How Does a Gold IRA Transfer Work?

gold IRA transfer

With everything going on in the economy today, more and more people are concerned about protecting their wealth. The possibility of recession seems to be growing by the day, and many people are fearful of a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. And that’s why so many people have started to buy gold to protect themselves.

One popular method of owning gold is through a gold IRA. Gold IRAs have grown in popularity in recent years as more people have become aware of them and of the advantages they offer. But there are still numerous questions surrounding a gold IRA, particularly with regard to how a gold IRA transfer works.

Goldco has helped thousands of customers over more than a decade benefit from owning gold in a gold IRA, and our specialists can help answer any questions you may have. Read on to find out more about how a gold IRA transfer works.

What Is a Gold IRA?

If you’re not familiar with a gold IRA already, it’s a really simple concept. A gold IRA is just like any other IRA except that it owns physical gold coins or bars.

Most people who invest in tax-advantaged retirement accounts like a 401(k) or IRA may only be familiar with investing in conventional financial assets like stocks, bonds, or shares of various funds. They may not be aware that an IRA can also own physical assets.

A gold IRA is a type of self-directed IRA, an IRA in which you, the investor, make the decision about which assets to invest in. Aside from a small list of prohibited assets, there really isn’t much that an IRA can’t invest in.

Gold, silver, real estate, commodities, etc. are all among the assets that an IRA can own. And a self-directed gold IRA is perhaps the type of self-directed IRA that receives the most attention today.

Advantages of Owning Gold

Gold offers numerous advantages to savers and investors, which is why it has been trusted as a safe haven asset for centuries. Here are four of the major advantages of owning gold.

Portfolio Diversification

Even the most ardent gold haters will grudgingly admit that gold can play a role in helping to diversify a portfolio. Gold is often considered a counter-cyclical asset, one that performs well when markets aren’t, and so it is often held as an asset to help protect wealth when crisis or recession loom.

Recommendations on how much gold to hold are often all over the place, from a few percent up to large double digit figures. That’s why it’s important to talk to your financial advisor to see how gold fits into your savings and investment goals.

Inflation Hedge

Gold is also often owned as a hedge against inflation. Because gold maintains or increases its purchasing power over time, owning gold can help your assets maintain their value even when inflation threatens to erode your wealth.

Since President Nixon closed the gold window in 1971, gold has increased in price by nearly 5,000%. Compare that to the US dollar, which has lost 86% of its purchasing power since then.

The last time the US experienced sustained high inflation, during the stagflation of the 1970s, gold’s annualized gains were over 30% over the course of the decade. That kind of performance is why so many people are turning to gold now that inflation is once again high and threatening to become entrenched.

Tax-Advantaged Growth

Gold can also help provide tax-advantaged asset growth, particularly through a gold IRA. Owning gold in a gold IRA allows you to accrue gains tax-free and only pay taxes when you take a distribution.

Wealth Accumulation

Gold isn’t just an asset that helps protect you against a rainy day. It can provide significant growth potential even when markets seem to be doing well.

Since 2001, gold has grown at an annualized rate of nearly 9%, a phenomenal rate over such a long period of time. And with so many headwinds facing the economy today, there looks to be significant potential for gold to continue growing even further in the future.

Starting a Gold IRA

Starting a gold IRA doesn’t have to be difficult. The process isn’t that much different than starting any other IRA. It begins by working with trusted partners like Goldco who can help you navigate the process.

Funding a Gold IRA

Perhaps the most important aspect of a gold IRA, like any other IRA, is deciding on how you are going to fund it. Since a gold IRA is just like any other IRA, it is subject to the same annual contribution limits that face any other IRA account.

For 2022, the annual contribution limit to IRA accounts is $6,000. But these limits don’t apply when you are funding an IRA through a rollover or transfer from another tax-advantaged retirement account.

This makes the rollover or transfer process a popular method of funding a gold IRA. The 401(k) to gold IRA rollover is perhaps one of the more popular and well-known gold IRA rollover methods. But you can roll over funds from a TSP, 403(b), 457, or similar retirement account too.

You can also choose to transfer funds from an existing IRA account into a gold IRA. Goldco’s experts can answer your questions about whether your existing retirement account assets are eligible for a gold IRA transfer.

The Gold IRA Transfer or Rollover Process

The transfer or rollover process can be done seamlessly if you know what you’re doing. And because the gold IRA transfer process involves moving funds from one tax-advantaged account to another, the process is able to be done tax-free. But if you don’t follow the rules, you may inadvertently open yourself up to taxes and penalties.

Transfers vs. Rollovers

Transfers and rollovers both involve moving funds from one tax-advantaged account to another. A rollover refers to moving funds from a 401(k) or similar account into an IRA account like a gold IRA. A transfer refers to moving funds from an IRA into another IRA account.

A 401(k) to gold IRA rollover is one of the more common forms of gold IRA transfers, due to the near ubiquity of employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement plans. Very often employees who switch employers leave their old 401(k) plans orphaned at their old employer, where the funds are often invested in low-yielding money market accounts. A 401(k) to gold IRA rollover can be one way to move those retirement savings so that they can be put to better use owning assets that you actually choose or control.

A gold IRA transfer from another IRA account is another way to protect existing retirement savings. These gold IRA transfers can be from either a Traditional IRA or from a Roth IRA. A gold IRA transfer from a Traditional IRA could be transferred to a Traditional gold IRA or a Roth gold IRA if you choose to do a Roth conversion, while a gold IRA transfer from a Roth IRA would be transferred into a gold Roth IRA.

Tax Implications

A gold IRA transfer is normally a tax-free process. In order to remain free from potential taxes and penalties, the money must be transferred within 60 days from the retirement account from which you are funding your gold IRA into your gold IRA account. If you fail to move that money into your gold IRA within 60 days, it would be treated as a distribution and would be subject to any potential taxes and penalties.

Gold IRA Transfer Timeline

Goldco has extensive experience helping our customers with the gold IRA transfer process. We can help you work with your current 401(k) or IRA custodian to make sure that the process goes seamlessly.

While most gold IRA transfers occur with no difficulties, there is always the possibility of communications getting crossed, paperwork going missing in the mail, or other difficulties. Our experts have seen many of the possible issues that crop up and can help work with you to make sure that you’re able to transfer your funds into a gold IRA and buy gold as quickly as possible.

Gold IRA Rules

It’s important to remember that a gold IRA is subject to the same rules and regulations as any other IRA. You’ll want to talk to your financial advisor or tax advisor to make sure that you’re familiar with these rules so that you don’t expose yourself to potential taxes or penalties when you make your gold IRA transfer.

Types of Investments

Like all IRA accounts, a gold IRA is forbidden from owning collectibles. This means that only certain gold coins are eligible for investment through a gold IRA. Any gold coin considered a collectible is not eligible for ownership through a gold IRA, and attempting to use IRA funds to purchase collectible coins would be considered a distribution, which would subject you to possible taxes and penalties.

Among the IRA-eligible gold coins are American Gold Eagle bullion coins, as well as any gold coin with a minimum fineness of .995. If you’re already familiar with common bullion coins such as Krugerrands, Austrian 100 Corona coins, or older American circulating gold coinage, you may be disappointed to find out that these coins are not eligible for ownership through a gold IRA.

Fortunately there are many choices available when it comes to IRA-eligible gold coins, with new coins and designs coming to market all the time. Goldco has established relationships with mints around the world, guaranteeing that the gold coins you buy are 100% authentic.

Contribution Limits

A gold IRA is subject to the same annual contribution limits as other IRA accounts. For 2022, this limit is $6,000 per individual, or $7,000 if you are over age 50. You also have to factor in income limits for Roth IRAs, as well as income limits for tax-deductible contributions to Traditional IRAs. But if you’re funding your gold IRA transfer with assets from an existing retirement account, these contribution limits won’t apply to that transfer or rollover.

Tax Advantages

A gold IRA offers the same tax advantages as any other IRA account. If your gold IRA is a Traditional gold IRA, you would fund it with pre-tax dollars and pay taxes when you decide to take a distribution. If your gold IRA is a Roth gold IRA, you would fund it with post-tax dollars and wouldn’t pay taxes when you take a distribution.

Because a gold IRA transfer allows you to move your existing retirement assets into owning gold without requiring a distribution and tax payments, you can lock in gains you have already made and move your assets to a gold IRA to try to avoid loss when financial markets start to decline. A gold IRA is just one more tool in the arsenal when it comes to helping to maintain your wealth.


The same rules governing required minimum distributions (RMDs) apply to a gold IRA just as they do to any other IRA. For a traditional IRA, this would mean that you would have to start taking RMDs at age 72. For a Roth IRA, no RMDs are required.

Custodian and Depository

As with any other IRA, the assets in a gold IRA must be maintained by a custodian. You may have heard of a so-called “home storage gold IRA” that purports to allow you to store your gold IRA assets at home. It sounds too good to be true, because it is, and could subject you to taxes and penalties. That’s why it’s always good to consult with your financial advisor and tax advisor before making a move that could result in taxes and penalties.

When you initiate your gold IRA transfer, the assets you use to fund your gold IRA will be transferred into a gold IRA account that is managed by an IRA custodian. Goldco partners with established custodians who have significant experience managing precious metals IRA assets.

Once you purchase your gold coins with the funds from your gold IRA transfer, the metals you purchase will be stored with a bullion depository. Goldco works with experienced depositories to ensure that your gold IRA assets remain safe and secure.

Gold IRA Benefits

Owning gold through a gold IRA has numerous potential benefits. Here are three of them.


It’s probably safe to say that many, if not most, 401(k) and IRA accountholders don’t know about a gold IRA. They may believe that they’re limited to just the investment options offered by their workplace 401(k) plan or their IRA custodian.

But a self-directed gold IRA allows them the option to diversify their portfolios with assets like precious metals that their current plans don’t offer. And that diversification could help them during periods of market volatility and economic uncertainty.

De-Risking or Risk Adjustment

A gold IRA can also be a useful tool in adjusting the risk profile of your assets. Gold is a generally stable asset with less volatility than some other assets, which is why so many people have trusted it as a safe haven and store of value during times of crisis.

Asset Protection

Finally, gold’s safe haven properties make it one of the assets people flee to first when markets start showing distress. During the 2008 financial crisis, for example, gold gained 25% during the same period that markets lost more than 50%. And gold continued to push higher even as markets struggled to regain their footing.

Is Gold Right for You?

The decision about whether gold is right for you is yours to make. It all comes down to your unique circumstances, your goals, and what you plan to do with your money. And consulting with your financial advisor is always a good idea.

More and more Americans are turning to gold today to help safeguard their savings, with rising interest rates, high inflation, and an increased likelihood of recession all weighing on the potential future growth of markets. And with numerous options available to buy gold, the possibilities are nearly endless.

If you’re worried about the future and want to protect your hard-earned wealth, maybe it’s time to start thinking about a gold IRA. The last thing anyone wants is to see a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis, or a repeat of the 1970s with its entrenched stagflation. But those are very real possibilities that could take a major bite out of your savings.

Thousands of Goldco customers have found peace of mind through buying gold, and there’s nothing they trust more to protect their wealth. With over a decade of experience, thousands of satisfied customers, and over $1 billion in precious metals placements, Goldco’s experts have what it takes to get you on track to protect yourself with gold. Call Goldco today to learn more about how gold can benefit you.

Request Your Free Guide

Free Precious Metals Guide

Complete the Form Below

Request Your Free Guide

Free Precious Metals Guide

Complete the Form Below

Ready to protect your retirement savings?

Request Free Kit