Should You Get a Gold IRA? Is It Worth It? Pros & Cons 2024

Should You Get a Gold IRA? Is It Worth It? Pros & Cons 2024

With the uncertain financial future, it’s no surprise that investors are increasingly drawn to the captivating appeal of gold. 

However, is a Gold IRA a lucrative opportunity or a risky endeavor? In this blog article, we delve into investing in precious metals and explore the potential benefits and drawbacks of embracing a Gold IRA.

Come along with us as we unveil hidden truths, dispel common misconceptions, and equip you with the knowledge necessary to make an educated choice about your financial well-being. So fasten your seatbelts and embark on an enlightening journey into Gold IRAs!

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What Is a Gold IRA?

Often referred to as a valuable metal Individual Retirement Account (IRA), a gold IRA enables individuals to include physical gold in their retirement portfolios. The gold can take various forms, such as bars or coins. Approved precious metals like silver, platinum, and palladium can also be held.

A gold IRA follows the same contribution limits and withdrawal requirements as other IRAs. For example, in 2022, the contribution limit for IRAs is $6,000 or $7,000 if you’re 50 or above. 

Collin Plume, CEO of Noble Gold Investments in Los Angeles, states that when gaining gold through a Roth IRA (gold IRA), taxes are only paid on contributions made and not on gains. In contrast, with a traditional IRA, you can defer tax payments until liquidation, allowing investment opportunities.

Withdrawals from an IRA cannot be made before reaching age 59 1/2 without facing penalties on the withdrawn amount. 

Once individuals turn 72, they must take the Required Minimum Distributions from their traditional IRAs. However, no required distributions are associated with Roth IRAs during one’s lifetime.

How Does a Gold IRA Work?

Investors seeking to capitalize on the tax advantages offered by an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) while investing in gold may find a gold IRA to be a favorable choice. With a gold IRA, individuals can hold physical precious metals and still enjoy the same tax benefits as traditional IRA investments in paper assets like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. 

The contribution limits and regulations regarding Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) are identical to those of standard IRAs. 

This makes a gold IRA an attractive option for those looking to diversify their investment portfolio with tangible assets while enjoying the potential tax savings provided by an IRA structure.

Types of Precious Metals That Can Be Held in a Gold IRA

In your gold IRA, it’s possible to hold other valuable metals such as silver, platinum, and palladium. This is why you may come across terms like “silver IRA” or “precious metals IRA” being used. Technically speaking, the latter term is more accurate, but “gold IRA” is the commonly used phrase to describe this type of investment vehicle.

To be approved for an IRA, precious metals must meet specific minimum requirements regarding fineness or purity. Gold must be at least 99.5% pure, while silver must have a purity level of 99.9%. 

As for platinum and palladium, they should each have a purity level of at least 99.95%. Besides purity regulations, the IRS also sets guidelines regarding size, type, and weight when including precious metals in your IRA holdings.

Some common examples that meet these requirements are American Eagle-proof coins and bullion, as well as Canadian Maple Leaf coins.

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Advantages of a Gold IRA – Should You Get a Gold IRA

If you’re looking to invest in gold for its potential returns, one option to consider is holding your precious metals within an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). 

Gold IRAs cater specifically to experienced investors who are well-versed in buying and selling physical precious metals. These specialized investment products offer many advantages, such as:

Tax Benefits

As mentioned earlier, a gold Individual Retirement Account (IRA) provides the same tax advantages as a traditional IRA. It allows for pre-tax contributions, which can reduce your taxable income. You won’t owe any taxes until you withdraw funds from the account.

Portfolio Diversification

Investors frequently turn to precious metals, such as gold IRAs, to add variety to their portfolios. It’s important to note that financial experts typically suggest allocating only a small portion of your savings, around 5-10%, towards these valuable assets.

Protection Against Inflation and U.S. Dollar Weakening

Gold can be a valuable asset in an investment portfolio due to its ability to preserve value. It acts as a safe haven during economic downturns and offers stability during periods of market instability, often moving in the opposite direction of stocks. 

However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that gold prices are subject to fluctuations and may decrease, making it less suitable for short-term investments.

Potential for Long-Term Growth in Your Retirement Savings

Sought after for their inherent worth, precious metals can experience price volatility, particularly in the short term. Before considering a gold IRA, it’s crucial to have a long enough time horizon to withstand these fluctuations.

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Disadvantages of a Gold IRA – Should You Get a Gold IRA

Although the idea of including actual gold in your retirement account may seem attractive, gold IRAs may not be suitable for all investors. This type of account comes with specific drawbacks, and failing to understand these crucial details could lead to a costly error with your savings. Some disadvantages include:


Gold IRAs have significantly higher costs compared to traditional 401(k)s or IRAs. The increased level of management involved usually entails paying an account custodian to manage and supervise your gold IRA. 

Since IRS regulations stipulate that IRA gold must be stored in an approved depository facility, you will also need to pay storage fees for housing and insuring your precious metals.

Gold IRA companies generate their profits by implementing a pricing structure known as a “spread.” Essentially, this means that when you purchase gold from the company, they sell it to you at a higher price than what they would pay you if you were to sell the same amount of gold back to them.

Not the Same Long-Term Growth Potential as Assets Like Stocks

While gold possesses inherent value, there’s no assurance that its price will increase from the time of purchase to when you intend to sell it. This can pose a problem if you rely on your IRA for retirement funds, as many individuals with gold IRAs do. In such cases, you may be compelled to sell the gold at a loss.

Similarly, once you reach the age where the required minimum distributions (RMDs) apply, decide between liquidating your gold or paying for its shipment. Subsequently, finding a safe location to store it becomes essential.

Gold Doesn’t Pay Dividends

While gold is often seen as a safeguard against inflation, it lacks the ability to generate income like dividend-paying stocks or bonds that provide a yield until maturity. The income produced by traditional investments plays a crucial role in accumulating wealth over time through compounding.

Limited Liquidity

Regularly rebalancing your investment portfolio is essential to aligning it with your goals, timeline, and risk tolerance. Financial advisors recommend this practice, especially as retirement approaches. 

However, if you’re dealing with precious metals instead of stocks or ETFs, the process can be more inconvenient and costly. Unlike stocks and ETFs that can be traded on online brokerage platforms without commission fees, trading precious metals may involve additional expenses. 

Therefore, careful consideration should be given to the potential drawbacks when deciding to include them in your portfolio rebalancing strategy.

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How to Decide if a Gold IRA Is Right for You?

If your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is invested in stocks and bonds, three methods exist to increase your wealth. Firstly, the value of the shares you purchase could be appreciated. 

Secondly, you may receive dividends from these shares and choose to reinvest them. Lastly, by reinvesting the interest gained from bonds or bond funds, your money can also grow.

However, if you opt for a gold IRA instead of traditional investments like stocks and bonds, two of these growth avenues are eliminated. 

It’s essential to consider whether putting all of one’s retirement savings into a gold IRA is a wise decision. Lambert encourages individuals to examine the long-term price history of gold before making this choice since their entire retirement future would be staked on it.

In conclusion, diversifying one’s investment portfolio with different assets might provide more opportunities for growth as compared to relying solely on a gold IRA.

What to Consider Before Investing in a Gold IRA?

When opening a gold IRA, it’s crucial to approach the decision with careful consideration and a thorough understanding of the subject. Gather information from objective sources not affiliated with gold IRA companies, as they may have a vested interest in promoting their products. 

Before investing any portion of your savings into gold, several factors should be considered. It’s essential to conduct proper research and educate yourself regarding this financial choice.

Investment Goals

If you’re considering whether a gold IRA is suitable for your retirement savings, seek guidance from a fiduciary financial advisor who is obligated by law to prioritize your best financial interests. 

It’s important not to depend on investment advice solely from gold IRA companies, despite any suggestions made in their sales and marketing materials.

Custodian and Dealer Selection

With gold IRA companies, you have the freedom to select your account custodian and depository institution. However, some companies may require you to use specific ones that they have a partnership with.

It’s crucial to exercise caution when deciding where to open your account. The top-notch gold IRA companies stand out by providing transparent and competitive pricing for purchases, as well as offering the option to buy back precious metals if necessary. 

They refrain from charging additional fees and prioritize unbiased customer education. It’s also helpful if they have a reputation for delivering excellent customer service. It’s wise to avoid companies that employ high-pressure sales tactics or attempt to persuade you that mainstream financial institutions are unsafe.

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Risk Tolerance

Although it’s possible in theory to transfer the full amount from your current retirement account to a gold IRA, this would be a highly risky move.

A traditional retirement account that consists of stocks and bonds allows you to have exposure to different assets. This diversification offers advantages such as income potential and liquidity, which are important for changing your investment portfolio.

Amount You Will Invest

Rolling over funds from various retirement accounts, such as a 401(k), 403(b), 457, pension, or Thrift Savings Plan account, allows you to establish a precious metals IRA. If executed properly, this transfer will not cause any tax obligations or penalties. 

It’s important to assess your retirement income requirements, time frame and willingness to take on risk when deciding the amount to allocate towards a gold IRA.

Tax Implications

Similar to various forms of retirement accounts that offer tax benefits, gold IRAs also have specific tax considerations. By estimating your expected income during retirement, you can determine which type of account, whether a traditional IRA or Roth IRA, would be more effective in reducing your overall tax obligations.

Traditional IRA Tax Implications

Gold IRAs function similarly to traditional IRAs regarding taxes. By funding a gold IRA with pre-tax dollars, typically through rolling over funds from a 401(k) or a similar account, the money remains tax-deferred until retirement withdrawals are started.

Roth IRA Tax Implications

Contrarily, a Roth IRA is financed using post-tax funds. The growth of these investments is exempt from taxes, and when you withdraw during retirement, they’re not subject to taxation.

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How to Open a Gold IRA? 

If you have thoroughly researched and determined that a precious metals IRA aligns well with your retirement strategy, then all you have to do is select your provider, funding source, and gold bars, coins, or ingots.

Find a Gold IRA Company

To start establishing a gold IRA, you must first choose a reputable gold IRA company. This company acts as a seller of precious metals, such as gold, and assists in the setup and financing of your account. 

They connect you with an IRS-approved IRA custodian and depository institution. Money magazine provides a comprehensive list of the top-rated gold IRA companies available to guide your selection process.

Open the Gold IRA Account

The Gold IRA company will also assist you in setting up the account. It’s recommended to have them facilitate a transfer of funds from one institution to another for purchasing your gold and silver. 

If you attempt to handle the rollover on your own, be aware that the IRS has strict regulations that could result in substantial penalties if violated, even unintentionally.

Choose Which Precious Metals to Invest In

The gold IRA firm will assist you in choosing the authorized valuable metals that can be included in your account. Gold and silver, eligible for IRAs, are the most prevalent options. 

As owning physical precious metals is a crucial aspect of a gold IRA, you can select gold bullion as bars or rounds, as well as various types of gold coins and silver coins. Certain gold IRA companies also provide platinum and palladium that meet IRA requirements.

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Finding a Broker or Custodian

To invest your IRA funds in gold, you must first set up a self-directed IRA. This type of IRA allows the investor to have more control and ownership over a wider variety of investment products compared to other IRAs.

To establish a gold IRA, you will need a broker who can purchase the gold on your behalf and a custodian who will create and manage the account. According to John Johnson, president of GoldStar Trust based in Canyon, Texas, this company will store or hold your physical bullion.

Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions approved by federal and state agencies are typically the custodians responsible for providing asset custody services to individual investors and financial advisors. 

These custodians don’t choose metals dealers for their clients’ IRA accounts, that responsibility falls on the investor. However, established custodians often have partnerships with many dealers nationwide and may share this information.

How to Choose an IRA Company?

Selecting a suitable company can be a complex decision, especially since it’s a specialized service that most large brokerage firms do not provide. Some of these considerations include:

  • Transparency: Having all your expenses clearly outlined in advance can prevent unpleasant surprises, such as concealed fees, that might arise after your investment.
  • Track record: Seek out a company with a strong track record, validated by impartial third-party entities like the Better Business Bureau or the Business Consumer Alliance. It’s wise to delve into customer feedback, particularly the volume of complaints lodged. Look for firms that prioritize education over high-pressure sales tactics.
  • Qualifications: Ensure that the company you engage with possesses all the licenses, registrations, insurance, and bonds to safeguard your investment. Request verification of these licenses and additional pertinent information.

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Financial Institutions That Offer a Gold IRA

Many self-directed IRA custodians do not provide gold management services. According to Michael Ryan, a retired financial planner and financial coach in South Florida, it’s crucial to select a trustworthy custodian who can effectively hold and protect the gold. Several options for obtaining a gold IRA are available.

Augusta Precious Metals – Best Precious Metal IRA Company Overall 

Augusta Precious Metals

Star Rating: 4.9/5 

With over 45 years of experience in the industry, Augusta Precious Metals is a leading company specializing in gold IRA investments. They offer a wide range of investment products, including silver and gold bullion. 

One aspect that sets them apart is their commitment to transparency. They provide clients with detailed expense breakdowns and even offer one-on-one web panels for personalized help. 

Unlike some other companies, Augusta Precious Metals does not charge transaction fees. However, it’s important to note that there are price spreads for physical metals.

Although they have a higher minimum investment requirement, many investors trust Augusta Precious Metals due to their stellar reputation, reliable refund policy, and secure storage facilities. 

While they may have limitations on metal selection and require a larger initial investment amount, their exceptional customer service makes up for it. Augusta Precious Metals remains a reputable choice in the industry thanks to its extensive experience and commitment to client satisfaction.

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American Hartford Gold – Best Precious Metals IRA Company for Small Investments

Star Rating: 4.7/5

American Hartford Gold is a well-respected company in gold IRA. Their track record speaks for itself, with high customer satisfaction ratings. The range of services they offer includes precious metal IRAs, gold and silver IRA rollovers, as well as direct purchases of gold and silver bars/coins. 

To cater to different investment preferences, they have set a minimum investment requirement of $5,000 for direct purchases and $10,000 for gold IRA rollovers. Acting as a custodian is Equity Trust, while secure storage options are provided by renowned companies such as Brinks and Delaware Depository.

When it comes to customer support, American Hartford Gold goes above and beyond by assigning dedicated account representatives to assist clients every step of the way. They provide investors with a free guide that equips them with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions.

In summary, American Hartford Gold stands out due to its exceptional reputation in the industry, along with its comprehensive range of services tailored towards individual investor needs.

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Oxford Gold – Best Precious Metals IRA Company for Educational Resources

Star Rating: 4.2/5

Oxford Gold Group is a well-known organization that focuses on helping individuals plan for their retirement by offering precious metals IRAs. They provide valuable help and various services, such as the acquisition of physical gold, the establishment of Gold IRAs, and diversification options with silver, gold, platinum, and palladium. 

Client education is a top priority for them as they also offer secure storage solutions through trusted facilities like Brinks Depository and Delaware Depository. Although the ownership remains undisclosed, Oxford Gold Group strives to be a guiding force for those who aspire to have a prosperous and diversified future during their retirement years.

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Lear Capital – Best Precious Metals IRA Company for First-Time Buyers

Star Rating: 4/5

Lear Capital, a well-known player in precious metals IRAs, specializes in offering metal coins as a means of diversification. 

Their focus on transparency extends to their approach towards fees, and they take pride in providing personalized service through dedicated account managers. Lear Capital has garnered favorable client reviews, effectively addressing criticisms and maintaining an impressive Trustpilot rating. 

With nearly a quarter-century of experience under their belt, they strive to make the investment process hassle-free while also offering knowledgeable guidance to individuals keen on exploring precious metals IRAs.

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Goldco – Best Precious Metals IRA Company for Customer Support

Star Rating: 3.9/5

Goldco is a prominent provider of gold IRAs, offering an extensive selection of investment accounts that include cryptocurrency and gold or silver IRAs. Their website interface is user-friendly, making it effortless for individuals to establish self-directed precious metals IRAs. 

Their meticulous instructions further simplify the process. To provide personalized support, Goldco assigns each client a specialist who offers “white-glove” customer service. 

However, one downside is that Goldco does not disclose the fees associated with their gold IRAs. On a positive note, they offer clients a gold IRA rollover kit, which ensures secure and uncomplicated investment plans for gold rollover IRAs.

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Costs of a Gold IRA

To store gold investments in an IRA, use an IRS-approved depository. This entails payment of storage fees as well as insurance costs. There are fees involved in purchasing and shipping precious metals. Custodian management charges may be higher compared to other retirement accounts.

Special Costs

Having a gold IRA involves certain unique costs. Investors will encounter various fees, such as:

  • Seller’s Markup (Fee): Sentell points out that gold prices come with markups depending on the specific form of gold you desire, like bullion, coins, or proofs. These markups can also vary among different vendors and represent one-time fees. Each form of gold has distinct requirements when you decide to sell it.
  • Retirement Account Establishment: This one-time fee covers the setup of your new IRA account, and its cost can fluctuate depending on the institution. Notably, it might be higher than the typical setup fee, especially if you’re dealing with a financial services firm that specializes in gold IRAs.
  • Custodial Fees: While you’d typically encounter annual expenses, along with related asset or transaction fees in all IRAs, gold IRAs may entail higher custodial fees, especially if you’re dealing with a different financial institution than the one holding your other accounts.
  • Storage Fees: To ensure the security of your gold, it must be stored at a qualified storage facility, which incurs storage fees.
  • Cash-out Costs: If you intend to close your gold IRA by selling the gold to a third-party dealer, that dealer may offer a price lower than the current market rate. So, unless the prices have significantly risen since your purchase, you might face a substantial capital loss.

Some IRA companies may commit to repurchasing the gold from you at current wholesale rates. However, even with this option, you could still incur losses when closing the account, a situation that rarely occurs with the opening and closing of regular IRAs.

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Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Problems

The timing for initiating mandatory withdrawals from a traditional gold IRA, also known as Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), is determined by your age or birth year. Your RMDs become applicable on April 1st of the year following your birthday:

  • 73 if you turned that age after Jan. 1, 2023
  • 72 if you turned that age between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2022
  • 70½ if you turned that age before Dec. 31, 2019

Liquidating metals for cash to fulfill distributions can pose a challenge as it may require selling gold at an unfavorable time. However, this issue can be mitigated by withdrawing the total RMDs from other traditional IRAs instead.

Withdrawing From a Gold IRA

The regulations governing withdrawals from a gold IRA closely mirror those of other Individual Retirement Accounts. Similar to other IRAs, a gold IRA can be established as either a traditional or Roth IRA.

For Traditional Gold IRAs

  • Deposits are made using income that hasn’t been taxed yet
  • Any payouts are subject to taxation at regular income tax rates
  • Early withdrawals before reaching 59½ are penalized by an additional 10%
  • Once you surpass the age of 73, you’re obligated to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

For a Gold Roth IRA

  • Deposits are funded using income that has already been subjected to taxation
  • Withdrawals aren’t subject to taxation
  • Early distributions before reaching 59½ incur a 10% penalty

Checkbook IRAs

One potential solution for avoiding the need for a custodian and its associated expenses is to establish a “checkbook IRA,” which is a self-directed retirement account that doesn’t require custodial management. 

However, setting up a checkbook IRA can be complex, as it requires forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and having a business checking account, among other requirements.

According to Sentell, this type of IRA allows investors to acquire gold American Eagles, which are U.S. Treasury-minted coins, and hold them in their retirement accounts without incurring custodian or storage fees. 

No other coin benefits from this tax-code exception outlined in Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 408(m). Exercise caution with this option, as the IRS is currently closely examining these types of IRAs.

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Rolled Gold

If you already possess an IRA or 401(k), whether it’s a regular or Roth account, you can transfer some or all of its funds into a gold IRA. The process for this rollover is similar to that of any other retirement fund. 

Typically, you would need to complete an application for the new account, either online or on paper. Once the application is submitted and received, it usually takes 24 to 48 hours for the new account to be established.

After funds are available in the new IRA account, a representative from the institution will go through various options for precious metals that consumers can purchase. Customers can specify their preferences and lock in prices accordingly.

It’s important when going through this process that you provide clear instructions regarding your desired purchase so as not to encounter any issues along the way. By following these steps diligently, individuals can successfully transition their existing retirement savings into a gold-backed investment option.

Gold’s Special Risks

Investing in gold, like any other investment, comes with its own risks and rewards. According to Moy, an expert in the field, gold IRAs share similar risks to other types of investments. The price of gold can be unpredictable and volatile, making it difficult to predict its future trajectory accurately.

Despite these risks, there’s a compelling reason for including gold in your retirement portfolio. Gold has a long history spanning 5,000 years as a reliable store of value. 

In contrast, stocks can become worthless overnight (as shown by the collapse of Lehman Brothers), bonds may default (as seen in Argentina), and currencies like the dollar can steadily lose value. However, gold will never be rendered entirely without worth.

If the price of gold experiences a dip, this could show positive performance for your paper assets such as stocks or bonds. By maintaining a balanced portfolio with physical gold and paper-based investments, any losses incurred through declines in gold prices can be offset by gains from other assets within your portfolio.

Traditional IRAs also carry their own set of risks, which differ from those associated with investing in gold IRAs. Therefore, including some allocation towards physical precious metals such as gold within your overall investment strategy may help mitigate certain unique risks associated solely with traditional IRA investments.

Investing in physical gold comes with its own set of risks. One such risk is the possibility of theft, where someone could break into the storage facility and take your gold. 

However, when it comes to gold IRAs, there are regulations in place that require depositories to have insurance. This provides some protection for your investment as long as the value of your account doesn’t exceed what is stated by the custodian.

Apart from theft, there’s another risk associated with untrustworthy custodians. These custodians may engage in fraudulent activities, such as selling precious metals they don’t possess or have any intention of buying. To mitigate these risks, choose a custodian who offers insurance for financial transactions.

In summary, while investing in physical gold can be lucrative, it’s crucial to be aware of potential risks and take necessary precautions when selecting a custodian.

Should You Invest in a Gold IRA?

Investors often opt for gold to add diversity to their investment portfolio, either through a gold IRA or by purchasing the metal directly. While including gold in a well-diversified portfolio can be beneficial, carefully consider the risks associated with investing in this asset compared to others.

When planning for retirement, select assets that offer long-term returns. Unlike stocks and bonds, gold doesn’t provide any dividend or yield to its owners. The only opportunity for profit arises from the appreciation of the price of gold itself. 

Considering that the stock market typically experiences an average annual increase of around 7%, it would be uncommon for a gold IRA to outperform other retirement investments.

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Should You Get a Gold IRA? – FAQs

How Do You Buy Gold in an IRA?

You have two options for investing in gold within an IRA. The first option is to establish a self-directed gold IRA, which permits the purchase of physical gold and silver using retirement funds. Another option is to invest in a mutual fund or ETF that focuses on precious metals. However, it’s important to note that this doesn’t provide ownership of actual bullion.

What Is IRA Eligible Gold?

In a gold IRA, only specific types of gold investments are permitted. It’s acceptable to include bullion coins as long as they meet certain criteria. They must be legal tender and have a fineness of 99.5% or higher. Bullion bars and rounds can also be included in the IRA if their fineness exceeds 99.9%.

Who Holds My Gold in a Gold IRA?

If you possess a gold IRA, it’s required that the valuable metal be placed in the custody of an IRS-approved custodian. If you attempt to acquire the physical gold personally, this action will be considered as a distribution and subject to taxation accordingly.

The Bottom Line – Should You Get a Gold IRA

Gold IRAs are alternative investments, meaning they’re not publicly traded and require specialized knowledge to evaluate. Although gold has the potential for high returns, it’s essential to avoid being dazzled by its luster. 

The price of gold can unexpectedly plummet, so if you decide to invest when it’s on the rise, you must consider whether you’re buying at or near the market peak.

If a gold IRA is something you’re considering, it would be wise to seek guidance from a financial advisor who can help determine how this precious metal aligns with your overall portfolio goals. It’s only advisable to put some of your eggs in one asset basket. 

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Disclaimer: The authors of this post may be paid to recommend Goldco. The content on this website, including any positive reviews of Goldco may not be neutral or independent.

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