Can You Buy Gold in a Self Directed IRA?

Investment of physical gold within your retirement account is possible, though there may be certain regulatory hurdles you need to navigate first. Most importantly, you’ll need a company that understands and adheres to IRS guidelines when working together on this investment strategy.

Gold IRA companies typically charge fees for account management, storage and insurance as well as marking up precious metal prices.

Buying Physical Gold in a Self-Directed IRA

Many investors opt to invest their retirement funds in physical gold through self-directed individual retirement accounts that allow precious metals or investing in mutual funds or ETFs that specialize in this industry.

Physical gold gives investors tangible control of their investments and can reduce counter-party risk. Furthermore, its long-term returns outpace inflation. Unfortunately, storage and insurance costs are expensive for precious metals investments; furthermore if distributions occur before age 59 1/2 penalties could apply as well.

Investment in precious metals ETFs is more cost effective; investors pay only one-time fees to open accounts and an annual storage and insurance fee to protect their holdings in an insured depository. Some precious metals IRA sellers waive these costs temporarily to attract new investors; but over time the costs start mounting up.


Investing in physical gold as part of an IRA requires more steps than simply moving funds to an account with a dealer and adding bars or coins; you will also need an IRA custodian, dealer and approved depository (the Internal Revenue Code mandates storage with an approved depository).

Additional expenses include account setup fees, annual maintenance fees, seller fee markups and storage/insurance costs. There may also be cash-out fees if the gold sold to third parties is below its spot price.

Traditional or Roth gold IRA contributions can be made tax-deferred until retirement when withdrawing assets from your account – providing additional tax advantages than stocks and paper assets like bonds alone. But precious metals have another advantage: inflation protection.


When investing in gold, selecting a dependable custodian is of utmost importance. Additionally, segregated storage may offer added protection to your precious metal assets.

Custodians not only provide storage services for your precious metals, but can also assist you in finding a trustworthy dealer to purchase from. Before choosing your dealer, be sure to verify their credentials, such as membership in industry trade groups such as American Numismatic Association and Industry Council for Tangible Assets.

Investing in gold coins or bullion should meet IRS standards to avoid becoming collectibles, which would count as distributions and incur an IRS 10% penalty if you’re under age 59.5. Furthermore, any investments already held cannot be added into a gold IRA regardless of if or whether they meet such criteria.


As one might anticipate, gold IRA companies often employ dubious sales techniques to entice prospective investors. One such tactic involves offering excessive “free silver,” something the IRS doesn’t allow. While such offers serve as promotional vehicles, they could lead to severe penalties from regulators.

Traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs all require using a custodian approved by the IRS when investing in precious metals. A good gold IRA company should provide you with a list of authorized dealers and assist with selecting coins and bars which comply with IRS regulations; secure storage should also be offered – segregated vaults may even be an option – although you’ll still want to do your own research by searching out those belonging to trade organizations such as American Numismatic Association for your best results. Over time your gold IRA will become invaluable, helping protect you during economic downturns while increasing wealth in long term!

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