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401k to Physical Gold IRA Rollover Guide

Learn why so many smart investors have diversified their IRA portfolios with precious metals.

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Owners of this website may be paid to recommend companies on this site. The content on this website, including any positive reviews of any company and other reviews, may not be neutral or independent.

Rolling Over a 401k to a Gold IRA

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A Gold Investment Retirement Account (IRA) is an individual retirement account that invests in precious metals and physical Gold and is often self-directed. It works the same way as a conventional IRA except, it holds bullion bars and coins instead of holding paper assets. A Gold IRA is when you convert part of your assets to bullion bars and coins.

Some people have a bias for bonds, stocks, and many other assets that are tied to the dollar. But those assets can carry significant risks in times of economic uncertainty, currency debasement, and inflation. The smartest investors often hedge against these risks by converting a part of their assets to bullion bars and coins.

Fundamentally, a Gold IRA rollover is the process of creating a new self-directed IRA that you will use to invest in Gold. Gold IRA has multiple benefits such as tax benefits, offers you greater control since you are in charge, has a long-term hold, and act as a hedge for assets against inflation and financial uncertainty. You can fund your new Gold IRA through either a rollover or a transfer since both are tax-advantaged ways.

This guide will explain how you can simplify the 401k to the physical Gold IRA rollover process.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Convert an Existing IRA to a Gold IRA

Converting your existing Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to a Gold IRA can be a strategic move for diversifying your retirement portfolio and adding the security of physical precious metals. Here’s a short guide on to convert your existing IRA to a Gold IRA:

  1. Select a Self-Directed IRA Custodian: Choose a custodian experienced in Gold IRA rollovers.
  2. Roll Over Your Existing IRA: Follow the process to transfer funds from your existing IRA.
  3. Choose IRS-Approved Precious Metals: Select from a variety of gold and other precious metals that meet IRS criteria.
  4. Arrange Secure Storage: Set up storage for your precious metals with a trusted depository.
  5. Monitor Your Investment: Regularly review and manage your Gold IRA portfolio.

Gold IRA Rollover Overview

It is worth noting that a physical Gold IRA cannot be held in your regular IRA account, hence, the need to create a Gold IRA rollover. The distribution rules and contribution limits that apply to a regular IRA also apply to a Gold IRA. You should note that specifically approved coins, bars, and precious metals are allowed in your Gold IRA.

Before you open an account, it would be best to confirm that the self-directed custodian you choose offers physical Gold as an option since not all allow gold investments. Gold IRAs are very popular and have been an excellent way for investors to diversify their portfolios. If you have Gold in a Gold IRA, note that you cannot store it yourself and must instead have an IRS-approved depository store it.

Usually, a rollover can involve different types of actions. A rollover is essentially moving holdings from one retirement account to a different retirement plan with tax exemptions. Therefore, a rollover happens when you transfer funds from your standard IRA to a Gold IRA or when you choose to reinvest funds from security that has matured into a new issue of similar security.

Several rules apply to a Gold IRA rollover. For instance,

  • You can only invest in real Gold, whether it is bars or coins, when you choose to have a Gold IRA.
  • You can only do one rollover annually.
  • There is no tax withholding if you withdraw holdings from a personal IRA and roll over to a different IRA.
  • Once you receive the holdings from your current custodian, you have exactly sixty days to deposit them to your chosen custodian or Gold IRA company. It becomes taxable if the transaction is not complete within sixty days.

Pros and Cons of Gold IRA Compared to other IRA Investment Options

Gold IRAs have various pros and cons compared to other IRA investment options. Listed below are some of the pros and cons.


  • Control
    • Gold IRAs offer significant control compared to other IRA investment options. For instance, if there is a crash in the stock market, gold investments are often left unaffected. This provides more power when the economy is weak and more asset value during an economic crisis.
  • Security
    • Control goes hand in hand with security. Gold traditionally acts as a hedge against inflation, meaning it can be a great asset during economic downturns. It has traditionally performed well compared to real estate, bonds, stocks, and other investment classes.
  • Diversifies your Portfolio
    • Wise investors have diversified with gold IRAs because they have offered additional asset protection during economic downturns, especially when the stock market hasn’t performed as well.
  • Portfolio Quality
    • Gold, a physical store of value, has traditionally maintained steadier value, and at times has offered valuable insulation when correlated assets turn downward.
  • Traditionally Solid Investment
    • Gold IRAs have traditionally been less volatile and have offered investors a great tool to diversify their wealth.
  • More Leverage
    • A Gold IRA is often self-directed, meaning you have the freedom to sell, buy, and make investment decisions as you deem fit. Unlike a 401(k) or a standard IRA where you have less control of your investments.


There are some cons associated with Gold IRAs that you must consider carefully before getting one. Listed below are some of the cons compared.

  • Funding Restrictions
    • If you already own precious metals, you are prohibited from moving them into your Gold IRA, and you are also not allowed to buy precious metals on your own and send them to your Gold IRA. It would be best if you had a custodian who takes care of such transactions on your behalf.
  • High Fees
    • As mentioned earlier, you cannot keep your Gold in a bank safety deposit or at home. Instead, an IRS-approved depository is the one that stores it. This means you will have to pay your chosen custodian to buy, ship, transport, insure and store any precious metals you hold in your Gold IRA. Compared to standard IRA management fees, Gold IRA fees always tend to be higher.
  • No Tax-advantaged Income
    • Gold bullion does not pay any form of returns, dividends, or interests like other IRA investments. Unlike a regular IRA investment that takes advantage of the tax-free growth feature, a Gold IRA does not. The only break you may get will be due to you selling the Gold you own at a profit.

How To Do a Gold IRA Rollover

Rolling a portion of a 401k into a physical gold IRA is not as complicated as most people think, and can be straightforward by following the right steps and professional advice. But before we get started on the process, a 401k account is essentially a savings plan that allows employees to invest part of their salary before taxes are deducted. Rolling over a portion of your 401k into a gold IRA is an important decision, so first consult with an advisor to determine if it’s the right move.

You need to check with your plan sponsor if it is possible to transfer your 401k to Gold IRA since most organizations sponsoring your 401k may not permit that. Suppose you decide to get a new 401k plan. Remember that you have to cash it out, meaning you will face tax liabilities and penalties.

Your financial position, occupation, and age are also worth considering when you think about doing a rollover into a Gold IRA.

If you have a 401k account and would like to do a Gold IRA rollover, multiple companies can help you with this process. For your convenience, I have collected a list of the Best Gold IRA Companies available at the end of this article.

Below are a few detailed steps on how to do a Gold IRA rollover:

1. Choose an IRA Custodian Who is Self-directed

It is essential to select a self-directed IRA custodian since you will have more freedom to choose the kind of precious metals you are interested in, unlike other IRAs that limit you from purchasing traditional investments. Once you have found a custodian who allows you to hold precious metals, open an account with them. They usually deal with storage since you are not allowed to store the metals personally.

2. Rollover

You can rollover qualified funds from your 401k once you have selected a custodian and given them all your paperwork. Get in touch with your plan administrator, and let them know that you will be rolling over your funds from your 401k to a self-directed IRA. Usually, they send you paperwork, and once it is filled out, the money will be forwarded to your IRA account. Note that you need to deposit it in your self-directed IRA before sixty days elapse if the money is sent to your account. As long as it is deposited in the new account within sixty days, the IRS considers it a tax-free rollover.

3. Use your Gold IRA to Buy Gold and Other Precious Metals

You can start shopping for Gold and other precious metals once the money is sent to your self-directed account. Ensure that whatever you purchase is IRS-approved. Whenever you buy bullion, let the metal dealer know it is for your IRA and ask your custodian to pay them from the funds in your self-directed IRA.

4. Shipment

Once you have made the purchase and your custodian clears the payment, your Gold or precious metal will be shipped to the storage facility of your custodian. Verify with both of them to confirm that the items arrived, and always ensure you ask for a receipt so you have a personal record of what you purchased.

5. Check the Account Statements On your Holdings Frequently

Once you are done with the rollover process and purchased an item, your custodian will regularly send statements about your investments and holdings. Keep track of your investments, so you know when to sell or add more to your portfolio as you maneuver the market in preparation for retirement.

Moving funds from a 401k to a physical gold IRA can be a great option depending on your investment goals. However, before starting the process, research other options, read extensively on Gold IRAs, and consult with a financial advisor to make an informed decision.

Our Top Recommendations of Gold IRA Companies:

Various companies can help you do a 401k to physical Gold IRA rollover as long as you meet the requirements. Listed below are our top recommended companies that can help you rollover your 401k to a physical Gold IRA.


10 stars


Goldco screenshot

Goldco has the best customer support because they ensure all their clients are well informed to make a decision.  BBB A+ rating along with numerous 5-star reviews on Trustpilot and TrustLink. They offer new accounts about 10% back in free silver coins, doesn’t charge extra fees (the Custodian however, have fees for handling and storing), excellent customer support, and extensive educational resources. However, minimum investment applies.

Goldco Free Silver
BBB A+ rating

Augusta Precious Metals

9.5 stars


Augusta Webpage

Augusta Precious Metals are transparent with their prices, so customers know what they are paying for and how much they must pay. They guarantee fair prices on purchases, have a money-back guarantee policy and have a transparent fee and cost structure. However,  minimum investment applies and they only offer gold and silver. Augusta PM have A+ BBB-rating and hundreds of positive reviews on TrustLink, however no reviews on Trustpilot.

BBB A+ rating

Birch Gold Group

9.5 stars


Birch Gold Group

Birch Gold Group have BBB rating A+ and a lot of great reviews. They have excellent customer support, good educational resources and a wide range of IRA products. However, be aware of potential hidden fees.

BBB A+ rating

American Hartford Gold

9 stars


American Harford Gold

American Hartford Gold is a well-respected, BBB A+ rated gold IRA firm praised for its dedication to client satisfaction and comprehensive educational resources. Ideal for both novice and seasoned investors, they offer diverse precious metal investments and personalized client services. American Hartford Gold is renowned for its excellent customer service and its range of high-quality gold and silver coins. They are trusted by notable figures such as Bill O’Reilly and Rick Harrison. However, their fee structure beyond the first three years is not explicitly stated online, necessitating direct contact for customized quotes.

American Hartford Gold Free Silver
BBB A+ rating

Noble Gold

9 stars


Noble Gold website

If you are a small investor, Noble Gold is the best company for you. They have flat service and storage fees, extensive educational resources, and low minimum investments. However, their yearly fees can be quite high for anyone with a low account balance.

BBB A+ rating

Advantage Gold

8.5 stars


Advantage Gold website

Advantage Gold is a well-credited, BBB A+ company with great customer reviews.  If you are a first-time buyer, Advantage Gold is the best company for you. Their annual fee is low, they have a low-cost fee structure, require low minimum investment, and offer extensive educational resources. However, you cannot purchase online, and they have been operational for a short period.

BBB A+ rating

Patriot Gold Group

8.5 stars


Patriot Gold Group website

Patriot group has excellent consumer ratings, competitive pricing, and good customer service. They have direct investor pricing, and new qualifying accounts can receive free coins up to $2500. However, they have a minimum investment required, and to get enough information, you need to complete a form on their website.

BBB A+ rating
Trustpilot 4.5 stars

Monetary Gold

8.5 stars


Monetary Gold

Monetary Gold has medium customer reviews on Trustpilot but excellent reviews on TrustLink and BBB A+ rating. They have been operational for over fifty years. They offer new customers free shipping, have been operational for a long period, and the registration is seamless. However, you have to pay an annual fee on your investment.

BBB A+ rating
Trustpilot 3 stars

Affiliate Disclosure

Owners of this website may be paid to recommend companies on this site. The content on this website, including any positive reviews of any company and other reviews, may not be neutral or independent.

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