Gold IRA vs. Direct Delivery

Everyone has different needs and different resources. 

Some investors want to move from the paper assets in a conventional IRA or 401(k) and own something real in their retirement accounts. 

Others have investable cash on hand and want to trade their fiat currency for something tangible that has had value since the times of ancient civilizations.

Fortunately, if you fall into either category and are considering gold ownership, there are two methods that can get you there. 

Let’s explore and compare the Gold IRA vs. direct delivery of gold to see which is right for you. 


What Is a Gold IRA? 

A Gold IRA is a self-directed individual retirement account that uses physical gold—eligible bars and coins— as an investment in the account. 

Also known as the precious metals IRA, Gold IRAs enable you to choose what you want to own and how much. 

Self-directed plans give you many options. 

You have the option to invest exclusively in precious metals, in precious metals and paper assets, or metals, paper assets and other eligible physical property in the same IRA. 

You can transfer any conventional IRA into a Gold IRA. 

If you are 59 ½  and own a 401(k) or like plan or have a 401(k) from a previous employer, you may roll over that account into a precious metals IRA. 

The IRA transfer and 401(k) rollover are tax-free and penalty-free. 

Funds typically move directly from the old account into the new account. No withdrawal is taken, and it is not considered a distribution. 

Once you have funded your new Gold IRA, you choose the eligible gold you want to own. 

The IRS has strict guidelines on the origin, quality, and purity of IRA-eligible gold

Coins must be:

  • At least 99.5% pure.
  • New and uncirculated.
  • Minted by approved government mints.
  • In perfect physical condition.


Gold bars must be:

  • 99.5% pure.
  • Manufactured by approved assayers and companies, all of which are traded on the COMEX and other exchanges.


The IRS guidelines ensure you get only investment-grade gold. 

Scrap gold, gold jewelry, old coins, and pirate ship gold are not allowed in a precious metals IRA. 

Once you choose your gold, you select the depository where you want to store it.

An eligible depository is a vault vetted and approved by the IRS to safely store IRA-caliber precious metals. 

Depositories must meet standards for size, security, recordkeeping and recording, and insurance. They carry large insurance policies that cover your gold from loss or theft.

Some of the most popular choices for vault storage are:

  • Delaware Depository
  • Brinks Depository
  • HSBC Bank Depository
  • JP Morgan Chase Depository.

Your metals are inspected once they reach the depository.

Once accepted, your precious metals sit on a shelf, with your name on them, until you are ready to liquidate or have them delivered to you. 

Gold IRAs work under the same rules as conventional IRAs. They are available as a:

  • Traditional Gold IRA
  • Roth Gold IRA
  • Simplified employee pension (SEP) Gold IRA

Contact your certified public accountant (CPA) or tax professional to determine which plan is right for you. 

Advantages of Using a Gold IRA 

Investors look to a Gold IRA to address many different needs. 

The Gold IRA can give you a:

  • Hedge against inflation.
  • True portfolio diversification.
  • Store of value.
  • More secure method of precious metals ownership.
  • Safe haven investment.

Drawbacks of Using a Gold IRA 

Some of the disadvantages of a Gold IRA are:

  • Penalties and tax consequences if funds are withdrawn early.
  • Contribution restrictions.
  • Higher fees.

What Is Gold Direct Delivery 

Gold direct delivery is a cash purchase of gold. 

You choose the gold you want to own, remit payment, and the gold ships directly to your door.  

Direct delivery is not subject to the IRS rules and regulations regarding IRA gold ownership. 

You can choose from any available gold products. Products do not have to meet specifications for fineness, condition, age, or source. 

If immediately available, your gold typically arrives in a week or so. 

Once you sign for and accept your gold, it is yours. You are responsible for its safekeeping, storage, and insurance. 

Advantages of Using Gold Direct Delivery 

The advantages of direct delivery gold are that you can:

  • Choose any gold you like.
  • Store the gold how you see fit.
  • Buy and sell your gold without restrictions or penalties.
  • Own gold without owning a retirement account.

Drawbacks of Using Gold Direct Delivery 

The drawbacks of direct delivery gold ownership include:

  • You must take safety and security into account.
  • You must have cash available for acquisition.
  • You must find your own buyer when ready to sell.

Gold Direct Delivery vs. Gold IRA: Key Differences 

Whether you choose direct delivery or Gold IRA, the good news is that you will own physical gold. 

Both methods give you a solid, physical asset to anchor your portfolio.

Keep the following differences in mind as you decide which method is best for you.

Turnaround Time 

If you want your gold and want it now, direct delivery wins. You can pick up your phone, call a trusted precious metals firm like Advantage Gold, and have your metals delivered to your door in short order. 

You must set up and fund your Gold IRA before choosing, purchasing, and having your gold shipped to the depository. 

All those steps take time. The process is in place to protect you, not to quickly get you gold.


The Gold IRA has built-in mechanisms for storing and insuring your precious metals. 

Investors find it assuring that their assets are safe, secure, and accounted for. They enjoy peace of mind knowing that their investment is in good hands.

Security is one of the biggest concerns of direct delivery ownership. 

Be sure you can safely lock away your investment before committing to having gold sent to your door. 

Most importantly, keep your investment to yourself. No one needs to know you have gold in your home. 

Available Product 

Even during periods of high demand, IRA-eligible gold is typically available for purchase. 

These products come from some of the best government mints and independent manufacturers in the world. They can speed up or slow down production, depending on supply and demand. 

With direct delivery, the world is your oyster. If it’s available, you can purchase it. 

You can buy historic coins, bullion bars, treasure-hunted gold, or whatever else catches your eye. 

There’s great freedom in that level of choice.

This one’s a tie. Both methods are great but serve different purposes.

Factors to Consider Before Investing 

You can debate the merits of direct delivery vs. Gold IRA, but one factor holds true for both. 

Gold is for long-term investing. It is not a get-rich-quick scheme. 

Whether purchasing in an IRA or for direct delivery, know that you are in it for the long haul. 

The price of gold fluctuates up and down. Over the long term, it tends to move upward. 

Don’t expect it to be a high flier or even a speculative play. Consider your gold a set-it-and-forget-it investment. 

When you look at its value many years from now, you’ll probably be glad you did.

Gold IRA or Direct Delivery: What’s Right for Me? 

Comparing a Gold IRA vs. direct delivery gold is like choosing between two kids. 

Both have their merits and detractions, but in the end, you will own gold either way. 

Some investors want to use funds already allocated for investment to own gold and don’t want the responsibility of storing and securing such a precious asset.

They choose the Gold IRA. 

Others want gold in their hand, want it now, and have the funds readily available to spend. 

They choose direct delivery. 

You don’t have to choose between kids. 

Why not have both?

Call us today at Advantage Gold, and we will walk you through both processes. 

You may also click the link and tell us how to contact you. 

We are happy to help and look forward to speaking with you!

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