… Which Ones Can You Really Trust?

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Best Gold IRA Companies 2021

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Advantage Gold
  Years In Business 14 15 5
  BCA Rating AA rating
  BCA Complaints 0 0 0
  Trustlink Rating 5 star gold ira company reviews 4.5 star gold ira companies reviews 5 star gold ira company reviews
  Trustlink Reviews 250+ 1000+ 400+
  Dedicated IRA dept
  Min Gold IRA Investment $25,000 $10,000 $5,000
  Crypto IRA
(via sister company)
  IRA Transfer Process within 2 business days 2 business days 3 to 5 business days
  401k Rollover Process 14 to 28 days 15 to 30 days 7 to 10 days
  Segregated Storage
  Buy Back Policy
  Main Promotion Up to 10% back in FREE silver 7 day delivery guarantee first year fees waived
  Other Promotion first year fees waived first year fees waived
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Sifting through the many Gold IRA Companies out there and choosing a trustworthy, reliable and reputable one to work with is the next step once you’ve made the decision to invest in a Gold IRA to protect and enhance your retirement. You’ve worked hard to provide for your latter years and it’s essential to safeguard and grow your savings and investments.

It is equally as important to understand the criteria for choosing the right company to work with and to make enlightened and informed decisions about the company that is right for you as it is to understand the process for setting up your Gold IRA.

We hope that our Reviews of the Leading Gold IRA Companies and the following tips will help you make your selection.

10 Top Tips For Comparing Gold IRA Companies… and For Identifying Ones You Can Really Trust

gold backed ira

It is essential when researching Gold IRA Companies that you know how to identify one that is reputable, trustworthy and reliable, and one that is able to give you the comprehensive service that you require.

As part of your research and due diligence we recommend that in addition to reading third party reviews and ratings you also call some of the companies yourself in order to get a feel for how they operate and to assess how comfortable you feel with them.

Here are some important considerations and questions to ask:

#1 – Does The Gold IRA Company Have Expertize In Retirement Funds as Well as Precious Metals?

If you choose Gold IRA Companies that have a specialized department and/or staff with expertise in retirement funds it will make the Gold IRA set up, transfer or rollover process much quicker and simpler for you since they will be able to take care of everything for you in-house.

Recommendation: IRA rules and the associated tax implications and benefits can be a bit of a minefield at the best of times, and even more so when a specialised type of IRA such as a precious metals one is involved. For this reason it is wise to work with a company that has expertise in these areas.

#2 – How Accessible Are They?

It’s best to choose a company that is responsive over the phone and is available to answer your call whenever you feel the need to speak to someone (during normal business hours of course). Your retirement is important to you so it is essential that you are able to get a feel for, and feel comfortable with, both the company and the personnel. It’s difficult to do that by email alone.

Some of the better Gold IRA companies will allocate an account representative to you once you become a customer. This is the ideal scenario because they will be acquainted with your account and your individual circumstances.

Recommendation: Select a company that you can talk to and which has a good track record for customer service. Steer clear of any who appear to be ‘pushy’. You should also be wary of anyone who cold calls you and tries to lure you with all sorts of offers and ‘special deals’.

#3 – How Are Their Gold IRA Fees Structured?

Do they offer flat fees or scaled fees?.. Many new investors realize too late the impact that scaled admin and storage fees have over time. Scaled fees are a percentage of your fund (typically 0.1%).

This will not be so relevant if your account is a smaller one of say, less than $100,000 but if you are investing more than that it is essential. Bear in mind that even if your initial investment is smaller, with inflation and appreciation your account will grow naturally – and so will your fee if it is scaled. Plus you may decide to add further funds at a later date.

A retirement account such as a Gold backed IRA is normally a long term investment, and over a period of 10 to 20 years you could end up paying thousands of dollars in fees unnecessarily if they are scaled. The table below gives examples of this:

Investment Balance Flat Annual Fees Scaled Fees @ 0.1%
$250,000 $250 $250
$500,000 $250 $500
$1,000,000 $250 $1000
$5,000,000 $250 $5000

Note: Some of the top Gold IRA companies will waive set up fees and storage/admin fees in year one for certain minimum investment levels.

Recommendation: Choose a company that charges low flat rate admin and storage fees and be wary of any companies who tell you that they offer flat fees just to lure you in, then slip in additional fees later on in the process. Check whether the company you are considering using will waive their set up and first year’s fees.

#4 – What Is Their Gold IRA Account Set Up Procedure and Timescale?

You want the account set up to be as effortless as possible on your part, and without it taking any longer than necessary. Some companies will do pretty much everything for you including completing all the Gold IRA paperwork on your behalf and just sending it to you to check and sign. This is the ideal scenario!

Recommendation: When speaking to a Company ask them how much involvement is required by you, what their set up process is and how long it takes. The least you have to do is obviously the better (provided of course you are entrusting an expert to do it for you) and you don’t want it dragging on for too long. Be wary of any companies who are unable or unprepared to give you a timescale. Between two and four weeks is reasonable. This will vary according to your particular circumstances and whether it’s a new IRA, a transfer or a rollover.

#5 – What Are Their Delivery Timescales For Your Precious Metals?

An important part of the process is the delivery then storage of your metals. You want the delivery to be prompt and seamless so that you can then relax in the knowledge that everything has been completed and taken care of.

One of the biggest topics for customer complaints about precious metals companies is delivery times. Some can take many months. There have even been incidences of unscrupulous dealers offering lower prices to lure customers away from their competitors by speculating on future spot prices. Then when their gamble went wrong they had to wait (and pray) for the spot price to get to where they projected in order to fulfil the contract.

Recommendation: Ask the Company what their delivery times and terms are. Some of the more trusted Gold IRA companies offer guarantees backed up by compensation schemes for late deliveries.

#6 – How Are Your Precious Metals Stored at The Depository?


With Gold IRAs the IRS rules dictate that up to the age of 59½ you cannot hold the metals yourself and that instead they need to be stored on your behalf at a depository.

You should always opt for segregated (dedicated) storage at the depository to ensure that your metals do not get commingled (mixed) or damaged with inferior products that have been sent there by a different company for their customers. Segregated storage is far more safe and secure.

Taking it a stage further there are some depositories that will allow segregated storage of gold but not of silver. This is relevant information you need to know from the Gold IRA company that you select because you may decide to include some silver as well as gold in your Gold IRA either from the outset or at some point in the future. (Note that the term ‘Gold IRA’ is often a generic term for a Precious Metals IRA). It may surprise you to learn that some gold IRA companies are unaware that their preferred depository differentiates between gold and silver when it comes to segregated storage!

Beware of unscrupulous dealers who try to hook you in with lower prices based on commingled storage, then try to up sell you on the benefits of (higher priced) segregated storage later on.

You also want to check whether the metals are allocated or non allocated whilst in storage. Allocated means that in effect they have your name on them. This would be vitally important in a situation whereby the storage company went out of business because metals that are allocated personally to you could not be grabbed by their creditors.

Recommendation: Only consider Gold IRA Companies that offer segregated and allocated storage as standard for all metal types and which include this in their storage fees as a matter of course. Make sure that their preferred depository is of high repute.

#7 – Are They Trying To Promote a Particular Type of Coin or Product For Your Gold IRA?

There are pros and cons with both bullion and rare coins. Bullion coins are valued in accordance with the market price of gold. Rare coins are valued in accordance with their rarity and the demand for them. This makes bullion coins a less risky investment even though you could make more profit with rare coins.

It is important to be aware of this and not be railroaded into buying a particular type of coin by the Gold IRA companies themselves or by any of their representatives who have their own interests (higher margins and/or commissions) at heart rather than those of their customers. Typically such companies will use the ‘bait and switch’ sales/advertising approach, i.e. they hook you in with promises of special deals and low dealer fees then use clever, influential sales tactics to persuade you to buy higher priced rare coins which give them much higher profit margins.

Recommendation: Only consider gold IRA companies that have a strong reputation and which do not try to push you into buying one particular type of coin, particularly after advertising a different type. Different types of gold coins

#8 – Does The Company Have a Precious Metals Buyback Program?

There may come a time when you want or need to liquidate your precious metals investment. In these circumstances you will want to get a fair value for them and you will want the procedure to be quick and straightforward. It will obviously be easier if you already have a relationship with the company you use for liquidation and if they are familiar with your account and circumstances. You will want them to take your best interests into account rather than taking advantage of your situation to make a quick profit.

Recommendation: Start with the end in mind. Check prices and delivery times for selling your metals back to the Company at the outset when you are doing your initial research and reviews.

#9 – Are They a Well Established Gold IRA Company With a Solid Reputation?

Only consider Gold IRA Companies that have a good public reputation and have been in business for a number of years, and ones that have been endorsed by independent, reliable sources such as investment magazines and consumer advocacy sites.

Recommendation: Choose a vendor who is accredited by some sort of trade association or consumer protection organization. This is because they will have had to be vetted by the organization before being accredited and it demonstrates that the particular vendor is showing transparency. This includes disclosing publically full details of any previous customer disputes and an update on if and how they have been resolved.

There are 3 independent resources that have an excellent reputation for providing company performance data and consumer reviews, namely the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) and Trustlink.

These are all third party, neutral websites which promote honest reviews from genuine customers and which have certain security measures in place to detect and prevent fraudulent reviews.

Our reviews, ratings, comparisons, recommendations and conclusions regarding all the Gold IRA Companies referred to on this site take all of the information posted on these independent sites into account, as well as, amongst other things, comments, both positive and negative, posted online by consumers who have used the companies in question.

#10 – Keep Yourself Updated On Any Gold Scams Operated By Unscrupulous Gold IRA Companies

Our final tip is not in the form of a question to ask the various companies that you’re considering using. Instead it’s a recommendation that you give yourself the maximum protection against fraudsters.

Gold scams have been around for centuries, and with advances in technology and more complex rules and regulations to exploit, nowadays they are harder than ever to detect. For that reason it is essential that you guard against complacency and prevent yourself from being tricked into thinking that all the offers being made to you are legitimate and safe.

Some of the scams around today could put a serious dent into your finances by luring you (unwittingly) into an instant and significant loss.

Recommendation: Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Do your due diligence and research into a company’s reputation, ratings and customer reviews before doing any business with them.


  • Choosing the right Gold IRA company to work with is vitally important. Unfortunately there are many unscrupulous gold dealers around waiting to prey on inexperienced investors. There have been many scandals and horror stories surrounding the precious metals industry and associated with investing in gold. We hope that if you follow all the guidelines above you won’t get involved in one!
  • We recommend that you don’t rely just on third party reviews and ratings for your research and that you call some of the companies yourself in order to get a feel for how they operate and to assess how comfortable you feel with them. Ask them the questions we have brought to your attention above plus any others you can think of that might be relevant to your personal circumstances. If you do that you will soon get a gut feeling about which company or companies you would feel comfortable trusting your retirement to.
  • By knowing the relevant questions to ask it will be easier to flush out the less professional and less equipped ones and those who have their own interests rather than yours at heart. You may well discover that when you ask some of the detailed questions referred to above some of the Gold IRA Companies purporting to be experts won’t know what you’re talking about. That of course should raise a red flag.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Gold IRAs

#1 – How Does a Gold IRA Work?

gold-iraA Gold IRA is a self directed IRA which, in accordance and compliance with IRS rules, allows you to include gold in its physical form. This offers you the opportunity to invest in gold in a very tax effective way and to protect your retirement plan from the ravages of inflation. It can provide the security you need not just for you but for your family and loved ones too.

The top Gold IRA Companies are staffed with experts in all aspects of retirement planning and the IRS rules, particularly those appertaining to including physical precious metals in your retirement account.

Nowadays investing in gold is not a privilege confined to the rich and famous. Anyone has the opportunity to buy gold right now but the only way you could do so as part of your retirement account is to have this very specific type of IRA that allows you to hold physical gold as part of your portfolio.

#2 – Can I Only Include Physical Gold In a Gold IRA?

You’ll be able to hold other precious metals as well including silver, platinum and even palladium. That’s because gold IRA is a generic term. So this account is not just for gold, and most experts recommend including at least gold and silver into this type of precious metals IRA because of the huge growth potential for both of these commodities. In fact you are not just restricted to precious metals either (more about that below).

Most Gold IRA Companies report that normally their clients initially contact them about including just gold but end up including silver too, once they have learnt of its potential.

#3 – Why Should I Invest In a Gold IRA?

  • Protection Against Inflation and Economic Turmoil

The main reason why you want to invest in a Gold IRA is that it’s a fantastic way to protect your retirement portfolio and all of the investments inside of it from inflation and economic turmoil. The one thing that happens when our money gets inflated is that it becomes less valuable and this has a knock on effect on the value of all our traditional types of investments.

What do not become less valuable, and historically have never been affected by inflation at all, are gold and precious metals. Precious metals and gold in particular typically go up in value when the economy is struggling and as the US dollar becomes weaker and weaker. So it obviously makes sense to want to have gold as part of your retirement plan to safeguard its value and investing in gold is one of the best things to do to protect yourself against a struggling economy.

rising price of gold

As the value of gold goes up, so does the value of your Gold backed IRA. Gold went up in value for 12 years in a row between 2001 and 2012. Although a pull back followed for a few years, by 2020 the price of gold was back up to and beyond its previous all time highs. This demonstrates why gold should be viewed as a long term investment, because the overall trend over time is always upwards. This is also why it is so suitable to be included as part of your retirement plan.

  • Tax Benefits

Another factor not to be overlooked with a Gold ira is the tax benefit. There are legitimately no tax consequences and no requirements to declare your precious metals IRA to the IRS. Plus there are no tax penalties or implications when you transfer assets to another suitable retirement or investment plan. Your chosen Gold IRA Company should be able to offer you advice on all of this.

  • You Can Invest In Gold With No Money Down

Transferring or rolling over part or all of an existing retirement account such as a 401k into a Gold IRA effectively enables you to invest in gold without having to find the surplus cash to do so. This is because you will be using funds that are otherwise locked away from you and may well be under performing in their current investment format.

So yes, when you choose to invest in a Gold Ira you really can diversify into gold investment without having to worry about where to find the funds!

#4 – Can I Include Gold In my Current Retirement Plan?

Retirement Plan  

Gold Stocks Allowed?


Gold ETFs Allowed?


Gold Bullion Allowed?


Roth Option?

401k Possibly Possibly No Yes
Solo 401k Yes Yes Yes Yes
403b Possibly Possibly No Yes
457b Possibly Possibly No Yes
Annuity Possibly Possibly No No
ESOP Possibly No No Yes
Gold/Precious Metals IRA Yes Yes Yes Yes
Keogh Plan Possibly Possibly No No
Money Purchase Plan Possibly Possibly No No
Profit Sharing Plan Possibly No No No
SARSEP Yes Yes Possibly No
SEP IRA Yes Yes Possibly Yes
SIMPLE IRA Yes Yes Possibly Yes
Traditional IRA Yes Yes No Yes
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) No No No No

Note: ‘Possibly’ means it is at the discretion of the plan provider. Should they not allow investment in gold within your current plan you will need to make a gold IRA rollover.

#5 – Can I Transfer or Rollover My Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Into a Gold IRA?

TSPIf you’ve worked for the Government, either as a civilian or in the uniformed military then you most probably have your retirement savings invested in a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). You might be unaware that TSPs give you very limited flexibility to diversify your savings since the government has total control over them. It might surprise you too that your TSP is most probably costing you money.

The good news is that there is a solution. You can easily and simply take the control back from the Government by transferring or rolling your TSP account into a Gold IRA. This will enable you to include physical gold and other precious metals in your retirement fund. If this is something that might be of interest to you, you will find comprehensive information on our page TSP Rollover To Gold: Converting Your Thrift Savings Plan To a Gold IRA.

It is highly recommended that you research which Gold IRA Companies have knowledge of and expertise in TSPs if you are considering this option.

#6 – What Is The Difference Between an IRA Transfer and an IRA Rollover?

Irrespective of whether your existing plan is a 401k, 403b, TSP or any other type of IRA or retirement plan it could be transferred or rolled over to a Gold / Precious Metals IRA.

There is much confusion between IRA transfers and IRA rollovers. These are quite different even though a lot of people think they are the same thing.

What is a Gold IRA transfer?

With a transfer into an IRA account you are in effect closing down one investment vehicle and moving everything from it into one centralised investment place or location. You are aggregating or grouping your investments into a different account that already exists.

What is a Gold IRA rollover?

With a rollover on the other hand you are moving one IRA into a different one.

If you confuse the two processes you could well waste money in fees and lost tax benefits. Gold IRA Companies are on hand to guide you and make sure that doesn’t happen.

With both transfers and rollovers you are moving funds from one account to another and the funding scheme is the same. The fundamental difference is that with a transfer you sacrifice one account for another whereas with a rollover the original source account can survive.

Additional funding is another important consideration. With a transfer you have the option to add new funds or just transfer across from an already existing collection of funds. With a rollover you are just taking funds that already exist and rolling them.

Transferring an IRA

Provided the assets go from one custodian to another custodian you can do this at any time with an existing plan. In this scenario the check or transfer is sent by the custodian of your existing account directly to the custodian of your new precious metals retirement account. There is no limit on the amount of transfers you can do.

Rolling Over an IRA

When you already have a 401k or IRA, irrespective of whether it is a Roth or a traditional one, you can choose to rollover just a part of it or the whole of it into a Gold IRA. Typically 401k’s are rolled over when you change employment (and you need to decide what to do with the funds that have accumulated in your retirement fund with your previous employment) or when you reach retirement.

A rollover takes place when the proceeds of your existing retirement account are withdrawn and sent to you, and you then deposit these funds into the custodial account of another retirement account. Provided you redeposit the funds within 60 days there are no tax implications or penalties on the withdrawn money. The same money can only be rolled over once in any 12 month period for the tax deferred status of your retirement fund to be preserved.

Tip: There are different regulations involved for transfers and rollovers and there are implications for getting things wrong.

It’s best to choose a Gold IRA Company which has expertise in the IRS rules and regulations governing retirement plans as well as expertise in precious metals. This is the one we recommend.

#7 – Do I Have To Transfer Or Rollover The Whole Of My Existing Retirement Fund?

You have the option of making full or partial rollovers or transfers. The choice is yours.

#8 – What Kind Of Investments Can I Include in a Gold IRA?

This is basically going to be a self-directed IRA, so you will have the flexibility to invest in any type of company or stock that you want, as well as precious metals. You don’t have to just buy gold and put it in this IRA. You can put all of your investments in this vehicle. This is the only type of retirement account that lets you keep gold and other precious metals as part of your holdings.

You won’t be able to buy gold as a retirement option any other way, so don’t let this confuse you at all and think that you are only opening this because you’re specifically going to use it just to buy gold.

What most people like to do when setting up this type of retirement account is to buy their gold from a reputable online dealer who also specializes in retirement investing (AKA gold IRA companies). Having just one party to deal with everything makes the whole process much quicker, more convenient and more straightforward. So this is certainly something you want to keep on the lookout for.

#9 – What Types of Bullion Can I Include In a Gold IRA?

You are permitted by the US government, under the terms of the 1997 Tax Payer Relief Act, to hold certain types of bullion and rare coins in a gold / precious metals IRA. The requirement is that the bullion you hold is at least 99.5% pure and that it is held in an approved depository which is in a different location to your IRA custodian.

What Is Gold IRA Approved?

gold and other precious metals you can include


All the top Gold IRA Companies are fully conversant with the types of precious metals that are compliant with IRS requirements.

#10 – Am I Restricted To Just One IRA?

No, which means that if you choose you can have a gold IRA in addition to any other IRA or IRAs that you already have. The total amount that you can invest in any given year does not change however.

#11 – Can I Take Possession Of The Gold In My IRA?

safe keeping

Up to the age of 59½ in accordance with IRS rules your gold must be insured and stored in your name at an IRS approved depository. From that age and above you are entitled to take possession penalty free.

The Gold IRA Company that you choose to work with should be able to arrange storage at the depository on your behalf and will deliver your metals directly there.

#12 – Do I Have To Pay Any Taxes or Penalties When Transferring To a Gold IRA?

No there are no such costs associated with transferring a traditional IRA into a precious metals one.

#13 – What About Gold IRA Fees?

Fees can be very reasonable provided you select the right company and you understand what’s involved and therefore know the right questions to ask them. The fees involved cover the initial set up, annual maintenance of your IRA, and insurance and storage of your metals.

We recommend that you choose a company that offers flat annual fees rather than scaled ones (fees that are a % of the value of your fund). That’s because with the latter your fees will be on the increase all the time your fund is appreciating. We also recommend that you choose a gold IRA company that offers segregated storage of your metals and who do not charge a premium for this type of storage nor an insurance premium for it.

Some Gold IRA Companies may waive the initial set up fees.

>> More about all this here.

#14 – What Is The Transfer/Rollover Process For Gold IRAs?

This will differ from one Gold IRA Company to another. To see an example click here: 3 Step Process

#15 – How Long Does The Gold IRA Transfer or Gold IRA Rollover Process Take?

You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that the whole process for a gold ira can be completed very simply and quickly (around 2 weeks) if you work with a gold company that also specialises in retirement accounts (a Gold IRA Company) and can therefore handle the entire process for you.

#16 – How Do I Get Started With a Gold IRA?


  • The first step is to choose a Gold IRA Company that you feel comfortable with. Our aim here on this site is to educate you as much as possible about gold and precious metals IRAs and about investing in gold in general. Plus we share with you the results of our own research into the different gold IRA companies and make our recommendations.
  • It’s your retirement and future on the line though so we consider it essential that when doing your due diligence into a Gold IRA you don’t rely entirely on third party reviews and ratings; we recommend that in addition you check out a few of the websites and speak to a few Gold IRA Companies yourself on the phone to get a feel for them and how they operate.

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Author: Doug Young

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