Can I Hold Precious Metals in My IRA?

An Individual Retirement Account, or IRA, may provide an effective means to diversify your retirement portfolio; however, not everyone finds them suitable. Speak to a financial advisor about developing a personalized strategy.

The Internal Revenue Service has specific rules regarding which coins and bullion may be included in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). You may only purchase them through accredited self-directed IRA custodians, and must ensure they remain under their protection at all times.

What is an IRA?

An Individual Retirement Account, more commonly known by its acronym IRA, is an individual retirement account designed to meet retirement savings goals. There are various kinds of IRAs – traditional, ROTH, SEP, SIMPLE or rollover. While an IRA can contain various assets – from precious metals to stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), most IRAs instead hold paper assets like stocks.

To add precious metals to an IRA, it’s necessary to find an approved custodian who can meet the specific storage and reporting requirements for these assets. Usually they are kept separate from assets owned by other account holders (known as segregated storage) but your custodian may offer other storage methods including allocating them with other IRA assets owned by others (known as commingled storage).

Gold coins and bullion are popular investments within Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). But there are other means of diversifying into gold, such as investing in mining company stocks or ETFs that offer exposure.

Taxes on IRAs

One reason many investors choose a precious metals IRA is to diversify their retirement portfolio with tangible assets that are less volatile than stocks and other paper investments. Establishing one is easy – funds can either be transferred directly from one account into the other or rolled over from an old account into the new one, then an IRA custodian who specializes in alternative assets will purchase physical gold bullion and coins on behalf of the investor before being stored safely at an IRS-approved depository.

As with other IRAs, withdrawals from a gold IRA are subject to tax. Unlike stocks and mutual funds however, physical gold does not generate income through dividends or interest payments; additionally, having it held by someone else — such as a custodian or bank — means it does not come with counterparty risk associated with other investments. You can still withdraw before retirement age is reached in order to avoid steep tax penalties; just be sure that you follow all rules closely!

Fees for IRAs

Most precious metals IRA providers do not disclose their fees openly on their websites, so before investing it’s advisable to ask about all fees, including account setup/maintenance/storage and insurance costs, in addition to potential markup charges that could also apply.

Gold coins and bullion bars that qualify for an IRA account should only be held within them. They must meet certain fineness levels (usually 99.5%) as well as being produced from either a national government mint or accredited refiner/assayer/manufacturer; exceptions exist for American Eagle bullion and proof coins but South African Krugerrands with fineness levels above 995% do not qualify; also, life insurance and S-corp stocks do not qualify under IRS regulations; gold IRAs offer diversification benefits while not providing passive income through dividends but price appreciation rather; gold IRAs provide great diversification without providing passive income via dividends but do not pay dividends, instead relying on price appreciation to grow your retirement portfolio rather than paying dividends instead.


Many individuals look toward precious metals investing as a means of diversifying their retirement portfolio. Although physical gold and silver don’t produce income that can be tax-deferred like stocks, mutual funds, or ETFs would, this shouldn’t dissuade anyone from turning this avenue of investing into one they consider worthwhile.

To add precious metals to an IRA, it is necessary to either complete a rollover from another retirement account or transfer funds directly into it. Your IRA custodian then purchases physical gold bullion or coins from an approved dealer before storing them at an IRS-approved depository.

Some experts recommend setting up a self-directed IRA and then creating an LLC to buy metals, which may save on fees charged by their IRA custodian. Unfortunately, however, the IRS considers such transactions and investments illegal so it’s wise to consult an independent financial advisor prior to trying this approach on your own.

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