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American Hartford Gold and Goldco might be battling to become the best-known gold IRA firm in the US. Both have successful advertising campaigns and endorsements. Both have been featured in a wide variety of media publications. Both have tons of online customer feedback, most of which is positive.
But there are some key differences between these companies that could make or break a deal. Here's what you need to know to decide who to invest with.
Goldco operates out of a California headquarters and has over 15 years of experience. Though the company mainly focuses on retirement accounts, they do also have some collectible coins available to purchase with cash.
Goldco has received glowing reviews from both past customers and from major third party organizations. The Better Business Bureau and Business Consumer Alliance both give the company top marks, showing that they have an extremely strong commitment to ethics and customer service.
There are hundreds of Goldco reviews online, almost all of which give 5 stars. When there have been complaints, Goldco has swiftly worked with the customer to fix the issue.
About American Hartford Gold
American Hartford Gold also mainly focuses on precious metals IRAs, but they have some rounds and circulated coins available as well. Their inventory shifts depending on the day.
The company is known for running promotions and advertising campaigns that allow people to access free coins, free bullion, or reductions in account fees. Though they have been in the industry for a comparatively short time, they've quickly gained a positive reputation across the board.
Company Fees and Minimums
Sometimes companies will make money by charging you more than expected without warning. There may be extra commissions or transaction charges in the fine print of the contract. Customers are often frustrated by this, especially when there is another fee to sell the items back.
Both American Hartford Gold and Goldco have straightforward, transparent fee structures. Some of the fees will vary depending on who you choose as your custodian and storage option. But in the vast majority of cases, you will pay unchanging flat fees no matter how much or how little is held in your account.
Goldco has a total fee of $80 to get started with your account. That includes a $50 fee for setup and a $30 fee for a wire transfer. During the setup, you'll go from creating the account to purchasing precious metals with your retirement funds. Your specialist will show you how to roll over the existing funds in your other retirement accounts without suffering penalties.
The wire transfer fee is pretty standard in the industry. It covers the cost of instantly moving funds from your IRA into Goldco's account. Bank wire transfers are much faster than checks, and they're more reliable than other payment methods. That's why Goldco prefers to use them.
The yearly fee for account maintenance through your custodian will be $80, regardless of the custodian that you use. If you choose to have a segregated vault in the depository, you'll pay $150 for storage each year. But if you allow your items to mingle with other people's, the fee is only $100.
Goldco does have a somewhat high investment minimum of $25,000. While there are companies that have even higher minimums, those are usually built for high net worth clients. Many people don't have a full $25,000 in their retirement accounts to put into precious metals. So you'll need to decide how much you want to invest to determine whether Goldco is right for you.
American Hartford Gold
American Hartford Gold is somewhat unique in the world of gold IRAs. They are one of the only companies that doesn't charge any setup fees whatsoever. You can have one of their experts create and fund your account totally free of charge, as long as you then make a purchase from the company.
However, you do need to meet a minimum investment threshold of $10,000 when making your first purchase for your new retirement account. While that is lower than Goldco's minimum, it's still a hefty chunk of change.
If you want to buy products from American Hartford Gold with cash, there's a minimum purchase requirement of $2,500. That's because American Hartford Gold only deals in high quality investment bullion, and so they will only ship out packages that contain a reasonable amount of good product.
According to the guide on the company website, American Hartford Gold's partnered companies have the following fees:
Both of these companies have large inventories containing silver and gold products. They also both sell IRA-approved and non-approved items. Not everything available for purchase can technically be stored within a retirement account, because only certain coins are eligible.
Goldco typically offers all four main types of precious metals, with platinum and palladium included alongside gold and silver. Their platinum and palladium offerings seem to be low right now, but their online inventory often updates. You can always call to inquire about whether certain platinum and palladium coins or bars will become available in the future.
Goldco has gold and silver coins from sovereign mints throughout the globe. You can invest in coins from countries like the US, Australia, Canada, the UK, South Africa, and Austria.
In addition, Goldco stocks a huge number of collectible coins. It's not legal to keep collectible or numismatic coins in an IRA. But you can buy these with cash for a personal portfolio. There is conflicting information online about what the minimum purchase is for a personal portfolio, rather than an IRA.
American Hartford Gold
American Hartford Gold focuses exclusively on silver and gold products. They do not appear to have any platinum or palladium available in their inventory. Platinum and palladium coins are extremely expensive, and they cost more than most people are willing to invest. But if you have your heart set on these metals, it's a good idea to work with Goldco instead.
Like Goldco, American Hartford Gold has both IRA-approved and non-approved products available for purchase. When you go to the company website, you can browse products by Gold, Silver, All, or IRA Approved. Even when you don't use the IRA Approved tab, there are little banners on each approved product to let you know that you can purchase it for a retirement account.
That's a super convenient and easy way to let customers know which products are available for their purposes. The setup of the website is aesthetically pleasing and impressively informative.
Like Goldco, many of the IRA-approved coins come from international sovereign mints. There are also Proof American Eagles available, alongside Liberty Dollars and other American coins. American Eagles are among the most popular bullion investment choices because of how easy it is to liquidate them.
As far as non-IRA approved products go, some of the options include:
The available sizes and types of bars and rounds vary depending on the day. You can call to find out what's available for purchase. Rather than listing prices on the website, American Hartford Gold requires that people call and talk to one of the company's customer service representatives to receive a price quote.
Custodian and Storage Options
If you store precious metals in an IRA, you are legally required to comply with the IRS regulations about maintenance and storage. Every self-directed IRA needs a custodian, which is a financial institution that manages and reports on your holdings. You also need to place the metals inside a secure vault in a depository.
It is not legal to store the items in your home, even if you have a great safe. In order to be licensed to store IRAs, a depository must have met the proper requirements for insurance and overall security measures. All of the depositories that partner with both of these companies have full insurance policies against theft, loss, or damage.
You are welcome to work with whatever custodian you want. If you work with someone other than the company's preferred custodian, both Goldco and American Hartford Gold are willing to accommodate. But it's typically easier to work with their recommended partners, especially because the recommended partners have good industry reputations.
In the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Goldco website, the company confirms that they will work with every major IRA custodian. The website doesn't have a ton of easily accessible information about their preferred custodial partners. However, after some digging, we've found that they usually work with Equity Trust or Self Directed IRA.
These are two of the most well-reviewed custodians of self-directed IRAs. Equity Trust provides transparent statements regarding your account, and they're always available to answer questions. Both preferred custodians will give you digital access to a dashboard that has updates on your holdings in real time.
There are three depository companies that Goldco has partnered with.
The first is International Depository Services. Though technically any of their facilities can be used, Goldco most chiefly focuses on the facility in Texas. This depository has totally segregated storage, so it's the one you'll pick if you want to make sure that your holdings stay in their own separate vault.
Texas has certain tax advantages as well. For example, the state does not have sales taxes on gold or silver.
The second company is the Delaware Depository. There are two facility locations with this company, one in Delaware and one in Nevada. The Delaware location is the most popular because of Delaware's tax advantages. In Delaware, there are no taxes on buying, selling, transferring, or shipping precious metals of any kind.
The third company is Brink's Global Services. Brink's is a security company that is involved in every sector of the security world. From home security systems to armored vehicles to storage depositories, they have every method available of securing your things.
Because Brink's is such a massive conglomerate, they have many depositories available both within and outside of the US. But the one that Goldco most frequently works with is located in Salt Lake City, Utah. If you want to use one of their other locations instead, you can talk to your Goldco representative about it.
American Hartford Gold
American Hartford Gold works with the same main custodial partner that Goldco does: Equity Trust. While the lack of other custodian options might be an issue for people who like having choice, Equity Trust does have a great reputation. Nowadays, they manage over $25 billion of their customers' assets and have more than three decades of experience working within the self-directed IRA custodial field.
American Hartford Gold also works with the same three depository companies that Goldco does. However, their preferred depository locations are slightly different.
Brink's and Delaware Depository have both non-segregated and segregated storage choices, while International Depository Services only has segregated storage.
In addition to the Texas depository, American Hartford Gold works with the Delaware location of International Depository Services. They work with only the Delaware location of Delaware Depository, rather than shipping items to the Nevada location. With Brink's, you have your choice of the Utah depository, a New York depository, or a California depository.
When you get your account set up, you'll be able to talk with the specialist about which of the depositories is best for you. It might depend on your vault preference, where you live, and what kind of tax advantages you're looking for.
Both Goldco and American Hartford Gold are willing to make special offers to new customers. These promotions run for limited periods of time, so you should always check to see whether they're still active. In addition, you'll typically need to meet certain requirements in order to qualify.
Goldco's offers fluctuate from month to month. However, one thing that's always available is the free gold IRA kit. Unlike many of the free resources available through other websites, this kit is actually physically shipped to your door. You don't have to worry about downloading files from your email.
The gold IRA guide comes with a wealth of information about retirement accounts, gold and silver, and the benefits of precious metals investment. The goal is to teach you all the basics that you should know, so you know what questions to ask. You can get this kit shipped to you with zero shipping cost whatsoever, even if you haven't yet fully decided to invest with Goldco.
The main promotion that's running as of writing this is an offer for a maximum of $10,000 in free silver. If you make qualifying purchases for your existing retirement account, you will have bonus silver products shipped to your house. These are personal investments that are not part of your IRA.
American Hartford Gold
If you meet the promotional requirements for your first investment with American Hartford Gold, they may give you bonus silver or waive fees. As of writing this, their main promotions are:
Who Is the Winner?
Goldco and American Hartford Gold are both excellent precious metals IRA companies that have solid reputations. They both serve people throughout the US, and they both offer cash purchase options as well. There are many similarities between the companies, such as using the same custodians and depository corporations.
We do ultimately feel that Goldco has a slight advantage over American Hartford Gold, though. Here are some of the key reasons:
Some people may be tripped up by Goldco's $25,000 investment minimum. If you can't afford that, then the $10,000 minimum of American Hartford Gold is a good alternative. American Hartford Gold has the same policies and pricing that give Goldco an edge, they just haven't yet gained the same level of industry experience.