February 12

Gold IRA Guide: How to Add Gold and Silver to Your Retirement


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Adding gold and precious metal to an IRA can be a great way to diversify your retirement portfolio. Adding alternative asset classes, such as gold, to a stock-heavy portfolio can help protect your retirement portfolio during times of economic insecurity.

In this gold IRA rollover guide, we'll cover everything you need to in order to move a portion of your IRA or 401(k) into physical gold and silver. Let's get started.

Best Overall

Why Goldco? 10+ years in business, thousands of 5-star reviews, A+ ratings, competitive pricing, and low fee structure.

$25,000 account minimum.

Best for High Net Worth Individuals

Augusta Precious Metals is a 5-star rated company that's focused on compliance, transparency, and customer service.


$50,000 account minimum

Best for Low Cost Bullion

Noble Gold boasts low account minimums, competitive pricing, low fees, and top ratings online.


$10,000 account minimum.

Best for Price Transparency

Launched in 2003, highly rated Birch Gold has simple streamlined process for opening new IRAs. 

$10,000 account minimum.

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Protect Your Retirement Savings with Physical Gold & Silver.

Gold as a Diversifier Within Your IRA

Gold and stocks frequently move in opposite directions. While both tend to appreciate over time, they don’t move in tandem with one another. When one asset class is struggling, the other often helps to save the day.

Because gold and stocks are not highly correlated with one another, they are effective in combination: Gold has a substantial diversification benefit. As Harry Markowitz showed when he presented his Nobel Prize-winning paper, Modern Portfolio Theory, in 1955, adding gold to a portfolio with substantial stock holdings can help reduce risk without hurting expected returns.

Gold is a time-tested way of hedging your exposure to stock market risk, interest rate risk, and the threat of inflation.

Click here to review our top recommended gold IRA companies for 2023.

Tax Considerations in Gold IRAs

Holding gold in an IRA can be a very tax-efficient way to own gold. Direct ownership of gold doesn't generate dividends or interest payments, however. Gold profits come as capital appreciation, not income. So do your tax planning with that in mind.

By holding gold or other precious metals within an IRA, you can rebalance your gold holdings as often as you like without having to worry about capital gains taxes. All taxes on capital gains or dividends are deferred until you begin taking the money out. If you hold the assets in a Roth IRA for at least five years, withdrawals (called distributions) are tax-free.

Gold within an IRA is likewise not subject to the 28% tax rate that usually applies to gains from the sale of collectibles. However, Section 408 of the Internal Revenue Code prohibits the holding of any kind of collectible or jewelry with an IRA.

Related: Goldco Review - An Insider Look at the Gold IRA Dealer's Reviews, Ratings, Complaints, Fees, and More...

What Forms of Gold Can You Own in an IRA?

As mentioned above, you cannot own jewelry, gemstones, or collectibles within your IRA. Self-directed IRA gold and precious metal holdings are limited to bullion: coins and bars of sufficiently established purity and quality.

Note: American Gold Eagle coins enjoy special status when it comes to IRAs. They are the only gold coin exempt from the generally-applicable 0.999% purity requirement that applies to self-directed IRA holdings.

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IRA Contribution Limits

As of the 2023 tax year, Congress imposes an annual cap of $6,500 per year to all your IRA accounts combined. For those age 50 and older, you can make an additional contribution of $1,000, for a total of $7,500 to all IRA accounts combined. Contribution limits remain unchanged since last year.

For married couples, the annual IRA contribution cap is $13,000, with each half of the couple potentially qualifying for the over-50 ‘catch-up’ contribution separately.

If you meet the income limits, you can deduct contributions to traditional IRAs against your income in the tax year for which you are contributing. However, even if you earn too much money to take deductions on IRA contributions, you can still contribute up to the annual maximum on a non-deductible basis.

Related: Traditional vs. Roth IRA for the Gold and Precious Metals Investor

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Roth IRA Income Limits

Tax year 2022

Single filers.

You can make a full contribution to a Roth IRA if your modified adjusted gross income is less than $129,000.

If your MAGI is greater than $129,000 but less than $143,999, a partial contribution is allowed. Your eligibility to make a Roth IRA contribution phases out entirely above a MAGI of $144,000.

Married and filing jointly.  

You can make a full contribution to a Roth IRA if your modified adjusted gross income is less than $204,000.

If your modified adjusted gross income is more than $204,000 but less than $213,999, you can make a partial contribution.

Your eligibility to make a Roth IRA contribution phases out entirely above a MAGI of $214,000.

Tax year 2023

Single filers.

For tax year 2023, you can make a full contribution if your modified adjusted gross income is less than $138,000.

You can make a partial contribution if your modified adjusted gross income is more than $138,000 but less than $153,000.

Your eligibility to contribute to a Roth IRA phases out completely when your MAGI exceeds $153,000. 

Married filing jointly.

For 2023, you can make a full contribution if your modified adjusted gross income is less than $218,000.

You can make a partial contribution for 2023 if your modified adjusted gross income is greater than $218,000 but less than $228,000.

Your eligibility to make a Roth IRA contribution phases out entirely if your MAGI exceeds $228,000 for tax year 2023.

Related: How to Diversify Your 401(k) or IRA with Physical Gold and Silver (Tax-Free)

Gold in your retirement account

IRA Contribution Deadlines

The contribution deadline is generally April 15th of the year following the tax year for which you are contributing. However, in recent years, you could contribute as late as July 15th, due to the taxpayer relief provisions of the CARES Act. Check with your tax professional to ensure your taxes are filed before the deadline.

Required Minimum Distributions

You can't defer taxes on your assets in traditional IRAs, 401(k)s, SEPs, or SIMPLE IRAs indefinitely. Generally, you must begin taking distributions from these accounts not later than April 1st of the year after the one in which you turn age 72.

Roth IRAs and designated Roth 401(k) accounts are not subject to the RMD requirement.

If you would rather not be forced to take distributions, and pay income taxes on those distributions at ordinary income rates, then you should consider holding them in Roth IRA accounts, converting existing traditional IRAs to Roth accounts, or holding them outside of retirement accounts altogether.

Do not attempt to store your IRA gold or any other assets yourself. That’s prohibited under Section 408 of the Internal Revenue Code. You can hold gold personally if it’s not in a retirement account. But if you hold physical gold or any other precious metal in your IRA or other tax-advantaged retirement account, it cannot enter your personal possession. You must use an IRS approved custodian to hold the assets on your IRA’s behalf. For example, a gold vault company or bank facility approved for this purpose.

If you try to hold these IRA assets yourself, or in an ordinary safety deposit box without the formal custodial arrangement, the IRS may force you to distribute the entire IRA at once, causing immediate income tax and significant additional penalties.

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Allowable Gold IRA Holdings

Generally, your gold holdings in an IRA must be a minimum of 99.5% pure. As stated earlier, there is an exception for American Eagle coins.

Bars and coins held in an IRA must be bullion, valued for their weight only.

IRA Approved Precious Metals List

IRA approved bullion rounds must meet minimum fineness requirements and be manufactured by a national government mint, a COMEX/NYMEX, LME, NYSE/Liffe, LBMA or ISO 9000 accredited refiner, assayer or manufacturer.

As mentioned above, you cannot own jewelry or gemstones within your IRA. Collectible coins are prohibited in IRAs, other than American proof Golden Eagle and Silver Eagle coins. Self-directed IRA gold and precious metal holdings are limited to bullion: coins and bars of sufficiently established purity and quality.

These coins are eligible to hold in IRA accounts:


American Eagle gold coins

American Buffalo Bullion gold coins

➢ Proof American Eagle coins

Austrian Philharmonic gold coins

➢ Australian Kangaroo/Nugget coins

Canadian Maple Leaf gold coins

➢ Chinese Gold Panda coins

➢ Various other .995 fine rounds


American Eagle silver coins

➢ Proof American Eagle silver coins

➢ Austrian Philharmonic silver coins

➢ Australian Kookaburra coins

➢ Canadian Maple Leaf silver coins

➢ Mexican Libertad silver bullion coins

➢ Silver Chinese Panda coins

➢ South African Silver Krugerrand coins

➢ Various other .999 fine rounds


➢ American Eagle platinum coins

➢ Proof American Eagle platinum coins

➢ Australian platinum Koala coins

➢ Canadian platinum Maple Leaf coins

➢ Isle of Man Noble platinum coins

➢ Various other .9995 fine rounds


➢ Palladium Canadian Maple Leaf coins

➢ Various other .9995 fine rounds

IRA Eligible Bullion Bars

You can own IRA-approved bullion bars provided they meet minimum standards for purity, manufactured by a NYMEX or COMEX-approved refiner/assayer or national mint.

Examples of qualifying gold bars:

➢ Canadian Mint .995 fine bars

Credit Suisse .995 fine bars

➢ PAMP Suisse .995 fine bars

➢ UBS .995 fine bars

➢ Various other .995 fine bars

Examples of qualifying platinum bars:

➢ Credit Suisse .9995 fine bars

➢ Johnson Matthey .9995 fine bars

➢ Various other .9995 fine bars

Examples of qualifying silver bars:

➢ Canadian Mint .9999 fine bars

➢ Johnson Matthey .9999 fine bars

➢ Sunshine Mint .9999 fine bars

➢ Various other .9999 fine bars

Examples of qualifying Palladium bars:

➢ Pamp Suisse .9995+ fine bars

➢ Baird & Co. .9995+ fine bars

➢ Various other .9995 fine bars

Gold bars must be 99.5% pure gold.

Your bullion dealer should be able to tell you whether any particular bar or coin is authorized for IRA accounts. Otherwise, speak with an IRS-approved custodian or third-party administrator for self-directed IRA accounts.

Related: How to Buy Gold and Silver with Your Retirement Account (Tax-Free)

Augusta Precious Metals guides and info kit

Request Your Free Gold IRA Guide:

Protect Your Retirement Savings with Physical Gold & Silver.

Prohibited Transactions

When it comes to gold IRAs, you cannot buy from or sell to any of these prohibited counterparties:

  • Yourself. That is, you cannot transfer your own gold to your IRA.
  • Your spouse;
  • Your descendants or ascendants and those of your spouse;
  • Your attorney or any other fiduciary who advises you on your IRA;
  •  Any corporation or other entity controlled by any of the above.

You can only hold gold in an IRA that you have purchased from an authorized gold dealer who transfers it directly to an IRS-approved custodial facility to carry on your behalf. Again, it can never enter your possession directly.

How to Buy Gold for Your IRA Account

Not every IRA custodian will hold gold for your IRA – or any other alternative investment, for that matter. Most Wall Street firms aren’t set up to hold physical assets on clients’ behalf. They are only capable of holding paper securities.

To buy actual physical gold, silver, platinum, or palladium for your IRA, 401(k) or other tax-advantaged account, you must open an account with a self-directed IRA custodian that allows precious metals.

Once you open the account, transfer money into it, either via your existing checking account or via a trustee-to-trustee transfer from another retirement account.

Once your self-directed IRA account is funded, provide your custodian or administrator with a written instruction to purchase the metal and transfer it directly to an authorized custodian, such as a vault company.

Gold IRA Rollovers

You can do one IRA rollover a year. To use a rollover to buy gold, direct your existing IRA custodian to transfer funds directly to you or directly to the new custodian. If they send the money to you, you have 60 days to invest the funds in a new account, or the IRS will deem you to have taken a distribution, and you will owe taxes and possible penalties on the rollover amount.

This is not an issue if you have them transfer the funds directly to your new IRA custodian in a trustee-to-trustee transfer.

When executed correctly, an IRA rollover does not generate a taxable event.

Gold IRA questions that are not covered in this article?

Contact a company that specializes in Gold IRAs. All of these companies on our list deliver "white glove" service. Meaning, they hold your hand through the entire process of opening a gold IRA and ensure everything is done in compliance with the IRS. 

Best Gold IRA Companies for 2023

We've looked at all of the top companies that specialize in Gold IRAs. Below are some of our preferred partners that we recommend to our readers.

How do you get started? Order a free guide or investor kit from two or three trusted dealers. They should contact you within one business day to confirm your mailing address and send out their investor kits. You may want to use this opportunity to ask to speak with a precious metals specialist.

It's a great opportunity to:

  • Ask questions
  • Share your investment goals
  • Get all fees and pricing information in writing

The good news is you can't go wrong with any of the firms listed below. Let them know you're comparing companies. Make them work to earn your business.

Related: Buy Physical Gold Bars and Coins with Your 401(k) without Paying Taxes or Penalties

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Goldco is our top recommendation for your Gold IRA. They've streamlined the entire process of setting up a Precious metals IRA. From working with the IRA costodians, to setting up shipping, and storage. Their account executives can also advise on selection of metals, and ensure all is done in compliance with the IRS.

Goldco Precious Metals

Why we like Goldco:  Been in business for 10+ years. Knowledgeable team. Low fees, aggressive buyback program.

 Highly rated with the BBB, BCA, & TrustLink. 

Augusta Precious Metals

The team at Augusta Precious Metals will hold your hand through each step of opening your precious metals IRA. After you reach out to request your investor kit, the company will also offer a one-on-one educational webinar designed by Devlyn Steele, their in-house economist. 

This one-on-one presentation allows you the opportunity to speak directly with their team and raise questions and concerns you may have about the economy, retirement, or setting up a gold IRA. 

Why we like Augusta Precious Metals:  The Gold IRA specialists have a unique approach to educating clients with personalized one-on-one webinars.  

In business since 2012, Augusta is highly rated with the BBB, BCA, and TrustLink.

Birch Gold Group

If you've listened to the Ben Shapiro Show or The Ron Paul Liberty Report, there's a good chance you've at least heard of Birch Gold Group. With more than two decades of business and bullions of dollars in investor transactions, Birch Gold is a trusted precious metals dealer for 2023.

Birch Gold Group (BGG)

Why we like Birch Gold Group: Twenty years in business serving American customers.

Knowledgeable sales team. Low fees. Highly rated on customer review websites, and low account minimums for new investors.

American Hartford Gold Group

Respected figures such as former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Bill O'Reilly have been promoting American Hartford Gold for some time now. But is the company legit?  

With 5-star reviews on customer review websited and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, we've added them to the top of our list for 2023.

American Hartford

Why we like American HartfordThis precious metals IRA company is highly rated, they offer a wide selection of bullion and premium metals, and have a very competitive buyback program.

Advantage Gold

Advantage Gold is another trusted dealer with 5-star ratings across the major consumer watchdog websites. With a focus on customer education, co-founder Adam Baratta is the author of Gold is a Better Way and The Great Devaluation. Both books are USA Today best-sellers.

Advantage Gold

Why we like Advantage Gold:  The Gold IRA specialists launched in 2014 and have quickly established themselves as industry leaders. Top ratings on BBB, BCA, TrustLink, and other independent review sites. 

American Bullion

American Bullion

Why we like American Bullion:  10+ years in business, the Gold IRA specialists are reputable industry leaders. American Bullion is highly rated with five star customer reviews on all the major customer review sites.

Noble Gold Investments

Noble Alternative Investments

Why we like Noble: Knowledgeable, no-pressure sales team. Competitive fees and pricing.

Highly rated on independent third party business review sites. While Noble Gold is a newer firm (2017), the CEO has 10+ years in the precious metals IRA industry.


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About the author 

Ilir Salihi

Ilir Salihi is the founder and senior editor at GoldIRASecrets.com. He oversees all content for GoldIRASecrets and its partner sites. His articles and insights have been featured on Barchart, Benzinga, and Investing.com, among other prominent media channels.

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