Convert 401k to Gold IRA

Disclosure: Our content does not constitute financial advice. Speak to your financial advisor. We may earn money from companies reviewed.

Should you convert 401k to Gold IRA? Investing in gold IRAs has several benefits. Investors may get some safety for their retirement planning by investing in precious metals via an individual retirement account, such as gold and silver. You cannot invest in real physical gold with a regular 401k account, but you may do so with a gold IRA.

The popularity of Gold IRAs is rising for several reasons. In the beginning, as already said, a precious metals IRA enables you to keep actual gold and silver as bullion (gold bars or rounds) or coins. A comprehensive investment portfolio mostly of paper assets like stocks or bonds might benefit from the enormous diversity that physical assets can provide. 

Second, historically speaking, precious metals have been a reliable inflation hedge. With a 9.1% increase in the CPI (Consumer Price Index) year-over-year for June 2022, US inflation is at its highest level in forty years. Lastly, IRA investors benefit from significant tax benefits, a terrific strategy to reduce your tax obligations on investments made using retirement funds.

You may easily transfer money from any retirement account, such as a 401k, into a Gold IRA. And can without incurring any tax penalties if you’re cautious to adhere to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations. Professional Gold IRA companies will handle all the required paperwork on your behalf.

What is a Gold IRA?

Let’s ensure you understand what a Gold IRA is before investing in one. Any IRA invested in actual precious metals is frequently called a “Gold IRA.” Therefore, a “Gold” IRA might be a Silver, Platinum, or Palladium, instead of being invested solely in gold.

Precious Metals IRAs are a type of self-directed IRA (SDIRA). This implies that you, and not, the management company of a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund, are entirely responsible for choosing the investments for your account (ETF).

You have a lot more investment choices with self-directed IRAs. Beyond the standard Wall Street goods like equities, bonds, and mutual funds, you may invest in diverse financial assets. This is a big benefit over 401k accounts, which often only provide a relatively small selection of options, such as only three or four mutual funds.

With a self-directed IRA, to mention a few, you may invest in any of the following assets:

  • Gold and other precious metals
  • Real estate
  • Venture capital and private equity investments
  • Joint ventures and other business partnerships
  • Raw or farm/ranch land
  • Promissory notes

Why Gold?

In these times of escalating inflation and financial turmoil, more and more investors are looking to gold and silver as “safe haven” assets. Gold is one of the few financial assets with a proven track record of serving as a trustworthy store of value and keeping up with inflation. One of the often-said adages regarding gold is that one ounce will always be sufficient to purchase a fine, custom-made suit for you. It was true when gold was just $35 per ounce, and it is still true now that gold is worth between $1,500 and $2,000 per ounce.

Numerous paper currencies have appeared and disappeared before losing all of their value. In contrast, when the economy and stock market are in bad shape, the value of gold often rises. Gold has always had some value; it has never lost it, despite the price fluctuating up and down like every other financial item.

Investments in gold may have a unique attraction as part of your retirement planning since they are regarded as a strong hedge, or protection, investment against economic downturns and increasing inflation. You may use a gold IRA as an investment instrument to safeguard the money you’ve worked hard to earn and accumulate for your retirement.

Because the price changes of gold and silver do not significantly correlate with the stock market’s performance, investing in these precious metals may help diversify your entire investment portfolio. (In other words, gold investments may increase in value when stock investments decline.) A popular investing approach to lower risk and volatility has a well-diversified portfolio.

Benefits of Owning Gold

There are several methods to invest in gold and other precious metals, including buying mining stocks, rare coins, and ETFs or mutual funds. Over paper assets like gold equities or ETFs, owning actual gold in a Gold IRA has certain benefits.

The following are some of the main benefits investing in actual gold offers:

  1. The danger to people’s financial security from identity theft and online fraud is rising. Since physical gold is an investment asset that cannot be hacked or stolen online, it provides true financial protection.
  2. Anonymity is possible while holding actual gold deposits. That’s a significant benefit when many become more concerned about governmental meddling and authority. The terrible fact is that the government may readily seize money in a bank account. Many discovered this truth the hard way in 2013 when the nation’s central bank abruptly took millions of dollars stored in bank accounts by people in response to an economic crisis.
  3. Physical gold, such as gold bullion, is far better secured than currency against creditor attachment or confiscation in addition to protection against government seizure. Bullion in gold and silver seems appealing to many investors only based on that fact.
  4. Physical gold investments don’t include any counterparty risk. Other investments, like stocks, are at least somewhat reliant on the actions of outside parties (like the board of directors of a corporation). But regardless of what other parties do, gold has an inherent worth. Your investments in actual gold are not based on, for example, a fund manager’s performance.
  5. A precious metals IRA also offers the significant tax benefits associated with all IRAs when holding actual gold, silver, platinum, or palladium. Traditional IRA contributions lower your annual taxable income, and investment gains are tax-deferred until you start taking distributions. All of your earnings with a Roth IRA are tax-free. Additionally, you can purchase and sell gold or silver as often as you wish inside your Gold IRA without experiencing any taxed capital gains.
convert 401k to gold ira

Benefits of a Roth IRA

Your Gold IRA may be set up as a standard IRA, a SEP (Simplified Employee Pension) IRA, a Spousal IRA, or a Roth IRA, among other forms. Which self-directed IRA is ideal for you will depend on your current financial situation and the expectations of your finances after retirement.

For instance, you may lean toward choosing a conventional IRA configuration if you anticipate being in a lower tax rate when you retire than you are today. On the other hand, you’ll probably find a Roth IRA more advantageous if you believe you’ll most likely be at a higher tax rate when you retire than you are now. The primary justification for this is the tax-free status of all accrued capital gains in a Roth IRA.

Your contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax deductible, unlike a standard IRA. Therefore, you get no tax advantage while making donations. The significant tax benefit you get from having all of the capital gains in your Roth IRA grow tax-free, as long as you wait at least five years before making any withdrawals from the account, which generally more than makes up for that disadvantage.

Potential Roth IRA Gains

The ability to pay zero taxes on your Roth Gold IRA capital gains might result in significant benefits if gold prices increase significantly between now and when you begin withdrawing.

For simplicity, imagine you made $100,000 in contributions to a Roth Gold IRA over the years. And let’s imagine that in the same period, the price of gold rose by 500%. (That is not in any way an unrealistic forecast. In the first two decades of the 21st century, the price of gold rose from a little over $300 to over $2,000.

Additionally, many market experts believe that during the next 10 to 15 years, the price of gold, now at $1,800 per ounce, might climb to between $5,000 and $10,000.)

As a result, your $100,000 in gold in your Roth IRA would have grown in value to more than $500,000, giving you a return on investment (ROI) of $500,000 that is tax-free.

Additionally, receiving all of that tax-free money does not place you in a higher tax bracket or exclude you from Medicaid or other financial assistance programs.

A few additional variables make Roth IRAs particularly attractive to investors. No “required minimum distributions” (RMDs) with a Roth IRA exist. Starting at 70½, you must begin taking distributions from your conventional IRA and paying taxes. With a Roth IRA, this isn’t a requirement. Let your Roth Gold IRA grow in value, make no withdrawals, and leave the account to your beneficiaries when you pass away.

Another benefit: If you need to withdraw funds from your Gold IRA before retirement (or age 59 1/2), the requirements for a Roth IRA are more forgiving than those of a conventional IRA. For instance, you are not subject to tax penalties if you withdraw money to pay for your first house or college expenditures.

Transferring a 401k to a Gold IRA

A Gold IRA rollover is establishing and funding a Gold IRA with funds from another retirement account, such as a 401k or another IRA. In other words, you transfer funds from one retirement account to another. Because a self-directed Gold IRA is a unique kind of retirement account with specific IRS regulations governing how the account must be set up and maintained and what financial assets may be retained, the rollover is required.

An employer-sponsored retirement savings plan is a 401k. You may choose to have a certain amount of each paycheck withheld and deposited into your 401k, making it a simple method to save and invest for retirement. Additionally, there is a tax advantage since your 401k investments grow tax-deferred. Before you take the money out of your account, you are not subject to any tax obligations.

Why Transfer Funds from Your 401k?

Since a self-directed IRA gives so much more variety and flexibility to inaccessible investments, many individuals find it perfect for moving at least part of their financial assets out of an employer-provided 401k account.

Your sole investment options with most 401k programs are either a small number of mutual funds or a GIC (Guaranteed Investment Contract). GIC is a money market account that only offers little interest. It is offered as a choice in 401ks for individuals with a highly low-risk tolerance who aren’t even comfortable having their money invested in a somewhat low-risk mutual fund.

So, if you have a very, very low-risk tolerance, a 401k plan could be perfect for you, but if you want to have at least the chance to make sizable returns on investment, it may be unpleasant.

Normally, you must pay taxes and potential tax penalties on money withdrawn from a conventional IRA, 401k, or other tax-advantaged retirement plans. However, no taxable event is produced if you roll the money into another account eligible for tax advantages during the IRS-specified 60-day window.

There are two methods to carry out a 401k to Gold IRA rollover:

  • Direct rollover – trustee to trustee
  • Indirect rollover – trustee to client to trustee

Direct Rollover

Direct rollovers are the simplest method to transfer money from your 401k account to your new Gold IRA. Once you’ve established a Gold IRA, all you need to do is get in touch with the trustee of your 401k and tell them how much money you want to transfer to the custodial trustee of the Gold IRA.

As part of the account establishment procedure, you will get a custodial trustee for your Gold IRA. To enable the money transfer, your Gold IRA trustee may provide you with all the information you need to provide your 401k plan administrator.

The 401k withdrawal/transfer will be noted on an IRS Form 1099-R you will receive; however, the 1099 form should also include an “H” distribution code in box 7. According to the distribution code sent to the IRS, the transfer is not taxable.

Therefore, a straight rollover is not subject to the standard 20% tax withholding regulation. Thus, the money you roll into a Gold IRA won’t have any taxes deducted.

Indirect Rollover

In an indirect rollover, the trustee of your 401k plan sends you a check for the amount of 401k money you wish to transfer to your Gold IRA. The money must be deposited into your new Gold IRA within 60 days. Ensure the monies are credited to your Gold IRA within 60 days of the indicated 401k withdrawal date. The money you receive from your 401k will be subject to taxes and applicable tax penalties if you keep it longer than the permitted 60-day holding period.

The fact that your 401k plan administrator will provide you 80% of the desired withdrawal amount, withhold the other 20%, and send it to the IRS to meet any tax liabilities makes an indirect rollover much more challenging. The amount of money distributed to you and the 20% withheld for taxes are shown on the IRS Form 1099-R you get from your plan administrator.

However, you must deposit the whole 100% withdrawal amount, not just the 80% that you got, into your Gold IRA to avoid any possible tax consequences—requiring you to pay 20% of the deposit out of your money. If you deposit within the 60-day window and adhere to all other IRS guidelines for a Gold IRA, you will get the 20% back after submitting your taxes for that year.

Due to the 80/20 rule, most investors choose a direct rollover.

Rollover Qualifications

The majority of 401k retirement plans typically permit IRA rollovers. However, conditions and eligibility for rollovers might differ from one plan to another, so it’s crucial to speak with your plan’s administrator.

Simply explain what you want to do—roll over money from your 401k into a Gold IRA—and they will be able to let you know what is permitted and what steps must be taken.

If you are at least 55 years old and no longer employed by the company that sponsored your 401k, or at least 59½, there shouldn’t be any issues converting your 401k assets to a Gold IRA.

However, if the 401k plan provider still employs you and are 54 years or younger, you may not be qualified to take an “in-service withdrawal” without paying taxes. If that’s the case, you’ll either need to wait until you’re older or have left the firm or search for another way to obtain the money you need to start your Gold IRA.

Even if your 401k plan typically prohibits withdrawals or transfers of money while you are still working for the firm, you may still be able to arrange for such a transfer to be made. If your plan administrator is ready to assist you, they may utilize the “hardship withdrawal” exemption included in most 401k plans to provide you with money. The decision to approve such an exemption often rests almost entirely with the plan administrator.

How to Create a Gold IRA Account

Setting up a Gold IRA is a quick and uncomplicated procedure. The most important decision to make is which Gold IRA provider to choose. Several financial services firms focus on providing Gold IRAs since they are unique self-directed IRAs.

You may open a Gold IRA with any Gold IRA provider. Beyond the initial establishment of your account, the number of services offered directly by the different Gold IRA companies varies greatly. When selecting a company to manage your precious metals IRA, keep the following things in mind:

Step 1. Create your Gold Individual Retirement Account

To acquire a Gold IRA, you first investigate Gold IRA companies and choose one to open your account with. (We evaluated the top three Gold IRA providers here.)

Step 2: Start your 401k rollover

Following the creation of your Gold IRA, you must contact the person in charge of your 401k plan to start transferring funds to your new IRA. Again, a direct rollover is the simplest and best way to guarantee that your rollover is done without incurring tax penalties. This involves the trustee of your 401k transferring funds to the trustee of your Gold IRA.

The amount at which you first fund your account should be selected as part of your overall financial planning, particularly as part of your retirement planning, in addition to satisfying any minimum deposit criteria your Gold IRA business may have.

Although a financial counselor may be helpful, the choice is ultimately yours. Many financial advisers advise putting approximately 10% of your investment capital into precious metals. With gold and silver investing, you could be more or less aggressive. Consider your risk tolerance, your expectations for inflation and the economy, and any other financial assets you have.

Step 3. Meeting IRS Custodian and Storage Requirements

The following are two crucial IRS guidelines for precious metals IRAs:

  1. To handle your account, a custodian trustee must be chosen. Since your Gold IRA is self-directed, you have complete control over the purchasing and selling of investments in precious metals. Still, an IRS-approved custodian trustee must carry out your choices. The trustee will also handle all required IRS reporting for your account.
  1. You have to store your precious metals at an IRS-authorized location. Your gold or silver cannot simply be kept in a drawer at home. Two of the most reputable businesses that provide IRS-approved storage of IRA gold and silver are Brinks and Delaware Depository.

You may directly use the custodian and storage services provided by certain Gold IRA companies, such as Augusta Precious Metals. It is managed “internally” as part of their Gold IRA services. You’ll have to get in touch and set up custodial services and precious metals storage with several other Gold IRA firms.

Step 4: Invest!

The exciting part comes next: purchasing gold and silver (or platinum or palladium) after your account is set up, custodian and storage arrangements are made, and your 401k money has arrived. You can invest in coins, bullion, or both gold and silver.

Gold bars, often known as bullion, come in weights ranging from a tenth of an ounce to several ounces. There are several sizes available for both gold and silver coins. One-ounce bars and coins are the most popular to buy.

Only precious metals that satisfy the IRS’ purity, or “fineness,” standards are permitted as assets in your Gold IRA.

The following criteria apply:

  • Gold, platinum, or palladium bars and coins must be at least 99.5% pure.
  • Silver bullion and coins must be at least 99.9% pure.
  • The American Gold Eagle coins are an exemption from the IRS’s usual purity criteria. Since its debut in 1986, the U.S. Mint’s production of these coins has enjoyed tremendous investor interest. A 22-karat gold American Eagle coin is 91.67% pure gold; the remaining percentage is made up of a combination of copper and silver.

Collectible or numismatic coins are not permitted precious metals for IRA investments because they often do not fulfill the IRS purity standards.

Coins or Bars: Which Should You Purchase for Your Gold IRA?

Although gold and silver coins, many of which have well-known designs, are more visually pleasing than gold and silver bullion, they are often less profitable as a precious metals investment. This is because coins, instead of bullion bars, often carry a higher premium above the spot (cash market) values of gold and silver.

By only purchasing bullion bars produced by a reputable mint that guarantees the purity of the metal and stamps its goods, you will be confident that your purchases of gold bullion (or silver, platinum, or palladium) will be accepted by the IRS.

Step 5: Keep putting money into your investments regularly

With the money transferred from your 401k account, you may buy gold and silver to start and add to your holdings of precious metals year after year.

The IRS permits yearly contributions to standard and Roth IRAs of up to $6,500 for the tax year as of 2022. 50+ individuals are eligible to make an extra $1,000 yearly contribution.

Of course, your overall financial planning and current investment portfolio should be considered when deciding how much more investment you should make.

Whenever you want to buy more precious metals for your IRA, email your custodian trustee a “buy direction letter,” including instructions on what to buy, where to acquire it, and how much to pay.

Before choosing, it’s crucial to study reviews and comparisons of Gold IRA providers. Consider each company’s advantages and disadvantages while considering that different suppliers provide dramatically varying service levels, apply various fees, and require various minimum initial deposits.

You should always choose a Gold IRA supplier that is completely licensed and insured.

Our top three gold IRA companies are all reputable and trustworthy


With a gold IRA, what precious metals may I invest in?

As long as they comply with the IRS purity standards, all four precious metals—gold, silver, platinum, and palladium—are suitable investments for Gold IRAs. A single account may store a variety of different precious metals. A general phrase to refer to any IRA containing assets in actual precious metals is “gold IRA.” For instance, if you solely invest in silver coins or bullion, your “Gold IRA” could be a Silver IRA, but it will still be referred to as a Gold IRA.

Which kinds of retirement accounts permit the ownership of precious metals?

Many retirement plans, including but not limited to the following, allow you to own precious metals and other alternative assets (such as real estate):

  • SEP, Roth, or Traditional IRAs
  • Self-directed Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
  • Self-directed Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

All different forms of retirement accounts usually follow the same IRS rollover regulations and precious metal investment eligibility standards. However, individual contributions, income, payout criteria, and restrictions will vary.

What is a Custodian Trustee for a Gold IRA?

A financial services firm that has received the IRS’s approval to handle your Gold IRA is known as a custodian trustee. The trustee carries out your buy and sell orders, organizes the delivery of your precious metal purchases to the storage facility of your choice that is IRS-approved, and, if required, reports your account activity (contributions, dividends, etc.) to the IRS.

What Happens If I Don’t Rollover Within 60 Days?

Just…don’t! Once again, we advise that you request a direct rollover from your 401k plan administrator, who will transmit the funds straight to the trustee of your new Gold IRA.

Seriously, if you remove money from your 401k account after the 60-day window to transfer it to your new Gold IRA has passed, such withdrawal results typically in a taxable event, and you can be subject to income tax and tax penalties. You have a choice between two “rescues” in such circumstances. 

First, you could be eligible for an exemption from paying tax or penalties under one of the IRS’s provisions for hardship. The second option, probably the best, is to write to the IRS and explain that you missed the deadline due to events beyond your control. 

Find out more about Gold IRAs to determine if one is appropriate for your investing plan. We suggest you get this free gold ira kit for more information.

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