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401K to Gold IRA Rollover Guide

401k to gold IRA

401k to Gold IRA

You may have heard about gold IRAs, but what exactly are they? A gold IRA is an individual retirement account that lets you store precious metals. Precious metals such as gold or silver can be held in it as an investment. In general, you can rollover your 401K plan (or another qualified employer plan) into a gold IRA. You would set up the new account with the same trustee as your 401K plan. Then you send your funds to the new trustee via wire transfer or check. Rollovers are tax-free and do not require any new purchase of precious metals. 401K to Gold IRA rollovers can be a painless process!

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How to do a 401K to Gold IRA Rollover

A 401k rollover is a simple process of moving a portion of your 401k account into another investment vehicle. Typically a gold or silver IRA. You don’t need permission from your employer or any paperwork from them for the transfer. In general, employers won’t even know that you transferred any money out of your 401k if you do it correctly. You can do the process easily online in about 15 minutes.

First, sign up for a custodial account with a self-directed gold IRA company. Then take any amount from your 401k that you would like to roll over. You’ll need to contact your 401k administrator and tell them you want to make a direct rollover of funds from your 401k into an account at your chosen self-directed company. Be sure that they know you’re rolling over cash and not receiving any other property.

Transferring a 401k into an IRA gives freedom in terms of where and how you can invest your money. When opening a self-directed gold IRA, you’ll be able to invest in other precious metals like silver and platinum as well.

How much can I contribute to a Gold IRA?

You can contribute up to $6,000 per year if you’re 50 or older. You can also make a $1,000 catch-up contribution if you’re 50 or older. In addition, you may be able to take advantage of any employer match. Example: If your employer offers a match of 3% on your 401k contributions and you contribute 6%, that’s an extra $1,800 in free money!

There are also income restrictions which limit who can contribute money. If you’re married, your combined adjusted gross income cannot exceed $98,000 if filing jointly or $19,000 if filling separately. You can make no more than $61,000 in total contributions on behalf of all participants in a single year. That includes both traditional and Roth IRAs as well as employer-sponsored plans like 401k and 403b plans.

There are also age restrictions on when you can contribute money. If you’re younger than 50, you can contribute only $5,500 per year if you’re single or $11,000 if you’re married. That figure increases $1,000 for each year over 50 and ends for those who are 59 and older.

Is There any Kind of Tax Advantage?

Yes, there is a major tax advantage. When gold investing as part of your retirement account, you defer any capital gains taxes that result from an increase in value. Selling your gold after retirement brings you tax deferment. That’s pretty sweet for a government-protected asset.

For example, say you have $10,000 invested in your 401k and it doubles over 20 years; if you were just pulling out growth every year (and paying taxes on each individual year), when that money hit $20,000 and you wanted to withdraw it… well… let’s just say the Feds would be getting an awfully big chunk of change.

But with a gold IRA? Not so much.

Many other retirement accounts are considered tax-deferred but not tax-free. Any withdrawal you make from those accounts will still be taxed at capital gains rates. Not so with gold IRAs!

Investing in a gold IRA instead of a regular 401k, your $10,000 will most likely gain value over time! When you finally withdraw it for retirement, it will be completely tax-free! That’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. There are some good reasons why people love gold IRAs. Growing your 401k into an IRA is basically a license to print money.

For example, if that first $10,000 doubled every single year on average? Then after just 20 years that same account would have grown into almost half a million dollars!

Top Gold IRA Companies 

Our recommended Providers are researched and vetted by us and many top consumer organizations. This is the short list of the most consistent companies we could come up with. Request information from them below.

#1: Augusta Precious Metals

Our Rating: 10/10

gold ira rollover


✅ ZERO complaints with the BBB and BCA

✅ Highest reputation and customer satisfaction in the industry

✅ Non-commissioned sales team

✅ Transparent pricing with up to 10 years of fees waved – with certain minimum investments

✅ NFL Legend Joe Montana actual customer before becoming their spokesperson


❌ No way to setup online

❌ The minimum investment for IRA is $50,000

#2: Goldco

Our Rating: 9.9/10


✅ Low annual fees on IRAs

✅ Excellent Customer Service

✅ Free storage is available for non-IRA precious metals

✅ Highest levels of customer satisfaction in the industry

✅ Incentives available for certain purchase levels


❌ Signup process can only be done through a specific link

❌ Setup online not possible

❌ Minimum investment for IRA $25,000

#3: Birch Gold Group

Our Rating: 9.9/10


✅ Great company commitment to education and communication

✅ Impeccable customer service

✅ Silver, gold, platinum and palladium available


❌ Signup process can only be done thought a specific link

❌ Certain fees are not disclosed up front

❌ No buyback guarantee of precious metals

#4: Noble Gold Investments

Our Rating: 9.6/10


✅ One of the best no questions asked buyback programs in the industry

✅ Free delivery of your precious metals to your door at any time

✅ Over 20 years of experience in the precious metals industry

✅ Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium available

✅ One of the lowest barriers to entry – ideal for smaller investors


❌ High annual fees for low balances

Are you Eligible for a Rollover?

401k to gold ira

Am I Eligible for a 401k to Gold IRA Rollover?

Just because you have a 401k from your old job doesn’t mean you’re eligible for a rollover into a gold IRA. If you are leaving your company, there are rules about how much of your retirement money can be rolled over. More rules will apply on what happens to any money that isn’t rolled over. It can very by individual but may also depend on when you left your company. Also into consideration can be what assets were in your 401(k) account. If you have questions about rolling over or transferring funds out of your 401(k), consult with an investment professional. Contact our recommended companies in the business. They will take care of the entire process for you.

If you’re still interested in a rollover, you’ll need to know how much money you have in your 401(k) plan. In case you don’t know how much is in your 401(k), ask your former employer. You can also check with one of your 401(k) providers, which are listed on Form 5500.
If you want to roll over your entire 401(k) balance, that’s great! Any portion of your account that you don’t want to transfer into a gold IRA, you can leave it in your 401(k) account.

If you’re not eligible for a rollover, don’t worry. There are still some options that might work well for you. You can look into moving your funds into a traditional IRA or an individual 401(k) plan. You can also leave your funds in your former employer’s 401(k) account if you want to continue saving there. We also recommend consulting with an investment professional who works with IRAs or has experience with these types of transactions; they may know more than we do!

If you are eligible for a rollover, you’ll need to decide where you want your funds moved. You can move them into an existing IRA or 401(k) account, or open a new one.

Can I Choose the Order in Which the IRAs are Funded?

Gold IRA Retirement Planning Guide

Yes, you can choose which IRAs are funded in any order you like. For example, if you have a 401k from your previous employer and a new IRA at another bank, you can transfer your 401k funds over and use those funds for your current IRAs. That way, you don’t withdraw money from an old 401k account and create taxable income. (Make sure not to take out more than what is available in your 401k)

Does my existing 401k provider need to be willing to do a rollover?: No, not necessarily. Many will start by using their existing 401k provider until they have amassed enough funds that it makes sense to move them into one or more gold-backed IRAs. Then a trustee-to-trustee transfer with their current provider can be done or a new account started with a new provider.

Do I Have to Keep the 401K Open?

Depending on your plan, you may have a choice in whether or not you want to keep your 401(k) open. Often, you don’t need access to money in order to roll it over, but it’s a good idea nonetheless.

Consider keeping your 401(k) open if any of these conditions apply:

  1. You are close to retirement
  2. You have other funds in your 401(k) that you would be okay with keeping there
  3. Your investment fees are low
  4. You receive valuable employer benefits like free health insurance from keeping your 401(k) active
  5. There is little value in rolling over some, or all, of your 401(k) balance into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

    In general, IRAs will always offer more investment options than a 401(k). Deciding which asset classes and individual investments should stay within an employer-sponsored account can prove to be beneficial for many investors. If you’re unsure if there is any value in leaving funds in your 401(k) post-rollover, consult with a financial advisor who is familiar with investing principles. For example, it may make sense to keep bonds or other fixed income assets in your 401(k). Bonds tend to mature at regular intervals, so keeping them inside of a retirement account that offers easy access may not provide much benefit over time.

What Happens if I don’t Have Enough Money in the 401K?

If you don’t have enough money in your 401(k) plan, a rollover IRA may be a good alternative. Keep in mind that if you can’t find an eligible replacement for your 401(k), it may be time to retire sooner rather than later. Another thing to note is that not all banks or investment firms support rollovers from a 401(k) into an IRA; check with potential providers before making any decisions. Learn more about what happens when you don’t have enough money in your 401(k).

That’s where a rollover is likely to come in handy. A rollover means that you move your funds from your 401(k) into a self-directed IRA, and you have a host of investment options available from which to choose. These may include mutual funds, individual stocks and bonds, or even precious metals. Learn more about what happens when you don’t have enough money in your 401(k).
As with all IRAs, there are certain restrictions when it comes to rollovers.

By law, you can only do a rollover once in any 12-month period. This means that if you’ve already received a distribution from your 401(k) in 2020, you’ll need to wait until 2021 before doing another rollover.

Are There Penalties if I Withdraw from my 401K?

If you withdraw money from your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan before you turn 59.5 years old, you’ll face a 10% penalty on top of any taxes. however, if you roll over your 401(k) into an IRA and make it your new employer-sponsored retirement plan, there are no penalties for withdrawing funds before 59 1/2.

In order to avoid these penalties, you have two options: rolling over your 401(k) into an IRA or keeping it in your 401(k). Rolling over a 401(k) into an IRA involves two main steps. First, request that your employer send you all of your 401(k) account information and direct them to transfer all funds from your existing 401(k) into an IRA managed by a custodian of your choice.

If you choose to keep your 401(k) instead of rolling it over, make sure you’re taking advantage of any employer matching program. Many employers offer matching contributions on 401(k)s, which means they’ll match a certain percentage of your contributions.

What are Some Alternatives if I Cannot Make an Immediate Rollover?

If you are unable to roll over your 401k plan into a gold IRA, you may have other options. One such option is if your employer offers a self-directed 401k or SIMPLE IRA. Self-directed retirement plans offer more investment options and greater flexibility than traditional IRAs or 401k, so they may be an attractive alternative for investors looking for gold investments.

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Your employer’s 401k plan may allow you to take a loan against your 401k balance and pay it back in regular installments. If they do, such loans will have terms similar to a personal loan, with relatively low interest rates and fixed payment periods. They can be a good option if you need some cash flow without having to sell precious metals that might go down in value at some point. There are also loans you can take from a traditional 401k. You must pay the loan back within 5 years. Before taking out a loan from your 401k or self-directed retirement plan, however, make sure to thoroughly understand how much you’ll owe if you fail to repay it. You may owe penalties on 401k loans as high as 25% of the total amount!

If you do not have access to a 401k or self-directed retirement plan, you will likely need to purchase precious metals with dollars. You can make an immediate rollover into a gold IRA, then your current 401k can be used as cash collateral for a loan that you can use to purchase bullion.

401k To Gold IRA Rollover