What Is A Gold IRA? The Ultimate Comprehensive Guide

So you’ve been hearing a lot about Gold IRAs lately and you’re curious about what they are.

Well, wonder no more! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Gold IRAs, including what they are, how they work, and why you might want to consider investing in them.

Ready to learn more?

Keep reading!

What Is A Gold IRA?

It’s a specific type of individual retirement account (IRA) that allows you to invest in gold as a qualified retirement asset rather than as a Roth IRA, which is limited to stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other securities.

With a gold IRA account, you can invest in physical precious metals like gold bullion coins and bars, silver, platinum, and palladium, as well as securities related to other precious metals.

These must be stored separately from your traditional IRA, but the rules for gold IRAs are similar to regular IRAs otherwise – including contribution limits and distributions.

You can open a gold IRA through any broker-dealer or custodian.

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How Do Gold IRAs Work?

You can set one up through a broker, and it functions similarly to a traditional IRA.

The main difference is that with a Gold IRA, you can purchase gold in various forms, such as gold coins, bars, or ingots.

Collectibles are not allowed and gold must meet certain purity requirements.

Once you’ve opened an account with them, you can then begin purchasing gold.

The broker will then have the gold transported to your chosen depository/bank for storage.

It’s important to note that you cannot store your IRA gold in your residence – if you ever come to physically possess the gold in your IRA, the IRS will count that as a withdrawal and penalize you accordingly.

You may sell your metal assets at any time, and if you do so, you must pay a tax penalty or re-invest those gains in an IRA.

Types Of Gold IRAs

There are three types of Gold IRAs:

1. Traditional Gold IRA

With traditional gold IRAs, you contribute pretax dollars, which means your contributions go in before Uncle Sam takes his cut.

That lowers your taxable income for the year, which is a good thing.

And any earnings on your investment grow tax-deferred, which is even better.

That means you don’t have to pay taxes on the gains until you withdraw the money in retirement.

When you do take withdrawals in retirement, they are taxed as ordinary income.

2. Roth Gold IRA

With a Roth, you contribute after-tax money, so there’s no immediate tax advantage.

However, the money grows tax-free and you don’t pay taxes when you begin taking distributions at retirement.

Plus, if you’re in a higher tax bracket when you retire, your Roth distributions will be taxed at a lower rate than if you had traditional pre-tax savings. 

3. SEP Gold IRAs

SEP gold IRAs are available to employees of small businesses or self-employed individuals.

Only taxed on withdrawals during retirement rather than any contributions, they’re a great way to save for the future.

The IRS limits contributions for SEP IRAs of any kind, but individuals can set aside up to 25% of compensation or $58,000 for 2021 ($61,000 for 2022)—whichever is less.

Gold IRAs Fees And Additional Costs

1. Account setup fees

There is typically a setup fee to establish gold IRA accounts, which is around $50 to a few hundred dollars.

In some cases, if you contribute a large amount i.e. more than $30,000, some custodians will waive the setup fee.

2. Custodian annual maintenance fee 

Some gold IRA companies charge a flat annual maintenance fee of $75 to $300.

The fee may be higher for larger accounts, e.g. $175 for accounts below $100,000 or $225 for those above $100,000.

3. Seller fees

The cost of the gold won’t change, but you’ll be paying more than the current market price.

This fee is determined by market trends and the sort of physical gold you want to buy.

Related: Gold IRA vs Physical Gold: Which is Better for You?

Sellers may also charge commissions and fees for facilitating the transaction: a typical fee per transaction is $40.

4. Storage fees

If you want to keep your gold in an IRA, it must be stored in a secure location. The amount of gold you have and the type of storage (private or public) will affect the fee, which can be either a flat rate or a percentage of the account’s value.

5. Insurance fees

The costs of a gold IRA custodian must be broken out separately because different charges may apply to both storage and insurance.

Gold IRA storage and insurance costs generally range from $100 to $300 per year.

6. Wire transfer fees

The custodian could charge a fee of approximately $25 per wire transfer to cover the costs incurred.

7. Cash-out fees

The custodian may charge a final cash-out fee of around $250 if you close your account.

Benefits of Gold IRA

When it comes to retirement planning, there are a lot of different options out there. One option that has gained popularity in recent years is investing in a Gold IRA. Gold IRAs can offer a number of benefits, including:

1. Diversification

One of the biggest benefits of a Gold IRA is diversification.

By investing in gold, you can help to protect your retirement savings from the volatility of the stock market.

Gold has a history of maintaining its value over time, even during periods of economic downturn. This makes it an ideal investment for retirement planning.

2. Inflation protection

Another benefit of a Gold IRA is inflation protection.

Over time, the purchasing power of paper money tends to decline due to inflation.

This is not the case with gold.

As inflation increases, the value of gold typically goes up as well.

This makes gold a great way to protect your purchasing power over the long term.

3. Long-term growth potential

Finally, gold has the potential for long-term growth.

Gold’s price has fluctuated in the short term, but it has tended to increase over time.

This means that gold can offer you the potential for significant returns over the long haul.

If you’re looking for an investment that can provide you with growth potential and inflation protection, a Gold IRA may be right for you.

Risks Of Gold IRAs

While there can be some benefits to this type of investment, there are also some risks to be aware of.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about investing in a Gold IRA like:

1. Fluctuation

First, it’s important to remember that the value of gold can fluctuate pretty dramatically.

So, if you invest in gold, there’s a chance that the value of your investment could go down significantly.

That being said, the price of gold is currently at an all-time high, so there’s also a chance that it could continue to go up.

Related: 13+ Major Gold IRA Scams That Could Cost You Millions 😱😨

2. Volatility

Another thing to keep in mind is that gold can be pretty volatile.

So, if you’re looking for a stable investment, gold might not be the best option.

Additionally, gold isn’t always easy to sell.

Related: How To Invest $100K

If you need to cash out your investment quickly, it might not be as simple as selling paper assets, stocks, or other investments.

3. Taxes

Finally, it’s important to remember that you may have to pay gold IRA taxes on your gains if you invest in a Gold IRA.

So, if you’re thinking about investing in gold, make sure you understand the tax implications first.

Investing in a Gold IRA can be a good way to diversify your portfolio and potentially earn some good returns.

However, there are also some risks involved. So, make sure you do your research and understand all the potential pros and cons before making any decisions.

Gold IRA Pros And Cons


  • Adding gold to a retirement portfolio can help reduce volatility and risk
  • Gold is a tangible asset that can be stored and retrieved easily
  • Gold has been shown to hold its value well over time
  • It’s a self-directed IRA
  • Contributions to traditional self-directed IRAs are tax-deductible


  • It doesn’t pay interest so tax-free growth isn’t a thing with gold IRAs
  • Higher fees than other IRAs
  • Gold can be difficult to trade or sell in certain market conditions
  • The price of gold is susceptible to dramatic changes, which could impact the value of your investment
  • A custodian is needed to manage the account on your behalf. Can’t manage it on your own

How To Fund A Gold IRA Account?

One thing you will need to do before you can start investing in a gold IRA is to fund your account.
There are 3 primary ways to do this including:

1. Cash

You can make cash contributions to your account and use the money to purchase gold and other precious metals.
This is a simple way to get started, but it does require you have the cash on hand to make the contribution.

2. Asset Transfer

Another alternative is to move assets from one IRA into your gold IRA.
You can submit the paperwork to transfer assets from another IRA to your new account if you have another IRA with gold, cash, or securities in it.
The assets will be delivered once they’ve been sent; you may then sell them in order to acquire precious metals as required.

3. 401(k) Rollover

Lastly, you may be able to rollover your 401(k) or other retirement plans into a gold IRA.
This permits you to keep your retirement savings invested in gold without having to liquidate assets or pay taxes on the transfer.

Related: What Is A Gold IRA Rollover?

Additional few things you need to keep in mind.

You can’t directly fund your account with gold bullion or coins that you own. Instead, you’ll need to use assets already in your gold IRA to purchase precious metals.

The metals in your gold IRA cannot be withdrawn until retirement and must be stored at an approved depository.

You can only purchase certain types of precious metals for your IRA. Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium are all allowed, but other types of metals are not.

Related: Gold IRA Rollover Versus Transfer: What’s The Difference?

What Type Of Gold Or Precious Metals Can Be Held In A Gold IRA Account?

You’re able to purchase and keep more than just gold in your Gold IRA. There are actually four precious metals that the IRS permits:

  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Palladium

The IRS has also some pretty specific requirements.

Gold IRAs, for example, cannot hold gold that is less than 99.5% pure.

Related: What Is IRA Eligible Gold? Full Details And Specifications

That means:

  • American Buffalo coins,
  • Chinese Panda coins, and
  • Credit Suisse bars

are all fair game.

One exception to this rule is American Eagle coins, which are 91.67% pure and can still be included in a gold IRA.

Silver coins and bars must be 99.9% pure, while platinum and palladium coins and bars must be 99.95% pure.

So if you’re not sure whether your precious metals meet the requirements, just check with your gold IRA provider. They should be able to help you out.

Where Is The Physical Gold Stored?

When you open a Gold IRA, you can’t just take possession of the gold and keep it in a safe in your home.

The IRS has rules about that.

In order to keep your gold secure, you need to choose a depository company that specializes in storing metals.

They will usually charge you an annual fee for their services.

But it’s worth it to know that your gold is in good hands.

When you want to take distributions from your IRA, the depository will ship the gold to you.

Or, if you prefer, they can sell the gold and send you the cash.

Related: How To Invest $10 Million

Either way, you will have easy access to your gold when you need it.

When it comes to storing physical gold, there are two primary choices:

segregated and commingled storage.

In segregated storage, your gold is kept separate from other customers’ coins and bars at all times.

This means that when you add gold to the storage, you can be confident that it will remain yours until you’re ready to take it out and sell it.

On the other hand, commingled storage is when the gold is stored alongside other customers’ metal.

The advantage of this option is that it can be less expensive than segregated storage.

However, it’s important to note that you may not receive the same gold bars and coins when you remove your gold from storage.

Instead, you’ll receive the equivalent metal.

Both types of storage provide similar levels of security, so when choosing a storage option, it’s important to consider factors like insurance coverage and the cost of keeping your metals in the depository.

When Can I Withdraw Funds From My Gold IRA?

Gold IRAs are a great way to save for retirement, and the government even provides some tax benefits to encourage people to use them.

Although you have more control over how to use the funds in your gold IRA, there are still some restrictions.

For example, you cannot make withdrawals until you turn 59 ½.

If you withdraw funds before they reach the age of maturity, you will be subject to a 10% penalty.

After reaching retirement age, all withdrawals are counted as income and taxed accordingly.

With a traditional IRA, you have to start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) once you turn 70 ½.

That means you’re forced to withdraw a certain amount of money each year, or you’ll face penalties.

With a Roth IRA, you can withdraw your contributions any time without penalty, and you can withdraw earnings without restriction once you turn 59 ½.

In either case, your withdrawals are tax-free.

However, if you withdraw money from your Gold IRA before you’re 59 ½, you’ll have to pay income tax plus a 10% penalty, with a few exceptions.

Where Can You Open A Gold IRA Account?

We’ve put up a complete list of the greatest gold IRA providers for you to select from.

We only recommend companies that we know and trust, so you can be confident that your money is in good hands.

One such option is:

Augusta Precious Metals

If you’re looking for the best option to invest in a gold IRA, check out our top gold IRA providers list first.

Our number one pick is Augusta Precious Metals – and boy they do offer a lot.

  • A+ BBB rating? Check.
  • Zero complaints since their inception? Check.
  • Thousands of rave reviews? Check.
  • Money Magazine’s top-pick designation? Check!

Read the complete Augusta Precious Metals Review here.

Plus, if you take advantage of their services, they’ll even pay all custodial and storage fees for up to 10 years!

Now that’s what I call an incredible deal.

You’d be hard-pressed to find another company offering even close to that level of value for their customers.

When you’re ready to open a gold IRA account, just one of the few options you think that’s best for you to get started.

Should You Invest In A Gold Or Precious Metals IRA?

So, is a gold or approved precious metals IRA the right choice for you?

The answer to that question depends on your personal financial situation and investment goals.

If you want to protect your assets from potential stock market crashes and inflation, then a gold or precious metals IRA may be a wise decision.

Speak with an experienced financial advisor to learn more about whether this type of retirement account is right for you.