Many investors feel investment options like precious metals boast of being “safe money” choices, the most conservative, offering long-term growth and enduring value. When looking toward retirement, these holdings preserve wealth, hedging against the threats faced by more risky assets like securities.

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On the other hand, the volume of precious metals assumed in a portfolio is recommended at roughly 10 percent, slightly more for a solid-performing strategy. 

Diversifying is essential since the IRA-eligible metal, including gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, cannot outperform stocks or other paper assets capable of a stream of income.

Gold, for instance, won’t produce dividends or interest but, instead, will peak based on supply and demand. Often when there is market volatility or the economy is at a point of uncertainty, the metal will see increases. Unfortunately, if left as the primary asset, a portfolio would likely stagnate.

As a rule, the securities will produce, and the alternative assets will protect wealth. Before committing to a self-directed individual retirement account holding metal, what factors should you become aware of? Go to for details on self-directed IRAs and what they require, and then consider the following guidelines as stipulated by the Internal Revenue Code.

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What Needs To Be Considered With Precious Metals As Investment Options

A well-established investment strategy involves a diverse portfolio with conservative assets, and those that build wealth albeit have more or a risk. A savvy investor understands, however, monopolizing holdings with one class or a single asset presents the threat of investment devastation if that market were to see a crash.

While it’s unlikely that precious metals will see a loss of that sort, these also won’t produce a stream of income or growth the same way as traditional assets. They’re more of a long-term, steady producer acting to balance investments in a portfolio, “storing value” and hedging against common threats.

These fall under alternative or unconventional investments disallowed in a conventional IRA. Instead, the physical commodities are held in self-directed individual retirement accounts. With those, the IRS or Internal Revenue Service oversees the regulations stipulating the investment options for the accounts.

That doesn’t mean the government body dictates how you must invest or where to put your funds. A sort of “inventory,” if you will, is provided of the IRA-eligible products, with you having the freedom and flexibility to select from these. 

The types of metals allowed include gold, a favored choice, platinum, palladium, and silver.

These choices are further narrowed to bullion, bars, coins, and rounds, designated by purity, fineness, and weight, with coins being specified. Coins cannot be deemed rare or collectible for inclusion in an IRA. Purity guidelines are as follows:

  • Gold: 99.5 percent pure
  • Silver: 99.9 percent pure
  • Platinum: 99.95 percent pure
  • Palladium: 99.95 percent pure

Exceptions to the guidelines are the American Eagle coins and the South African Krugerrand coins at only 91.6 percent purity. These are IRA-eligible per IRS Code. 

When you’re ready to make a purchase and perhaps become confused or are uncertain about which products meet the stipulations, inquire with the precious metal custodial service or the gold firm. You can also check Investor’s Circle, which provides details on numerous aspects of the industry’s news. 

You want to avoid buying ineligible products since this will result in severe tax penalties causing detriment to your retirement wealth.

As the self-directed account owner, you must have a specialized custodial service assigned to your IRA. The entity must be federally qualified, making it government-approved to handle the specialty individual retirement accounts. 

Not all will manage precious metals, however. When electing a custodian, you need to establish which investment the service will be responsible for managing and if it is within its capacity. The custodial service will administer all IRS documentation and ensure compliance with guidelines.

In some cases, the custodian has the authority to sell IRA-eligible products but not always. Usually, you’ll need to work with a third-party precious metals broker. Custodians generally have specific dealer connections with those they work with routinely. 

You will need to take suggestions and further research the options to ensure they meet your needs. Brokers that belong to reputed trade groups have a higher degree of authenticity.

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What Happens When You’ve Chosen Your Investment Options

With the funds you place in the self-directed IRA, you will purchase through your custodian, or the custodial service will buy the products on your behalf through the gold broker. 

Once the transaction is complete, the custodian will hold the products for safe, secure storage in an approved depository.

These facilities are approved storage sites deemed secure by the Internal Revenue Service Code and must be insured. Attempting to take possession and store gold or other metal at home or in any different private setting will result in severe tax penalties.

Often, custodians have particular depositories they tend to be connected with, but that doesn’t mean you have to use those suggested. You have the freedom and flexibility to research and select an IRS-approved depository convenient for your specific needs. The custodial service will ship the products to the storage facility.

While the process sounds relatively straightforward, the logistics require careful forethought and research, considering the intricacies that, in fact, coincide with owning precious metals in a self-directed IRA. Visit here for self-directed IRA guidelines. 

You’ll want to be educated and informed as the account owner and the one ultimately responsible if noncompliance occurs. While the custodial service acts as the administrator, they carry no accountability for errors.

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Final Thought

If you’re planning a retirement strategy with your portfolio, there are a few ways you can go with your investment options depending primarily on how close you are to retiring. As a rule, most financial advisors will suggest diversifying the assets to reduce the likelihood of a significant loss due to having everything in one class.

Instead of having everything correlate with the economy and the market, the idea is to balance those holdings with something that doesn’t, a safe haven. A self-directed IRA allows investment options like precious metals that hedge against threats like inflation. 

These hold steady when markets become volatile, rarely seeing substantial losses but having times when there are increased demands in a troubled economy. 

Should you take the plunge on a self-directed IRA investment option? Many variables will help you decide, including your ultimate objectives. That means establishing an adequate strategy with a financial advisor’s guidance. Until you know how each asset fits together in the grand scheme, you can’t make a solid plan.

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