Can an IRA Hold Physical Gold?

Can an IRA hold physical gold

Gold can be an attractive investment option for investors seeking to diversify their retirement plans, but before making the leap and opening a physical gold IRA account it’s essential that you understand both IRS rules and fees from custodian and precious metal dealer.

Like ETFs, precious metals must be stored with an approved depository – any attempt at self-storage would qualify as distribution and require a 10% penalty payment.


IRAs offer tax benefits; however, contributions and withdrawals may still be subject to income taxes. Speak with one of Thrivent Financial’s advisors today about including an IRA into your overall financial plan.

IRS rules set limits on traditional IRA contributions and you must take minimum required distributions after age 70.5. An online broker or robo-advisor may help save you money by helping select lower cost investments.

Studies indicate that asset allocation accounts for up to 90% of your portfolio’s total returns if using a traditional IRA for stocks and bonds, studies indicate. Your mix depends on your time horizon; generally speaking, stocks have higher long-term returns than alternatives like short-term government securities and T-bills; but stocks also experience occasional dips which is why many investors prefer diversifying across various assets. If you are self-employed, freelancer, or small business owner a SEP or SIMPLE IRA could provide higher contribution limits compared to regular IRAs while employees could use these as well.


An IRA may hold any type of investment approved by the IRS, with certain exceptions. Collectible investments such as artwork, rugs, antiques, metals gems stamps and coins are restricted from investment; additionally real estate and any in-kind distributions violating Treasury regulations (for instance a gold bullion that doesn’t meet U.S. Department of the Treasury definition would constitute prohibited transactions) are off limits to these retirement savings plans.

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Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) must hold precious metals in custody, which differs from how individual stocks or mutual funds are kept safe. Therefore, you’ll require a custodian who specializes specifically in self-directed IRAs and who has an established track record of providing transparent fees disclosure.

Your custodian should work with an accredited precious-metals dealer to purchase coins or bullion for your IRA, Moy advises investors. He suggests investing in firms with years of experience as well as thorough investigations of licensing, registration and insurance issues.

Investors who keep gold stored in an IRA with an IRS-approved depository should factor storage costs, management fees and shipping expenses into their calculations when considering investment choices. Storing metal at home can incur distribution penalties and income tax on its investment value.


Physical gold must be stored in an IRS-approved depository to remain compliant with IRS regulations. Standard custodians like Fidelity, Schwab or TD Ameritrade do not offer storage services for physical precious metals in their accounts, so if you want to own coins or bullion in an IRA you will require one with special self-directed capabilities and an account custodian who specializes in such accounts.

Reputable gold-based IRA brokers or custodians should be able to meet your needs, such as storing and moving gold when it’s ready for sale. Some IRA providers may charge account setup and sales commission fees as well as possible closing-out fees.

Investors who keep IRA-purchased gold at home, such as in a safe or under their mattress, could face distribution penalties due to breaking IRS rules. To prevent this, investors should work closely with their custodian and instruct them on buying specific bullion metals that can be stored securely at an approved depository location.

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