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What to look for in a gold investment company

If you choose a self-directed gold IRA, make sure your investment follows IRS requirements.  Getty Images/iStockphoto

As uncertainty about a potential recession grows — coupled with the lasting effects of elevated inflationmore Americans this year are turning to gold investments.

But once you've decided to add gold to your portfolio, it can be a challenge to figure out exactly how to do it. You might choose to buy shares in a gold ETF with the brokerage you already use or gold futures contracts. You could also simply buy gold bullion, in the form of gold bars or coins. Another popular option for long-term investors is a gold IRA, which allows you to invest in physical gold using a tax-advantaged retirement account.

Gold IRAs are unique because you typically need to use a company to help you buy the gold and act as custodian so that you can meet IRS requirements for your self-directed IRA. You can also use these companies to assist your physical gold bullion purchase, even if you don't plan to put it in an IRA. 

To help you get started, we've outlined a few things below you should always consider when choosing a company to assist with your gold investment.

Learn more about gold investing with a free information kit today. 

What to look for in a gold investment company

These are some details to look for when searching for a gold investment company:

IRS requirements and approved custodians

If you're specifically looking to invest in a gold IRA, perhaps the most important thing you can do is ensure your investment follows IRA rules. Otherwise, you could face penalties or fines from the agency.

To start, make sure the gold the company buying on your behalf meets IRS standards. The IRS outlines eligible gold within the tax code, including requirements for certain purity, measurements and fineness.

Additionally, you'll need an eligible custodian for the gold held in your IRA. The gold investment company you choose should specify that it works with approved non-bank trustees to take custody of your gold. You can find the list of these approved custodians on the IRS website. Some companies work with a specific custodian, but many will give you the option to work with a number of eligible trustees.

If you're unsure about any of the specific requirements, you may also want to speak with a tax professional to ensure your gold IRA meets the required standards.


Like any financial product, pricing and fees are crucial parts of choosing the right gold company. Reputable companies should be transparent about the fees they charge and any fees you could take on during the process.

For example, you may be charged a maintenance or setup fee by the company itself and take on an annual fee from the custodian the company works with to store your gold. It's smart to make sure you understand exactly what the fee schedule is upfront.

Also, check whether the fees you're offered are promotional. If you get a waiver for your first year, for example, you'll want to make sure the fees you could take on for storage or maintenance after the promotional period ends are still reasonable. Finally, you'll want to check if the company you choose requires a minimum purchase order. Some gold companies don't require any minimum initial purchase or balance, while others may require a minimum order upwards of $1,000.

If you have questions about any fees, minimums or other requirements with a gold company you're considering, talk to a representative to make sure you understand your obligations before opening an account.

Start exploring your gold investment options with a free investment guide.


Before investing anywhere, do your due diligence to ensure the gold company you choose is transparent and credible.

Customer reviews and investor endorsements can be a great way to ensure the gold company you choose is reputable. Look for customer reviews online, as well as ratings from aggregate sites like Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau. While these reviews may not always give a full picture of any company, they can still be a good resource for overall customer sentiment.

Some other features that may help you decide whether a gold investment company is the right one for you may include free educational resources, ways to access customer support that fit your preferences (a dedicated phone line or online chat, for example) and how long the company has operated.

The bottom line

If you're looking to dedicate a portion of your portfolio to gold today — whether as a way to help diversify or take advantage of its rising value — you can start by choosing the right investment type. Buying physical gold or holding gold in a self-direct IRA can be a good way to benefit directly from gold's price value as markets fluctuate over time. Just make sure you choose a company to help with your gold purchase and custody that is reputable and trustworthy, and clearly states any fees you may be subject to. If you're looking specifically for a gold IRA, it's most important to ensure that your IRA follows IRS guidelines so you can benefit from its advantages over the long run.

Overall, a gold investment could be a good choice in today's economy. Learn more about your options with a free investors kit now.

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