Gold IRA Rollover Guide — Everything You Need to Know

Gold IRA Rollover Guide — Everything You Need to Know

Last Updated on January 6, 2023 by Jussi Hyvarinen

This is a comprehensive gold IRA rollover guide.

The post covers the following:

  • What a gold IRA rollover is
  • An overview of the physical gold IRA rollover process
  • How to find a good gold IRA rollover company
  • The best gold IRA rollover provider and what makes it stand out and more.

We'll start by covering the basics to ensure you're up to speed with the 401k to gold IRA dynamics. 

What is a Gold IRA?

A gold IRA (individual retirement account) with a custodian is designed to enable investors to hold physical gold bullion to help them save for retirement.

To operate a gold IRA, you must create a self-directed account run by a specialist known as a custodian.

The custodian's responsibility is to handle and store your physical precious metals.

A gold IRA must be operated separately from a traditional IRA, even though rules around distributions and contribution limits are the same.

You can open a gold IRA with the help of a gold IRA provider.  

What is a Gold IRA Rollover?

A gold IRA rollover involves moving a traditional IRA, 401(k), 403 (b), or other qualified accounts into a self-directed account holding physical precious metals at an internal revenue service (IRS) approved depository.

Benefits of a Gold IRA Rollover?

Investing in a gold IRA allows you to diversify your retirement portfolio on a tax-deferred arrangement. It also enables you to maintain preferential tax treatment.

Gold IRA rollover lets you transfer a percentage of your existing IRA account into a Gold IRA without tax implications.

In addition, opening a gold IRA enables you to take advantage of the $6,000 annual contributions for individuals below 50 years and $7,000 if you're 50+ years.

Also, holding a precious metal IRA allows you to hedge against inflation and deflation. As years go by, inflation causes your investments to depreciate.

Plus, physical gold offers a hedge against deflation and inflation, protecting your investment.

And because a gold IRA account is self-directed, you can manage your holding and decide where to invest without involving a third party. 

Gold Roth IRAs vs. Traditional IRAs

IRAs are categorized into two, as follows:

  • Traditional IRAs: These were established as part of the Employee Retirement Income and Security Act of 1974.
  • The Roth IRAs: These were established as part of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1987.

You can roll over your retirement savings accounts into a gold traditional IRA or a gold Roth IRA.

That said, here's a side-by-side comparison of a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA.

  • Traditional IRAs offer tax deferment, but distributions and withdrawals are subject to tax at ordinary income rates.
  • Roth IRAs offer tax-free growth on your asset if you keep them in a Roth IRA for a minimum of 5 years.
  • Traditional gold IRA rollovers are pretty straightforward and non-taxable. A gold Roth IRA rollover is non-taxable and simple too.
  • Rolling a traditional IRA, 401(k), or other tax-deferred accounts into a Roth gold IRA is complex. Even though these tax-deferred accounts are typically funded with pre-tax dollars, Roth IRAs are funded using after-tax dollars.
  • So, you must incur taxes before completing the rollover if you want to transfer your retirement assets from a tax-deferred account into a tax-free Roth account.

Here's how a Roth conversion works:

You must roll over retirement funds in a tax-deferred account into an IRA. You can do this through a direct or indirect rollover.

You'll need to engage your custodian or planner to implement the rollover if your money is in an IRA. The process is as follows:

  • Open a new Roth IRA or gold IRA account.
  • Inform your custodian about the current account you want to convert into a Roth IRA.
  • Transfer the money into your new Roth gold IRA or Roth IRA account
  • By doing so, you're transferring a taxable distribution on the funds you want to a Roth IRA. Your funds will be subject to a tax liability on the amount you convert from your traditional IRA.  
  • Once the money is in your account, you can inform your custodian you want it invested.

Types of Retirement Accounts That Qualify for Gold IRA Rollovers

Below is a list of retirement accounts that can be rolled over into a precious metal IRA. 

  • IRAs: These include any traditional IRA, SEP IRA, Roth IRA, self-directed IRA, and Simple IRA
  • 410(k)s: You can roll over an inactive 401(k) if you're no longer working for the employer that created it. Also, if you're 59.5 years old and have an existing 401(k) with your current employer, you may qualify for an "in-service" distribution, which enables you to do a partial gold IRA rollover. 
  • 403(b)s: You can rollover your 403(b) after you’ve terminated your employment. You can sometimes do a partial rollover if you're 59.5 years old through an "in-service" distribution.
  • 457(b)s: A 457(b) gold rollover is only allowed if your employment is terminated or if you're 70.5 years and in active employment. 
  • TSPs: You can roll over your TSP plan upon termination of your employment. Sometimes, you can do a partial rollover if you are 59.5 years old through "in-service" distribution. 

How to Roll Over Your Current Retirement Account to Precious Metals

Before transferring your existing account to a precious metal IRA, you must establish a self-directed IRA with a custodian to hold precious physical metals. 

The custodian will then choose your precious metals dealer. Most metal suppliers will also help you complete the paperwork to ensure a smooth transfer.

SEP, Traditional, or Roth Transfer

You'll only need to complete a transfer request with your new application if you're transferring over funds from your current IRA to a new gold IRA account. 

The request form contains your current IRA's basic info like: 

  • Current custodian
  • Your name
  • Account number 
  • Transfer amount 

Transferring funds between IRAs is also called direct transfer.

A direct transfer takes between 10 to 14 days. You can quicken the process if your current custodian allows you to fax the documents and wire the funds instead of writing a cheque. 

401(k), 403(b), 457(b) Or TSP Rollovers 

A 401(k), 403(b), 457(b), or TSP account to a new gold IRA account is allowed when you change jobs or have retired.

As stated, if you're 59.5 years and still in active employment with the employer that created your 401(k), you can qualify for an in-service distribution for a partial rollover. You can talk to your administrator to determine if you are eligible for a partial rollover.

There are two types of IRA rollovers:

Indirect Rollovers 

In an indirect rollover, your current 401(k) provider writes you a check for the proceeds you'll deposit in your bank account. You then have 60 days to re-deposit the money into your new IRA. 

Your money will be taxed if you fail to deposit into an IRS-approved plan since it'll be considered distribution. You'll also incur a 10% penalty if you're 59.5 years or below. 

Direct Rollovers 

In a direct rollover, your 401(k) provider will write a check to your new custodian. The provider will mail the check or send it directly to the custodian on your behalf. 

Most 401(k) providers can start a gold IRA rollover over the phone. You'll need to complete an internal rollover document if your retirement account is government-sponsored. 

The direct gold IRA rollover takes about two weeks to complete.

Side Note: The IRS only allows a single rollover per account for 12 months. Still, you're allowed limitless custodian-to-custodian IRA transfers. 

Taxes and the Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

Your funds are not taxable when you transfer your current IRA to your new self-directed account since you're moving money between qualified, taxed, and deferred plans.

The same applies for 401(k), 403(b), 457(b), or TSP rollovers. 

How to Take Your RMD from Your New Account 

You can withdraw your RDM once every 12 months when you're 72 years old. That is the minimum amount you can withdraw.

All Retirement Accounts Apart from Roth Are Subject to RMDs

Your gold IRA custodian formulates your RMD by dividing your previous year's account balance on December 31st by a distribution period from the IRS's Uniform Lifetime Table

Once you're over 72 years old, the custodian will tell you how much you can withdraw annually.

Besides a cash RMD, you can opt for an "in-kind" distribution that allows your depository to ship precious metals to your home.

Most custodians will send an ACH payment when you request cash distribution on your preferred timeline. 

Determining Your Gold IRA Rollover Strategy 

There's no fixed strategy to implement gold IRA investments. 

Your financial plans and ability will determine how you'll purchase gold and fund your account. 

Most investors, for example, ask, "what percentage of my portfolio should be in physical gold?"…well, there is no specific percentage.

How much gold and silver assets you buy depends on how much risk you're willing to take and how soon you're about to retire.

A person 20 years from retirement may take more risk than one who'll retire in 5 years. Most people who're about to retire invest 15 to 20% of their money in gold and silver markets. 

Supplementing your portfolio with alternative investments like gold and silver allows you to hedge your retirement savings against inflation and market turmoil. 

That said, financial experts recommend that you invest between 5 to 10% max for gold and silver. 

Deciding Your Gold IRA Allocation 

Even with the expert's advice, answering the following questions can help you decide how much of your existing retirement account you should go into a gold IRA rollover.

  • What's the economic projection for the next 5 to 10 years?
  • What's my portfolio's performance for the last five years or so?
  • How soon will I retire?
  • Why am I investing in gold or silver? Is it to diversify my investment, manage risk, or for a profit?

The last question should bring you closer to deciding what percentage of your current retirement account you are comfortable rolling over into a self-directed IRA account.

Diversification 

Diversification enables you to invest in precious metals to safeguard your portfolio from overexposure to traditional assets, bonds and stocks.

Experts recommend allocating 5 to 10% of your retirement savings if you're doing it for diversification.

Inflation 

Gold is considered one of the best investments if you want to hedge your retirement nest against inflation. 

Investors looking for a haven from inflation can allocate 10 to 20% of their portfolio to gold and silver.

Economic Meltdown 

You can allocate a bigger percentage of your portfolio to precious metals if you're concerned about an imminent economic collapse. 

Gold and silver are considered disaster hedges since they tend to increase in value when there's global or geographical instability.

If you're purchasing physical precious metals to protect your investment against an economic collapse, you can allocate 10 to 20% of your portfolio to gold and silver assets.

Precious Metals You Can Hold in a Gold IRA

Only specific gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins are allowed in a precious metals IRA account. These include 1, 1/2, ¼, and 1/10-ounce gold and silver coins minted by the U.S. Treasury Department.

You can also invest in silver bars, foreign coins, and rounds of specific purity.

Here's what you should know when it comes to precious metals you can hold in a gold IRA.

  • Gold, platinum, and palladium must have a 99.5% purity.
  • Gold bullion coins must be in brilliant, uncirculated condition.
  • Proof coins must be in original mint packaging. Also, they must be in excellent condition and certified for authenticity.
  • Non-U. S mint coins, rounds, gold bars, and other precious metals must be accredited by the manufacturer, assayer, or refiner and meet the minimum purity standards.

Some popular silver, palladium, platinum, and gold coins include:

  • American gold eagle coin
  • Canadian gold maple leaf coins
  • Accredited palladium bars and rounds

Besides the above requirements, other gold IRA rollover rules include:

  • Small bullion bars must be manufactured to exact weight requirements, from 100-ounce, 400-ounce gold, 1,000-ounce silver, 50-ounce platinum, and 100-ounce palladium bars.
  • Coins, rounds, and bars must also be accredited by LMBA, LME, NYSE, COMER, and ISO 9000.

Where Will Your Precious Metals Be Stored?

Once you've chosen your gold IRA custodian, you must select a 3rd party (non-bank) depository under Internal Revenue Code.

Your gold IRA company will send your precious metal to your preferred depository for storage.

Popular gold IRA storage facilities in the United States include:

  • Delaware Depository
  • Brinks Global Services USA
  • International Depository Services
  • Texas Precious Metals Depository 
  • Texas Bullion Depository

Note: These depositories are privately owned facilities. Your precious metals will be fully insured and held in a secure vault outside the United States banking system.

How to Buy and Sell Precious Metals in a Self-directed IRA

To buy gold, you need to decide which precious metal assets you'd like to acquire, and your chosen metal dealer will complete an investment direction form on your behalf.

The dealer will then forward the document to you for your signature.

Upon receiving the signed document, the dealer will work with your custodian to execute the purchase.

The dealer will ship your precious metals assets to your chosen depository for storage.

Selling your gold IRA assent is equally straightforward.

You only need to call your dealer to lock in the buyback price. The dealer will then send you an investment direction form to sign, authorizing the transaction.

Next, the dealer will work with your chosen custodian to ensure your metals are transferred to their account and wire the money to your IRA.

How to Choose an IRA Custodian

Not every IRA custodian is worth your attention.

You want to deal with an experienced and reputable custodian who'll execute a gold IRA transfer without hitches.

A good gold IRA company will assist you in doing the following:

  • Initiating and facilitating your gold IRA rollover with your current IRA or 401(k) provider
  • Ensuring your gold investments are stored safely while abiding by the IRS protocols and regulations
  • Assisting with the rollover process from start to finish

Further, a reputable gold IRA provider is transparent and will furnish you with all the documentation required to complete the rollover with hidden charges.

Besides the above pointers, here are two crucial; considerations when looking for the gold IRA companies.

Reputation and Prestige

When choosing a good IRA custodian, you want to be sure you're dealing with a trusted company.

You'll, therefore, want to check its reviews by customers. Good reviews indicate the company is trustworthy, and you can count on it to keep its end of the bargain.

Some of the best places to check what people say about specific gold IRA rollover companies include Better Business Bureau (BBB), Reddit, Trustpilot, Google My Business, and YouTube.

Be on the lookout for similar reviews. If a company has reviews that look almost the same in wording and length, they're probably paid reviews and, therefore, fake.

Also, remember that only IRS-approved nonbank trustees can run a precious metals vault.

Rollover Limitations

As stated, the IRS only allows a single penalty free 401(k) to gold IRA rollover in 12 months.

So, if you complete your rollover today, you won't be able to initiate a new one without paying taxes until next year at the same time and month.

Therefore, you want to choose your gold IRA custodian carefully.

And even if you change your custodian to enable you to complete a 401k to gold IRA transfer before the 12 months are over, you'll still incur a penalty.

Consider choosing a gold IRA company that allows you to roll over a significant portion of your existing retirement account.

Planning for the Future 

Once you've rolled over your traditional IRA into a gold IRA, it makes sense to plan for the future as part of your retirement strategy.

You'll want to designate a beneficiary and assign a representative or interested party. 

Designating A Beneficiary 

Like a typical retirement account, your gold IRA requires one or more beneficiaries. 

You can designate any person or entity. However, your primary residence shouldn't be in a community state.

You can also designate a specific percentage for your beneficiaries to inherit.

Your spouse must sign a waiver if you live in a community property state. That way, you can designate any person as a primary beneficiary.

Popular beneficiaries include:

  • Your kids
  • Your grandchildren
  • Your favorite charity 

You must give your custodian the following details for every custodian you choose:

  • Their full name
  • Social security number 
  • Date of birth

Note: You can change people that'll benefit from your IRA account funds at any time. 

Assigning a Representative

Your application has a section that allows you to designate a representative or an interested party.

Designating a representative means you're giving that person power of attorney. Simply you're giving them the mandate to transact on your account without involving you.

You shouldn't cede a power of attorney to gold IRA companies. In fact, a reputable gold IRA provider like Augusta Precious Metals won't agree to such an arrangement.

When you designate an interested party, the person can discuss your account with the custodian.

However, an interested party cannot transact your account at will, unlike a representative.

Which is the Best Gold IRA Company for a 401k to Gold IRA Rollover?

The market is inundated by companies claiming to help investors roll over their traditional or Roth IRAs into precious metals IRAs.

Still, one gold IRA company stands head and shoulders above the rest; Augusta Precious Metals.

Gold IRA Rollover Guide - Augusta Precious Metals with Joe Montana

Here's why you should consider Augusta as your 401k to gold IRA rollover company.

Years of Experience

Augusta was founded in 2012 — that's nearly a decade of operation.

With the many years in existence comes firsthand experience helping investors with 401k to gold IRA rollovers.

When looking for a gold IRA provider to help you transfer your retirement savings into gold IRA assets, you want one that knows what it's doing.

While there's nothing wrong with dealing with a newly founded company, you're better off trusting your retirement investment with a tried-and-tested dealer to buy gold bullion on your behalf — and that's what Augusta Precious Metals brings to the table.

High Ratings

Money.com named Augusta as one of the best gold IRA companies for 2022. Money Magazine is regarded as a top business magazine and a thought leader.

Augusta Precious Metals Money Magazine

And Augusta's accolades don't stop there.

The company has an impressive A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau, the to-go-to online resource if you want to determine a company's reputation.

Further, the company has a stellar 4.8 rating on Google Reviews. 

Augusta's other accolades include an AAA rating from the Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) and a 5-star rating on TrustLink.

Why are the ratings crucial when choosing gold IRA companies?

Ratings are essential for two things:

  • High ratings show the company offers what it promises
  • They indicated the trust customers have in the company

Augusta's ratings are nothing short of meticulous.

Customers say Augusta's team made them feel appreciated and never pressured to fund their gold IRA accounts.

The company's representatives go out of their way to answer questions while guiding them through the entire process.

Many investors say they enjoy Augusta's one-on-one webinar terming it as informative, enabling them to learn about precious metals IRAs before investing their money.

Here are a few reviews

"I recently worked with Agusta Precious Metals to invest my IRA into gold/silver. Every step of the process was explained fully and in a way to make sure I could understand. They made it very easy to complete the process from beginning to end. I can tell that each person had a passion *** their job and wanted to truly assist and answer every question. In financial dealings, it is refreshing to feel like you are valued and that they are sincere in helping you."

- Patricia S on BBB

"I was recommended Augusta by a friend. I was interested in learning more about a precious metals IRA. They set up a zoom meeting and I was provided with a very detailed presentation. Afterward, they answered all of my questions. They were very helpful and knowledgeable. The individuals I have corresponded with have been very professional."

- Shasha D (on Trustlink)

"Throughout the entire experience and process, Augusta Precious Metals presented the information professionally and in great detail. This was our first experience purchasing precious metals and we had many questions. The follow-up to our questions was expedient and done with our needs in mind. We did explore other options and there was no question that Augusta was a perfect fit for u."

- Mimi J (on Google Reviews)

Reasonable Fees

Augusta Precious Metals offers a minimum of $50,000 account.

When doing a 401k to gold IRA rollover, this amount allows you to hedge a sizable percentage of your retirement with physical gold or other precious metals.

Other fees are as follows:

  • $50 one-time fee for setting up your IRA
  • $100 annual custodian fee
  • $100 annual depository fee

You'll pay $250 for the first year and then $200 afterward.

Augusta Precious Metals doesn't charge management, insurance, or shipping fees.

The company charges a margin when you buy precious metals. The margin differs depending on which product you're buying.

According to Augusta's Transaction Agreement, the margin can be high for gold coins. Their gold bars and bullion have a more standard markup, though.

Overall, the company's gold IRA fees are lower than competitors.

Lifetime Support

Once you've completed your 401k to gold IRA rollover, you can count on Augusta's lifetime support from the company's team of professionals with expert knowledge in gold IRAs.

The company provides a dedicated agent as your main point of contact. The agent will link you up with other experts to help you with the following:

  • Education regarding gold and market updates
  • How to add more gold to your precious metal IRA
  • How to sell back your precious metals
  • How to manage your distributions during retirement
  • How to build a legacy for your family

Augusta doesn't just abandon you after you've funded your new gold IRA account. They aim to be your long-term partner from start to finish.

Education Comes First for Augusta

Gold investments can be scary if you don't have enough information. 

Rolling over your retirement account into a precious metal IRA can be even more frightening. 

The last thing you want to do when it comes to your retirement is to make a hasty decision you're unsure of. 

Augusta ensures you know everything beforehand. Whether you're rolling over your traditional or Roth IRA company will make sure you're investing in physical gold for the right reasons. 

The team will take time to understand your short- and long-term goals to help you decide if a 401k to gold IRA is the right move for you. 

Before you even sign up, you'll be introduced to a free one-on-one web conference by David Steele, the company's in-house, Harvard-trained economist. 

The conference will teach you about precious metals, including gold coins, risks, rewards, and the gold IRA scams to avoid. 

How to Get Started With Augusta 401k to Gold IRA Rollover

It is easy to roll over your 401k to a gold IRA with Augusta. The company has streamlined the process to make it as seamless as possible.

Here's what you need to do.

  • Get well acquainted with precious metals IRAs in the free web conference.
  • Open a self-directed IRA when you're ready. Augusta works with Equity Trust.
  • Fund your precious metals IRA. Augusta's team will help you complete the paperwork to roll over your current retirement account.
  • The company's order desk will help you purchase gold and other precious metals.
  • Augusta will ship your precious metals to a secure depository.

Even if you're a beginner in gold IRAs, the company will hold your hand to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Get Started With Augusta 401k to Gold IRA Rollover

Gold IRA Rollover FAQs

As we wind up this gold IRA rollover guide, let's go over a few commonly asked questions about gold IRAs.

How Does a Gold IRA Rollover Work?

A gold IRA rollover involves moving funds from a defined-contribution account like 401k, traditional IRA, or 403 to a self-directed IRA.

You can roll over all your contributions or a specific percentage fund your gold IRA without being subjected to taxes. Still, you must complete the rollover within 60 days.  

Can I Buy Gold With My Rollover IRA?

In most cases, IRA custodians won't let you buy precious metals like gold with your IRA. They'll only allow you to purchase publicly-traded securities like mutual funds, bonds, and stocks.

To own gold in your IRA, you'll need to open a self-directed IRA, which a few top gold IRA companies like Augusta offer.

 Are Gold IRAs a Good Idea?

Yes, gold IRAs are a viable idea. In fact, a gold IRA can be an excellent hedge for your retirement nest against inflation and economic meltdowns.

That said, most financial experts recommend investing between 5 to 10 percent of your money in gold because it ties your funds to a single asset class.

Can I Keep IRA Gold at Home?

No, you cannot not. The IRS has strict regulations when it comes to storing IRA gold. The agency doesn't allow the storage of IRA-related gold at home.

Storing IRA gold at home can expose you to fines, penalties, and even a possible outfit.

What Are Fees for a Gold IRA?

Fees vary from one gold IRA provider to another.

Augusta Precious Metals, for instance, charges a one-time account set-up fee of $50. You'll also pay a $100 annual custodian fee and a $100 depository fee once per year.

It is important to note that Augusta is one the cheapest gold IRA rollover companies. 

How is Gold IRA Taxed?

Roth gold and silver IRAs don't offer tax benefits because your contributions are post-tax. For starters, this means you'll be taxed before depositing the money in your IRA.

This taxation system differs from a traditional IRA, where your money is taxed upon withdrawal.

Augusta Precious Metals

Augusta Precious Metals

Augusta Precious Metals is a well-known company that offers a range of gold IRA services. Augusta has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received a lot of positive reviews from customers.

Gold IRA Rollover Guide - The Bottom Line

Are you ready to start your rollover?

Augusta Precious Metals is an excellent place to start if you want to roll over your 401k to a gold IRA.

The company offers everything you need to ensure you invest from the point of information. And, as stated, their professional staff will be with you for a lifetime, enabling you to get quick answers when you need them.

While at it, be sure to check my list of the 7 best Gold IRA companies if you want to purchase gold instead of rolling over your 401k.

Also, read my in-depth Augusta Precious Metals review.





Jussi Hyvärinen

Jussi Hyvärinen is an online entrepreneur and digital marketing expert from Finland with over 25 years of industry experience. He wants to help people achieve their goals and dreams through his knowledge and advice. Read more about Jussi in his story.

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