Can You Buy Physical Gold in an IRA?

Can you buy physical gold in an IRA

Many IRA custodians do not permit physical gold investments, but you can purchase metals through a self-directed IRA account that permits investments in precious metals, real estate or alternative assets.

Notably, IRA rules stipulate that precious metals be placed under the custody of an IRA custodian; taking physical possession could breach IRS regulations and result in penalties.

Self-Directed IRAs

Self-directed IRAs – like gold IRAs – enable workers to invest in what the IRS considers “alternative assets”, including physical precious metals such as coins, bars and products meeting certain fineness standards. Furthermore, metals must be stored at an approved depository with associated fees taken into consideration before any investment decisions are made.

Many investors choose gold as an inflation hedge. Unfortunately, its prices can fluctuate significantly and it can be difficult to know when is best time to sell.

Self-directed IRAs allow individuals to purchase gold without incurring the high fees charged by traditional retirement accounts. Custodian companies that specialize in physical precious metals can assist you in selecting approved metals to buy, shipping them safely into storage facilities for safekeeping, as well as offering advice about which investments might work best with your goals and circumstances. Unfortunately, fees typically exceed what traditional retirement accounts charge for services.

Rollover IRAs

Many retirement investors know gold as a hedge against inflation; however, few realize its versatility as an effective diversifier of portfolios. Gold’s popularity has only increased since the financial crisis and geopolitical tensions.

Establishing a rollover IRA involves working with both a precious metals dealer and custodian. When selecting a custodian, make sure they have experience handling IRA accounts registered with the IRS as well as offering secure storage facilities insured against theft and damages.

As opposed to stocks, bonds, or mutual funds, physical precious metals do not generate income and do not incur taxes when you withdraw them from an IRA. However, these investments can incur fees related to account setup and maintenance, storage costs, and insurance; their amount can differ depending on which provider is used.


Gold-backed IRAs follow the same contribution limits as traditional pre-tax, Roth and SEP IRAs; however, unlike mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), gold-backed IRAs cannot hold traditional investments such as stocks or bonds and must use an approved custodian for storage according to Brett Gottlieb of Comprehensive Advisor in Carlsbad, California. Furthermore, precious metals must not be kept physically in an investor’s home or safe deposit box since this would constitute a withdrawal and incur taxes or penalties upon withdrawal by tax authorities or penalties by authorities.

Investors also must pay a one-time fee when opening an IRA, as well as ongoing custodial storage fees, which could potentially eat into profits significantly if they decide to close the account and must sell back metal to dealers at wholesale rates, potentially cutting into profits further.


Gold has long held an allure for investors, and some individuals may see it as an ideal way to diversify their retirement savings or provide a stable investment during challenging economic conditions. But it’s essential that investors understand all associated risks and costs before engaging in this form of investing.

If you decide to invest in physical gold, ensure you choose a company with a stellar track record and transparent information regarding fees and charges. Common fees and charges include annual fees, storage and insurance costs as well as custodian fees.

Another alternative is converting traditional or Roth IRAs to self-directed metals IRAs, enabling you to invest in precious metals such as gold. However, you should keep in mind that the IRS considers this to be a distribution; accordingly you may face income taxes and an early withdrawal penalty before age 59 1/2 is reached. Furthermore, these accounts often provide less liquidity.

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