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Can You Convert An Existing IRA into Physical Gold for Your Retirement Fund?

If your aim in converting your existing IRA to gold is to own physical gold bars or coins, you can convert your existing IRA (Individual Retirement Account) to gold by establishing a self-directed gold IRA plan and then rolling over part or all of the old IRA funds into the new Gold IRA plan. The same also applies to most 401k retirement plans. When the money is in the new precious metals IRA, you can purchase any IRA-eligible precious metals within the plan.

If your aim is, on the other hand, to physically have the gold in bars or coins stored at your home or in a non-approved storage location, again, you could do this, but it would mean physically withdrawing money from your existing self-directed IRA, which would incur any penalties and taxes applicable and then purchasing the gold as a separate transaction.

An indirect rollover is possible as an investment option. However, stringent rules and time limits apply, get this option wrong, and your indirect rollover could also mean you incur taxes and penalties.

401k gold free gold

What is a Gold IRA, and How Does it Differ From a Traditional IRA?

A Gold IRA is a self-directed IRA  that utilizes precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium as an investment basis instead of using paper money or other asset types. This innovative account allows investors to diversify their portfolios beyond traditional assets such as stocks, shares, mutual funds, and bonds.

Compared to traditional IRAs, precious metal IRAs are also self-directed accounts and require you to purchase or have some physical metals within the plan. One key difference between the two is what you can invest in. While traditional IRAs limit investments to stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, a Gold IRA allows for investment in precious metals, bullion, and coins, as long as these things are IRS approved.

Furthermore, unlike traditional IRAs, holding physical assets inside a gold or precious metals IRA means you own something tangible that has stood the test of time as an asset class – given that gold has retained its value over thousands of years. Most 401k plans are invested in the stock market, which means you only own paper-based assets; within your precious metals IRA, you can hold approved gold and silver coins or bullion. Be aware that most precious metals dealers will charge storage fees or partner with a custodian who will hold your precious metal until you wish to start drawing down on your retirement savings.

Another benefit of converting an IRA to a precious metals IRA is protection against inflation. The value of gold tends to rise when the dollar's purchasing power decreases; this feature makes these types of accounts safer than just relying on stocks or bonds.

When you open a precious metals IRA, you must use approved storage options. Approved storage options are provided by custodians that comply with specific IRS rules and regulations for storing bullion coins and bullion bars.

Overall if you're looking for a way to diversify your portfolio, existing IRA, or 401k plan with tangible assets while protecting your wealth in times of economic uncertainty, then opening a gold, silver, platinum, or palladium IRA could be right up your alley!

Other Options for your Investment Portfolio

Converting your IRA to a gold IRA is one of many options; in addition to gold investments and stock, you could consider investing in alternative assets such as real estate or art. You can, as an example, open a real estate IRA.

Types of Gold  and Precious Metals IRAs - Types Of Retirement Account 

Gold IRAs come in different types to cater to the unique needs of investors. One such type is the physical gold IRA, which involves investing in tangible gold coins or bars.

Another type of gold IRA is the paper gold IRA, which allows investors to own shares of gold mining companies or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that hold physical gold.

Then there's also the hybrid gold IRA, which combines physical and paper assets. This type offers diversification benefits by spreading investments across multiple assets.

Investors also have the option of a self-directed gold IRA, where they have complete control over their investment choices and can invest in a wide range of precious metals beyond gold.

Each type has its pros and cons, and investors need to evaluate their individual needs before choosing a type that best fits them.

How Does a Gold IRA Work

A gold IRA can effectively hedge against inflation and market uncertainties. It allows investors to hold physical gold coins and bars in a special IRA account.

The primary advantage of investing in a gold IRA is the stability of gold prices, which have increased over time and are expected to continue doing so.

Moreover, the IRS requires that these investments meet specific standards, ensuring investors receive high-quality products.

Investors purchasing gold for their IRAs should exercise caution when selecting dealers to ensure they deal with reputable organizations.

How to Choose Your Gold IRA Provider

Selecting the right provider for your gold IRA is like searching for the perfect gemstone. Firstly, ensure you have a basic grasp of what fits your budget ahead of anything else.

Once your budget considerations are clear, research to ensure they're legitimate, experienced, and knowledgeable. Look at their track record of success and their team's qualifications, credentials, and experience. We at Bear Lake Gold have already researched over 120 gold IRA providers. Our top three recommended companies were Augusta Precious Metals. Goldco and American Hartford Gold. Our full reviews of these companies can be found on our homepage, where we review our top five recommended companies. If you want to check out our research on any of the other 120 companies, click here.

How to set up a gold IRA

Once you've identified a reputable custodian, the next step is to fund your account. This can typically be done by transferring funds from an existing IRA or rolling over funds from a qualified 401(k) plan. Sometimes, you can also perform rollovers from 403b and 457b retirement plans.

It is important to do your due diligence when purchasing gold for your IRA and ensure that the metal meets certain purity standards. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has strict guidelines on what types of metals can be held in an IRA, so it's essential to follow these regulations closely; our recommended partners can help you with this selection process.

Aside from physical gold bullion, other forms of accepted metals, such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mining stocks, can provide exposure to the gold market within your IRA.

Ultimately, setting up a gold IRA involves careful consideration and guidance from professionals specializing in this area. With proper planning and attention to detail, you can enjoy the benefits of diversifying your retirement portfolio with one of history's most valuable assets.

tax compliant Gold IRA

How to Open a Gold IRA with Augusta Precious Metals

  • Contact Augusta Precious Metals and speak with one of its account managers about your intention to open a gold IRA.
  • They will help you fill out the gold IRA account form and walk you through all the instructions to help you fund or roll over funds from your existing 401k or IRA to your new gold or precious metals IRA.
  • Once the account rollover process is complete, they will help you buy precious metals and add them to your IRA.

Pros and Cons of Augusta Precious Metals


  • Their pricing structures are very transparent.
  • They scored 9.9 stars out of 10 in our gold dealer review (we have never given anyone a higher mark)!
  • They have a high rating on the Business Consumer Association (BCA) review site.
  • Augusta's account opening process is swift, and their overall support is excellent.
  • They offer world-class customer care service and rich investment educational materials.


  • Their minimum investment is high at ($50,000)

How to Open a Gold IRA with Goldco

  • Click here to start the process, and they will contact you about opening a gold IRA.
  • After they have helped you setup your account, you can fund your account by rolling over funds from your existing IRA or 401(k) retirement account.
  • Use the money to add your desired IRA-eligible precious metals to your account.

Pros and Cons of Goldco


  • Goldco's educational resources are among the best in the industry.
  • They have excellent customer support.
  • The company's IRA account opening process is easy.
  • They have an A+ rating on BBB.


  • The primary precious metals they sell are silver and gold.


How to Open a Gold IRA with Hartford American Gold

  • Call the company to speak with a representative about opening a gold IRA through them.
  • After your account is set up, fund your account by rolling over funds from your existing 401(k) retirement account.
  • Use the money to add your desired IRA-eligible precious metals to your account.

Pros and Cons of American Hartford Gold


  • They have a good selection of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bars and coins.
  • Their customers enjoy fantastic customer support services.
  • They have affordable IRA fees.
  • Their website has a section containing rich gold IRA investment materials for clients' education.


  • The company's transaction speed is slow.
  • They do not ship outside the United States.

Once you have opened your gold IRA account with one of the above companies, they walk you through rolling over money from your existing non-gold IRA into your new gold IRA without penalty.

You must follow the advice they give you. If you do not, you could incur tax penalties and start withdrawing money from your old IRA to pay into your new gold IRA to fund your precious metals purchase.

Could you start the process right now?

If you are looking to convert less than $10,000, we recommend either American Hartford Gold.

If you are looking to convert $10,000 to $50,000, we recommend Goldco

If you are looking to convert more than $50,000, we recommend Augusta Precious Metals

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