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Are you interested in using physical gold to fund your retirement and looking for a rollover 401k to gold IRA guide? Then you're in the right place!  

Using gold as an investment vehicle to fund your retirement isn’t as crazy as it sounds. 

The stock market has been around for awhile but gold has been valuable since ancient times. 

Investing in gold is considered by many to be one of the safest long term bets you can make even if the returns aren’t astronomical. 

Read on for a step by step guide on how you can rollover your 401(k) to a gold IRA. Or read the overview below if you’re strapped for time and want a quick summary instead!

What You Will Learn & Accomplish In This Guide - Overview 

rollover 401k to gold ira

This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know about gold IRAs and how you can rollover your 401(k) to a gold IRA

You’ll be given a rundown on things that you need to consider when you invest in a precious metals IRA as well as a list of benefits of rolling over 401(k) into a gold IRA. 

Have an account other than a 401(k) that you want to rollover? Take a look at our complete gold IRA rollover guide.

Gold IRA Basics - What You Need To Know 

A gold IRA is a self-directed, individual retirement account where you invest in and hold gold. It’s a precious metals IRA where you invest in gold and other precious metals like platinum or palladium

Gold IRAs are considered an alternative investment option. That being said, gold IRAs function in the same way that traditional IRAs do but they use gold instead of paper assets. 

Self Directed IRA 

A self-directed IRA is a self-directed individual retirement account where you can hold an assortment of investments that you normally couldn’t hold when using a normal IRA. It’s called a “self-directed IRA” because you directly manage the account yourself. You directly manage your self-directed IRA but your account is administered by either a custodian or a trustee.

Transfer vs Rollover 

Transfers and rollovers are two different things. Knowing the difference is important because transfers and rollovers are taxed differently. 

Transfers are when you move your funds from a single type of account between two institutions. The type of account is the same while the two different institutions are… different

Rollovers are when you move your funds from one individual retirement account type, to a different type of retirement account. The types of accounts are different.  

Rollover 401k to gold IRA Step By Step Guide

Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough that shows you exactly how you can rollover your 401k to a gold IRA. 

The process isn’t too difficult and with some prior preparations can be settled surprisingly quickly. 

Getting Started - Moving Your 401(k) To Gold Without Penalties (Direct Rollover)

If you want to avoid any penalties that will eat away your potential profits when you rollover your 401(k) to a gold IRA, you need to do a direct rollover.  

Doing a direct rollover will allow your provider to handle your transfer and ensure your funds automatically show up in your new precious metals IRA. You can avoid any penalty and taxes when you move your 401(k) to gold by making sure that you finish your rollover within a 60-day window. 

If you want to do a direct rollover, you need to ask your 401(k) administrator to draft up a check and then send it directly to your new self-directed precious metals IRA. You must make sure that you finish this process within 60 days to avoid a penalty.

Step 1 - Choose a Gold IRA Provider

The most important step when you rollover your 401(k) into a gold IRA is to choose a reputable gold IRA provider. 

Choosing a bad one can eat up your retirement savings and potential earnings a lot in the long run. A bad provider will charge you exorbitant fees, add on hidden charges without you knowing and will just give you bad rates in general. 

So do your research first before making your decision. 

Want a recommendation? Augusta Precious Metals is a gold IRA provider that’s been in business for a long time and is a top provider that’s trusted by customers across America.

While you need a decently large sum of money to begin investing with Augusta Precious Metals, you can absolutely trust that your cash and retirement savings are in good hands with them. They stand out as a leading industry expert that strives to take care of and educate their customers.

You can jump ahead to see more recommended gold IRA companies.

Step 2 - Choose Your SDIRA Custodian 

A custodian in this context means a financial institution that holds your account’s investments and makes sure that all the rules set by the IRS are followed at all times. 

You need to do your own thorough research in order to choose a custodian that suits your needs because not every custodian out there offers precious metals accounts.  

You should know that custodians that offer physical precious metals accounts usually charge a flat fee or a scaling fee that scales to the size of your account. Flat fees are usually the most cost-effective choice.

Step 3 - Start An Account

Each gold IRA account provider has a unique set up process for new accounts but almost all of them follow the basic set up steps below:

1) Choose your self-directed precious metals IRA custodian. 

Your gold IRA is going to be held by a custodian. Self-directed IRA custodians let you invest in what are considered alternative assets, in this case, gold and precious metals.

2) Choose your precious metals dealer.  

You now need to choose your gold dealer. You’re going to direct your custodian to send money to your chosen dealer to buy your gold or silver.  

3) Choose what you want to purchase and invest in.  

Whether you want to buy gold bullion, gold coins or maybe even a platinum bar, you now need to work with your precious metals dealer to sort out your purchases. 

4) Choose your depository.  

Any precious metals that you invest in needs to be kept in a depository that’s been approved by the IRS. You can’t store physical gold for your gold IRA yourself in home storage, it needs to be kept in a safe depository. 

5) Complete your transaction once you have a custodian, precious metals dealer and depository chosen.  

Once everything is done and settled, your custodian will settle all the payments involved, your gold dealer will get your gold and then send it to a depository to be kept for safekeeping.

Step 4 - Rollover Your 401(k) To a Gold IRA

All that’s left now is to convert your current retirement savings into a gold investment. This is relatively straightforward. 

To rollover your 401(k) into a gold IRA, you need to leave the company you’re working for and then rollover your 401(k) into a self-directed precious metals IRA that lets you invest in gold.

Do a direct rollover within 60 days to avoid any penalty or fine. Contact your 401(k) admin to draft a check and send it right to your new gold IRA.

Things To Consider When Rolling Over Your 401(k) To Precious Metals

People who jump ship from a 401(k) to a precious metals IRA tend to get blindsided by a few things. 

So, in this section, we’re going to go over a few things that you need to consider while doing a rollover from a 401(k) to a gold IRA. For a full breakdown, you can also check out our gold IRA vs 401k guide.

Gold IRA Fees 

Gold IRA fees tend to be higher than investments that involve digital transactions. The reason for this is that you’re buying actual precious metals like gold that have storage fees and need to be insured. With a gold IRA, you own physical gold and there are costs involved with that. 

You own the gold that you buy with your gold IRA and you need to bear the extra costs of owning physical gold. You own a tangible asset but you must pay for the fact that you own a tangible asset. 

Gold Products To Hold In Your Gold IRA 

You’re only allowed to hold certain types of precious metals in your gold IRA. Here’s a list of products that you can hold in your gold IRA. 

  • Gold (99.5% pure)
  • Silver (99.9% pure) 
  • Platinum (99.95% pure)
  • Palladium (99.95 pure)  
  • Bullion coins (“Brilliant Uncirculated” condition) 
  • Proof coins (“Flawless” condition, in mint packaging, with certificate of authenticity)

Note: You can hold any non-U.S. mint coins, bars or rounds as long as they’re signed off by a refiner, assayer or manufacturer that meet the set minimum purity requirements. 

What Are The Benefits Of Rolling Over a 401(k) to Gold?

So, why should you invest in precious metals and rollover your 401(k) retirement account to gold? 

Let’s go through the top 4 benefits to converting your 401(k) to gold.

1 - Portfolio Diversity 

Investing a part of what’s inside your retirement account in gold and silver or any other kind of precious metal is a great way to diversify your portfolio and one of the main reasons for buying gold cited by investors. Investing in gold is a great way to protect your hard earned retirement funds in case of a market crash. 

Gold and other precious metals like silver will always have some value which makes investing in them a great diversification strategy.

2 - Hedge Against Inflation 

Inflation will completely erode your cash savings given enough time. Investing in gold or other precious metals like silver, platinum and palladium can be a great hedge against inflation.  

Gold bullion will go down in value much slower than any fiat currency like the dollar. Ask yourself is gold getting more expensive or is the dollar getting cheaper?

3 - Less Inheritance Restrictions 

When you eventually pass on, your gold IRA and everything included with it easily goes to the beneficiaries you set. A gold IRA has noticeably fewer restrictions when it comes to passing down inheritance compared to other types of retirement funds and pensions. 

Setting up beneficiaries is simple and fast with a gold IRA. You can also change your beneficiaries and who gets your gold after you pass on via a very simple process. You basically just need to fill in some forms! 

4 - Saver’s Tax Credit 

Did you know that gold IRAs are subject to tax benefits? 

Having a gold IRA is a great way to dip your feet into gold investments because you get the same saver’s credit like with normal IRAs. Saver’s credit is a tax credit that’s worth quite a bit of money so having a gold IRA is a great way to save money when you’re paying the taxman and the IRS.

Recommended Gold IRA Providers

Below, we've listed out our top recommended Gold IRA providers:

augusta precious metals logo

# 1 - Augusta Precious Metals (Most Trusted)

Augusta Precious Metals is our top gold IRA company recommendation. They have a great reputation, are great for high networth individuals, and have been around since 2012. They are almost completely focused on precious metals as their name suggests. Augusta Precious Metals is extremely well rated by both the Better Business Bureau as well as the Business Consumer Alliance. 

How we rated Augusta

We gave Augusta Precious Metals 5 Stars based on a number of factors, including: Team, Pricing, Support, Security, and Selection.


  • Best for high networth individuals
  • 100% 5 stars at ratings firms (as of 2022)
  • Great pricing and waived fees


  • High minimum investment amount ($50K)
  • Less gold selection than some dealers
  • Not as good for beginners
american hartford gold logo

# 2 - American Hartford Gold (Best Customer Service)

American Hartford Gold is easily one of the most trustworthy gold IRA dealers, with near pristine ratings and reviews online, great product inventory, and super a super helpful team with great customer service. It's obvious they care about their customers. On the other hand, if you're looking for platinum or palladium, you're out of luck. We gave AHG 5 out of 5 stars. 

How we rated American Hartford Gold

We gave American Hartford 5 Stars based on a number of factors, including: Team, Pricing, Support, Security, and Selection.


  • Pristine reviews and ratings online
  • Great selection of coins and bullion
  • Lots of great promotions & low minimums


  • Pricing is not transparent on the website
  • No platinum or palladium products listed
  • Unclear if they will price match with competitors
birch gold logo

# 3 - Birch Gold Group (Best Choice For New Investors)

Birch Gold Group is a company with almost two decades of history. They’re gold IRA specialists with a great reputation that charges low fees and has an excellent as well as easy buyback program. Birch Gold Group is recommended for new investors since they’re easy and efficient to work with, have low fees and you can start a gold IRA with them for as low as $10,000. 

How we rated Birch Gold

We gave Augusta Precious Metals 4.5 Stars based on a number of factors, including: Team, Pricing, Support, Security, and Selection.


  • Competitive fees and great pricing
  • Awesome customer onboarding experience
  • Great selection of precious metals


  • Some negative reviews online
  • Large minimum account size
  • Not much info on leadership
lear capital logo

# 4 - Lear Capital (Trusted and Established)

Lear Capital is one of the oldest names in the gold IRA industry. Founded in 1997, Lear has made a name for itself for many years as a trusted provider with a solid reputation in customer support and account management. We recommend them for all your gold IRA needs, but if you're looking for platinum or palladiums, look elsewhere.

How we rated Lear Capital

We gave Lear Capital 4.5 Stars based on a number of factors, including: Team, Pricing, Support, Security, and Selection.


  • Excellent customer service and support
  • Transparent and competitive pricing
  • Easy account opening process


  • High fees for smaller investments
  • Limited focus on gold and silver only

Frequently Asked Questions About Gold IRA Rollovers

Can a 401(k) be rolled into a gold IRA?

Yes, your 401(k) can be rolled into a gold IRA. Most commonly, you’d need to leave the company you’re working for and then rollover your 401(k) with them into a self-directed precious metals IRA.

Can you move 401(k) to gold without penalty?

Yes, you can. Usually all you need to do is do a direct rollover.

Can your IRA be rolled over to gold?

Yes, your IRA can be rolled over to gold. You need to rollover your funds from your traditional IRA into a self-directed precious metals IRA. You can then invest in gold with your precious metals IRA.

How do you convert your traditional IRA into a gold IRA?

Here’s a brief summary on how you can convert your traditional IRA into a gold IRA: 

  • Call the admin of your traditional IRA.
  • Receive and then fill in the required paperwork.
  • Wait till your IRA admin transfers your funds to your gold IRA.
  • Pick what types of gold and precious metals you want to invest in. 
  • Instruct your gold IRA custodian to execute the purchases that you want done.

Final Thoughts - Should You Rollover Your 401(k) To a Gold IRA?  

Whether or not you should roll your 401(k) to a gold IRA is ultimately a choice that you need to make for yourself. 

No matter what choice you make, hopefully this guide has helped answer any questions that you may have had about gold IRAs as well as the rollover process. 

If you do decide to invest in gold and rollover your 401(k) to a gold IRA, you should check out Augusta Precious Metals

They’re a gold IRA provider that’s been in business for a long time and is trusted by customers all around America. Here’s an in-depth review of Augusta Precious Metals for you to check out!

About the author 

Sam Rexford

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