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401k To Gold IRA Rollover Guide

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TL; DR – This guide explains everything you need to know about rolling over your 401k to a gold IRA plan. After reading this you will understand what a gold IRA is, what a self-directed IRA plan is, what rollover means in regard to your 401k plan, the history of gold IRAs, how to convert without penalty, how to change your 401k to gold, and the best companies to start a gold IRA plan with today. If you have questions on rolling 401k into gold after reading this, then my suggestion is to reach out to us for more information.

401k to gold IRA rollover

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Intro To Gold IRA Rollover Guide

This is the official 401k to gold IRA rollover guide. What does that mean? Well, it means that you’re about to get a step by step 401k to gold ira rollover guide and instructions on what actions to take. So, pay close attention! Do you plan to change your career? Or are you planning to open a regular individual retirement account? If so, you can perform a 401k rollover.

However, considering gold IRA investments is a smart decision if you want to diversify your retirement savings. 

The world of retirement investment constantly changes. Keeping up with all the changes can be challenging with the uncertainties about longevity and the ever-changing financial landscape.

In 2023, more and more investors are thinking about rolling over part of their 401k into a gold IRA. This special type of self-directed IRA allows you to hold silver, gold, and other precious metals within your IRA account. 

In this 401k to gold IRA rollover guide, you will better understand what a gold IRA is, what is involved in a 401k rollover, its benefits, and more. 

What is a Gold IRA

A gold IRA refers to a self-directed IRA allowing investors to invest in actual gold. This self-directed IRA is different from a traditional IRA because it doesn’t require it to be held in a traditional bank. In its place, investors hold their physical gold and other precious metals in various storage facilities, like vaults and safe deposit boxes. 

What is a Self-Directed IRA 

A self-directed IRA is a program allowing someone to invest in multiple assets that are not available in most traditional IRAs. It requires a gold IRA trustee who will be responsible for administering the account while the account holder operates it directly. 

Here are the substitute backings for self-directed IRA:

  • Oil and gas rights 
  • Water and mineral rights 
  • Precious metals, including physical gold and silver 
  • Cryptocurrencies 
  • Promissory notes 
  • Real estate 

Furthermore, you can use self-directed IRAs to own:

  • Private Equity 
  • Venture Capital 
  • Closely-held Corporations 
  • Joint Ventures 
  • Partnerships 
  • Raw Land 
  • Ranches and Farms 
  • Anything else of value

Meanwhile, the exceptions are S-corporation shares, life insurance, and collectibles.

What Does a Rollover Mean?

A rollover is an act of transferring assets from one financial institution to another. People who own a 401k or other employer-offered retirement plans can roll over their accounts into IRAs.

When you roll over your 401k, you will receive an electronic transfer or check from your previous employer. Generally, this electronic transfer or check will be a similar amount in the old 401k or other employer-offered retirement plans.

While it will likely be taxable, the amount will be based on the rollover tax rate. Then, the rollover be rolled over into the new IRA account. 

What Does Gold IRA Rollover Mean?

When an old 401k is rolled over into a gold IRA, it is as if an old 401k is transferred into a new gold IRA. Then, the 401k is transferred to a precious metals IRA allowed to hold physical gold and other precious metals. In other words, rollover is a fancy term for transfer. 

From there, the account owners can decide what they want to do with their gold. Most people prefer selling their old 401k and paying taxes. Others prefer holding onto their gold. If you decide to sell your gold, you have to deal with tax payments on the 401k gold’s initial sale.

A gold IRA rollover implies moving traditional IRA returns to accounts backed by physical gold bars, EFTs, or coins. 

Brief Gold IRA History 

A 1974 government regulation called the Employee Retirement Security Act empowered the making of IRAs. In 1975, Americans were allowed to open IRAs, including independent and conventional ones. 

After 22 years, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) has eliminated the IRA resource expansion and permitted these records to incorporate select precious metal coins and bars. 

Benefits of Rolling Over a 401k to Gold IRA 

Typically, you have 4 options for a 401k when you change your job:

  • A 401k rollover toward individual retirement accounts 
  • A 401k transfer to a new employer’s 401k plan 
  • A 401k cash out, tax payment, and withdrawal penalty 
  • Leaving the 401k alone if the ex-employer allows it

But if you choose to rollover over your 401k plan to a gold IRA, here are the benefits you can enjoy:

Lower Fees 

In most cases, rolling money into a gold IRA cuts the administrative and management expenses you have been paying. This eats away the investment returns in the long run.

The funds of the 401k plan might be more expensive compared to the average for the asset class. Above all, financial organizations managing the plan charge a general annual cost.

More extensive 401k plans have access to institutional class funds that come with lower costs. While your gold IRA also has expenses, you will get more options. You will also enjoy more control over how much you pay, where you invest, and how you invest.

Relaxed Rules

The IRA standardized all IRA restrictions. A gold IRA at a financial institution is subject to similar rules applied to a gold IRA at another institution.

The IRS rules that involve tax distribution are a frequently overlooked distinction between a gold IRA and a 401k. Note that the requires 20% of 401k distributions to be withheld for federal taxes.

Instead of receiving huge income tax penalties at the end of the year and dealing with interest and underpayment payments, it is a better idea to withhold some tax. Rather than having an automatic 20% withholding, you have the option to select how much to withdraw. This helps clearly reflect the exact amount you will owe. 

What’s the advantage? You do not need to deplete your existing retirement account more quickly than necessary. This allows your money to compound tax-deferred.

Easier Estate Planning 

When the account holder dies, the 401k is expected to be paid out in one lump sum to their beneficiaries. This does not provide tax advantages.

While the rules vary according to the plan, most firms release the funds immediately. This allows them not to require keeping the account. Even though gold IRA inheritance has tax penalties, gold IRAs offer more distribution alternatives. 

I strongly encourage you to read these gold IRA rules and regulations to know everything you need to know.

More Investment Options 

In a 401k investment, you have to deal with option restrictions. You can usually select mutual funds from one supplier.

On the other hand, a gold IRA lets you invest in almost any place. You have more investment options to choose from, including gold bullion and coins and other approved precious metals, such as palladium, platinum, and silver.

Here are some gold-related paper investments where your gold IRA fund can be invested in:

  • Stock in gold mining companies 
  • Precious metal commodity futures 
  • Exchange-traded funds 
  • Precious metals mutual funds

More Cash Incentives 

Many financial institutions make extra efforts to attract more clients. These institutions might offer money to induce clients to bring them their retirement funds. Some companies even include transactions free of charge as part of the package. 

Steps to Rollover a 401k into a Gold IRA Quick Overview

Here are easy steps to roll over your 401k to a gold IRA:

Step 1: Find a Reliable Gold IRA Provider 

First, search for a trusted and reliable gold IRA provider. They will give you all the facts regarding gold and precious metal IRAs. They can also help you in putting together all the required resources to open a gold IRA account.

Step 2: Select a Self-Directed Gold IRA Custodian 

The self-directed custodian will be responsible for overseeing your gold IRA account. Don’t worry; you can operate your account directly as a holder.

Step 3: Open a New Gold IRA Custodian with a Custodian 

The new account is dedicated to purchasing and storing precious metals. This ensures physical gold and other metals are secure and safe in the facility.

Step 4: Process the Fund Rollover from the Previous Account to a New Gold IRA Account

This step is performed to ensure both the provider and the custodian obtain the precious metals on your behalf.

Comprehensive 401k to Gold IRA Rollover Guide 

For a better understanding of how to roll over your 401k investment into a gold IRA, check out the following:

Finding a Gold IRA Provider

Gold IRAs and traditional IRAs differ from each other. The former usually involves precious metal bars and coins, while the latter has only bonds and stocks. 

If you decide to make a gold IRA as your retirement investment, make sure to select the right gold IRA company. This provider must have a lot of expertise. There are plenty of gold IRA companies out there but go for the one that understands your needs.

When choosing a candidate, read the contract before finalizing your decision. Don’t forget to search through the gold IRA company’s website before signing any paper.

Determining a Self-Directed IRA Custodian 

After finding a reliable gold IRA provider, your next big step is to pick a person who will act as your account custodian. Remember, it is almost illegal to keep gold and other metals in an IRA account you run yourself.

The custodian is often an organization tracking all exchanges and giving administrations and documentation for the IRAs and yourself. They are responsible for organizing the valuable metals trading in which you decided to place resources. 

Beware that some organizations exclude actual resources in the IRA contributions. Generally, these are Wall Street firms and other monetary institutions that want their clients to put their cash in bonds and stocks. This is because these are the resources the organizations are accustomed to providing and getting commission for.

If you plan to open a gold IRA account soon, go for a firm that can explicitly manage a personally managed gold IRA. 

Opening a Gold IRA Account 

After searching and choosing a gold IRA account custodian, you have to open an account to enable the custodian and provider to get started.

The precious metals custodian will work with the provider when buying and selling silver, gold, and other precious metals you select to invest in.

Once the gold IRA provider helps you identify the precious metals you are interested in, they will make a deal with the custodian to transfer the metals to a safe and secure facility. This facility should specialize in storing precious metal coins and bars.

The custodian should ensure that your gold IRA account complies with the IRAS rules, from the account setup to precious metals storage. The custodian will also record the amount you have purchased. Then, they will send you the documentation as well as the IRS for records.

Some gold IRA companies set a limit on how much you can open an IRA account. While there are stipulated amounts when opening a gold IRA, most companies insist their clients should present precious metals that are worth holding.

Executing the Gold IRA Rollover 

Now, it’s time to transfer money from the old IRA account to a new gold IRA account. Interestingly, you can execute the rollover directly or indirectly.

With an immediate rollover, the cash is moved straightforwardly from the record to the new IRA legal administrator or caretaker. The Gold IRA organization will assist you with the preparation of everything.

If you roll over indirectly, the process tends to be more complex. This is because your past retirement account’s assets are provided straightforwardly to you, the record’s proprietor, to take more time to move the assets into a new gold IRA account and not keep the assets as a circulation. 

Furthermore, you have to deal with more paperwork regarding the record proprietor. This is to show that it was done, which uses the immediate rollover strategy engaging. 

If you wish for a less complicated process with less administrative work, you can opt for the direct rollover.

Purchasing Gold 

Once the rollover is executed, the gold IRA company will use its board information on the items to assist you in selecting and purchasing precious metals and get them shipped off to your chosen storage space. 

The market offers plenty of options. However, the IRS only accepts silver or gold that meets their guidelines. The agency sees the purity of silver and gold coins and bars as a critical factor. 

For example, the gold should have 99.5% purity, except for the American Gold Eagle bullion coins with 91.67% purity. Silver coins and bars should be 99.99% pure. 

As a gold IRA account holder, you should ask about the insurance covering precious metals, including shipping and storage. Also, the precious metal provider must confirm the transaction and provide complete paperwork that details all the purchase transactions.

Is It Possible to Convert 401k to Gold Without a Penalty?

Here are the steps to convert your 401k to a gold IRA without getting taxed:

  • Set up an independently managed gold IRA account with a precious metals legal administrator or overseer.
  • Perform a legal administrator-to-legal administrator transfer from the old 401k to a new privately managed gold IRA account within 60 days.
  • If the move took over 60 days, the assets are considered as dissemination from the 401k as well as being at risk of exchange assessments.

Is a Gold IRA Ideal for You?

Undoubtedly, gold IRAs offer growth and protection. They can protect you against double taxation and provide favorable tax benefits as your investment grows. 

Bons and stocks plummet at times, like what happened in 2008. This decline took more than five years to end. If you are about to retire, you might not have enough time to wait for those changes. However, a gold IRA offers an added advantage.

If you add physical gold to your gold IRA funds, you can safeguard your investment since gold has a history of protecting against exchange emergencies. During monetary changes, conventional resources like stocks decline. However, gold can still accomplish a return alongside balanced-out portfolios.

As you roll over part of your 401k into gold, you have a better chance of fencing against expansion. This means gold increments in cost when expansion rises. This balanced the serious consequences expansion has on stocks and money.

Moreover, gold is considered the best-performing resource in the beyond seven inflation periods. This resource helped a lot of Americans develop their abundance when various resources fell. 

Asset diversification is an excellent contingency among investors. Make sure to diversify your financial assets to tangible and physical gold and other metals to prevent a crash like what occurred in 2008. 

If you are still unsure which gold IRA company to work with, here are the recommendations:


Goldco offers great pricing on silver and gold. They are also known as extensive educational sources. They have a transparent fee structure and up to 10% back in free silver coins for new precious metals accounts.

Augusta Precious Metals 

Augusta Precious Metals provides a straightforward 401k rollover process. They offer a great return policy and lifetime service and support to potential and current clients. Also, they deliver excellent customer reviews on trusted websites.

Birch Gold Group

Birch Gold Group is perfect for novice gold investors. The website offers transparent and helpful information about charge and pricing structures. They only require a reasonable minimum investment to activate a gold IRA account.

Final Thoughts

Gold IRA offers diverse investment options. Since it is a self-directed IRA, you can enjoy a lot of flexibility about how you want to invest in precious metals.

All you need to do is send IRA funds to a trusted gold IRA custodian, invest with a reliable dealer or own precious metals. Hopefully, this 401k to gold IRA rollover guide will help you in your next investment action. 

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MF Metal Team

At MF Metal, we research and analyze retirement investment options for individuals who want to control and protect their financial future. We strongly focus on precious metals and gold IRA accounts.