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Precious metals have been a prized investment for thousands of years across many areas of the world. Since long before modern technology, gold and silver have been indicators of wealth. Today, these investments offer similar levels of stability when compared to the risk and volatility of other markets.
It's possible to secure some of your retirement in precious metals, which provides a hedge against inflation and stock market fluctuations. Precious metals investments are one piece of a diversified portfolio. In order to do this, you must open a self-directed IRA and comply with IRS regulations regarding the precious metals.
The paperwork and red tape can seem overwhelming, especially without a financial background. So gold IRA companies help to walk you through it. They connect you to a custodian, explain the benefits and risks of investment, and help you choose which products are right for your needs.
But not all gold IRA companies are created equal. We've put together a list of the best in the industry based on their services, streamlining, history, and reputation.
Top 5: Best Gold IRA Companies
Goldco has been operating in the precious metals industry since 2006, giving them more than 15 years of experience. This makes them one of the older gold IRA companies on the market. Precious metals have only been legal to hold in an IRA since 1997.
Goldco's main focus is on helping clients to open and fund their gold IRAs. The goal is to connect clients with ideal investment-grade bullion at a low overall cost. Compared to the competition, Goldco's fees and pricing structure are both very reasonable.
Goldco was founded by Trevor Gerszt, who is a member of the National Ethics Committee. Prior to getting involved in precious metals, his main area of expertise was in financial investments like real estate. During the 2008 market crash, the importance of precious metals became much more prominent.
Goldco has also recently been sponsored by the conservative talk show commentator Sean Hannity. Sean Hannity chose to endorse Goldco after encouraging viewers to purchase precious metals because of current issues with inflation.
Trevor Gerszt launched a sister company to Goldco in 2017. This sister company is involved in cryptocurrency IRAs. Like precious metals IRAs, cryptocurrency retirement accounts involve alternative assets and self-directed IRAs.
This company is called Coin IRA. It is technically a separate entity from Goldco, but if you want to invest in cryptocurrency for retirement, your Goldco representative can work with your Coin IRA representative directly.
Not all gold IRA companies offer alternative assets like cryptocurrencies. The fact that Goldco does means that you have a chance to expand your diversification.
Goldco offers products for both gold and silver IRAs. Both of these accounts have the same regulations and paperwork to get started. But silver IRAs focus on silver precious metals, while gold IRAs focus on gold. Many people choose to invest in a combination of silver and gold, depending on their needs.
When you start using Goldco's IRA services, you will be given a dedicated account representative. This person will take you through all of the paperwork, making the transfer process much faster. They will also handle all the communication with your custodian and storage company for you. That's a huge level of streamlining that's difficult to compete with.
As you get your account set up, your representative will answer whatever questions you have. They will get to know you and your goals, and they'll make recommendations based on your potential needs.
Goldco has a wide range of gold and silver products available for purchase. These are compliant with the strict IRS guidelines regarding purity and origin.
When you open a gold IRA, you will need to work with a custodian and depository. The custodian is an institution that's licensed to maintain self-directed IRAs. The depository is an accredited facility that has the security necessary to protect your precious metals.
Different IRA companies have different preferred custodial partners. Goldco generally partners with Equity Trust as a custodian and Brinks Global Services as a depository company. Brinks has multiple depositories located throughout the US, so you can pick the one that works best for your region.
Goldco does have a minimum investment threshold. If you want to sign up with them, they recommend that you have at least $25,000 to invest. That's more than what a lot of the competition charges, so it may not be accessible to people with smaller retirement accounts.
There is an account setup fee of $50. This covers the cost of doing your paperwork, facilitating the transfer of funds, and having Goldco communicate with your custodian for you. Competitors who offer similar levels of service often charge $150 or more, so the low fee is impressive.
If you work with Equity Trust, you will need to pay about $80 in annual maintenance fees. All custodians charge maintenance fees, and some have additional charges for transactions and reports.
The storage fees will vary depending on the exact depository you choose. You can also expect to pay more if you have segregated storage, which is held separately from everyone else's. For nonsegregated storage, the cost is usually about $100 per year, while segregated storage may be $150 to $180 per year.
Goldco does have some offers in place for first time investors, though. For example, if you invest $50,000, the company will waive the setup fee and maintenance costs for the first year. They also have promotions that allow you to get back a portion of what you invest in silver coins.
One of the biggest drawbacks of precious metals is that they can be difficult to liquidate. You can't pay for groceries with silver, and if you need cash fast, local pawn shops are likely to offer much less than the gold is worth. That's why Goldco has a buyback program.
When you're ready to liquidate your holdings and take distributions, you can sell the precious metals back to Goldco. They will give you a buyback quote that is based on the current price of the metals. Goldco's buyback offers tend to be much more generous than an average pawn shop's.
Something to keep in mind is that Goldco works with customers for life. Even if you don't intend to make a purchase, you can call up your account representative to ask questions. They'll be happy to discuss your holdings and different economic factors with you. Once you're ready to sell, Goldco will still be there with their buyback offers.
A lifelong relationship with a gold IRA company is important. You want to have a dealer you trust when you add more assets to your account. And you want it to be as easy as possible to take your distributions when the time comes.
#2. Augusta Precious Metals
About Augusta Precious Metals
Augusta Precious Metals is a gold retailer that specializes in gold IRAs. They sell investment bullion that can be held in a self-directed IRA, and they have in-house teams of people to help with the paperwork and funding.
The biggest potential drawback of Augusta is that they have an even higher minimum investment threshold than Goldco. You're encouraged to work with them if you have $50,000 or more to invest in precious metals. So they're not going to be accessible to less wealthy individuals.
That said, the streamlining of their customer service might actually outcompete Goldco.
Augusta Precious Metals has been operating since 2012 and has spent a decade becoming one of the top names in the industry. The CEO is Isaac Nuriani, who is a member of the National Ethics Association as well as the Industry Council for Tangible Assets.
There's a basic fee of $50 for setting up your account. However, depending on your purchase, Augusta may waive that fee. They may also be willing to cover the costs of storage and maintenance for up to a decade if you are a high net worth client.
When you work with Augusta's preferred custodian and depository, you will pay $80 for maintenance and $100 for storage. The storage cost includes a full insurance policy that covers all of your items, so you can be reimbursed in case anything goes wrong.
Augusta Precious Metals does not charge any fees for shipping. They will send your precious metals to your depository of choice free of charge. If you make a purchase for your personal portfolio with cash, you will also have the option of having your items delivered to your physical home address.
The pricing of the products is also calculated in a very straightforward way. There is a markup of 5% on bullion. That's a little higher than with some companies, but it's much lower than the industry average. Augusta's pricing is very competitive because of how they operate.
There is even a price match guarantee. If you find another company that is selling the same product for a lower price, Augusta will match their quote. So you don't need to worry about whether you're missing out by taking the 5% markup over a company with extremely low overhead.
Custodian and Storage
Like many of the top gold IRA companies, Augusta Precious Metals prefers to work with Equity Trust. Equity Trust has one of the most solid reputations in the industry. This institution handles millions upon millions of dollars for its clients, and it has high satisfaction ratings from past customers.
The Equity Trust fee for maintenance is $80. This flat fee remains the same no matter how much you accumulate in your account. Flat fees are preferable to percentage-based fees, since this way you aren't penalized for accruing more wealth.
Augusta Precious Metals works with a large number of different depositories. They have stated that their preferred partner is the Delaware Depository in Delaware. This is one of the largest and most secure depositories in the country, and it is subject to Delaware's tax advantages.
However, if you have your heart set on a different location, there are options for you. Augusta Precious Metals works with depositories located in every region of the US, plus one international depository in Canada. There are depository options in New York, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Nevada, Utah, California, and Idaho.
Unfortunately, Augusta Precious Metals does not seem to have a depository agreement with any facilities in Texas. There are some other companies that partner with Texas depositories for those in the South.
Like many of the top competitors on the market, Augusta Precious Metals has a buyback program. You can call them for a quote when you're ready to liquidate your metals. They will also buy back metals that were bought for personal portfolios rather than retirement accounts.
You have the freedom to choose any buyer you want. But Augusta Precious Metals is a quick option for liquidation, especially since they tend to offer fair prices.
Client education is one of the most key pieces when it comes to good gold IRA companies. You want to feel empowered to make the best decisions for your future. Even if you don't invest with a company, they should help you feel confident and secure in your choices.
Augusta Precious Metals has a huge number of educational materials available online. You can get a free precious metals kit sent to you, which has information about the industry and different products. There's also an entire webinar that will walk you through the basics of precious metals investment.
Augusta has published multiple videos and tutorials regarding the industry. There's an entire video library that you can peruse. On top of this, you can read articles and blog posts by the staff regarding different global economic happenings.
There are also basic tools on the website. You can view the prices of precious metals in real time using the price chart. There's even a retirement calculator that will help you determine how much you need for retirement based on the current inflation rates.
#3. American Hartford Gold
About American Hartford Gold
American Hartford Gold is a business that operates out of the Los Angeles area. Their main focus is on providing precious metals IRAs, although they also allow the purchasing of bullion for a person's individual portfolio. The BBB states that they've been in business for 7 years, but their salespeople have over a decade of experience.
In addition to having the aforementioned positive customer reviews, American Hartford Gold has also been endorsed by some of the top conservative names in media. They are endorsed by former mayor Rudy Giuliani and conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly.
When you make a purchase with the company, you will have the option to buy different types of bullion. The catalog shows gold, silver, palladium, and platinum. The exact items available will vary depending on the company's inventory. Since there isn't any pricing shown, you will need to call to get a quote from one of the customer service representatives.
Fortunately, American Hartford Gold has one of the most attentive customer service teams. It's easy to get in contact with them no matter what time of day it is. For this reason, the company might be prioritized by people who need to call or message at odd hours.
Fees and Costs
As mentioned, you will need to contact the company directly over the phone to get a price quote. However, American Hartford Gold does pride itself on having prices that are not much higher than the spot price. Customers have mentioned that their buyback prices are also very fair.
Still, it's important to research all of the items before you buy them. You should find out how much your items are selling for on the open market, then compare that price to the quote you're getting. This will help you make sure that the markup is within an acceptable range for your needs.
There are some investment minimums to qualify to work with the company. If you want to invest in an IRA, you must have at least $10,000 to make a purchase. While that is a lower threshold than some of the competition, it still requires you to have a sizable nest egg saved up.
You also must meet an investment minimum if you are making a purchase for a non-IRA portfolio. You're encouraged to meet a threshold of at least $2,500 in this case. Since you aren't receiving personalized IRA services, the number is lower. But you must still be ready to invest a fair amount in investment grade bullion.
If you make a qualifying purchase of $10,000 or more, then American Hartford Gold will waive the shipping and storage fees for the first year. Keep in mind that you will need to pay annual storage fees after that. The storage fees will vary depending on the facility you use and the type of vault that you have.
If you work with one of American Hartford Gold's standard custodial partners, you can expect to pay about $180 per year in custodial maintenance fees. This goes directly to the custodian, not to American Hartford Gold itself.
As has been mentioned, you must store IRA metals in an accredited depository. American Hartford Gold does have some of the most robust storage options on the list. They work with a wide variety of companies including Delaware Depository, International Depository Service, and Brinks.
This gives customers access to hundreds of vaults located both in the US and overseas. You can talk to your service representative about which vault location best suits your specific needs.
Each company and vault has different storage fees. Usually you can expect the fees to range from $75 to $150. If you choose to have segregated storage, you will pay more. With segregated storage, your items are held separately from everybody else's. The exact gold that's entered into the vault is the gold that you'll remove later.
Non-segregated storage is still highly secure, though. All of the depositories in question undergo frequent audits to make sure that the contents of the vault match the paperwork. There are strong protections against fraud.
In keeping with that, all of the storage options are fully insured. So if there were to be any issues with theft or damage, you could be fully compensated for the cost.
If you make a purchase for your personal portfolio instead of an IRA, you can either have your items shipped directly to you or to a depository. Keep in mind that you will need to handle some shipping fees, depending on the size and weight of the package. But you can have the shipping fees waived if you meet a certain threshold.
When you are ready to liquidate your assets, you can use the buyback program. This is available to you whether you made an IRA or personal purchase.
Getting a buyback quote is simple. You'll call and speak to an agent. You will tell them which items you want to withdraw, and the agent will give you a price quote. Once you have confirmed the order, the money will be transferred to a bank account within a few days.
Another option is to have your precious metals themselves shipped to you. This allows you to bypass the buyback program entirely. You can do this if you aren't satisfied with the buyback price quotes, although you're unlikely to find anything higher than what American Hartford Gold offers in the industry.
#4. Birch Gold Group
About Birch Gold Group
Birch Gold Group was founded in 2003 and has been in business for 19 years. They serve customers in all 50 states from their headquarters in Burbank, California. The company's main focus is on helping people with opening and maintaining a precious metals IRA.
Birch Gold Group's staff members are extremely experienced in finance and the precious metals industry. In fact, some of the upper management has served on the Forbes Finance Council. One of the company's biggest focuses is on client education. The idea is that clients should be given enough information to make the precious metals investment decisions that are truly right for them.
As you work with Birch Gold Group, they will help to connect you to a custodian. If you already have a custodian in mind, then your Birch Gold Group representative should be able to work with them. However, their primary partner is Equity Trust Group, one of the most highly rated custodian options in the industry.
They will walk you through selecting the precious metals for your account. This involves teaching you about the different available products and the benefits and risks of each. Your customer service representative will get to know you, so they can recommend the products that best suit your goals.
After you make your initial investment, you will have ongoing contact with your specialist. They will always be available to answer questions about your holdings or the market. If you need any kind of economic update, they'll be the person to ask.
Pricing and Fees
There isn't a lot of pricing information available through the Birch Gold Group website. The company does have a $10,000 investment minimum to get started with an IRA. A few customers have been disgruntled that the website does not have enough information about this.
You will need to pay storage and custodial services. If you work with Equity Trust Company, you'll expect to pay about $75 for maintenance and $100 for storage. The storage options include full insurance for up to $1 billion against all risks. As such, you're totally protected.
Promotional pricing is also frequently offered. When you make a qualified purchase, Birch Gold Group states that they will give you certain amounts of free precious metals. To access these promotions, you generally need to invest more than the $10,000 minimum.
Some of this pricing may be variable based on changes to the depository or custodian. That's why there isn't a lot of concrete information available through the Birch Gold Group website. To find out more about the future, you can talk directly to your custodian or depository.
There are also some fees associated with Birch Gold Group itself, some of which might not be part of other companies. To get your IRA set up, there is a $50 fee. That's fairly standard, as it covers the cost of streamlining the paperwork and working one-on-one with an expert. The $50 fee is lower than what you'd be charged with many of the competitors.
There is a wire transfer fee as well, though. Every time you make a purchase and transfer funds through a bank wire, you will need to pay a fee of $30. The website doesn't say very much about this, so some customers have reported mild frustration with the situation.
Getting Set Up
The process of getting set up with an IRA is relatively simple. You will work with a dedicated account custodian, who will help you take care of the paperwork.
The first part of the process will involve the qualifying phase. This is when you'll explain how much you have to invest, what your goals are for the future, and what questions you have. Your representative will get to know you and answer your questions. They may also provide you with extra educational resources, like investment guides and articles.
Once you've determined that Birch Gold Group is the ideal company for you, then you will go through the application process. As part of the paperwork, you will need to provide documentation about yourself and your current retirement accounts. The information will be investigated and verified. Then you will sign a form to finalize the opening of the account.
You will then fund the account. Generally, the best way to do this is by using your existing retirement funds. You can roll them over without incurring any extra tax penalties.
Then you'll settle on your final purchase. As soon as the items have been purchased, they will be shipped to your depository of choice. At that point, your custodian will place them in your vault.
There are a few storage options available through Birch Gold Group. As always, segregated storage will cost more than non-segregated storage.
One of the options is the Delaware Depository. This is one of the most highly regarded choices on the East Coast because of its tax advantages and security. The Delaware Depository has been in operation since 1999 and is fully approved by the IRS to hold IRAs.
There's also Brinks Global Services. As mentioned, this security company has hundreds of depositories located throughout the US and the globe. They also have their own armored vehicles to handle large shipments.
The other option is to use a vault provided by International Depository Services. IDS has locations in Texas, Delaware, and Canada. So if you're looking for an international storage option that's still close by, you might prefer the Canadian depository choice.
#5. Noble Gold
Royal Survival Packs
In addition to focusing on precious metals IRAs, Noble Gold offers Royal Survival Packs. These can be delivered straight to your door through their Noble Express shipping service. Unlike IRAs, you cannot purchase these packs with your retirement funds.
The purpose of a Royal Survival Pack is to help you during an emergency. The package gives you easily liquidated assets that can be exchanged for currency. They are helpful if your country's currency suddenly plunges, or if you're worried about a disaster that would cause your bank to be inaccessible.
Each pack is designed with a mix of different easily-liquidated items. The makeup of the pack will vary depending on prices. Rather than investing in specific items, you merely pay a lump sum ranging from $5,000 to $500,000. You will receive metals worth this much in turn.
If you're preparing for a long term emergency, or you're providing for a large family, Noble Gold recommends investing in one of the larger survival packs. It's also important to make sure that you have appropriate safe storage, as theft of these assets could be devastating.
Noble Gold offers a variety of both gold and silver bullion, ranging from bars to coins. There are coins available from multiple sovereign mints in addition to the US Mint. You can sign up for an account online within about ten minutes, provided you have all the information readily available for the application.
You also have the option to have a free consultation before signing up for an account. During this consultation, a company representative will talk to you about your options. They will discuss what you want from your investments and answer your questions. This will help you decide whether an IRA is right for you.
The representative may also connect you with educational resources. There are many educational resources available through the Noble Gold website, including an investment guide and multiple articles about economics.
Noble Gold is one of the only precious metals IRA companies that has storage available in Texas. However, they aren't the only one anymore. If you live in the South and want your precious metals stored in the Lone Star State, Noble Gold is a good option.
They make Texas storage available through their partnership with International Depository Services. This is the same Texas depository that is offered by Birch Gold Group. As mentioned, this storage facility has the maximum security designations required by the IRS for IRA storage.
You can also store your items in Canada or Delaware through the other IDS depositories. However, the range of options is not quite as broad as with some companies, since Noble Gold appears to be partnered with IDS alone. They don't have ongoing partnerships with other major storage companies.
There is a fairly transparent fee structure available for Noble Gold accounts. As with any IRA, you will pay annual fees for maintenance and storage. The cost of a precious metals IRA is $80 for maintenance and anywhere from $150 to $225 for storage. That is slightly more expensive storage than the other options, but the lower investment minimums make up for it.
Noble Gold has another sign-up incentive offered as well. If you open a precious metals IRA with them as a new customer, then they will cover the fees for your first year. You won't need to worry about storage or maintenance costs until the following year.
With other companies, you need to meet a certain purchase threshold to make use of incentives like this. But Noble Gold appears to be offering it for most first time customers. You can talk to a representative about whether this offer is still available and would apply to you.
Noble Gold Management
Despite being a fast-growing and successful company, Noble Gold remains relatively small and close knit. The founders have a huge say in how the business is run. They are the controlling partners in the business. One of the founders, Colin Plume, also acts as the CEO. Both of the founders believe that they have a personal commitment to every new customer.
Some people might hesitate because of how new Noble Gold is compared to the competition. But the founders have an impressive amount of experience. Both of them are extremely familiar with precious metals IRAs and the precious metals industry. They have over two decades of prior experience in the industry.
Even though the company's main focus is on precious metals, they also sometimes work with accounting and estate planning specialists. This helps them to create more detailed plans for the financial future of their clients, in which precious metals play just one part.
The company mission statement is centered on friendliness, transparency, and a high degree of honesty.
Precious metals IRAs have become more and more popular with the economic volatility of the last few decades. People want to know that when the economy is struggling, their hard-earned retirement savings will be protected. A precious metals investment gives you a cushion while waiting for your regular investments to rebound.
A good gold IRA company will be transparent, helpful, and educational. It's important to work with a company that has positive past customer feedback, as well as to work with companies that don't have high pressure sales tactics. Instead of being coerced into buying things you don't need, you should feel confident that you're making the right decision for your future.
Every company on this list has excellent feedback and an excellent reputation. They have all established themselves as industry leaders with high levels of integrity. So the best choice for you really comes down to policy.
Ultimately, our top pick overall is Goldco. This company has been dominating the gold IRA market for about a decade, and for good reason. They consistently provide high quality service and have ongoing relationships with their clients. If there are ever any issues, Goldco's representatives immediately make an effort to make it right.