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Precious metals, especially gold, have become a hot commodity in the investment market today. Many people are turning to it as an alternative investment option because of the high turmoil in the economy. Investors today, more than ever, use gold to safeguard their retirement savings from inflation and volatility by investing in precious metals 401k.

One of the ways investors hedge their funds for retirement is by opening a gold IRA. A gold IRA allows investors to invest in physical gold using their 401k funds. Even with the rise of gold investments, many investors still need to learn how to proceed. Hence, in this article, we want to show you how to invest in precious metals using your 401k retirement account funds in a practical step-by-step approach.

An Overview of 401k Retirement Plan

The 4O1k retirement plan is a self-directed plan that employers sponsor. It is a retirement plan that many employers in the United States offer their employees. The plan gives these employees huge tax-advantaged investment options to aid them in comfortably living out their retirement years.

Typically, 401k retirement plans allow employees to divert a portion of their salaries toward investments in the long term on either a pre-tax or post-tax basis. While some employers offer to make partial matching contributions, others provide 100% of the money their employees will invest in the 401k plan.

401k plans have contribution limits, and the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) is responsible for setting the contribution limits for 401k plans. The IRS in 2022 required employees to deposit $20,500 into their 401k accounts from their salaries annually. In 2023, the IRS increased the contribution limit to $22,500. For employers over 50 years, the catchup contribution limit set by the IRS for 2022 was $6,500. This year (2023), the IRS increased it to $7,500.

A 401k plan administrator generally handles the 401k plan. This fund manager is usually a financial service company. The 401k plan administrator also offers various investment options to employees to allow them to diversify their investment portfolios. The most popular investment type is mutual funds. Employees who own 401k retirement accounts can choose from different kinds of funds, from small to large-cap funds to index and bond funds. The growth potentials of these types of funds are different.

401k investors know that these plans are very important and can allow them to leverage significant investment opportunities in the market. That is why some investors have become interested in investing the funds from their 401k retirement accounts into precious metals. They want to profit from the increasing prices of precious metals in the gold and silver industry.

Gold IRA or Individual Retirement Account Overview

A gold IRA is also called a precious metals IRA. It is a unique retirement account that allows you to hold gold and other precious metals as long-term investments through a custodian.

Aside from investing and keeping the gold safe, many possibilities come with a gold IRA. A gold IRA also allows you to add precious metals like silver, platinum, and palladium investments to your retirement assets. However, you cannot buy just any precious metal product because you own a gold IRA. The IRS regulates the kinds of precious metals you can add to your gold IRA portfolio. The IRS calls these investments IRA-eligible precious metals. These precious metals meet the IRS minimum purity and fineness standards for IRA-eligible precious metals. In the later section of this article, we will give you more details about the minimum purity requirement and fineness for IRA-eligible precious metals.

401k and Precious Metals Investing

Investing in physical gold assets is one of the most effective ways to exploit the gold wave. However, 401k plans come with a high level of restrictions. Only a few 401k investment plans allow investors to invest in physical gold directly. Generally, most 401k plans restrict employees from buying precious metal investments. It means that most 401k plans will not allow you to purchase and add physical gold bullion, gold bars, or gold coins as investments to your retirement portfolio. We know this information may sound disappointing, but the good news is that there is still a way around it.

Suppose you want to invest in physical gold using funds from your 401k account. In that case, you can open a new gold IRA account and roll over your funds from your 401k into your gold IRA. Similarly, you can invest in gold through ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) or mutual funds.

Gold Mutual Funds

If you do not want to roll over your 401k to a gold IRA, you can alternatively invest in gold and other precious metals by purchasing 'paper gold' or gold mutual funds. When you look through your 401k plan fund descriptions, you can locate mutual funds allowing you to hold gold mining companies' stock. Before investing in some gold mutual funds, please find out their expense ratio. Mutual funds with high expense ratios may not yield significant profits.

Gold ETFs

Some 401k plans come with a brokerage option. Usually, this 401k plan allows investors to invest in more assets than they would make through a traditional brokerage account. It means investors can access almost all types of precious metals investments. If an employee has such a 401k investment plan, one of the simplest ways to invest in gold is through gold ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds). This type of gold investment allows you to buy into the shares of funds that hold physical gold bullion.

In addition, a 401k brokerage option allows investors to invest in gold companies' stocks.

Bidens attack on gold IRa TAx rules

Can You Use Your 401k to Buy Physical Gold?

From the last session, we have seen how you can invest in gold paper assets using your 401k retirement plan. However, most investors ask a vital question: "Can I use my 401k to buy actual gold?"

You must open a self-directed IRA to invest your 401k retirement funds into physical gold and silver bullion, coins, and rounds. A gold IRA allows 401k plan investors to buy eligible precious metal products as investment assets and keep them in a secure third-party depository. However, buying eligible precious metals with your 401k is only possible when you perform a gold rollover.

You must roll over a part or all your funds from your 401k account to your gold IRA. Please be informed that the money you rollover from your 401k into your gold IRA will no longer be part of your 401k retirement plan. It will now be part of your gold IRA plan.

A gold IRA is an amazing retirement plan because it allows investors to keep their wealth safe from economic issues while also enjoying the huge tax advantages of an IRA.

We recommend investing in precious metals IRAs when employees have funds in their existing traditional that they wish to protect against the associated risk of a stock market crash or devaluation or are looking to provide a more robust hedge against the effects of inflation.

Suppose you have an existing 401k plan and are eligible to perform an 'in-service' rollover. In that case, you can transfer a portion or all of your 401k funds to your gold IRA. In addition, if you're leaving your current job and have an existing 401k account with your employer, you can roll over your funds into your gold IRA.

How to Use Your 401k to Invest in Gold

As mentioned, you should consider converting your 401k into a gold IRA through a rollover to diversify your 401k retirement investments properly. Rolling over your 401 k into a gold IRA allows you to purchase physical precious metals using funds in your 401 k account.

Unlike a 401k plan, a gold IRA offers more investment options in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium categories. A 401k to gold rollover is a common practice in the gold investment world, especially when employees are leaving their jobs and want to secure the funds in their 401k from economic crises.

You can also perform a rollover if you still work for your company. However, you must be eligible for an in-service withdrawal for early access to your retirement savings. You can transfer your 401k funds into your gold IRA without penalty if you complete your rollover within 60 days. A gold IRA rollover allows you to have access to funds originally locked away in your 401k until later.

How to Convert Your 401k to Gold Without Penalty

One of the first things to do if you want to avoid penalties when moving your 401k to gold is to perform your gold IRA rollover through a reputable gold IRA company. In the later section of this article, we will show the top 5 companies in the United States that can help you perform a gold IRA rollover without penalties.

Check Your Eligibility Status

To begin your gold IRA rollover, you have to find out if you are eligible for a gold IRA rollover. According to the IRS, you must meet certain requirements to qualify for a 401k to gold rollover.

Part of the eligibility criteria set by the IRS for rolling over your 401k to gold is that you must have worked for at least one year in the company that opened the 401k retirement account.


Initiate the Gold IRA Rollover Process

After checking your eligibility criteria and ensuring you have met all the IRS requirements to qualify for a 401k to gold rollover, the next step is to call the reputable gold IRA provider you have chosen to work with to initiate the rollover process. You must get the paperwork from your gold IRA provider and send it to your 401k plan administrator. You can transfer your 401k funds to your gold IRA through a direct or an indirect rollover.

In the case of a direct rollover, your 401k plan administrator transfers the funds electronically from your 401k account directly to your newly opened gold IRA account. This 401k to gold rollover type takes two to six weeks to complete.

For an indirect rollover, your 401k plan administrator will issue a check containing the amount you want to roll over into your gold IRA to you. Then, you have a 60-day time window to deposit the money into your gold IRA. If you exceed the timeframe, the IRS will see the rollover as a distribution, and you will pay a 20% tax penalty from the funds.

We recommend opting for the direct rollover when moving funds from your 401k account to a gold IRA because it is easy and less complicated.

Buy Your Precious Metals Investments

After successfully rolling over funds into your new gold IRA, you can purchase gold and other precious metal investments. Although the gold IRA allows you to invest in a wide range of precious metals, you cannot hold every precious metal asset in the gold market in your account.

The IRS determines the types of precious metal investments investors can include in their portfolios. Usually, the precious metals must meet a certain purity standard and fineness. They are called IRA-eligible metals. According to the IRS, the purity and fineness standards for IRA-eligible precious metal products are mentioned below.

  • Gold (99.5% Purity)
  • Silver (99.9% Purity)
  • Platinum and Palladium (99.95% Purity)

The only exception to this purity rule is the American Eagle Gold coin. The United States Mint produces the coin with a purity level of 91.67% (22-karat). The other percentage is the composition of silver and copper for luster and durability.

The IRS does not allow the inclusion of rare coins or collectibles in your precious metal IRA portfolio. The IRS considers adding rare or collectible coins to your precious metal portfolio a distribution. Hence, adding rare collectible coins will incur a tax penalty.

Keep Track of Your Precious Metals Investments Monthly

After buying your investments for the first time, you can keep investing in your gold IRA using your yearly annual IRA contributions ($7,500). You can buy your investments once every year using your yearly contributions or buy monthly.

What are the Best and Most Profitable Precious Metals to Buy for Retirement?

Suppose you want to judge the profitability of precious metals using their looks. In that case, you may conclude that gold and silver coins are more profitable than bullion bars because they have beautiful designs and look attractive.

However, that is not the case. Gold and silver bullion bars are more profitable investments because they have lower premiums over gold and silver spot prices.

If you buy your gold and silver bullion bars from legit minters worldwide, you do not need to worry about whether your assets are IRA-eligible.

Precious metal bars from legitimate minters always meet the IRS purity and fineness standards for IRA-eligible products. Some of the legit minters in the world are:

  • The United States Mint
  • The Perth Mint of Australia
  • Johnson Matthey
  • Credit Suisse

Below are some of the most profitable precious metals products to add to your gold IRA.

IRA Eligible Gold Bullion

Gold Coins

  • Australian Lunar Series Gold Coins
  • British Britannia Gold Coins
  • American Eagle Gold Coins
  • Mexican Libertad Gold Bullion Coins
  • Australian Kangaroo/Nugget Coins
  • Canadian Maple Leaf Gold Coins
  • American Buffalo Bullion Gold Coins
  • Chinese Panda Gold Coins
  • Austrian Philharmonic Gold Coins

Gold Proof Coins

  • American Eagle Gold Proof Coins

Gold Bars and Gold Rounds

  • Perth Mint Gold Bars
  • Valcambi Gold Bars
  • PAMP Suisse Gold Bars
  • Johnson Matthey Gold Bars
  • Asahi Gold Bars
  • Credit Suisse Gold Bars
  • Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) Gold Bars

IRA Eligible Silver Bullion

Silver Coins

  • Austrian Vienna Philharmonic Silver Coins
  • British Britannia Silver Coins
  • American Eagle Silver Coins
  • Chinese Panda Silver Coins
  • Australian Koala Silver coin
  • Canadian Maple Leaf Silver Coins
  • America The Beautiful Silver Coins
  • Mexican Libertad Silver Bullion Coins
  • Australian Kookaburra Silver Coins
  • British Lunar Series Silver Bullion Coins
  • South African Krugerrand Silver Coins

Silver Proof Coins

  • American Eagle Silver Proof Coins

Silver Bars and Silver Rounds

  • Nadir Silver Bars
  • Perth Mint Silver Bars
  • Asahi Silver Bars
  • Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) Silver Bars
  • Credit Suisse Bars
  • Engelhard Silver Bars
  • PAMP Suisse Silver Bars
  • Sunshine Mint Silver Bars
  • Valcambi Silver Bars
  • Johnson Matthey Silver Bars

IRA Eligible Platinum Bullion

Platinum Coins

  • Canadian Maple Leaf Platinum Coins
  • American Eagle Platinum Coins
  • Australian Koala Platinum Coins
  • Isle of Man Noble Platinum Coins

Platinum Proof Coins

  • American Eagle Platinum Proof Coins

Platinum Bars and Platinum Rounds

  • Valcambi Platinum Bars
  • Johnson Matthey Platinum Bars
  • Credit Suisse Platinum Bars
  • Engelhard Platinum Bars
  • PAMP Suisse Platinum Bars
  • Argor Heraeus Platinum Bars

IRA Eligible Palladium Bullion

Palladium Coins

  • Canadian Maple Leaf Palladium Coins

Palladium Bars and Palladium Rounds

  • Credit Suisse Palladium Bars
  • Valcambi Palladium Bars
  • PAMP Suisse Palladium Bars
  • Johnson Matthey Palladium Bars

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What Companies Are the Best for Buying Profitable Precious Metals in The United States?

Augusta Precious Metals

This company is the absolute best gold IRA firm in the U.S. today due to Augusta's transparency, pricing, dedication to education, and extraordinary attention given to customers.

We highly recommend that everyone take advantage of their free web conference that helps you understand the economy, threats to your retirement, and the precious metals buying process (designed by their in-house Harvard-certified economic analyst). They even share tips for avoiding gimmicks and high-pressure tactics in this unregulated industry.

This gold precious metals specialist company was chosen by Money magazine as "The Best Overall" in its Best Gold IRA Companies list for 2023. It is the only gold IRA firm with ZERO complaints on the BBB website since 2012.

It has an outstanding track record proven by consumer watchdog ratings and tons of the best customer reviews, including endorsement by hall-of-fame quarterback Joe Montana, whose advisors found Augusta for him. We are thrilled to recommend Augusta as our #1 gold IRA company!


  • Award-winning recognition for account lifetime customer service Money magazine's "Best Overall" & Investopedia's "Most Transparent" in 2022.
  • Experienced professionals to help you make the ideal choice of investments.
  • Only gold IRA firm with ZERO complaints at BBB, BCA since launching in 2012.
  • Thousands of 5-star ratings from customers.
  • Must-watch: Free web conference with an excellent focus on consumer education.
  • Endorsement by high-income customers, including corporate ambassador Joe Montana whose team found this company for him.
  • Transparent, streamlined process and competitive rates.
  • No hidden management fees & ZERO custodian/storage fees for up to 10 years – every customer qualifies.


  • A minimum balance of $50,000 in savings makes this best for the "red carpet."
  • Limited selection of gold and silver investments.
  • Virtual account opening is not possible.

To start investing with Augusta Precious Metals, please click this link to download its 2023 gold investment kit for free.

Our #1 IRS 401k to Gold Company Recommendation

augusta Precious Metals

Augusta Precious Metals is our best rated overall precious metals company

  • Customer care is exceptional
  • Pricing is highly competitive
  • Educational program second to none
  • The best FREE investment guide in the industry
  • Zero complaints on BBB & BCA
  • Free shipping on all orders
  • They have a team of experts to guide you through your transfer from your 401k in to a Gold IRA
401k gold free gold


Established in 2006, this company has an excellent solid record and is our top recommendation for people looking to invest over $25,000 in a gold IRA. We consider this gold trading online platform the 2nd best Gold IRA Company in The USA Today.


  • 2nd Ranked Gold IRA dealer.
  • Top ratings from BCA, TrustPilot, and other third-party review sites and excellent customer reviews.
  • Biggest promotions in the industry.
  • Best buyback program.
  • No high-pressure sales tactics.
  • Competitive pricing.
  • Works with the most secure storage companies.
  • Dedicated expertise in precious metals.
  • Excellent customer service.


  • The minimum IRA deposit requirement is $25,000.
  • You cannot virtually set up an account.
  • Information about the management is not available on the Goldco
  • The fee may appear to be slightly higher than some budget-friendly rivals.

To start investing with Goldco, please click this link to download its 2023 gold investment kit for free.

Our #2 IRS 401k to Gold Company Recommendation

Goldco complaint

Goldco is our second top-rated gold and precious metal company. Having been top-rated all of last year, they were very close to Augusta Precious metals

  • Great promotional offers
  • Pricing is highly competitive
  • Educational program second to none
  • FREE investment guide in the industry
  • High buyback prices
  • Expert guidance provided by the team
  • First years fees waivered for new customers

American Hartford Gold Group

One of the most trusted Gold and Precious Metal brokers in the United States is American Hartford Gold. This family-owned company is endorsed by Bill O'Reilly and America's Mayor, Rudy Giuliani.

American Hartford Gold is great for gold and palladium IRA and purchasing physical Gold, Silver, and Platinum.


  • Easy-to-open silver & palladium IRA account with very competitive rates.
  • Free storage, maintenance & insurance for up to 3 years.
  • Physical gold and silver delivered to your front door at no additional cost.
  • Hassle-free process to buy back your precious metals with no fees.
  • Does not share your information with any private or public entity.


  • No prices on the online catalog.
  • Doesn't ship out of the U.S.
  • Minimum investment requirement of $10,000 for Gold IRA rollovers.

To start investing with American Hartford Gold, please click this link to download its 2023 gold investment kit for free.

Our #3 IRS 401k to Gold Company Recommendation

Hartford American

American Hartford Gold is our third top-rated company.

  • A leading, recognized, and trusted brand in the industry
  • A family owned and run business
  • Excellent customer service
  • Buy back guarantee
  • Free shipping
  • Promotional offers for new  customers
  • Transparent about the cost
  • Diligent when it comes to compliance


Birch Gold

Since it was established in 2003, the company has delighted customers and provided excellent customer education. Birch Gold Group's one-on-one interactions with customers are a fundamental advantage for those who want to make vital decisions impacting their financial future.


  • Top ratings from national consumer agencies.
  • Opportunity to invest in palladium and platinum.
  • For investments above $50,000, no fee in the first year.
  • Exceptional customer service, support, and advice.
  • A strong market presence and a history of nearly 20 years.


  • Online account opening is not permitted.
  • There is no onsite live customer chat.
  • Annual fees and setup costs are not accessible online.
  • You need to get their information kit to find complete details about the management team.

To start investing with Birch Gold Group, please click this link to download its 2023 gold investment kit for free.

Noble Gold

The truth is that Noble Gold has not been around the scene for a long time, but it has, in the shortest time possible, made huge impacts on the gold IRA market.

Since its inception, the company has captured customers' hearts via its vast educational resources gallery, a wide range of investment options, and low investment requirements. The company's commitment to customer service also has high ratings on third-party rating sites like BCA and Consumer Affairs.

According to the agent we spoke to, Noble Gold gives customers a committed account manager from the first day they decide to open a gold IRA account with it. The knowledgeable professionals will also give the customers all they need to know about how a gold IRA works and the setup process. In addition, they offer a smooth buyback process to their customers.

Noble Gold works with Delaware Depository and Brink's Global Services to provide storage services for its customers. In addition to these storage companies, Noble Gold owns its depository in Texas. Hence, customers can choose to store their metals in any of these three depositories.


  • They have high ratings on more than one trusted customer rating site.
  • Their team of investment experts will give you detailed guidance to make the perfect choice for your gold investments.
  • They offer competitive prices.
  • They have a wide selection of gold IRA investments.
  • Their minimum initial investment is $2000.
  • They give their customers a free gold IRA rollover guide.
  • They have their IRS-approved storage facility in Texas.


  • Their range of gold products comes with a high premium.

To start investing with Noble Gold Investment, please click this link to download its 2023 gold investment kit for free.



You can only directly invest in precious physical metals using your 401k if you perform a gold rollover. While you can explore other alternatives of gold investments using your 401k, like investing in paper gold, there are better investment types than this one. We recommend investing in real gold and silver products because the stock market will not influence them like it will influence your paper gold investments.

Suppose you have decided to invest in a precious metals 401k. In that case, you will need to perform a gold IRA rollover. This article has detailed information about successfully rolling over your 401k to precious metals without penalties. As we mentioned, it all begins with choosing a reputable company to work with.

Hence, to begin your gold investment journey by rolling over funds from your 401k into your precious metals IRA, please click the relevant links in the previous section to download the free review guides of any of our recommended companies that suit your investment needs and goals.

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