Can You Hold ETFs in a Traditional IRA?

Can you hold ETFs in a traditional IRA

ETFs are popularly chosen for use in IRAs as they provide broad diversification at lower costs than individual stocks or mutual funds, including index funds as well as those tracking specific industries or countries.

Asset allocation accounts for as much as 90% of investor returns, with most investors reporting satisfaction with traditional asset classes such as stocks and bonds.


ETFs offer diversification for retirement savings at lower costs than traditional mutual funds. Plus, ETFs often provide access to complex investing strategies not available elsewhere – for instance “inverse” ETFs which move opposite a stock market index or benchmark can help reduce risk while simultaneously increasing returns. Be mindful that certain ETF dividends may be taxed according to capital gains rates while unqualified dividends could incur ordinary income taxes.

Similar to selling stocks directly, when selling ETF shares you’ll be subject to taxes when selling shares that make up an ETF portfolio that contains them. Your tax liability for selling such an ETF depends on its basis – its total cost minus any sales commissions paid and any interest distributed as ordinary income by bond ETFs. Furthermore, any ETF backed physically by precious metals such as gold, silver or other collectibles will be taxed at the top 28% rate when sold.


ETFs resemble mutual funds in that they represent professionally managed collections of individual stocks or bonds, but differ significantly in several key ways: ETFs typically require explicit fees to buy and sell shares while implicit costs such as bid/ask spread can also apply.

Passively managed ETFs that track an index or market segment often offer lower expenses than actively managed mutual funds, as well as often having lower minimum initial investments than their active counterparts, making investing easier.

Income-generating ETFs make an ideal addition to an IRA since gains and distributions are tax free. One such income-paying ETF is the Schwab U.S. Dividend Equity ETF (SCHD), which invests in high dividend-paying stocks like Broadcom AVGO and Texas Instruments TXN with an annual program fee based on assets held. Investors should check its expense ratio and sales load before investing.


When it comes to investing, there are a variety of ways that your IRA money can work for you. Individual stocks, bonds and mutual funds are among the more traditional choices; ETFs are becoming increasingly popular as an affordable means of diversifying retirement portfolios while offering income generation potential. Trading intraday like stocks like Schwab’s U.S. Dividend Equity ETF (SCHD) invests in high-dividend-paying companies such as Broadcom AVGO and Texas Instruments TXN are just two such ETFs that make use of ETFs’s basket of securities to track an index; an example being Schwab’s U.S. Dividend Equity ETF invests in high dividend-paying stocks like Broadcom AVGO and Texas Instruments TXN).

Other ETF options that could make an excellent addition to an IRA include index funds that track stock market indexes and growth-oriented funds that invest in companies with fast-growing revenues and profits. When purchasing leveraged ETFs within an IRA, be mindful as trading on margin is prohibited. Once you turn 72 years old, required minimum distributions (RMD) must begin being taken from all your traditional IRA accounts; this process involves calculating their total value before paying taxes on it.


An ETF (exchange-traded fund) is a regulated investment vehicle that holds a diverse array of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, currencies and even commodities like gold bars. More detailed information regarding an ETF’s composition can be found in its full and summary prospectuses; both should be read thoroughly prior to investing.

As opposed to mutual funds, which must be purchased or redeemed at their net asset value (NAV) at the end of every trading day, ETFs may trade throughout the day on national securities exchanges with prices fluctuating quickly and offering real-time pricing – helping reduce risk and prevent large losses.

ETFs offer wide diversification at lower costs than actively managed mutual funds, making them a suitable investment in an IRA, particularly those tracking popular indexes. Be wary, however, of those that buy and sell in response to market fluctuations as these may increase risk; similarly avoid investing in precious metals or rental real estate through ETFs since selling them can be challenging when the funds need accessing.

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