Can You Buy Physical Gold in a Self-Directed IRA?

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Investors purchasing precious metals with their IRA must adhere to stringent IRS guidelines when doing so, such as not storing it at home – that would qualify as a distribution and incur penalties.

How to Buy Gold in Your IRA

An precious metals or gold-backed IRA allows you to diversify your retirement portfolio with physical assets – an option not available with traditional or Roth IRAs.

Step one is finding an alternative asset-focused custodian who can assist in setting up or transferring funds between existing IRAs. Once found, they will assist with creating or moving existing accounts into your self-directed IRA account.

Select a precious metals dealer who is compatible with your IRA custodian and choose one who will purchase assets on your behalf and deliver it directly to an insured depository that’s approved by IRA administrators.

Not storing and insuring precious metals can be expensive. A more cost-efficient option may be to invest in an exchange-traded fund (ETF). That way, storage and insurance costs won’t have to be covered separately from fees associated with your IRA custodian, plus sales charges or markup when buying or selling investments.

Finding a Custodian

Self-directed IRAs allow investors to use their retirement funds for direct investing in precious metals. A custodian and authorized dealer are needed for such accounts in order to buy, sell and store any physical gold you invest in it.

When searching for a custodian, pay special attention to their fees. According to Moy, the ideal custodians will be transparent about the costs involved and should offer their investors options when selecting metal dealers. It is also essential that investors discover whether the custodian will select dealers themselves or leave that responsibility solely with them as investors.

Moy points out that IRA custodians may have established relationships with certain dealers and be willing to share a list. You should use this list and conduct independent research into each dealer on it – paying close attention to how much storage and insurance costs each dealer charges as this will provide an idea of their quality and reputation.


As opposed to stocks and mutual funds, precious metals don’t accrue any taxes when held within your retirement account – only upon withdrawal will they be taxed.

To purchase physical gold with your IRA, first locate a custodian that supports self-directed IRAs and then a dealer specializing in the type of bullion you would like to invest in. Your custodian will send funds directly to the dealer who will purchase and ship back your investment back into depository.

Your gold IRA can also be funded with cash investments by sending checks or wire transfers directly to its custodian. Another method for funding it would be converting traditional or Roth IRA funds into self-directed gold IRAs; you simply contact your current account administrator and ask them to transfer your funds over. When your funds arrive in your IRA account, IRS-approved gold coins and bullion can then be purchased using it.

Cash-Out Options

Some gold IRA providers make claims that investors don’t pay any fees, however this isn’t entirely accurate; investors do need to pay an initial setup fee as well as annual custodian and storage fees that apply.

Investors in precious metal IRAs must adhere to two IRS guidelines. First, any physical gold or silver kept at home or safe deposit boxes would constitute a distribution, potentially incurring penalties if under age 59 and a half.

Therefore, investing your gold IRA funds in paper assets or exchange-traded funds would be wisest as these are easier to move and will avoid early distribution penalties. If you wish to store gold within the account itself, ensure it’s stored at an approved depository – some IRA administration companies already have relationships with such facilities so you won’t need to search around yourself for suitable spots!

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