contributions are non-taxable, but it offers higher limits for contributions. The pre-tax IRA has a contribution limit of $5,500, which you can choose, but you can also contribute up to 25% of your income.
Things to be Aware of Before Opening a Gold IRA
In gold IRAs and other types of IRAs, the main focus is on retirement accounts, so the target is older Americans and their assets.
However, older investors should not just let the IRA companies decide for them. Everyone has control over whether or not they let their money in their retirement lose its value or make sure they will get a good return from their precious metal investments.
Here are things to consider when opening a gold IRA account:
Fees and Expenses
Gold IRAs are unique as they come with additional fees and expenses due to the additional management and storage services. This is something that investors do not experience in traditional investments, such as stocks.
Although some gold IRA companies may allow clients to physically store their metals at their homes to forego the maintenance fees, the IRS is not amenable to this. The agency said that such an arrangement could lead a taxpayer to engage in an illegal transaction. Worse, they might pay a tax penalty if they are under 60 years old.
Fortunately, the fees are decreasing as precious metal IRAs become more mainstream. In the past ten years, the returns on gold balanced out the extra costs, making it a worthy investment in those years.
So, you need to compare the fees and expenses of your chosen gold IRA companies and try which one will work best for your portfolio.
No Yield, No Dividends, No Interest
Before you open a gold IRA account, it must be clear to you that you will not earn income from it. You will only earn income from your gold by selling it to someone else.
Thus, investors tend to invest in gold more because of its ability to hedge your retirement against inflation than being an instrument for earning income. However, it does not mean that you are stuck with a physical commodity that you cannot turn into cash in case of an emergency.
If you are thinking about the possibility of this situation happening to you, then choose a company that will allow you to turn your precious metals into cash should the need arise.
There are two options of valuation for the gold you have:
- Value based on the current market price
- Value when you bought it
Nevertheless, it is always the case that the valuation depends on which is higher when you withdraw your precious metal items.
Thus, for now, your highest consideration for owning gold is its ability to hedge your assets against inflation. Other reasons for that are the rarity of precious metals and the strong inherent value of these investment instruments.
Fraud and Theft
Another thing you need to consider before having a gold IRA account is the existence of fake gold items in the market. Just like other products you buy, you want to check whether the gold items you will be buying are genuine and not counterfeit.
Unfortunately, with gold IRAs, coins tend to be the most counterfeited forms of precious metals, so make sure you take time to check if you are buying precious metal coins.
As for theft, it depends on the security measures that the company implements. Standards for the industry nowadays include:
- Two layers of protection for vaults.
- Insurance worth $1 billion or at least $100 million
- Highly trained security personnel
Buyer’s Guide To Investing in a Gold IRA
Investing in a gold IRA need not be a complicated process, but you also need to follow the steps that people usually take to make sure that the process runs smoothly and is trouble-free.
Here are a few tips to remember.
Seek Advice From a Lawyer or a Financial Advisor
Before you head out to execute a precious metal rollover of your existing IRA, you want to seek guidance from a financial lawyer or advisor. You want to make sure that your decision will not run afoul of the laws and that you understand the taxes involved with precious metal IRAs.
To the financial advisor, ask the following questions:
- Are precious metals a good diversification decision for me?
- Can you share your views about how gold IRAs work for the benefit of investors?
- What ideal percentage of my retirement should I convert to precious metals?
- What are red flags in gold IRA investments?
Gold and silver investments are great investment opportunities. That is because they are rare and have intrinsic value. However, any financial advisor will remind you that precious metals can also lose value because they also function as commodities that may increase or decrease in value.
People tend to be their worst enemy when it comes to handling their finances. If you are that kind of an individual, a financial advisor will help you know how to take control of your finances. That is because they know more than what their clients do.
A good financial advisor will help you focus on your goals and avoid diversions that will make you fail to meet those goals.
Monitor News of Fraud Alerts
Unfortunately, scams in the precious metal market are commonplace. Thus, you want to approach gold IRA custodians with healthy skepticism, which is alright. These companies understand that such a stance is only natural because the people’s financial future is put at risk.
One website you must continuously monitor is the Federal Trade Commission website. The agency regularly posts articles about scams, theft, and fraud happening in the market.
You would also like to check the BBB to monitor any untoward event that may put your investment at risk in the custodian you have chosen.
Some common red flags that tell a company might be a scam include:
- Using scare tactics – The company is scaring people about the state of the economy.
- Promising guaranteed profit – Nothing is guaranteed in the stock market, precious metal market, etc.
- The history of the company or its location is not indicated on its website.
- Unclear fees
- Recommending to people to invest using a personal loan
- Companies that claim it is not required to report their transactions to the IRS
Always be aware of potential warning signs to avoid being a victim of fraud.
Look for a Trusted Gold IRA Custodian
Once you are done with your research and have selected a gold IRA company to invest in, start the process of setting up an account. Your chosen custodian will give you paperwork that you will fill out and return to them.
Follow these tips:
- Look into the company’s history – How many years have they been in business? Did it acquire or merge with other brands? Are these reputable brands?
Check the names of the founders and investors that trust the company. Also, check if they have received awards or recognitions for their excellent service in the financial industry.
Companies with high ratings on BBB may be especially great options to consider.
- Scope of service – When you make apple-to-apple comparisons of gold and silver IRA companies, ask yourself how much help you need from them.
At the very least, gold and silver IRA companies keep the records of their clients. You may also want a company that allows releasing funds when you need to make investment purchases.
Also, these companies should be reporting their clients’ transactions to the IRS and handling mandatory distributions for their clients.
- Explore fees – If a company does not list fees on their website, call or write them to request that they send the full schedule to your email. Try comparing many companies to have a clear view of the many options available to you.
Establish and Fund the IRA
Set up your IRA account. Then pay the company via a one-time lump sum payment or by making monthly contributions. Talk to the custodian if they allow a combination of both methods of payments if you so desire.
To open an account, you will most likely be requested to provide the following:
- Social security number
- Driver’s license
- Details regarding your beneficiaries
You will have to fund your account first before you can make precious metal purchases. Below are ways you can fund your newly-opened account:
- Roll over the funds from an existing retirement account
- Bank transfer
Your gold IRA custodian will discuss with you your annual contribution limit. This limit is usually defined by the account holder’s age. Also, the limit can change, depending on the inflation rates and other factors.
Invest in Gold and Silver via the IRA
Once funding for your gold IRA account is available, you must inform your custodian what precious metals you want to buy and which dealer you want to source the metals.
You do not choose just any dealer. You will have to research for it to get the best and most trustworthy precious metal dealer.
After identifying the metals you want to buy from the dealer, your custodian will release funds from your IRA to your chosen dealer. If the custodian works with a particular dealer, you will not have to do research for this aspect of your transactions.
Be very careful when choosing a dealer. You want to make sure that you will not be scammed.
Here are a few tips:
- Check if they sell metals with a lower purity percentage than what it says in the advertisement.
- Check if they have surprise fees.
- Check if there are complaints about huge markups over the actual value.
- They sell non-existent products.
To avoid fraud and scams, check the listing by the usmint.gov here. The US Mint’s website also has the section “bullion coins,” so check this section out. It features all precious metal coins that are available for gold IRA investments.
Gold IRA rollovers
Gold IRA rollovers are when part of existing retirement accounts (401K, SEP IRA, Roth IRA, etc.) are converted into bullion bars or precious metal coins to provide a hedge against inflation and economic uncertainty.
During the rollover, funds are withdrawn from the retirement account and held for not more than 60 days, and deposited into the gold IRA under a different administrator or custodian.
Take note of the following rules:
- The 60-day rule for funds transfer applies. It means that funds must be moved into the new IRA account within 60 days. If the account holder violates this provision, the funds become taxable.
- Distributed funds from 401k, SEP IRA, or Roth IRA are subject to the 10% penalty if the account holder withdraws the money before they turn 59.5 years old.
- All IRA account holders have only one chance to roll over their funds to another IRA account per 365-day calendar year.
There are no withholding taxes for rollovers made from a personal IRA to another IRA.
The level of funding for precious metals depends on your proximity to retirement and risk tolerance. Those who will retire within the next ten years or less but do not want to take too much risk are better off with 15-20% of their existing funds in precious metals.
There are many reasons people choose to roll over their 401k into gold IRAs. You may have received lump sum cash that you are not sure how to invest, or you could be thinking about being free of debt when you retire.
Whatever your reason for considering a rollover, you can be sure that it can help you achieve your retirement financial goals. The rollover process is simple, but note that it is a fund distribution, which means that you will have to pay taxes for it, and there is a 10% penalty for an early withdrawal of your gold IRA funds.
Like many gold IRA investors, you might be thinking about the cost of using a self-directed IRA. There are many reports about high fees charged by gold IRA companies. Nonetheless, if you do diligent planning and research, you can build a cost-effective way of managing and growing your gold IRA investment.
5 Things to Look For When Choosing a Gold IRA Company
Choosing the best gold IRA company to serve as the custodian of your precious metals is no small task. Many companies claim they give the best service and the highest-quality metals, but there are dishonest companies that you must avoid at all costs.
The tips below can serve as your protection, so you do not end up with a bad choice.
First things first, check the ratings and customer reviews of the companies you are considering. These agencies aim to build a trustworthy marketplace, so they provide consumers with sufficient information before they purchase products and services.
BBB, Trustpilot, TrustLink, BCA, and other such rating agencies monitor companies and give them ratings based on different criteria, including:
- Truthful advertising
- Absence of fraud against consumers
- Response to customer complaints
You want to check the company on the BBB platform first because it is one of the most reliable rating agencies. It is where most complaints from customers are raised. Then, you go to the BCA, then to the others to verify if the gold IRA company maintains its high rating across different agencies.
When you check these websites, spend some time reading reviews posted by customers. There, you can find the positive points and downsides of companies under your consideration.
We have featured above four gold IRA firms, and those four have stellar ratings on all rating agencies. However, one of the most important things you need to check is complaints and responses to complaints.
You want to work with a company that cares about you and goes the extra mile for you.
IRA Fee Structure
As you compare gold IRA firms, you want to know which one has the most economical fees, yet also one with the best account functionality.
Check the companies concerning the following fees:
- Set up fees – fee for establishing a gold IRA account with the company
- Transaction fees – the company charges fees for transactions done on behalf of the account holder
- Asset-based fees – fees charged on the total value of the precious metals invested by the client
- Holding fees – fees for storage of the precious metals
Some companies like the American Hartford Gold charge no fees for setting up an account. Other companies do not charge certain fees on the first year or the first three years of the account.
If it is possible, go for a company that has flat annual fees. Otherwise, you will end up with a company with a scaled fee model that allows them to charge higher fees as the size of your account grows.
This advice is especially applicable to medium and large investors and those who plan to increase their investment as quickly as possible. Some companies charge thousands of dollars annually for accounts with large investments.
Efficiency & Delivery Time
Work with a company known to deliver products and results with efficiency within the agreed time frame. A company with a bad reputation stemming from delays and deadline extensions is simply unacceptable in the IRA industry, where people’s financial future is at stake.
But it is happening in this industry. Some clients have reported they waited months for their precious metals to be delivered. Look for a company that guarantees your metals will be delivered and stored within 3-7 business days after your account has been set up.
Pushy Salesmen or Unfriendly Customer Support
If the company has pushy salesmen, and they rush you and push you too much, drop them and look somewhere. This unfriendly approach should sound fishy to you, and you should feel wary about it.
Are they pushing you to invest in collectibles? This behavior is shady because it is with collectibles that they gain higher profits. The IRS does not allow investing in collectibles for IRAs.
As this is an important decision you will be making, you want to make sure that no one coaxes you to make a quick decision. Make sure that you have sufficient time in weighing things carefully before deciding.
Other Alternative investment Options Available
Your gold IRA account is a self-directed account. It means that you have a high degree of freedom to add other investment instruments that you want to be included in your IRA sometime in the future.
If you want alternative investment options that you may want to include in the future, make sure that your chosen custodian has those options available for you.
Some other options available from gold IRA firms include:
- Real estate
Thus, the size and diversity of the products offered by the company are important factors to consider.
Final Thoughts – Best Gold Ira Companies
The gold IRA companies reviewed in this post are some of the best you can find in the industry. In terms of ratings, they have excellent ratings. In terms of customer complaints, some of these companies do receive occasional complaints, while some, like American Hartford gold, have never received a single complaint.
The great thing with those that have received complaints is that they attend to the complaint and find an amicable resolution as fast as they can.
Also, these companies score high in the aspect of customer service. So, if you work with one of them, you will get the much-needed support you need to get as a beginner in gold IRA investments.
So, in choosing the winner for this roundup, we go for the one with various investment instruments to offer its clients. The winner is American Hartford Gold.