Items to Research before Purchasing Precious Metals with your Self-Directed IRA

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Self-Directed IRAs allow various investment options, all at the direction of the account holder. Your IRA can invest in real estate, a privately held business, and physical precious metals. Self-direction allows diversification in your retirement portfolio. If you are considering diversifying your IRA portfolio with gold, silver, or other bullion meeting the IRS criteria, there are a few things to consider.

Due diligence is an important factor with self-directed IRAs. It is the responsibility of the account holder to research and understand what the IRA is investing in and the rules associated with that asset. Advertising may highlight certain coins or bullion items, but it is up to IRA account holders to research and determine what they will hold in their self-directed retirement plans.

The IRS has minimum fineness requirements for precious metals held by an IRA. The minimum fineness requirements are:

  • Gold - 99.5% (gold American Eagle coins do not meet this purity minimum, but they are IRA-eligible by virtue of an IRS exception)
  • Silver - 99.9%
  • Platinum or Palladium - 99.95%

Once you have decided what type of bullion you would like to hold in your IRA, the next step is to find a reliable metals dealer. The dealer sets the price your IRA will pay for the metals; part of your due diligence is finding out what the dealer is charging (price over spot, commissions, etc.). When deciding on a dealer, ask questions, look up reviews, ask them about their procedures, and find out if there is a specific depository that they prefer.

Depositories play a large role in the precious metals IRA process. The Internal Revenue Code states that metals owned by an IRA must be physically held by a non-bank trustee or a depository that meets IRS regulations. There are many things to consider when choosing a depository for your IRA-held metals. You may consider a depository that is geographically close to where you reside, or you may want your metals held at a facility outside the United States.

Most depositories offer commingled and/or segregated storage. Segregated storage involves an individual locker or storage unit for your account holdings only. Commingled storage refers to a general vault that holds metals owned by multiple owners. The bullion bars or coins removed from a commingled vault should have the same value as the ones deposited, but they may not be the exact bars or coins initially deposited. Depositories may assess different annual fees for commingled or segregated storage, so feel free to contact New Direction Trust Company for fee information pertaining to the storage facility you may want to use.

Investing in precious metals can be a way of diversifying your financial portfolio if you're inclined to do so. Self-directed IRAs allow you to invest your retirement funds in the asset(s) you choose and create your own financial plan. For more information about owning precious metals with an IRA or self-directed investing in general, please don't hesitate to give us a call at 877-742-1270 or send us an e-mail at