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July 26

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Best Gold IRA Custodians

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If you choose to open up a Gold IRA, you'll need to make sure that you work with a custodian. This is the next logical step in ensuring that you're following all the necessary steps in getting the account set up correctly and the best way to ensure that you stay on the right side of the IRS's regulations.

Remember, you're investing in a Gold IRA because you are looking for a way to prepare for retirement. If you work with just any company, you won't necessarily know that you're putting yourself in the best position to retire in the way you would like.

If you're looking for a Gold IRA custodian, you can start your search with our list of Gold-backed IRA custodian reviews. This will give you a place to check out average costs and understand what makes the best companies in the industry so well-regarded.

Picking a suitable custodian will help you to keep the costs of investing down. Those who invest in gold might forget that there are always fees involved with keeping this kind of account open, and choosing a custodian with higher fees really can cut into the amount of money you will save in the future.

Choosing the right custodian also gives you access to the relationships that those custodians have cultivated over the years. Remember, these companies work with other companies in the industry, including gold dealers and financial planners. Significant discounts can be found if you are willing to work with a company with the right kind of relationships.

Simply put, it's essential to find the right custodian as soon as possible so that you can begin planning for the future. The better the choice you make in terms of your custodian, the better you can feel as you start to move towards investing in your Gold IRA.


Every IRA custodian has its own set of fees. Some of these custodians charge all of their customers the same fees regardless of the value of their accounts, while others charge a sliding fee based on how much is invested. Most IRA custodians will charge you to transfer from one custodian to another, so it's always good to make a decision with which you can live as early as possible.

Fees can be tricky with custodians. For example, you can count on a transfer fee to cost between fifty and a hundred dollars per transfer. From there, though, they can vary wildly, and you'll need to check your individual agreement to figure out precisely what you'll end up paying each year.

The best way to ensure your investment is adequately protected is to do homework. You need to know what you'll be charged at every step of the investment process and whether those fees will help you meet your goal. You know you're going to be paying something when you invest; you need to make sure that what you pay isn't going to hurt your plans.

Every investor is different, so don't let what others do with their accounts determine your investing future. Do some research, find out how the fees at various custodians work, and pick what works for you. With the right choice, you'll be able to plan for your desired future.

1. Examine Fees and Charges for Account Setup

The first place to start your search will be the fee structure offered by various custodians. Knowing what fees are charged and how they work gives you the best chance to plan for your costs and understand whether an assigned custodian is suitable.

We have put together a brief guide that shows the fee schedules of the top Gold IRA custodians, with information about the policies of each. Taking a look at this schedule will give you at least a foundation for the research you'll do next and a good idea as to whether a specific company is simply out of your price range.

2. Compare Industry reputation

Reputation matters more than you might think in the world of custodians. You will want to look at watchdog groups like the Better Business Bureau to get an idea of a company's reputation, though, because most people who leave reviews aren't actually leaving reviews of IRA custodians. Instead, they leave reviews of the companies that work with those custodians.

Let's say that you are working with Equity Institutional. If you're working with Equity, you'll open your account with Regal Assets. If you are like most reviewers, then you'd leave a review on a site like Yelp about Regal rather than Equity Institutional because you only directly worked with the former company.

If you want to figure out a company's reputation beyond looking at the BBB, you can always check out how long they have been in business. The best companies in the marketplace have been around for years and have cultivated a solid client base. These companies are the companies with which consumers should feel the most comfortable working.

3. Consider Professionalism with presentation

Yes, you need to check out the website of any custodian you choose to work with. While a flashy website might look nice, what you're really looking at here is how well that website works for you as a consumer. If you can't access information from the website, you know that you will end up having a very frustrating relationship with that company. As such, a quick look at a website can save you quite a few headaches in the years to come.

4. Figure Out The Most Cost Effective Path

Yes, you need to worry about dollars and cents. You must spend as little as is reasonable on your account while still getting the kind of service you need. Note that this doesn't mean just chasing the lowest price; instead, you should be looking to get the best possible service for your money.

We can look at the relationship between Regal Assets and Equity Institutional again to get an idea of what it means to get more for your money. If you choose to work with Equity, Regal will waive several different fees. This means that while Regal might have higher general fees than some of its competition, you'd still save money because you're getting fees waived due to the companies you choose to work with.

Which IRA Firms Partner With the Best Custodians?


GoldCo's reputation is extraordinary among its customers and groups that keep tabs on business operations. It's pretty easy to look up company reviews and figure out that most people genuinely like working with GoldCo.

As you might imagine, this is a company that really specializes in gold investments. GoldCo has Gold IRAs that follow the rules set up by the IRS and are remarkably easy to set up. With a service team that is genuinely knowledgeable about the industry, it seems like GoldCo truly focuses on making the setup process as easy as possible.

GoldCo is also one of the better companies for rolling over an existing IRA into a Gold IRA. The company not only helps customers to figure out if their current accounts are eligible but it handles the whole rollover process.

Once you have an open account, GoldCo ensures that all the items you add to your account are eligible for an approved IRA. Even though these items must meet a specific purity level, GoldCo does have fairly extensive offerings.

GoldCo, like most other companies, also offers several items that are available for non-IRA investments. These items don't have to meet the same purity levels, but they can still be solid investments for many. Choosing among these items does require contacting the company directly, though, as they are not available on the company's website.

Pros

  • Goldco is one of the highest reviewed companies online. With over 1,000 perfect ratings from real customers.
  • GoldCo has a fantastic selection of gold items that meet all requirements for being placed in an IRS-approved account. 
  • They pay for packing, insurance, and shipping all gold items shipped to secure storage facilities.
  • The company has an excellent educational section on its website that is worth checking out to learn more about precious metals.

Cons

  • They do not list any of their non-IRA investment items on its website; customers have to contact the company directly to get information on these items.

Augusta Precious Metals has been around for nearly a decade, and that experience shows in everything the company does. It is an excellent choice for both new and experienced investors alike.

This company is perhaps best known for following seven criteria in their business dealings. Augusta is proud to prioritize criteria like accessibility, knowledge, transparency, commitment, respect, coordination, and selection in its operations.

These criteria fall into place whenever you open a new account with the company. Augusta makes it simple to set up an account quickly and fund it with no hassles. The company's representatives all do a great job of answering consumer questions and ensuring every customer feels safe with their choices.

If you open a new account, Augusta will also take care of the costs involved with insuring your metals and shipping them to some of the best secure storage facilities in the company.

If you choose to pursue personal investments rather than a Gold IRA, Augusta will also give you access to many different silver and gold items. Whenever you make a purchase, Augusta will cover the costs of shipping, packing, and insurance. 

Pros

  • Augusta has some of the best watchdog group ratings in the business. They top the chart with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and the BCA (Business Consumer Alliance). 
  • Augusta has a great selection of gold bullion as well as a great selection of silver coins.
  • If you open up a new account, Augusta will pay for the transportation insurance and shipping on all your metals being shipped to storage.

Cons

  • Though this doesn't really impact Gold IRA customers, it should be noted that Augusta doesn't sell palladium or platinum.

Birch Gold Group is a client-centered organization that has been operating since 2003. With a strong mission statement that puts the power in the hands of its customers, the company has garnered many rave reviews both from within the industry and outside groups.

Birch is particularly good at helping new clients set up accounts, holding their hands through the entire setup process, whether it involves setting up an entirely new IRA or rolling over an existing retirement account. During this process, the company painstakingly follows all IRS regulations so that consumers don't have to worry about their accounts.

Once the account is set up, IRA customers can feel comfortable knowing that their items will be stored in leading, IRS-sanctioned storage facilities. The shipping process is even handled by Birch, paying for everything from packing and insurance to shipping each gold item.

Though Birch is perhaps best known for its IRAs, you can invest in precious metals that don't fit the usual Gold IRA mold. The company has a variety of different metals available for investors, and the company's prices are reasonably competitive.

You can always check out their website if you're not sure what you're getting into with Birch. The company provides a great deal of free investment information online, with everything you need to know about opening a Gold IRA.

Pros

  • Birch allows consumers to invest not just in gold but also in precious metals like silver, platinum, and even palladium.
  • The company has put together a website that's not just easy to use but provides uniquely valuable educational information.
  • Birch's experience in the field is challenging to match and makes it much easier to see the company's track record.

Cons

  • Birch's selection of coins isn't quite up to par with what one would expect from such a well-regarded company.

This family-owned company has been around for years and has a fantastic reputation for dealing in several precious metals. American Hartford Gold stands out as a good company in a crowded field.

AHG has managed to create a business that is not only well-liked in most industry circles but that also puts its best foot forward when it comes to investor education. This means providing as much information as possible about the market so its customers can realistically plan their futures.

Most of the company's business is related to investments, and its gold IRAs are among its most popular products.

Fortunately, this popularity is well-served by the company's excellent staff. Most of their staff are experts in this field, so they can easily explain how the market works and how one's investment in precious metals will impact their future. This makes clients more informed and makes them feel safer with their investments.

If you're unsure about AHG, look at the company's reviews. Not only do they have hundreds of positive reviews on sites like Trustpilot, but the site also has top rankings from the Better Business Bureau and other watchdog sites.

Pros

  • This is one of the few gold companies that have celebrity endorsements.
  • The company has over eight hundred excellent customer ratings on Trustpilot.
  • AHG does carry an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Cons

  • The company does not have any pricing information on its website.
  • The company only provides shipping within the United States.

Founded nearly ten years ago, Regal Assets has become one of the more trusted names in the world of Gold IRAs.

The company is known for making customers feel comfortable and having an incredibly experienced investment team. This means that customers can feel a bit more secure with their investment choices, especially when seeking professional advice.

As you might expect, Regal Assets does an excellent job of helping its clients to set up their own Gold IRAs. The company is there from the beginning of the process all the way through cashing out, always available to help customers in need.

The great news is that Regal also makes this process quite easy. Customers can start setting up their accounts online, and skilled customer service professionals can take care of the rest. Filling an account is a quick and painless process.

Regal is very solid with its rollover process, though. Not only is it great at helping consumers figure out if their old IRAs can actually be rolled over, but they do all the heavy lifting when clients decide to make the switch. This takes much of the guesswork out of setting up a Gold IRA.

Pros

  • Regal gives its customers access to IRS-approved storage solutions. 
  • The company has solid, segregated storage opportunities for those looking to store personal investments. 
  • One of the few gold companies to allow customers to invest in cryptocurrencies.

Cons

  • Though plenty of metals are available to invest in here, the selection isn't quite as good as some might hope.

Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is an IRA custodian?

An IRA custodian is defined as a financial service company responsible for the storage and/or safeguarding of an investor's retirement account. These companies are essentially consumer aids that watch over accounts and ensure that all of the rules set up by the IRS are being followed so that the consumer can take advantage of the tax-advantaged status of these accounts.

2. What requirements are there for IRA custodians?

For a company to be approved as an IRA custodian, it must be licensed by the IRS. The company must take one of several different private licensed entities, including credit unions or trusts. These companies are then held to high standards and must ensure that they do not manipulate the accounts of their clients with explicit client permission.

3. What are the fees I can expect to pay?

Every IRA custodian is a little different. You will almost certainly end up paying an annual fee for your account unless the custodian waives it, and this fee can end up running anywhere from two hundred to five hundred dollars. It will typically include most of your regular yearly transaction fees.

4. What does "checkbook control" mean with IRAs?

Checkbook control is when the account holder has all the authority over their account. Such accounts allow account holders to make any changes they like to their accounts under their authority. These accounts put a fairly significant burden on the account holder, though, with higher risks involved to the individual investor and higher costs involved with maintaining the account. It should also be noted that any consumer who wants checkbook control over their account must first form an LLC.

5. What are the regulations with IRA accounts?

As you might expect, IRA custodians are pretty strictly regulated. All of the requirements for these companies are set down in the Internal Revenue Code and are enforced quite strictly. Not only do these companies have to meet specific capital requirements, but they also have a fiduciary duty to their clients. All of these companies not only have to deal with regulation on the state level, but also at the federal level.

6. How do I manage and review my account?

One of the best things about modern Gold IRAs is that it's relatively easy to view your account online. Almost every reputable company allows users to view their accounts and make at least some changes online. Some custodians even allow their clients to physically view inside their vaults so that they can see their gold and silver items via webcam. This varies from company to company, so you should always check with your custodian if viewing your account online is essential to you.


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