How to Invest Your IRA in Gold and Precious Metals

A lot of people are surprised when they learn that IRA rules allow them to hold real gold bullion, gold coins and other similar forms of precious metals within their retirement accounts. But IRA rules give investors a lot of leeway as to what they can hold in their accounts. IRAs are not restricted to stocks, mutual funds, bonds, certificates of deposit, annuities and other conventional financial products.

With a self-directed IRA account, you can hold precious metals including gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals. Here are some basic requirements:
 
Allowable Investments
 
There are four precious metals in which your IRA can invest: gold, silver, platinum and palladium. There are, however, some restrictions when investing in these metals. 
 
Minimum Fineness Required:
Gold .995+
Silver .999+
Platinum .9995+
Palladium .9995+
 
Allowable coins include U.S.-Minted Eagles and coins meeting minimum fineness (purity) standards, provided that they are not collectible. The primary value of the coin should come from the gold itself, and not thanks to the scarcity of and demand for the minted coin among coin collectors.
 
Examples of coins you can own:
 
Gold
American Eagle coins (proof and non-proof)
American Gold Buffalo coins (non-proof)
Austrian Gold Philharmonics coins
Canadian Maple Leaf coins
Australian Kangaroo/Nugget coins
Bars and rounds by a refiner/assayer/manufacturer accredited by NYMEX/COMEX, NYSE/Liffe, LME, LBMA, ISO 9000, or national government mint and meeting minimum fineness requirements.

Silver
American Eagle Coins (proof and non-proof)
Austrian Philharmonic
Mexican Libtertads
Australian Kookaburras
Canadian Silver Maple Leaf Coins

Platinum
American Eagle Coins (proof and non-proof)
Australian Koalas
Isle of Man Noble Coins

Palladium
Bars and rounds by a refiner/assayer/manufacturer accredited by NYMEX/COMEX, NYSE/Liffe, LME, LBMA, ISO 9000, or national government mint and meeting minimum fineness requirements.
Disallowed Coins:
There are, however, some coins you cannot own within your IRA, because they are not minted with sufficient purity. Some common examples:

Austrian Corona and Ducat
Belgian Franc
British Sovereign & Britannia
German Mark
Columbian Peso
Dutch Guilder
French Franc
Swiss Franc
Italian Lira
Mexican Peso and Ounza
South African Krugerrand
 

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