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How To Roll 401k Into Gold Ira: Rollover Guide for 2022

Last Updated: September 11, 2022 by Mitt Wilson

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How do I roll my 401k into a gold IRA?

This might be a question you have after you have spent years saving money in a 401(k) and want to invest in something that provides your portfolio diversification and safety against inflation and economic turbulence.

Fortunately, in most cases, it takes a few decisions and only one or two phone calls.

How to Rollover 401k to Gold IRA: Step-by-Step Guide

This can only happen if you have a qualifying event that lets you do a rollover from your 401(k) into anything else. Those are specific sets of circumstances that must take place for this to even be a possibility.

If you have the chance to convert 401k to a gold IRA, then you have numerous brokers you can choose from to administrate your account.

They’ll actually take the funds and buy precious metal products to put into your account.

You’ll also work with them in arranging for a secure depository where your precious metal products will sit safe and sound for the duration of your account.

Learn How to Execute a 401k Gold IRA Rollover

a black sheet of paper with "401K Rollover" written on it in white marker

I’m quite familiar with most gold IRA brokers, and I also know just how much they rely on rollovers for their business. I’m here to help you get started.

  • Qualifying Events

If you’re wondering how to move my 401k to a self directed IRA gold, then you need to know that a qualifying event has to happen first. You can use these to move retirement funds from one account to another.

This is how to roll an 401 k into real gold IRA if you want.

What Are Gold IRA Rollovers?

A rollover is just the transition of money from a 401(k), 403(b), or various IRAs into another retirement plan qualified for such movement of funds.

As you can see, this is how to how to switch 401k and IRA to gold precious metal accounts, as you can fund your gold IRA with either an employee-sponsored plan or an IRA you set up yourself.

There are three common situations how to take money from 401k to gold IRA accounts based on qualifying events:

  • You Change Employment

Anytime you stop working for one business and get a job somewhere else, you are likely to qualify for the chance to do a rollover.

RELATED READING: Should Gold Be Part of Your Retirement Portfolio?

This also might happen if you simply quit a job without anything else lined up. It might not qualify if you quit one location of a company only to get hired by a different location of the same business.

  • Disability

I truly hope this never happens to you. However, if it does, you might be able to move money around. Hopefully, you’ll either have disability payments or not be out of work long so you can leave your nest egg alone.

  • You Reach Age 59 1/2

This is the minimum age for taking withdrawals out of most retirement accounts without penalty. However, if you can leave it in there until later, then you’re going to probably enjoy a lot more money. I’d advise you to wait if you can.

Benefits of Rollovers

Knowing how to roll your IRA over to gold is great, but why do it? There are many benefits to doing a rollover with your retirement accounts, but the following are three that I think you should know about.

  • Skip the Taxes

Prior retirement accounts likely had a tax-deferred status on the money you invested or gained in them. With the right rollover, you can maintain that tax-deferred status. That preserves the wealth you have without taxes, fees, or penalties eating into it.

  • New Investment Options

The things you can invest in with your 401(k) plan are usually up to your employer, the plan administrator, or both. Precious metals are rarely a 401(k) option in lieu of stocks and maybe some bonds.

Investing in those is great for growing a lot of early investment wealth, but diversification inside a 401(k) isn’t always possible when alternative asset classes achieve that immediately.

  • Simplify Things

If you have multiple retirement accounts, you might want to just simplify things. Diversification doesn’t have to equate to complexity.

Instead of having five or six different retirement accounts, putting most into a simple index fund and the rest into a gold IRA might make your life a lot easier.

Tips for Choosing Your Broker

Picking the right gold broker is going to be a matter of which particular factors they excel balanced with the ones that matter to you.

While several gold brokers tend to stand out as the best in the business, you still need to find the right fit. There are several factors you need to consider when looking into this.

an illustration of a banker standing over a bank

  • Customer Service

When you might be trusting tens of thousands of dollars of your wealth to a company, you need to know you’re dealing with someone who cares about you and treats you right.

This is especially true when you don’t get to personally take possession of your metals while you have an account with them.

Fortunately, many brokers will treat you well, and few will even treat you like royalty.

  • Educational Resources

Your gold broker is likely to have educational resources available that help you learn about investing in precious metals and how the industry is doing so you know what’s going on with your investments. That might just be some articles on their website.

However, you might also get personal time with their analysts with some brokers.

  • Fees

Many brokers will have two sets of fees. The first is the group of account setup fees at the start, and the second will be annual administrative, custodial, and maintenance costs.

Many brokers hover around industry averages, but some offer better deals.

  • Minimum Investment Levels

The more you’re willing to invest, the more brokers will be available to you. If you only have $5,000 or so, then your options are going to be very limited.

Many brokers won’t be available to you until you’re in the five-digit range or even higher.

  • Rollover Expertise

Most gold IRA accounts are funded through rollovers from prior retirement accounts. So, all brokers and their teams have experience in helping clients with accomplishing this.

However, some of them are better at it than others.

  • Specials

If you invest enough money, you might trigger deals and specials. Some investment levels will get certain fees waived. A few companies might even do a percentage match, like giving you 5% in free silver pieces.

  • Transparency

Gold and silver prices can be tough for brokers to list on their website given constant market fluctuations.

However, they should be transparent about their fees. They should also be relatively transparent about who their management and leadership team is.

Best 401k to Gold IRA Rollover Companies

There are quite a few options when it comes to gold IRA brokers. I won’t cover them all. However, I can tell you a few good names you might want to start your comparison shopping with.

1. Goldco

Goldco
goldco
9.7/10Our Score
  • New customers might get 10% free metals in silver coins
  • First-year fees might be waived
  • Goldco reps don't get pushy with heavy sales tactics
  • Staff are quite friendly and knowledgeable to new investors
  • This broker wants investors to make good investment choices
  • Minimum investment level stands at $20,000
  • Website not totally transparent about fees

If being treated like an important customer is something that matters to you, then give these guys a call. Their customer service is often described by analysts, including myself, as “white glove” because it’s so good. They set the bar for this across the industry.

2. Augusta Precious Metals

Augusta Precious Metals
apm
9.5/10Our Score
  • Joe Montana started as an anonymous client before becoming a celebrity endorser
  • Detailed educational materials freely available to all clients
  • Customer loyalty and support last lifetime of the account
  • Services are streamlined for utmost simplicity
  • Very transparent organization
  • Integrity is unrivaled
  • $50,000 minimum investment requirement will put some investors out of play
  • Smaller lots of bars and coins aren't available

If client education is what you’re looking for, then it’s hard to top Augusta. On top of the usual resources, they also have videos, social media engagement, guest blogging, and podcasts.

You’ll even have a chance to spend time with their Harvard-trained chief analyst.

3. Noble Gold

Noble Gold
noble gold
9.4/10Our Score
  • Leadership has more than two decades of experience
  • The leaders are focused on helping people grow their own wealth
  • The company has a strong emphasis on education so you always know what's going on
  • Multiple services are provided and not all of them are IRA accounts
  • You can buy your own physical gold
  • Noble Gold does have a few things that might make you think twice.
  • They're a more recent entry into the industry
  • Fees aren't always obvious

This broker has some of the lowest investment minimums in the business. You can get a gold IRA with them for only a few thousand dollars of investment.

That’s a lot lower than everyone else.

4. Birch Gold Group

Birch Gold Group
birch gold group logo
9.2/10Our Score
  • Free products and fees waived for investments of sufficient size
  • Rated highly for customer service
  • Also rated highly for client education
    BBB rating of A+
  • Thousands of customers rate them 5 stars or better
  • No international depositories available
  • Some starting setup fees not displayed clearly

This company is a great balance of multiple factors you can enjoy. They have great client education, transparency behind their reasonable fees, and some of the better customer service in the industry.

If you’re not looking for a broker that excels at one thing but is a good option in many different ways, then this is an all-around good option.

5. Regal Assets

Regal Assets
regal assets 1
9.5/10Our Score
  • The first year of fees can be waived
  • Customer satisfaction rate better than 98%
  • Broad variety of different bullion products
  • Free investing kits
  • BBB rating of A+ for the customer service
  • $25,000 minimum investment for an IRA
  • A younger industry member

This broker is trying hard to carve a name for themselves as the rollover specialists within the industry. They’re certainly making a strong argument for that reputation because they’re really good at it.

They also have a hybrid precious metals and cryptocurrencies IRA you might use for simple diversification.

Precious Metals You Can Using Your IRA

a stack of silver coins next to a smaller stack of gold coins

Depending on the broker you use, gold might not be the only precious metal you can include in your gold IRA. While that should likely be the primary metal, you might also be able to include silver, platinum, and palladium.

Each might be worth a look to supplement your gold investment.

  • Silver

Despite gold having more value historically, silver is actually rarer in physical quantity and supplies. In the last decade, its growth has been double digits most years, actually growing faster than gold.

Its use in many industrial and electronic applications helps fuel its value in addition to investment interest.

  • Platinum

This metal holds a lot of the same benefits as gold does, especially in times of economic uncertainty. What’s attractive about it is that it is usually available at lower price points than gold.

You might find it easier and cheaper to invest this first and then move up to gold.

  • Palladium

This one might be the “lost child” of the four precious metals, but it has lots of potential. Palladium coins have value for their metal plus their collectibility and artistry in certain cases.

Rising values are also possible due to potential applications in the dental, jewelry, electrical, chemical, and automotive industries.

Segregated or Non-Segregated Storage?

Depending on the depositories you have available to you, there might be a decision about the gold in IRA 401k rollover created for you.

That decision would be segregated storage versus non-segregated storage.

Segregated storage means that your accumulated precious metal assets would be physically separated from the collections of other investors using the same depository.

It’s safer, and there’s less likelihood of your metals being intermingled with anyone else’s. You’ll pay a little more in annual custodial fees, but you’ll also have more peace of mind.

Non-segregated storage still keeps everyone’s precious metals in their own assigned spaces, but they’re going to share a huge room together in the vault or facility.

Annual custodial fees will be a bit lower.

The risk of intermixing is technically higher, but these depositories are run by known companies, such as Brinks, who know what they’re doing.

Keep in mind that not all depositories offer both options.

If a depository only does one or the other, then you’ll have no choice in the matter unless you choose another depository. I’m not really sure if it should matter to you what time zone your depository is in, since all these faults are very secure facilities.

Let Your 401(k) Administrator Know

How can you transfer your 401k into gold IRA? Once you’ve set your account up with a gold broker, just let your 401(k) plan administrator know that you’re doing the rollover.

They’ll need the contact information of your gold broker plus how much you want to send.

How you communicate with your plan administrator may vary based on the plan. It could be by phone, email, or online chat. I would not recommend using postal mail whenever possible, as it slows the process down needlessly in a digital age.

Direct Transfer or Indirect Transfer

It’s useful to know how to roll 401k into gold IRA accounts. Even though your 401(k) plan administrator and gold broker will be doing most of the work, you have to fill out some paperwork and make a few decisions. One of the might be a direct transfer or indirect transfer of the funds.

How do I transfer my 401k to silver without penalty? In the same way you transfer into any precious metal without penalty. You meet the IRS rules, and you make sure it all happens within 60 days.

A direct transfer is when your 401(k) plan administrator sends the funds directly to your broker. An indirect transfer is when the 401(k) funds get to you first, and then you send them to your broker. In many cases, you can choose either one.

I always suggest a direct transfer. It’s less hassle for you. It’s also less risk of triggering tax penalties or fees that start to eat up your wealth.

Conventional vs Roth?

When you do a 401k gold IRA rollover, you’ll always have the option of a conventional or traditional IRA account. That option will always be on the table. I assure you that it won’t matter what gold broker you decide to use, as they all do these.

However, some of them might offer you the option of doing a gold Roth IRA. This can be a big decision in the process of how to convert 401k to gold IRA. Both accounts have serious tax benefits, but there are tradeoffs in term of the timeline.

A traditional or conventional IRA lets you use pre-tax dollars, which is why a 401k to gold IRA transfer often works. You funded your 401k with pre-tax dollars, so your 401k rollover to gold IRA can preserve that.

A normal IRA can let its contents grow without getting taxed for gains, and you will face lower or even no taxes if you wait until you are old enough for the withdrawals.

If your rollover 401k to gold IRA goes into a Roth, then the taxes are paid upfront. That can make it hard in how to transfer 401k to gold IRA.

You’ll have to check with each broker to see if they even offer gold Roth IRAs because even if they do, rollover funds might not qualify.

The post-tax dollars for a Roth IRA are obviously a downside. There isn’t as much tax benefit. However, you can withdraw the funds without taxes after just five years, regardless of your age.

Personally, I don’t think gold in a Roth IRA makes a lot of sense. A conventional IRA gives you more companies to work with and far more tax benefits. It’s a longer-term play, but that’s what gold should be in your portfolio anyway.

Key Takeaways

Can I roll my 401k into gold? That’s the question that probably landed you here in the first place. The answer is that yes, you can do a 401k to gold IRA rollover in the right circumstances.

You might have also wondered about something else. How can I get my 401k in gold without penalty? So long as everything happens within 60 days and by the IRS rules, that shouldn’t be an issue.

If you read through this 401k to gold IRA rollover guide, then you know what accounts can be rolled over other than 401(k) plans, when you’re able to do it, and the benefits of doing it. You also know the actual mechanics involved with the process. If you didn’t read through all this, then you still have the chance to go back and review all of this information.

I don’t mind if you skipped to the end to make a snap judgment on whether or not all this was worth reading. It’s a lot of ground to cover, and the last little bit of a page can be a huge indicator of information worth your time versus a long page of babbling that’s just click-bait.

I really am here to help, but you can only help yourself if you go back and work through it all.

If you’re looking for a company to start with, we recommend checking out Goldco – they’re currently offering a free Gold IRA kit to answer any questions you may have and give you the information you need to decide if it a rollover may be a good option for you – learn more below:

Frequently Asked Questions

I hope I’ve done a good job answering your questions so far. This information should help you make educated choices about your investments moving forward.

The thing is, answering one question can often lead to two more, but I have more to share with you because you certainly aren’t the first to have some of the following queries about all of this.

Can you invest your 401k in silver?

There are two different ways to look at that question. You might be wondering if you can invest in silver while your 401(k) is active. You might also mean investing your 401(k) rollover into silver.

In terms of investing in silver, while your 401(k) is active, I can’t possibly know that. You’ll have to check with the plan administrator or look over the options you have to see if any deal with silver, which might happen through some ETFs or mutual funds owning particular mining stocks. From what I know about most 401(k) plans, I would think it’s highly unlikely you can do it inside your 401(k) plan.

However, if you want to invest in silver using a 401(k) rollover, then your options are going to be far more open. Not every precious metal broker deals in silver products, but most of them do. You can either do a silver-specific account or just put silver products in your precious metal IRA.

Can I buy physical silver with my 401k?

That depends on what kind of physical silver you’re looking for. The precious metal products in a gold IRA can technically include physical silver, but the IRS requires them to be stored in an approved depository.

If you want to use 401(k) funds to buy physical silver you keep in your own personal possession, you can certainly do that, but you’re going to get hit with early withdrawal penalties and all the taxes that you were avoiding in the account.

How to take possession of a precious metal 401k?

This partly goes back to the previous question. If you use your 401(k) funds to buy precious metals that you want in your own possession, then you give up all your tax benefits. You’ll be free to buy any precious metal products you want to keep for yourself, but you’ll also lose a substantial part of your wealth in the process.

If you want physical possession of precious metals plus IRA tax benefits, then you need to be patient. A conventional gold IRA will let you assume personal possession of your metals once you are old enough to start taking withdrawals or required distributions. If you go the Roth route, then you’ll be able to have them shipped to you in five years.

Should I convert my 401k to gold?

I’m going to say something to this one that I don’t usually admit. I don’t know.

I can give you plenty of reasons to do a rollover from your 401(k) into a gold IRA. I cover that in the next question. However, this particular question is more akin to asking why you should leave your 401(k) for gold?

That depends a lot on your 401(k). If you have to leave the plan, then you have to do a rollover into something. A gold IRA is just one of many choices, as there are other IRA accounts you can use to maintain your tax benefits.

If you don’t have to leave the 401(k) plan, then you have to ask yourself if it’s worth staying in longer. Your options might be more limited, but 401(k) plans do help millions of people save for retirement and grow their portfolios. If you’re still employed, and if an employer is matching some of your contributions, then that’s free money on the table you should never walk away from until you have to.

Why should I rollover my 401k into a gold IRA?

Because you get all the benefits of IRA accounts with the upsides of investing in gold. An IRA account can help you protect the value of your wealth and grow it tax-free over time. Gold can give your portfolio badly needed diversification and a counterweight to market instability and economic turmoil.

Gold IRA vs 401k: Which should I have?

Even if you have the chance to do a rollover from your 401(k) into a gold IRA, that doesn’t automatically mean that you should jump at the opportunity to do so.

Your 401(k) plan possibly has tremendous advantages in terms of growing wealth and building value.

This is especially true of a 401(k) where your employer might be matching funds.

As a general rule of thumb, I wouldn’t do a rollover until you can do it where a gold IRA is 5% to 15% of your overall portfolio. Whether or not you can do a partial or full rollover varies on each situation and can get very tricky. Working with a proper financial planner can help you make decisions just as much as all the information I’m providing you with today.

Mitt Wilson

About the author

Mitt Wilson has a background in journalism and has been writing about investing for more than two decades. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife, touring the United States, and golfing.

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