Should You Hold ETFs in an IRA?

Should you hold ETFs in an IRA

ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds), similar to mutual funds, are baskets of securities which trade intraday on national stock exchanges like stocks. Their primary goal is typically tracking an underlying index.

IRAs offer tax-deferred growth on investments, with certain fund types making this type of retirement account an ideal fit. However, fees, diversification, and time horizon should all be taken into consideration when selecting investments for an IRA.


An IRA provides tax-deferred growth, so prudent investors must keep this fact in mind when making investment decisions – this is particularly relevant when holding ETFs within their IRAs.

Consider taxes when selecting funds that fit well with your goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon for retirement. ETFs that work well include broad market index ETFs which track major stock markets as well as growth-oriented ETFs which focus on academically supported factors to maximize investment returns.

One good option for ETF investing is finding ETFs that generate income that may be partially or fully exempt from taxes, such as dividends and municipal bond interest. An ideal candidate is Schwab U.S. Dividend ETF (SCHD), an investment option comprising of dividend-paying stocks with an S&P 500-beating yield – more than twice what would otherwise be achievable from dividend investments alone.


Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) provide investors with a tax-advantaged way of saving pre-tax dollars and investing in various assets. Investors can open IRAs with banks, insurance companies, investment firms or mutual funds.

Investment choices within an IRA depend on several factors, including risk tolerance, retirement years and your goals. Your asset allocation plays a crucial role in how much you earn. From all-in-one solutions like professionally managed funds or low cost ETF portfolios to self-directed investing through ETFs alone – your asset allocation plays a critical role.

ETFs, which operate like stocks and track market segments, are an attractive option for adding index or sector exposure to an IRA portfolio. Furthermore, these exchange-traded funds are tax efficient; that is, they don’t make frequent capital gains distributions that would incur an unexpected tax bill. Furthermore, some offer extra income through dividends that could supplement retirement portfolios – for instance Schwab U.S. Dividend ETF (SCHD).

Ease of Trading

Individual Retirement Accounts, or IRAs, allow you to invest pre-tax dollars for your future. While mutual funds used to be the preferred way of providing index or market segment exposure, exchange traded funds (ETFs) have quickly replaced them due to lower costs and their ability to trade like stocks throughout the day.

Investors with Roth IRAs should consider holding ETFs that provide income while remaining tax efficient in their retirement account. Income-generating investments like dividend-paying ETFs make an ideal fit since their yield remains tax deferred – such as Schwab U.S. Dividend ETF (SCHD), which offers access to an index portfolio of disciplined dividend stocks.

Note, however, that stock market crashes could significantly lower your IRA account value. To minimize their effect, investors should diversify by investing across asset classes with stop-loss orders in place to limit losses.


IRAs allow you to invest pre-tax dollars in various assets, from ETFs and mutual funds, to ETNs.

ETFs have quickly become the go-to way for many investors seeking index or market segment exposure in their portfolios, trading like stocks throughout the day and more cost effectively than mutual funds.

ETFs are generally passive investments that track the performance of an index by holding many similar securities in equal portions. ETFs tend to make minimal capital gains distributions that result in tax liabilities for their investors.

Before selecting an ETF for your IRA, determine your investment goals and consider your risk tolerance and expected timeframe of retirement needs. After that, find an ETF that fulfills these criteria; ideally it should contain both growth and income funds so your portfolio will generate both income as well as tax-deferred growth as you near retirement.

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