How to Start a Precious Metals IRA

Navigating the creation of a precious metals IRA may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Our guide strips down the complexity to deliver concise, step-by-step instructions on how to start a precious metals IRA, including choosing a custodian and buying the right metals while complying with IRS regulations. Gain the knowledge to establish and manage your precious metals IRA with this clear and direct article.

Key Takeaways

Understanding Precious Metals IRAs

Diversified precious metals portfolio in a retirement account

Known alternatively as a gold IRA, a precious metals IRA serves as a conduit for incorporating physical precious metals into your retirement portfolio. Conventional wisdom suggests that having a diversified portfolio can offer a safety net against potential market downturns, and precious metals have historically proven to be resilient during economic turbulence. Some benefits of a precious metals IRA include:

Consider adding a precious metals IRA to your retirement strategy to help safeguard your wealth by choosing a reliable precious metals IRA provider.

What is a Precious Metals IRA?

A precious metals IRA, including gold IRAs, operates as a self-directed individual retirement account, enabling the possession of physical precious metals like:

These metals must meet specific IRS purity requirements to be eligible for IRA investments.

The investment options for a Precious Metals IRA include holding physical bullion or coins, as well as precious metals-related securities, with contribution limits standing at $6,500 for 2023, or $7,000 for individuals aged 50 or older.

Both traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs, including precious metal IRAs, provide tax advantages, subject to specific IRS regulations. By investing in these IRA funds, you can diversify your portfolio with precious metal IRAs.

Benefits of Precious Metals IRAs

The integration of a Precious Metals IRA into your investment portfolio offers a buffer against inflation and facilitates diversification from traditional assets like stocks and bonds.

Precious metals, being tangible assets, offer a level of security within your IRA portfolio due to their physical nature, which makes them less susceptible to devaluation compared to paper assets and allows them to maintain their value over time.

Traditional vs. Roth vs. Precious Metals IRAs

While a traditional IRA enables investors to deposit pre-tax funds, a Roth IRA distinguishes itself through the upfront taxation of contributions and the subsequent tax-free nature of withdrawals. On the other hand, a Precious Metals IRA can be set up using pretax funds similar to a Traditional IRA, or with post-tax funds like a Roth IRA, providing the specific tax benefits associated with each category.

The inclusion of precious metals, such as physical gold and precious metal bullion, can act as a safeguard against inflation and fluctuations in the market. To store precious metals effectively, consider investing in a secure storage solution.

Choosing the Right IRA Custodian and Precious Metals Dealer

Reputable IRA custodian and precious metals dealer selection

Selecting the appropriate IRA custodian and precious metals dealer forms an integral step in setting up a successful Precious Metals IRA. The responsibilities of the IRA custodian include:

In the process of choosing a precious metals dealer, important considerations include the dealer’s background, credentials, availability of a depository for storage, and transparency in their fee and pricing structures.

Selecting a Reputable IRA Custodian

Selecting an appropriate IRA custodian is critical for safeguarding and optimizing the performance of your precious metals investments. It’s crucial to conduct thorough research and identify the most suitable type of IRA for your needs, then seek out reviews and background information on different custodians to ascertain their standing in the industry. Keep an eye out for formally filed complaints or issues that could impact the management of your IRA assets.

Finding a Trustworthy Precious Metals Dealer

In choosing a precious metals dealer to purchase precious metals, evaluate their background, credentials, affiliations with respected industry trade groups, availability of a storage depository, and the transparency of their pricing and fees. Beware of red flags such as misleading advertising, unregistered dealers, unsolicited offers, and indications of an untrustworthy buyer.

Steps to Start Your Precious Metals IRA

Initiating a precious metals IRA requires a series of steps, starting with establishing the account, funding it, and finally purchasing IRA-eligible precious metals.

Establishing Your Precious Metals IRA Account

Initiate your precious metals IRA by following these steps:

  1. Choose a trustworthy self-directed IRA custodian who can assist you in opening an account.

  2. Provide valid identification, proof of address, and information about your current retirement account.

  3. While the process can take a few weeks, the actual account establishment can be completed in under 10 minutes.

  4. Most custodians will require a minimum investment to establish a Precious Metals IRA.

Funding Your Precious Metals IRA

Once your account is established, you can fund your IRA through a direct transfer from another IRA account or by rolling over funds from an old 401k. Just be sure to re-deposit the funds into your new self-directed IRA account within 60 days.

Be mindful of the funding limits, which stand at $6,500 for 2023, or $7,000 for individuals aged 50 or older.

Purchasing IRA-Eligible Precious Metals

Purchasing IRA-eligible precious metals

With your account funded, you’re ready to acquire precious metals. You can purchase American Eagle Bullion Coins and other precious metals that are eligible for IRAs. This transaction is carried out by the IRA trustee/custodian who will make the payment to the selected dealer. The dealer then dispatches the precious metals to the storage depository.

Storing Your Precious Metals

Secure storage of precious metals in an approved depository

After acquiring your precious metals, they must be housed in an IRS-approved depository. This ensures your precious metals are held securely, while remaining in compliance with IRS regulations.

IRS-Approved Depositories

IRS-approved depositories are secure facilities where individuals can store IRA-eligible precious metals such as:

These depositories must adhere to a host of requirements, including high-level security measures and insurance coverage for all stored metals.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Storage Facility

When choosing a storage facility, consider factors such as security, accessibility, and fees. You should also ensure that the facility offers insurance coverage for your metals and complies with IRS regulations.

Managing and Growing Your Precious Metals IRA

Cultivating and expanding your precious metals IRA necessitates:

Diversification Strategies

Strategies for diversifying a precious metals IRA

A well-diversified portfolio can mitigate overall risk. It is recommended to allocate 10-20% of your IRA to physical precious metals, with a portion of that percentage allocated to gold. This approach helps cushion your portfolio against potential losses and provides a hedge against market volatility.

Monitoring Your Investment Performance

Consistent tracking of your IRA’s performance is vital for optimizing returns. You can track your IRA’s performance by observing asset prices online, utilizing mobile apps, or using specialized tools for detailed analysis. You should also consistently review your account statements and seek the guidance of a financial advisor.

Adjusting Your Portfolio Over Time

Consistent evaluation and adjustment of your Precious Metals IRA portfolio is essential to attune your investment objectives with market dynamics. A balanced investment approach recommends allocating no more than 5% to 10% of your portfolio to precious metals.

Withdrawing from Your Precious Metals IRA

When the time comes to withdraw from your precious metals IRA, you have the option of either taking physical possession of the metals or selling them. However, be aware of the tax implications and penalties associated with early withdrawals.

Withdrawal Options

Upon reaching the age of 59 ½, you can take physical possession of your precious metals, or sell them for cash. However, remember that you cannot store them at home while they are part of the IRA. If you choose to sell, you’ll need to complete and submit a form to the custodian to commence the sale.

Taxation Rules and Penalties

It’s important to be aware of the tax implications and penalties associated with IRA withdrawals. Any distributions taken before the age of 59.5 will be subjected to a 10% penalty, along with potential capital gains taxes on the earnings.

After the age of 59.5, distributions are considered taxable income.

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

Upon reaching the age of 72, or 73 if you attain the age of 72 after December 31, 2022, you are obligated to commence taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from your IRA. These distributions are calculated by dividing your IRA account balance as of December 31 of the prior year by the applicable distribution period or life expectancy. Failure to take the RMDs may result in a penalty of up to 25% of the amount not taken, in addition to ordinary income tax.

Protecting Yourself from Scams and Unethical Practices

Investments in precious metals IRAs entail significant financial commitment and warrant a diligent approach. Unfortunately, scams and unethical practices are not uncommon in the industry. To protect yourself, it’s crucial to remain vigilant and informed about potential red flags.

Common Scams and Red Flags

Potential scams to watch out for include ‘bait and switch,’ and ‘leaseback’ schemes. Be wary of companies offering ‘free’ storage or delayed delivery, promises of exceptionally high returns, or pressure to invest quickly.

Tips for Protecting Yourself

Self-protection requires a cautious approach, thorough due diligence, and verification of the company’s reputable industry standing.

It’s also important to ensure that all communication is encrypted and your personal financial information is securely stored to prevent identity theft.

Alternatives to Precious Metals IRAs

While precious metals IRAs present a unique investment opportunity, they are not the sole option available. If you’re looking for alternatives, consider investing in securities such as exchange-traded funds or mutual funds that track precious metal indexes or prices.

Precious Metals ETFs

Precious metals ETFs are investment funds traded on exchanges that allocate their assets to physical precious metals or derivatives contracts associated with the metal’s value. Investing in these ETFs may be more convenient and cost-effective compared to a precious metals IRA.

Precious Metals Mutual Funds

Precious metals mutual funds are investment vehicles that specifically target companies operating within the precious metals sector. These funds provide access to other precious metals such as platinum and silver, offering a broad exposure to the precious metals market.


Precious metals IRAs offer a unique opportunity to diversify your retirement portfolio by investing in physical gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. While they require due diligence and strategic management, they can serve as a hedge against inflation and market volatility. Whether you’re just starting or looking to grow your investment, this guide provides a comprehensive overview to help you navigate the precious metals IRA landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I set up a precious metals IRA?

To set up a precious metals IRA, follow these steps: establish your financial goals, choose between transfer or rollover, select a custodian, secure your precious metals, and enjoy peace of mind. Then, select a self-directed IRA custodian, choose a precious metals dealer, decide what products to buy, choose a depository, and complete the transaction to open your precious metal IRA.

Is a precious metal IRA a good idea?

A precious metal IRA can be a good idea for diversifying your investment portfolio and protecting your savings from inflation. However, it may not be the best choice for high short-term returns or if you are seeking less expensive investment options with less risk.

How much money do you need to start a gold IRA?

To start a gold IRA, you’ll need a minimum investment, which ranges from $2,000 to $20,000, depending on the company. Additionally, there are annual fees to consider, typically ranging from $80 to $400.

What are the IRS rules for precious metals IRA?

The IRS requires precious metals in an IRA to meet specific purity standards: gold must be 99.5% pure, silver 99.9% pure, platinum and palladium 99.95% pure, to ensure high-quality investments.

What is a Precious Metals IRA?

A Precious Metals IRA is a self-directed retirement account that lets you hold physical precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. It’s a unique option for diversifying your retirement portfolio.