No matter how old you are or how stable your financial situation is, precious metals are an important part of investing. In fact, many top investors recommend putting a small percentage of your savings exclusively into precious metals. There are multiple ways to do this, both with cash savings and with your retirement funds.
But the precious metals industry is also known for being predatory. There are plenty of scams online, as well as businesses with non-transparent operating policies. With any investment, it's important to be confident that you're working with an ethical company. At the same time, you want to get a reasonable price for your products.
We've taken a look at a variety of the best rated businesses in this industry. Our top pick overall is Goldco. But all five of these recommendations have great management, ethics, histories, pricing, and general deals. They also offer buyback programs, so you can sell your items when the time comes to liquidate your holdings and cash out.
5 Best Gold Investment Companies
Goldco is a great company to work with, offering a broad range of investment-grade gold and silver products. Their main specialty is in gold IRAs, but they also have some exclusive products that you can buy with cash. If you do use their IRA services, you'll work with a single individual who handles all of your paperwork and questions. They'll even coordinate with your custodian and depository so that you don't have to worry about logistics.
Goldco has been operating since 2006 and selling gold to consumers since 2011, when the current owner acquired the company. Based in California, the company has published a great deal of information about precious metals IRAs. They aim to educate potential customers with their free articles, blog posts, website content, videos, and even an entire eBook. You can download the eBook and accompanying audiobook through the company website.
Goldco has one of the best overall reputations in this entire industry. Not only do they have a perfect score from both the BBB and the BCA, but they also have thousands of positive reviews. Because of their fast growth and great reputation, they have been recognized by publications including Inc Magazine, the Los Angeles Business Journal, and the American Business Awards. They are also endorsed by the popular political commentator Sean Hannity.
Goldco is known for being an IRA company, but that's not the only service that they provide. You can buy any of their products with cash instead of with your retirement savings. If you do this, you can have the purchase shipped straight to your door. There's no need to worry about complicated laws and paperwork.
Most of Goldco's inventory is eligible to place into an IRA, but not all of it. For example, Goldco is an exclusive dealer of the "Five Principles" Chuck Norris coin. Since this coin is a numismatic collectible, it cannot be placed into an IRA. But it is inscribed with the five main principles that Chuck Norris lives by. In addition, the coin has a Certificate of Authenticity along with a wooden display box.
You can still open an account with one of Goldco's partnered depositories if you want. These vaults are much more secure than home storage, and they have vital insurance policies and auditing. You can rest assured that your holdings are being protected and are in good hands.
Goldco's promotions will vary from month to month, so it's best to ask your specialist about what offers are available. If you invest at least $50,000 into an IRA, they may be willing to waive the setup fees and the first year of custodian fees. That's a value of over $200.
Similarly, if you make a large enough purchase of qualified gold products, you might be entitled to free silver. Goldco will send you silver products worth up to 10% of the original purchase. Since these are not part of your retirement account, you can store them however you want. You can also liquidate them for a little extra spending money without needing to wait to reach retirement age.
Goldco's fees depend on the services that you're using. There are no extra fees for cash purchases, but you may need to meet an investment minimum of $5,000 to $10,000. If you're making a purchase for an IRA, the recommended minimum is $15,000 to $25,000. You can ask your specialist about the current requirements.
IRAs have a setup fee of $50, which allows your specialist to help you with the paperwork and to communicate with your custodian. The combined custodian and storage fees are $180 per year, which is significantly less than you'll find with most of Goldco's competitors.
Goldco doesn't publish pricing information on their website. If you want to get a price quote, you'll need to call. But you can look at their website to see what products are currently available for purchase.
#2. Augusta Precious Metals
Augusta Precious Metals is another excellent company, vying neck-and-neck with Goldco to be the top recommendation. They have many of the same distinct advantages that Goldco does: great customer service, one-on-one care, ongoing support, and a solid selection of products. The only reason that we place them below Goldco is that their minimum investment is $50,000, which is out of some people's price ranges.
Augusta's top priority is always client education. They want to make sure that every client is making an absolutely clear decision, and that every investor weighs the pros and cons first. There is even a dedicated customer service line that can help customers solve any potential issues. That line seems to work well, because Augusta doesn't have a single complaint or negative review with the BBB.
That's nearly impossible for a company of this size to pull off. You can find hundreds of positive company reviews online, but absolutely no complaints. So if you're looking for the company with the highest satisfaction rating, this is it. There are also positive reviews from the company's employees on Glassdoor, indicating that Augusta is a good place to work.
The top executives at Augusta have a long history in the industry and in finances. One executive is a financial analyst who trained at Harvard. He runs one-on-one webinars with potential customers completely for free, and you don't even need to commit to a purchase. During these webinars, he'll answer questions and find out about your goals.
If you're interested in signing up for a webinar, you can do so on Augusta's website. Since there's limited availability, you'll put your name onto a mailing list. Then you'll be emailed when the next slots are available to make an online appointment.
Augusta also has some of the most affordable fees in the industry, matching Goldco's in many ways. Like with Goldco, you'll pay $50 for the setup costs. Also like with Goldco, you'll pay a flat fee for the storage and maintenance, with a maximum total of $200 per year. If you invest enough, Augusta might be willing to waive your initial fees.
Once you're ready to sell your items back, you can use Augusta's buyback program. You'll have an online account that shows information about your holdings in real time. It's easy to get a hold of your representative with questions, concerns, or requests to liquidate your holdings.
Because Augusta is so good with customers, they're one of the best picks for older people who want to invest large sums into gold for their financial security.
#3. American Hartford Gold
American Hartford Gold sells gold and silver products, many of which are eligible for an IRA. When you browse their website, you can clearly see products marked based on whether they're IRA-eligible or not. Non-IRA products can be purchased using cash.
Like Goldco and Augusta, American Hartford Gold has a great reputation, strong history in the business, and tons of acknowledgement from third parties. But unlike Goldco and Augusta, they don't have a minimum amount to invest in an IRA. In fact, they don't have any account setup fees at all. You can have a representative help you and file your paperwork completely for free.
American Hartford Gold is also known for running promotional campaigns on national television. For example, they sometimes send you free silver if you buy a certain number of qualified gold products. They also have the most lucrative fee-waiving option in the market, offering to waive up to three years of total fees if you meet a certain investment threshold.
Another unique aspect of American Hartford Gold is their price match guarantee. They don't publish their prices online. But if you call to get a price quote, and you find the same item being sold at a lower price through a different dealer, AHG will match the lower number. All you have to do is get the lower price offer in writing.
A few customers have mentioned that documenting this can be a pain, but far more customers say that the policy was simple and advantageous. Similarly, the vast majority of customers praise the overall service and the buyback programs.
In the rare event that there has been negative feedback, AHG has responded and done their best to find an equitable solution for the customer. There aren't any known patterns of mismanagement or dishonesty.
#4. Birch Gold Group
Birch Gold Group is another one of the most popular gold dealerships in the country. They offer investment grade bullion both for purchase with an IRA and with your own savings. As with the other companies on the list, not every single piece of their inventory is IRA-eligible. But you can easily compare your options.
Birch Gold is best known for its celebrity endorsements. Currently, it is the only company endorsed by Ben Shapiro. He says that he recommends their services to his family members, as well as to his audience. In addition, he has had several of the company's top executives as guests on his show. They use their expertise in the precious metals industry to discuss the economy and the importance of a diversified investment portfolio.
Birch Gold has a good reputation with past customers and third party organizations. Their website contains multiple educational materials to teach customers about gold and silver investing. They don't have a huge amount of detailed information about their IRA partners or costs, but customer reviews indicate that their pricing is in line with Goldco and Augusta's.
One advantage of Birch Gold Group is that the company tends to have a huge number of available items, many of which are eligible for an IRA. For those making cash purchases, Birch Gold is the most likely to have rare collectibles and numismatics. You can even tell your representative whether there is any specific coin that you're looking for. They might be able to find out whether they can source it for you.
#5. Noble Gold
Noble Gold is a company that's built around the idea that gold is necessary for security. The owner of Noble Gold has seen the hardships that people went through in 2008, and then again during 2020. He doesn't trust the government or the mainstream economy to take care of your money. So he recommends investing in gold because it is a decentralized, alternative, and tangible asset.
Noble Gold has IRA services available for a minimum buy-in of $5,000. For this, the company will help recommend the most economic products for your needs. They'll connect you with a custodian and help you choose from a wide range of depository locations. Noble Gold has the most partnered depositories on the list, with options both in the US and in offshore tax shelters internationally.
If you're looking to make a cash purchase instead of an IRA purchase, then Noble Gold might be the best choice on the list. You can use their Royal Survival Pack services. With these, you'll invest a certain amount into gold and silver. Then the company will send you a package of hand-picked precious metals that have strong value over time and are easy to liquidate.
If you end up dealing with an emergency situation, you can liquidate these holdings over time to support your family. Gold is difficult to trace, so it's ideal if you're concerned about banks or the government having control over your money. For those outside the US, Noble Gold offers an "ambassador" service, in which they will store precious metals on American soil for you.
You can invest anywhere from $5,000 to over $500,000 in these survival packs. If you choose to use one of the highest tiers, you'll have a personal meeting with Noble Gold's management. They will discuss your personal and financial situation, coming up with a solution that meets your extremely specific needs. The more you invest, the easier it will be to keep your loved ones afloat in times of trouble.
Gold has been a major economic staple in hundreds of countries for centuries. Entire towns have been built around the mining industry, and the history of gold is woven through the entire West Coast. Nowadays, people find gold to be an important investment because of the varying protections it offers.
Every company on our list of recommendations offers both IRA services and cash purchases. They all have great reviews, solid qualifications, and transparent policies. The right one for you really just depends on your needs.
We recommend Goldco as our top overall pick because they truly have something for everyone. Their partnered custodian gives customers access to some of the lowest maintenance fees in the country. When you call to get started, you'll be partnered with a dedicated representative who will get to know you personally. Goldco has a high level of customer satisfaction, with many consumers naming their account partners directly in their positive reviews.
Augusta Precious Metals is a company with customer service that rivals Goldco's. Despite their large size, they have a boutique approach. Each customer is given one-on-one feedback along with a lifetime of ongoing service. You'll even get notifications if Augusta's staff believe that there are important economic considerations to make. Just keep in mind that they have the highest minimum for retirement investment, requiring $50,000 in precious metals purchases.
American Hartford Gold is well known throughout the nation for its advertising campaigns and ongoing promotions. They have the lowest barrier to entry overall, since there aren't setup fees or investment minimums. People who are shopping for precious metals on a budget will appreciate this. Though a few customers have been disgruntled about the fine print on the company's promotions, AHG always communicates swiftly to rectify any confusion.
Birch Gold Group is well known to Ben Shapiro fans, as it is the only precious metals company that he recommends. He has promoted them several times on his podcast and talk show, even having company experts come on to discuss the importance of precious metals. The company gets consistently great reviews, with customers stating that they're happy that they chose to use Birch Gold for their IRA investments.
Noble Gold is our top recommendation if you want to make a cash investment. The company's survival packs are specifically built for emergency planning. You can invest in gold and keep the portfolio on hand. If there's a problem or disaster, the pieces can easily be liquidated to provide for you and your family. Many people appreciate the decentralized and difficult-to-track nature of precious metals. There are even options for non-Americans who want to purchase and store gold on American soil.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I invest my entire retirement into gold?
While gold is considered a vital component of a balanced portfolio, there are multiple reasons that it shouldn't make up your entire investment strategy. One of the first things you learn about investing is that diversity is vital. The more diverse your portfolio is, the more potential there is for growth while still minimizing your risks.
If you put all of your retirement savings into gold, then it's true that you have invested in a real asset. Its price will generally increase whenever there's global upheaval like economic downturns, wars, and civil unrest. But you will need to pay storage fees, and you won't be able to earn dividends like you can with stock options and mutual funds.
Because precious metals don't pay dividends, most investors recommend putting a relatively small portion of your portfolio toward them. That way, you have a safety net when the economy struggles. But at the same time, you still get the sources of passive income that are so important to a retirement account.
What are the limitations on a gold IRA?
There are certain regulations and limitations when it comes to a gold IRA. These are set forth by the IRS in order to make sure that a tax-advantaged retirement account is compliant with federal legislation. As a general rule, your IRA custodian will be able to tell you whether a purchase is eligible for an IRA or not.
But it helps to have some of the most key rules in mind already. These might impact how you choose to invest or how much you choose to invest.
Are you allowed to store gold in offshore vaults?
You might be wondering whether it's legal to store gold offshore if you buy it in the US. The answer is yes, whether you're investing for retirement or investing with personal savings. If you are using your retirement funds, though, you'll have to make sure that your offshore depository complies with the various IRS rules.
With a retirement account, your custodian will manage the tax paperwork for you. So they will handle all of the government reporting necessary. At the same time, offshore storage makes it very difficult for the government to seize your assets. That's especially true if you use non-retirement funds. There are tax shelters in places like Singapore and the Cayman Islands that will happily manage your gold for you.
Who will most benefit from a gold IRA?
A gold IRA can actually benefit everyone with retirement savings, though the biggest benefits depend on your age.
If you're nearing retirement or already retirement age, then the biggest advantage is protection against economic turbulence. The past two decades have been some of the roughest financially in American history. Many people are worried that there's more economic anxiety to come.
When the stock market crashes, the price of gold goes up. In 2008, the cost of precious metals skyrocketed, and they have never again dipped to their pre-2008 lows. The cost of gold also went up during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it spikes when there are periods of global unrest.
The idea is to have enough gold to liquidate and live off of while you're waiting for the economy to stabilize. That way, you don't have to worry about your retirement income, and you still have a passive income stream to help you out through your other investments.
For younger people, the biggest advantage is a hedge against inflation. The American dollar depreciates a little more every year, with inflation hitting record highs over the past few years. If you earned a dollar in 1960, it would be worth a fraction of its initial value today. But the price of gold tends to grow over time. If you invested that dollar in gold, you could sell the gold today for much more than you originally paid.
But it's important that you also have investments that provide passive income. That way, your retirement portfolio can passively build over time.
What precious metals am I allowed to buy with my retirement funds?
You can buy bullion bars and approved coins made of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.
Gold items need to be at least 99.5% pure. Silver's purity requirements are even higher, at 99.9%. Platinum and palladium have the highest purity requirements, with every product needing to be at least 99.95% pure.
There may be some limitations on the size and weight of the bars and coins, especially where platinum and palladium are concerned. Many people choose to buy a few hundred ounces of silver in bulk instead, since there are multiple precious metals dealerships with discounts for this type of purchase.
Are there ways to invest in gold if I'm living paycheck-to-paycheck?
There are certain ways to invest in gold on a low budget, with some being riskier than others. One option is to invest in an exchange traded fund that is backed by gold. Instead of owning the gold itself, you own a stake in the fund. So a small portion of the value of the fund belongs to you.
You can also use your retirement savings to invest in precious metals, assuming you have a retirement account. To do this, you'll need to open a self-directed IRA. But then you can transfer funds from your current account and use them to buy gold or other precious metals. There are multiple companies that specialize in gold IRAs and can help you with the paperwork.
What are some key features of a good gold investment company?
There are plenty of important things to look for in a gold investment company. A good company should have a good reputation. Not only should they have certifications and networks of partners, but they should have good reviews from third-party organizations and prior customers.
It's also a good sign if a company focuses on education. Investing is a serious business. You want to make sure that you're doing the right thing for your personal needs and financial future. So the best companies will explain the entire process, help you evaluate the risks, and connect you with the precious metals products that best align with your goals.
In addition, many of the best gold companies have buyback programs. Though they usually can't guarantee buybacks for legal reasons, they will offer to purchase your items once you're ready to liquidate. So you're saved the hassle of finding a buyer, and you don't have to worry about losing out on your investment with a super cheap offer.
You should also look for transparency. It should be relatively easy to find out who's in charge of the company, as well as information about how they operate. You may even be able to find reviews from past and current employees on websites like Glassdoor.
What is the difference between a gold IRA dealer and custodian?
A gold IRA custodian is the entity that manages your retirement account. They serve the same purpose that an investment manager does for a traditional retirement account. But since the account is self-directed, you have the final say over how you spend your money. Your custodian doesn't have any control over what you choose to purchase or how you choose to allocate your assets.
Your custodian will take possession of your gold and put it into your retirement account. They will ensure that it is kept in the secure vault of your choice and send you updates about the account. They'll also alert you to any major changes or concerns, make sure that your holdings are all compliant with the IRS, and file the required paperwork each year with the IRS at tax time.
A gold IRA custodian is a financial institution that has specifically been licensed to manage self-directed IRAs. They generally do not sell investment products themselves. You're paying them to manage your investments.
A gold IRA dealer is a gold dealership that sells IRA-approved precious metals. When you're looking for products to buy, typically you'll seek out one of these firms. There are many gold IRA companies, some of which have better reviews than others. Some have in-house IRA teams that are specifically designed to help you with paperwork and compliance, which can be much quicker than struggling with your custodian.
Gold IRA dealers also often have partnerships and networks with custodians and depositories. They may be able to get you exclusive deals for lower pricing or waived fees with your custodian. Some have several custodial partners, while others only have one. There are hundreds of depositories to choose from around the globe, but a gold IRA dealer will typically only partner with a select few.