The term gold IRA refers to a specialized individual retirement account (IRA) that allows investors to hold gold as a qualified retirement plan. Investors with gold IRAs can hold physical metals such as gold bars or coins as well as securities related to precious metals in their portfolio. Unfortunately, this is either highly misleading or encourages illegal activities. The IRS clearly states that precious metals purchased by the IRA must be stored in IRS-approved banks and trustees.
After you’ve funded your account, you can let your IRA custodian know which gold bars you’d like to buy (and how much). A gold IRA must be kept separate from a traditional retirement account, although the rules surrounding things like contribution limits and distributions remain the same. As a result, gold IRAs require the use of a custodian bank, usually a bank or brokerage firm, to manage the account. While you can gain exposure to gold in a normal retirement account by owning stocks or funds, you can’t hold the physical asset in an IRA or 401 (k).
There are currently a variety of precious metals that meet the minimum purity requirements allowed for inclusion in an IRA Gold account. Gold IRAs will help diversify an individual’s retirement account and serve as a hedge against specific financial factors. These funds buy up a basket of gold-related investments, such as stocks in various gold mining companies. Numismatic coins pay higher commissions to the gold company, but precious metal bars reflect the spot price of the precious metal more directly.
Although investors can undoubtedly buy physical gold and store it in a home safe, the IRS strictly prohibits this in the case of gold (and other precious metals) purchased by the IRA. The term gold IRA is primarily used to describe a self-directed IRA whose funds are invested in hard metals. One reason is that IRAs are not allowed to own collectibles and precious metals such as gold and silver are considered collectibles. Gold IRA rules require that you store eligible precious metals with a national depositary, bank, or IRS-approved trustee.
As mentioned above, a gold IRA allows investors to stash their money in gold or other precious metals. In a regular IRA, you can’t own physical gold, although you can invest in a wide variety of assets that are invested in gold, such as gold stocks or gold ETFs. The IRS does not allow popular gold coins such as the South African Krugerrand or British sovereign coins to be stored in a gold IRA. Given the many scams and misleading advertising, it’s important to do your research before opening a Gold IRA account.