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Personal Finance Gold

SEP Gold IRA Account Guide

A retirement free of financial worry requires careful planning—and it’s never too early to start, especially if you’re self-employed.

Fortunately, a SEP IRA can help. This unique type of retirement account is primarily utilized by freelancers, contractors, and small business owners (and those who work for them). The account can even be used to invest in gold, silver, and other precious metals.

If adding gold and silver to your retirement plan is something you might be interested in, this guide can help. Read on to learn more about SEP gold IRAs, as well as how to start your own.

How does a SEP gold IRA work?

A SEP gold IRA (Simplified Employee Pension) is a self-directed Individual Retirement Account designed for small business owners and self-employed professionals, as well as those who work for them for extended periods.

What can SEP gold IRAs be used for?

SEP gold IRAs can be used to invest in gold and silver (and other precious metals), as well as tangible assets like collectibles, artwork,  and real estate in some cases.

SEP gold IRA tax implications

When you have a SEP IRA, your contributions are pre-tax, meaning you’ll pay taxes on the money in retirement once you withdraw the funds. The benefit of this is that your contributions are tax-deductible, so it can drastically reduce the amount of income taxes you owe annually.

Who are SEP IRAs best for?

SEP IRAs are typically best for self-employed professionals or business owners, particularly those who expect their tax bracket to be lower in retirement.

They’re also suitable for those looking to maximize their contributions, as SEP IRAs have much higher contribution limits than other retirement accounts currently available.

How do you open an SEP IRA?

Your first step in opening an account is to find a gold IRA custodian. They will assist with set-up, purchasing your preferred metals, shipping the product to a secure depository, and handling any IRS-required paperwork.

They will also typically help with funding your account, which is often done via a transfer or rollover from another retirement account you have in your name.

SEP gold IRA guidelines

To operate a SEP gold IRA, you’ll need to adhere to a few IRS guidelines regarding these accounts. First, there are the contribution limits.

SEP IRAs have higher limits than both traditional and Roth IRAs, but they’re not unlimited by any means.

You can contribute either 25% of your total annual compensation or $58,000, whichever is lower. (If you’re self-employed, “compensation” refers to your net yearly earnings, minus half your self-employment tax and the contributions you make to your personal SEP IRA.)

Contributions on SEP IRAs are tax-deductible up to 25% of your compensation.

Best SEP gold IRA companies

Many companies offer SEP gold IRA services, and each one has its own offerings and fee structure. If you want to be sure you’re getting the best account (and pricing) for your needs, it’s essential to shop around and compare at least a few options.

Not sure where to start? Check out our best gold IRA companies guide.

Oxford Gold Group: Best overall

  • LendEDU Gold IRA rating: 4.6 out of 5
  • A+ Better Business Bureau rating

Oxford Gold Group is our pick for the best overall SEP gold IRA provider due to its high ratings and reviews. The company currently has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and 4.9 out of 5 stars on Google and Trustpilot.

Oxford offers various services, including account set-up, metal sales, SEP gold IRA rollover/transfer assistance, and more. Investors also get access to an online dashboard, which they can use to monitor their account’s performance over time.

Goldco: Best for customer support

  • LendEDU Gold IRA rating: 4.6 out of 5
  • Excellent customer service

Goldco is another great option if you’re looking for a SEP gold IRA. Again, the company has stellar reviews, including a 4.8 on Trustpilot and a 4.7 on Google.

It’s no wonder, either. Goldco’s customer service is highly accessible, with options for online chat, phone, and email. The company also offers tons of educational resources to help you learn more about your investments.

Patriot Gold Group: Best for limiting fees

  • LendEDU Gold IRA rating: 3.9 out of 5
  • No fees for accounts over $100,000

If you plan to put more than $100,000 in your SEP gold IRA, then look no further than Patriot Gold Group. The company charges no fees on accounts over $100,000 (those under $100K cost $180 per year).

Like the others on this list, Patriot also has strong customer reviews, boasting a 5-star rating on Google and 4.6 stars on Trustpilot.

Orion Metal Exchange: Best for accounts with a small balance

  • LendEDU Gold IRA rating: 4.2 out of 5
  • Comprehensive services

Orion is one of the best-known names in the business, and there’s a reason for that. The company is a one-stop shop for all things precious metals.

They can assist with setting up your account, funding it, buying your gold and silver, and more, and their fees are minimal. On accounts under $200,000, you’ll pay just $150 annually.

Orion also has great reviews, including an A+ with the BBB and 4.9 stars on Trustpilot.

SEP gold IRA vs. other account types

There are technically three types of IRAs you can use to invest in gold, silver, and other precious metals. These include the SEP IRA, the traditional IRA, and the Roth IRA.

Use the below chart to choose the best IRA for you:

 SEP IRARoth IRATraditional IRA
Best forSelf-employed, small business owners and your tax bracket will be lower in retirement   Your tax bracket will be higher in retirementYour tax bracket will be lower in retirement  
Contribution limitsLess of $58,000 or 25% of your annual compensation$6,000 for age 49 and under, $7,000 for 50 and older$6,000 for age 49 and under, $7,000 for 50 and older
BenefitsHigh contribution limits and tax-deductibleNot taxed in retirement, when earnings are lowerTax-deductible
RequirementsMust be self-employed or work for a self-employed person and work for the business at least three of the last five yearsIncome < $125,000 if you’re single and < $198,000 if you’re married and filing jointlyIncome < $66,000 if you’re single and < $105,000 if you’re married and filing jointly

Before deciding on which is the right type of gold IRA, you must first determine if having a gold IRA makes sense in your overall asset allocation.

Jim McCarthy


Is a SEP gold IRA worth it?

A SEP gold IRA can be a smart addition to any retirement plan. With its high contribution limits and tax-deductible status, it’s particularly beneficial to freelancers, contractors, and self-employed professionals looking to lower their taxable income.

Investing in a SEP gold IRA is also a smart hedge against inflation, as gold tends to hold its value (or even increase in value over time).

It’s a great way to diversify your investment portfolio, too. If the stock market turns or there are fluctuations in other sectors of the market, an investment in gold and silver can ensure your wealth is at least partially protected.

Are you thinking about opening a SEP gold IRA account to build on your existing retirement plan? Shopping around for providers is critical. Use our gold IRA guide to get started today.

Expert take

Jim McCarthy


Like any investment, the value of gold can and has declined—sometimes significantly. Losses in a SEP IRA are not tax deductible. There also are additional costs to having a Gold IRA (such as shipping, storage, purchase, and sales fees) that can significantly impact the return on investment.