Anatomy of the Gold IRA Rollover – The Essential (Short) Guide

Gold IRA
Gold IRA

Are you interested in investing in a gold IRA rollover? This financial option provides you with a safe and reliable way to store and grow your wealth. Gold IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts) allow you to invest in gold and other types of precious metals directly.

These accounts operate on a self-directed basis, allowing you to make decisions about your savings and investments. A Gold IRA Rollover involves taking the funds in your current retirement account and moving them into a Gold IRA. These accounts:

  • Involve precious metals other than gold, despite the name
  • Generally have similar fees than you’d expect to see in a Roth or traditional IRA
  • Work as an excellent hedge when dealing with inflation

You can learn more about the 401(k) to gold IRA rollover with this guide. Our Precious Metals IRA Guide site can walk you through the benefits of this kind of IRA, the steps to rolling over your current retirement account, and companies that offer Gold IRAs.

Go Over the Basics About Gold IRAs

Before making about rolling over your retirement account into a gold IRA, you may want to learn more. IRAs first became a financial option in the United States in 1974. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act went through Congress in this year.

The IRAs allowed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act focused on investments in mutual funds, stocks, and bonds. Initially, you had no option to invest in precious metals when setting up your IRA.

However, this changed in 1997 when the government passed the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. This Act gave individuals the right to add precious metals to retirement accounts. The Act allows you to invest in metals such as:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Palladium
  • Platinum

Since then, many people have invested in gold and other precious metals, preparing for their future and the time after their retirement.

Reasons People Decide to Purchase Physical Gold

Physical Gold

Gold and other precious metals have a historical reputation for being valuable. Other currencies often fluctuate in value, as they have no backing from precious metals anymore. However, most precious metals retain their value even in periods of political and economic upheaval.

Over the past decades, precious metals have either stayed at their previous value or increased in worth, while other currencies worldwide shift. As a result, many governments choose to gather an ample supply of gold, silver, and other metals to protect their financials.

You can strengthen your investment portfolio with precious metals by investing in a gold IRA.

Types of Investments for Precious Metals

Setting up a gold and silver IRA does not necessarily require purchasing only coins and bullion. Depending on your investment preferences, you may decide to diversify your holdings while sticking to precious metals.

Many investors choose to spread out their investments among:

  • Jewelry or collectibles
  • Coins and bullion
  • Mining stocks
  • Gold ETFs

Each of these options has benefits of its own and potential drawbacks. Keeping physical gold often benefits investors as:

  • Governments cannot easily confiscate physical gold
  • Governments cannot “print” more gold, reducing the effects of inflation on precious metals
  • Identity thieves cannot “hack” physical gold
  • You may anonymously own physical gold

Gold and other precious metals also hold their value independently from your country’s currency. Many forms of money have become utterly worthless throughout human history. However, we continue to value and collect precious metals.

The Benefits of Setting Up a Gold IRA

Some people wonder why they should consider moving their retirement savings into a new fund. Setting up a gold and silver IRA provides many benefits that you may want to consider before making this financial decision.

Gold IRAs offer you:

  • Tax-deferred options for the growth of your retirement fund
  • Freedom from income taxes on dividend income, interest, and capital gains
  • The ability to buy or sell gold in the account
  • Protection from creditors in some states

Additionally, you may make some new money contributions to the IRA account on a pre-tax basis. However, this benefit is not available to everyone who sets up a gold IRA account. Some individuals make too much money to go through with a deductible contribution.

However, you can usually make a non-deductible contribution of up to $6,500 while retaining tax-deferred benefits.

What Makes a Gold IRA a Good Option for You?

Gold IRA a Good Option
Gold IRA a Good Option

You have many different choices when it comes to investing your retirement savings. Some individuals prefer other investment options. However, you may want to consider a precious metals IRA if:

  • You want to directly take control of your investments
  • You have the assets necessary to meet the minimum transfer requirements of the account
  • You want to increase the diversification of your retirement portfolio

Note that many gold IRAs are self-directed. However, you can hire a financial advisor or money manager. These professionals can provide you with more guidance about the best way to handle your investments in precious metals like gold and silver.

401k to Gold IRA Rollover (And Other Options)

Gold Metals

You have several options to include precious metals in your retirement plan. Many people think first of 401ks, which represent one of the most popular options for retirement savings funds in the U.S.

Individuals with active 401(k)s can request an “in-service” distribution if they are over 59.5 years old. This distribution allows you to roll part of your savings into a gold and silver IRA. If you have an inactive IRA, you can roll the entire amount over into a precious metals IRA.

You may also roll over other retirement funds, including the following.


Many people set up IRAs to save for retirement. You can roll over any existing IRA into a gold IRA, including:

  • Traditional IRAs
  • Simple IRAs
  • Roth IRAs
  • Self-Directed IRAs

You can speak with a financial professional about the specifics of handling gold IRA rollover for all of these accounts.


You may also roll over a TSP (Thrift Savings Plan). The government sponsors these retirement accounts and offers them to Federal employees. Generally, you have to wait until your employment ends to roll over a TSP account.

However, you may be able to partially transfer the funds in a TSP after you reach the age of 59.5.


Employees at tax-exempt organizations and public schools often have access to 403(b) plans. These plans allow for an in-service distribution of some funds once you reach the age of 59.5 in many cases. In other situations, you must wait until you end your employment to roll the money over to a gold IRA.


Finally, you can rollover funds from a 457(b) plan upon the termination of your employment. You may transfer some funds after reaching 59.5 years of age in some cases. Individuals who work in the local or state government have the chance to save with a 457(b) plan.

Methods to Rollover Your Savings into a Precious Metals IRA

You have several options when it comes to completing a 401(k) to gold IRA rollover. We’ll go over the three most common rollover types below.

Direct Gold IRA Rollover

Direct rollovers are the most common option for handling the transfer of your retirement funds. You can perform a direct rollover if you qualify for a distribution from your current retirement plan. This option includes 401(k) plans and other accounts offered by your employer.

You may request that the payment go directly to another IRA or retirement plan during the distribution process. Generally, your plan administration handles this transfer and can provide you with instructions.

Typically, the plan administrator provides you with a check payable to the gold IRA account. Direct rollovers help you avoid withholding fees, as the government usually does not treat these transfers as taxable.

Trustee-to-Trustee Gold IRA Transfer

You may also request that the custodian of your current retirement account directly transfer the funds to a new gold and silver IRA. Financial experts call this a trustee-to-trustee transfer. You should not face tax withholding issues if you use this method to roll over your savings.

60-Day Gold IRA Rollover

Finally, you may perform an indirect (or 60-day) rollover. This process requires you to request a check for some or all of your retirement savings from the custodian of your retirement account. Once you request the funds, you get 60 days to place the funds in a new gold IRA account.

It’s essential that you complete this transaction within 60 days to avoid taxes for the transaction. The IRS may tax the distribution if you keep any portion of the funds out of a new IRA account after 60 days.

Remember that you may only perform a 60-day rollover once in 12 months. The IRS does not place the same restriction on other rollovers, including:

  • Traditional IRA to Roth IRA rollovers
  • IRA to retirement plan rollovers
  • 401(k) to 401(k) rollovers
  • Workplace retirement plan to IRA rollovers

Keep in mind, as well, that paying distributions into an IRA may result in the IRS treating the funds as an excess contribution. In this situation, the IRS may tax the funds at a rate of 6% a year for the entire time you keep them in your IRA.

General Steps in Completing a Gold IRA Rollover

Once you decide on the method you want to use to complete your gold IRA rollover, you may wonder what steps to take. These steps may vary slightly based on how you selected to carry out this financial transaction.

However, in general, you will need to:

Speak to Your Retirement Account Administrator

You can call or email the administrator who handles your retirement fund to inform them of your intention to roll over into a gold and silver IRA. If you typically meet with your account manager, you may set up an appointment.

Complete All Required Paperwork

Your account administrator should have paperwork for you to complete to begin the rollover process. Come prepared with the details about your new account. You also need to decide how much money you wish to move to the gold IRA.

Wait for Your Funds to Arrive

After you complete all the paperwork, your fund administration can begin the financial process of moving your money to the precious metals IRA. Depending upon the rollover method you selected, the time it takes for the funds to reach the account may vary.

Once the funds reach your account, you can begin purchasing gold and other precious metals. Generally, you rely on an account custodian to make direct purchases after informing them what kind of metals you want to buy.

Precious Metals You Can Keep in a Gold and Silver IRA

As we mentioned earlier, the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 first gave U.S. citizens the ability to use precious metals in their retirement accounts. The government placed several restrictions on the precious metals allowed in these accounts. Generally, you may only keep:

  • Certain coins from the U.S. Treasury Department
  • Select bars
  • Select rounds
  • Foreign coins (if they meet specific purity standards)

The government set regulations regarding the purity of accepted precious metals. For example:

  • Gold must have a purity of 99.5%
  • Silver must have a purity of 99.9%
  • Platinum must have a purity of 99.95%
  • Palladium must have a purity of 99.95%

Additionally, if you want to put your savings in bullion coins, you may only use coins in Brilliant Uncirculated condition. If you select Proof coins, they must:

  • Come in Mint packaging
  • Be considered flawless
  • Come with a Certificate of Authenticity

If you select precious metals from outside the country, they must meet the government’s purity requirements. They must also come with accreditation from a manufacturer, assayer, or refiner. If your precious metals meet all the above qualifications, you can use them in your precious metal IRA.

How to Invest in a Gold IRA

After completing a gold IRA rollover, you may have questions about continuing the investment process. Generally, investors do not complete the acquisition process directly. Instead, you select the items you want to add to your portfolio and speak with a precious metals dealer.

The dealer can complete a specialized Investment Directive form on your behalf. Once they draw up the document, they’ll send it to you to sign. Send the signed document back to permit your dealer to make a purchase.

After they place an order for your precious metals, the gold or silver dealer sends the metals to a storage facility where they’re kept safe for you.

Costs Associated with Gold IRA Investments

Before you complete a gold IRA rollover, you may consider some of the extraordinary costs of this investment. You may expect to pay the following fees.

 Storage Fees

You must store the precious metals somewhere. Generally, it’s best to keep your gold, silver, palladium, or platinum in a qualified storage system that carries some form of insurance. Different companies charge varying storage fees and provide various levels of security.

Custodian Fees

All IRAs come with custodian fees. These fees – which often include transaction and asset fees – help cover the costs of managing your account. Gold and silver IRAs tend to have higher custodian fees than other IRAs.

Seller’s Fees

To purchase gold or other precious metals, you have to pay the cost of the materials. You may also expect to pay a markup called a seller’s fee. Additionally, venders can charge different fees, which may impact the cost of your investment.

Account Set-Up Fees

You should expect to pay a set-up fee when creating a precious metals IRA. Generally, you only have to pay this fee once as it allows you to establish the account. However, financial institutions set their fees, so the price for this payment varies based on the company you select to handle your IRA account.

Cash-Out Fees

Finally, you may decide to shut down your gold IRA. You may complete this step if you sell your gold to a dealer. However, the dealer may not pay you as much as you spent when you first bought your gold, resulting in a loss to your savings.

Keep in mind that most people do not lose money when they close a regular IRA. Consider this potential loss before moving your money.

Other Ways to Invest in Gold

Gold IRAs are only one of your options for investing in gold, silver, and other precious metals. You may include precious metals as part of your investments in:

  • Simple and SEP IRAs
  • Traditional and Roth IRAs
  • Self-directed 401(k)s (Including Roth accounts)
  • Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

Generally, these accounts come with regulations for eligible purchases of precious metals. The rollover process remains very similar for all the above accounts.

Many people wish to customize their investment portfolios. Adding precious metals to your retirement fund may help you feel more confident in a world with increasing financial disruptions.

Precious Metals IRA Companies

You have options for companies to handle your401(k) to gold IRA rollover. You can review the top five precious metal companies that work with gold IRAs below to find the option that best fits your financial needs.


Goldco is the highest overall rated gold IRA company operating today. The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and scored well with the Business Consumer Alliance. The company began operations in 2006, giving it over a decade of experience.

Goldco offers both gold and silver bullion and coins. The company allows you to contribute to your fund every year and make regular withdrawals without penalties once you reach the correct age.

The benefits of select Goldco include:

  • Working with the top-rated company for gold IRA funds
  • Access to a large selection of coins and bars
  • A streamlined process for setting up your account
  • Excellent customer service
  • Access to educational resources
  • Perks for new account holders

We also consider some potential drawbacks of using Goldco for your gold IRA rollover. The company does not offer palladium or platinum for purchase. Additionally, it may require you to make a minimum investment.

Click here to read our full Goldco review.

Augusta Precious Metals (APM)

Augusta Precious Metals made a name as a company by offering gold and silver IRA services at very reasonable prices. The company uses transparent practices when handling your bills, making you feel confident about exactly what you’ll get when you work with them.

APM first began operations in 2012. A family-owned and operated company, it focuses heavily on customer service, offering seven-day price protection and money-back guarantees on your purchases. Many investors feel more confident with these protections in place.

Some of the benefits of working with APM include:

  • Easy ability to set up your IRA account with assistance from APM experts
  • Several storage options for your physical precious metals
  • Fair pricing with a seven-day guarantee
  • Transparent fees and a money-back guarantee

Like Goldco, you do not have access to palladium and platinum options with APM. Additionally, APM does not allow for online sales. Finally, while the company sometimes requires a minimum investment, it does not openly provide information about the minimum amount.

Click here to read our full Augusta Precious Metals review.

Birch Gold Group (BGG)

You may also consider the Birch Gold Group for your investment options. This company began operations in 2003, making it one of the oldest options on this list. BGG has excellent ratings and reviews from clients who trust the agency with gold, silver, and other precious metals.

The company stores precious coins and bullion in a storage facility called the Delaware Depository. The company carries over $1 billion in insurance on items stored in the Depository, which can help you feel more confident about the physical safety of your investment.

Unlike the other companies discussed thus far, BGG provides gold, silver, palladium, and platinum, increasing your investment options. Other benefits associated with the company include:

  • Non-IRA choices for your investments
  • Open communication about your accounts
  • No fees on some transfers
  • A priority on customer education and step-by-step guidance about your investments

However, BGG does have higher storage fees than many of its competitors. You can expect to pay annual fees and setup charges that the company does not openly advertise. Clients can also expect to pay management fees for their gold IRA.

Click here to read our full Birch Gold Group review.

Regal Assets

Regal Assets focuses primarily on gold IRA rollover services. Around 90% of the company’s business comes from rollover activities. The company’s extensive experience handling the 401(k) to gold IRA rollover process – and other rollover options – makes it a solid choice for many investors.

The company also offers flat fees and a straightforward pricing system, which many investors appreciate. The company charges less than many other investment options and handles silver, gold, platinum, and palladium.

If you select Regal Assets for your gold IRA rollover, you can also invest in cryptocurrencies. The company offers several investment packages, giving you more options to grow your wealth. Other benefits of selecting Regal Assets include:

  • Access to fully insured options for storage
  • No transfer or IRA rollover fees
  • A wide range of options for investment
  • Storage facilities approved by the IRS

Remember that Regal Assets does not allow online purchases, which may prove inconvenient to some investors. Additionally, while it offers investment options in many different categories, your choices in each category may seem limited compared to other agencies.

Click here to read our full Regal Assets review.

Noble Gold

If you’re looking for an investment company with varied packages, you may want to consider Noble Gold. The company has a good reputation with clients and other gold IRA companies. It has a membership in organizations like TrustLink and the Royal Canadian Mint.

Noble Gold only began operating in 2016. Since its inception, it’s provided substantial educational resources and practiced excellent customer service. The company focuses on competitive fees and uses flat rates for many charges.

You can begin setting up a Noble Gold account by filling out a contact form on the company’s website. A representative will reach out to you after reviewing the form. Benefits of working with Noble Gold include:

  • Security choices for storing your precious metals
  • Diverse options for investment
  • Several investment packages
  • Options to invest in silver, platinum, palladium, and digital currency

Noble Gold does require a minimum investment if you want to perform a gold IRA rollover. It also has somewhat limited options if you’re interested in investing in palladium or platinum.

Click here to read our full Noble Gold review.

If you would rather take a more comprehensive view of all gold IRA options and learn more about the top-rated gold IRA companies, you can go over our review of the best options. We’ve analyzed over 12 companies and compiled the data, pros/cons, and details for you.  If you have any questions, drop a comment below or shoot us an email!