Disclaimer: Many or all of the companies listed here may provide compensation to us. This is how we maintain our free service for consumers. Compensation, along with hours of in-depth editorial research, determines where & how companies appear below.
For decades, seasoned investors have insisted that a balanced portfolio should include precious metals. It has been legal to hold precious metals in a US retirement account since legislation was passed in 1997. But in order to simplify the paperwork and process, many gold dealerships focus on providing retirement account services.
If you're looking into potential gold IRA specialists, there's a good chance you've heard of Goldco and Birch Gold Group. These are two of the most well-known companies, thanks to their nationwide advertising reach and celebrity endorsements. But which is the better one to work with?
About Birch Gold Group
Having first been founded in 2003, Birch Gold Group is one of the longer-lived gold IRA companies around. They are based out of California and employ a team of finance experts from backgrounds including Wall Street, precious metals, and investment management.
Birch Gold Group sells precious metals and helps people set up self-directed IRAs. They do not offer other alternative assets to hold in a retirement account, instead focusing chiefly on their metal offerings.
Birch Gold Group is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and boasts a top rating of A+ with the organization. Customers on the BBB page give an average 4.69 out of 5 stars. Consumer Affairs gives 4.8 stars with more than 110 reviews, and Trustpilot gives 4.8 stars with more than 140 reviews.
That's a large enough sample size to determine that Birch Gold does have high levels of customer satisfaction. They have also been endorsed by Ben Shapiro.
Goldco was founded in 2006, so the company has nearly as much experience in the industry as Birch Gold Group. Chiefly, both companies were already working in the precious metals industry prior to the economic crash of 2008.
Goldco mainly focuses on retirement services, but they have a robust inventory of products. Some of their products are rare collectibles that can't be stored in an IRA. These can only be purchased with cash for a person's coin collection.
Goldco also has an A+ with the BBB and a 4.83 out of 5 star average based on over 340 reviews. Consumer Affairs shows over 840 reviews with a 4.8 star average, while Trustpilot shows over 750 reviews with a 4.9 star average. That's an even bigger sample size than with Birch Gold Group, owing largely to the vast national reach that Goldco has.
The products available through a company make a big difference. If you want to invest in bullion, you want legitimate products that can be easily liquidated. If you're investing for a retirement account, you will need to adhere to even more stringent IRS guidelines.
Since both Birch Gold Group and Goldco specialize in IRAs, their specialists will be able to tell you about which products are eligible. They'll discuss the market performance of different options. If you have questions during the sale process, your company representative can answer them.
Birch Gold Group
Birch Gold Group has a variety of investment-grade bullion available to purchase, with their current inventory listed on their website. Most of their products are coins issued by sovereign mints all over the world. In addition to the traditional silver and gold options, there are also options for platinum and palladium coins.
Some examples of the available coins include:
All of these coins can be held in an IRA. They also offer some options like $20 gold coins from the US Mint, gold bars, and gold rounds from varying refineries around the US. For those who aren't investing in an IRA, there are multiple silver rounds and silver dollars available that don't meet IRS regulations for a retirement account.
Palladium options include rounds, bars, and Canadian Maple Leaf coins. Platinum options include rounds, bars, American Eagles, and Australian Florins.
Birch Gold Group's available inventory changes depending on the day. But you can peruse the products directly on their website to make sure that what you want is in stock.
When you first invest with Goldco, you will be sent a kit with everything necessary to get started in precious metals investing. The educational materials make it easy to understand the market, available products, and IRS regulations on your retirement accounts.
Goldco's website has information about the most popular products available. Though they have sold palladium and platinum at times in the past, there are no palladium or platinum products currently listed. However, their selection of gold and silver coins is much more robust than that of Birch Gold Group.
Goldco has all of the usual investment bullion like Canadian Maple Leaf and American Eagle coins. They also have many more coins from sovereign mints, as well as more niche bullion coins that have been issued by the US Mint.
Though Goldco is mainly known for providing gold IRA services to new investors, their products go beyond that. Their inventory includes multiple commemorative and collectible coins that don't meet the IRS regulations to be stored. So if you want to purchase these, you'll need to do so outside of a retirement account.
Since cash investors don't have to adhere to IRS regulations, this also gives you more freedom with the delivery. If you choose not to have the products sent to a facility, you can have them shipped to your home address instead.
IRA Rollover Services
IRA services are the biggest focus of each company, though they also offer regular purchases. Many people don't have a lump sum of savings that they can readily invest in gold, but they do have a large retirement account that needs to be diversified.
Both Birch Gold Group and Goldco will help you create a new IRA and purchase precious metals with the funds.
Birch Gold Group
When you open an IRA with Birch Gold Group, they'll help connect you to your custodian. Their experts will explain how the paperwork needs to be filed, and they'll process your various applications for you. Once the account has been created, they can help you roll over funds from your existing retirement account.
It's possible to transfer funds from one retirement account into a self-directed IRA without incurring penalties. But you have to fill out the proper paperwork.
Goldco is known for having the most competitive setup in the industry niche of precious metals IRAs. Their customer service is truly unparalleled, with a totally streamlined approach. You'll communicate with the same person the entire time, and they'll handle all the coordination with your custodian themselves.
This sets Goldco apart because there aren't many companies that will fully coordinate with your custodian on your behalf. In most cases, you'll be given the custodial application and then put in touch with the custodian. That means talking to multiple different people and tracking paperwork to multiple sources, which can be a huge pain.
According to online reviews, there have been cases in the past in which Goldco has agreed to reimburse the penalties for drawing from annuities early. However, this is not an official company policy. If you want to find out what Goldco could do for you, you can talk to them about your concerns. Each customer will be handled on a case by case basis.
Because not all of Goldco's items are compliant with IRA regulations, you will talk to your specialist about their recommendations. They can explain the IRS regulations or give you resources to learn more. There's also a fair amount of education available through Goldco's actual website.
There are certain fees to consider when you're buying precious metals. Retirement accounts are required by law to be stored in a licensed depository. To be approved by the IRS, it's vital for the depository to pass certain standards regarding its insurance and security policies. You'll also need to have a custodian maintain the account.
Both Birch Gold Group and Goldco use flat fee setups instead of taking a percentage of your holdings. The fees will remain the same every year, no matter how much more you store in your account. This setup makes financial planning over time much easier.
Both companies also offer transparent pricing. They don't have extra costs like hidden markups for buying and selling gold.
In order to get started with the IRA services, both companies also employ a recommended minimum investment threshold.
Birch Gold Group
The recommended minimum investment to get started with Birch Gold Group is $10,000. Though that may be a little more than some people have available, it's a lower investment threshold than many competitors. So people who don't have as much in their retirement accounts can access the services as well.
Birch Gold Group also runs promotions and advertising campaigns for new clientele. If you're a new client, you could be eligible to receive certain bonus metals with your initial purchase. You can ask about any current promotions and the thresholds to qualify when you talk to a Birch Gold Group specialist.
The fee to open an account with Birch Gold Group is $50. Meanwhile, the combined custodian and maintenance fees come out to $180 each year.
Goldco actually has very similar fees in some ways. Like Birch Gold Group, there is an initial setup fee of just $50. This covers having another person help you open your IRA, communicate with your custodian, roll over your funds, make your purchase, and deliver the purchase to your depository of choice.
After your account is set up and you pay for your purchase, you will need to pay a flat $30 fee for a bank wire transfer.
It's a huge amount of streamlining for a low price tag. Even if you have a financial background, the amount of paperwork and coordination involved is a major hassle if you do it alone.
The fee that you'll pay your custodian for maintenance is just $80 per year. Your storage fee will vary. If you choose non-segregated storage, you'll pay $100 per year, for a total of $180. That's exactly the same as with Birch Gold Group. Meanwhile, segregated storage has a cost of $150 per year, or $230 combined with custodial maintenance.
No matter whether your storage is segregated or not, your account will be fully insured. All of the available depositories also undergo frequent third party audits to ensure that your holdings are reflected accurately in your account statement.
Unfortunately, Goldco does have a minimum investment of $25,000, which is more than twice that of Birch Gold Group. As such, the company's services might not be accessible if you have a little less saved up in your current retirement account.
Available Storage Options
There are thousands of global depositories that meet the IRS standards for vault security. Many are operated through large security firms. You have hundreds of depositories in the US itself, plus a wide array of choices in other countries.
The right storage location and company for you just depends on your personal needs. Many people choose to keep their items in the same region that they live in. Others might choose depositories that are situated in tax-advantaged states.
Both of these current companies have partnerships and networks with multiple depository companies.
Birch Gold Group
Birch Gold Group mainly works with Brink's Global Services and the Delaware Depository. Both of these companies have multiple locations. As you might have guessed, the best-known Delaware Depository location is in the state of Delaware. But there is another facility owned by the same corporation that operates out of Nevada.
Brink's is among the best-known security firms in the entire world. You may know them from their home security commercials or their armored cars. But did you know that they also run their own secure depositories?
While there are many Brink's depositories scattered throughout the US, Birch Gold Group recommends using the one in Utah, New York, or Los Angeles. You'll just need to choose which region best suits you. If your purchase is big enough, it will be delivered by one of the corporation's armored vehicles rather than mailed.
Goldco actually works with both of the same companies that Birch Gold Group does. So you can access either of the Delaware Depository vaults or the Brink's vaults. Goldco does usually work with the Brink's vault situated in Salt Lake City, Utah. But if you want to use a facility that's located in another region, you can.
There's one more storage option available through Goldco: International Depository Services in Texas. This is just one of the locations available through IDS, but the facility has major tax advantages. It also has segregated vaults available for $150 on an annual basis.
The sales tax in Texas specifically excludes precious metals like collectible coins, gold bullion, and silver bullion. Since there isn't an income tax in the state, Texas also thrives with the leading people in the industry.
So you have your choice of the option that's right for you. With Goldco, there are segregated and non-segregated vaults available. If you strongly prefer one or the other, you'll be pleased to have both to pick from.
Who Is The Winner?
Both of these companies are leaders in the industry. They have been reviewed hundreds of times online by their past customers, and the majority of the feedback is totally positive. In the event that there is negative feedback, both companies make a strong effort to solve the issue.
No matter which you choose, you'll be getting competitive services at good prices. The flat fee structure also means that you'll avoid the hefty storage fees that you might incur by using other IRA services instead.
But we do ultimately have to recommend Goldco above Birch Gold Group for a few reasons:
So as long as you can meet the $25,000 investment minimum, we believe that Goldco is the better pick.
With all of that said, Birch Gold Group's services are still solid. Though they don't outcompete Goldco, they do outcompete the vast majority of other precious metals IRA companies. If you choose to invest with them, you can rest easy knowing that your assets are held with a company that really cares about your long-term financial health.