All That Glitters Could be Gold: Investing in Precious Metals in a Self-Directed IRA
Gold, silver and platinum figure big in holiday gift giving. But did you know that not all precious metals are destined to become jewelry? For many investors with self-directed IRAs, precious metals are part of their retirement portfolios.
You may have heard the terms “gold IRA” or “silver IRA.” They refer to the self-directed retirement plans that include these precious metals. In these cases, physical gold, silver or other approved precious metals are held in custody for the benefit of the IRA account owner. Instead of paper assets, there are physical coins or bullion bars, referred to as hard assets.
These alternative assets are easy to own and to manage for savvy investors who already know and understand the precious metals markets. And, precious metals have historically been an excellent way to diversify investment holdings and preserve capital. Gold and silver provide a hedge against inflation and precious metals’ value usually move independently of the stock market, which can make a precious metals IRA a good hedge against market volatility.
Precious metal assets allowed in self-directed IRAs
There are three categories of precious metal assets investors can include in their self-directed retirement plans:
- Investment-grade gold and silver bars and rounds, including Credit Suisse-Pamp Suisse bars. Gold must be .995 percent minimum fineness and silver .999 minimum fineness.
- Gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion – these assets must meet applicable purity or fineness standards. For platinum and palladium this is .9995 percent minimum fineness.
- Investment-grade gold and silver coins as well as some platinum coins. These include gold and silver American Eagles (including proof sets) and Buffalo Bullion coins, as well as foreign coins: gold or silver Austrian Philharmonics and gold, silver or platinum Canadian Maple Leafs, gold Australian Kangaroos, silver Australian Kookaburras and Mexican Libertad coins, and platinum Australian Koalas. Note that certain IRS restrictions apply, so be sure to thoroughly research the investment beforehand.
As with other nontraditional investments that are prohibited from self-directed IRAs, rare and collectible coins are NOT acceptable precious metals for this investment purpose.
Setting up a precious metals IRA
- Open a new precious metals IRA with a custodian, a neutral third party that will act as an administrator on behalf of your account and provide account administration services.
- Fund the account in one of three ways:
- A transfer from an existing like account to your new self-directed IRA (NOTE: your current custodian may request a medallion stamp guarantee to process the transfer form);
- A rollover from your current custodian or a former employer 401(k) into your new self-directed IRA;
- Make a contribution by check.
- Choose a precious metals dealer. This is part of the research that a self-directed investor performs as part of his/her due diligence about investing in this alternative asset.
- Select a depository. You will not hold the coins, bullion or bars on your premises. These assets are stored in an off-site depository that specializes in holding precious metals. You can choose segregated or non-segregated storage. Ask about the depository’s security measures, inventory audits, and reporting.
- Decide what precious metal products to buy.
- Send purchase instructions to the custodian, who will execute the transaction.
Liquidating your assets
You can liquidate precious metals assets any time you wish and your IRA custodian can advise you on the process. Proceeds from the sale of the assets go back into your self-directed IRA as they do with any self-directed asset, so they remain tax-advantaged. You also have the option of taking required minimum distributions in the form of bullion.
Do you have questions about opening a new self-directed IRA or how to execute a transaction concerning a precious metals investment? You may schedule a complimentary educational session or contact our team about self-directed IRAs and the many types of nontraditional investments these plans allow. We’re available via phone at 1-888-857-8058 or by email at NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com.
Including Precious Metals in a Self-Directed IRA for a Golden Nest Egg
Are you looking for a way to lay a golden nest egg? If you’re a self-directed investor seeking another alternative asset to diversify your retirement portfolio, you might consider precious metals. Precious metals have historically been an excellent way to diversify investment holdings and preserve capital.
Some reasons to consider including precious metals in a self-directed IRA (also known as a precious metals IRA) are that gold and silver can be good hedges against inflation (when paper currency is devalued) and precious metals are a good hedge against stock/bond/treasury bill volatility, since their values typically move independently of the stock market.
What some people don’t know is that not all types of metals can be held in a self-directed IRA. In order for precious metals to be eligible, they must meet certain requirements as outlined in IRC 408(m)(3). The metals can be owned in bullion form (e.g. bars) that meet a minimum fineness, or they can be in certain approved coin form—one, one half, one quarter, one tenth ounce U.S. gold coins, and/or one ounce silver coins minted by the Treasury Department.
These coins, bars and bullion are hard assets (as opposed to investments on paper) and they are held in an off-site depository that specializes in holding precious metals. To learn more about the types of precious metals allowed in an IRA, download our free guide here. Please keep in mind that the metals cannot be stored with the account holder.
Getting started with a precious metals IRA
If you are just getting started, you must first open a new self-directed IRA with a custodian and then fund the account in one of three ways:
- Transfer funds from an existing IRA
- Roll over funds from an employer sponsored plan (401k, pension plan, etc.)
- Annual contribution
For clients opening a new precious metals IRA at Next Generation, our helpful guide will walk you through all the steps on how to purchase precious metals with your IRA. As outlined in the guide, once your self-directed retirement plan is open, there are a few actions to take:
- Decide which metals to buy – as noted above, your IRA can invest in certain coins, bullion, and bars. Research all your options in order to comply with IRS regulations.
- Select a dealer – we suggest you carefully research precious metals dealers to ensure you are getting the product and quality you expect.
- Choose the depository – this third-party storage facility must be IRS-approved. Depositories are equipped to safeguard your valuable investments under proper conditions, with a high level of security, inventory audits, and reporting. You may choose segregated (private) or non-segregated (communal) storage. As with all aspects of self-directed investments, the account holder is responsible for researching and selecting the depository, and providing instructions to the plan administrator. At Next Generation, we have a relationship with Delaware Depository, should our clients wish to use that entity.
- Direct your custodian to make the purchase – upon completion of your initial paperwork and asset review, the IRA custodian will execute the transaction (including payment from your account) and the dealer will ship the metals to the chosen depository.
You may liquidate your precious metals holdings at any time; and with a precious metals IRA, the account holder has the option of taking required minimum distributions in the form of bullion.
If you have questions about opening a self-directed IRA and including precious metals as one of the many nontraditional investments these plans allow, email us at NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com, call (888) 857-8058, or visit https://www.NextGenerationTrust.com.