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Traditional gold IRA vs. Roth gold IRA: Which is better?

Gold IRAs enable you to protect your hard-earned money, diversify your retirement portfolio and enjoy tax benefits. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Contributing to a gold individual retirement account (IRA) can be a smart strategy for investors who want to diversify their retirement portfolio and protect their wealth. Gold has been considered a safe-haven asset for centuries for its ability to provide consistent returns despite periods of economic uncertainty and inflation. For those looking to build a secure nest egg to draw upon in retirement, a gold IRA is worth considering.

The two most common types of gold IRA are traditional and Roth. Which is right for you depends on your personal financial situation and goals.

Request a free information kit now to learn more about investing in a gold IRA.

Traditional gold IRA vs. Roth gold IRA: Which is better?

Traditional gold IRAs and Roth IRAs have a few things in common:

  • They both provide tax benefits to incentivize saving for retirement.
  • They have the same contribution limit (for the tax year 2023, it's $6,500 for those under 49 or $7,500 for those ages 50 or older).
  • There's no age limit to contribute to either.
  • Contributions to both are eligible for the Saver's Credit.

But they also have some significant differences, the main one being how your money is taxed.

Traditional gold IRAs are funded with pre-tax dollars, meaning you don't pay any taxes when you contribute the money. Instead, you pay taxes when you withdraw the money from the IRA. Roth gold IRAs are funded with after-tax dollars, meaning you pay taxes when you contribute the money, but your withdrawals are not taxed.

These and other considerations impact which investment vehicle is better suited to your needs.

When a traditional gold IRA is better

A traditional gold IRA may be better for you in the following situations:

  • When you're in a high income-tax bracket: There are no income limits for a traditional gold IRA. As long as you have earned income, you're eligible to contribute. Roth gold IRAs, on the other hand, are only available to those who make less than $153,000 for individuals or $228,00 for married couples filing jointly (for tax year 2023).
  • When you expect a lower income in retirement: Traditional IRA funds are taxed when you withdraw them. If you're in a lower tax bracket when you retire, your funds will be taxed at a lower rate, allowing you to keep more of your money.
  • When you want to lower your current tax burden: Traditional gold IRA contributions are tax-deductible, which can reduce your yearly tax burden now. This can be especially valuable if you're in a high tax bracket.

When a Roth gold IRA is better

A Roth gold IRA may be better for you in these situations:

  • When you expect a higher income in retirement: If you expect your income to go up in retirement, you may be better off opening a Roth gold IRA so your money is taxed now while your tax rate is lower.
  • When you think you may need to make early withdrawals: You can withdraw money from a Roth gold IRA at any time, tax- and penalty-free. While this means your funds won't have as much time to grow, it can be useful if you think you'll need access to your money before you retire. If you withdraw funds from a traditional gold IRA before age 59 ½, you'll incur taxes and a 10% penalty. 
  • When you want to avoid required minimum distributions (RMDs): Traditional gold IRAs require you to begin taking distributions when you reach age 73. Those withdrawals are considered taxable income, which can impact your Social Security and Medicare benefits. You also face a penalty if you don't take out the required amount. You can avoid these pitfalls with a Roth gold IRA, which has no RMDs.

The bottom line

Investing in a gold IRA can be a great way to protect your hard-earned money, diversify your retirement portfolio and enjoy tax benefits. Whether a traditional gold IRA or Roth gold IRA is better for you depends on your current income, expected retirement income and tax planning strategy. To make the best choice, talk with a financial advisor who understands the complexities of each option and how each fits into your personal retirement goals.

Start your gold investing journey today with this free investors kit.

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