What Is a Precious Metals IRA | 401K Precious Metals

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If you’re considering adding precious metals to your investment portfolio, you may be wondering about the benefits and drawbacks of investing in precious metals through an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). In this article, we’ll explore the concept of Precious Metals IRA, including its history, potential advantages, and risks to consider.

What Is A Precious Metals IRA?

A Precious Metals IRA is a type of self-directed IRA that allows you to invest in physical precious metals, such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, as part of your retirement savings. Precious metals are considered alternative assets, meaning they are not stocks, bonds, or cash. Instead, they are valuable commodities that have been used as currency and store of value for centuries.

The purpose of a Precious Metals IRA is to provide investors with an additional option for diversifying their retirement savings and potentially protecting against inflation and economic uncertainty.

By holding a portion of your retirement funds in precious metals, you may be able to mitigate some of the risks associated with traditional investment options, such as stocks and bonds, which can be more volatile.

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Types of Precious Metals

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has strict guidelines on the types of precious metals that can be held in a Precious Metals IRA. Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium are all allowed, but they must meet certain purity and fineness requirements.

Gold and silver bars


Gold is the most popular precious metal for Precious Metals IRA. It is typically measured in troy ounces and must have a purity of at least 99.5% to be eligible for a Precious Metals IRA.


Silver is also a popular choice for Precious Metals IRA and must be at least 99.9% pure to be eligible.


Platinum is a rare and valuable metal that is often used in jewelry and industrial applications. It must be at least 99.95% pure to be eligible.


Palladium is another rare and valuable metal that is often used in the automotive and electronics industries. It must be at least 99.95% pure to be eligible for a Precious Metals IRA.

Augusta Precious Metals

History of Precious Metals IRA

Precious Metals have a long history of acting as currency and storing value dating back hundreds of years. Since 1998, IRA holders have been able to use funds from their IRA accounts to purchase approved precious metals, thanks to the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. This act expanded the investment options for IRAs to include physical assets, in addition to traditional paper assets.

Ancient Silver Coins

In more recent years, Precious Metals IRAs have gained popularity as a way for investors to diversify their retirement savings and potentially protect against economic uncertainty. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, for example, many investors turned to precious metals as a way to safeguard their wealth.

Why Invest in Precious Metals IRA?

Investors choose to invest in precious metals through an IRA for a variety of reasons. Some people see precious metals as a hedge against inflation, as they tend to hold their value over time. Others view them as a way to diversify their portfolio and potentially mitigate the risks associated with stocks and bonds.

Precious metals can be an attractive option for investors who are concerned about economic uncertainty or who are looking for ways to protect their retirement savings. However, it’s important to keep in mind that precious metals are not risk-free and can be subject to price fluctuations.


Advantages of Precious Metals IRA

There are several potential advantages to investing in precious metals through an IRA, including:

1) Diversification

Precious metals can provide a level of diversification to your investment portfolio that may not be possible with traditional assets such as stocks and bonds. By including precious metals in your IRA, you can potentially reduce the overall risk of your portfolio and increase its resilience to market fluctuations.

Gold IRA

2) Tangible Assets

Gold and other precious metals are tangible assets, which means they are physical objects that you can see, touch, and hold. This can make it a more comforting and secure investment compared to stocks and bonds, which are intangible and can be more susceptible to market fluctuations.

3) Inflation Protection

Inflation protection. Precious metals have a reputation for holding their value over time, which can make them a good option for investors who are concerned about inflation. While precious metal prices can fluctuate in the short term, they tend to maintain their purchasing power over the long run.

Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that there are no guarantees when it comes to investing, and precious metals are not risk-free. It’s always a good idea to do your own research and seek professional advice before making any investment decisions.

Also see “Gold IRA pros and Cons

Birch Gold Group

Risks and Considerations

While Precious Metals IRA can offer some potential benefits, it’s important to keep in mind that there are also risks and considerations to be aware of. Some potential drawbacks of Precious Metals IRA include:

1) Volatility

Precious metal prices can be volatile and may fluctuate significantly over short periods of time. This means that the value of your Precious Metals IRA could rise or fall rapidly, which could impact your retirement savings.

Stock market crash

2) Storage and Insurance Costs

Precious metals must be stored in a third-party depository and insured to protect against theft or loss. This can add to the overall cost of investing in a Precious Metals IRA.

3) Liquidity

Precious metals can be less liquid than traditional investment assets. This means that it may take longer to sell your precious metals or to access the cash value of your investments.

It’s important to carefully consider these risks and drawbacks before deciding whether a Precious Metals IRA is right for you.

How to Setup a Precious Metals IRA

If you’re interested in setting up a Precious Metals IRA, here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

1) Choose a Custodian

The first step in setting up a Precious Metals IRA is to choose a custodian who is authorized to hold precious metals in an IRA. Your custodian will be responsible for handling the paperwork and ensuring that your investments meet IRS guidelines.

American Hartford Gold

2) Select your Precious Metals

Once you’ve chosen a custodian, you’ll need to select the precious metals you want to include in your IRA. Keep in mind that only certain types of precious metals are eligible for Precious Metals IRA, and they must meet certain purity and fineness requirements.

3) Transfer or Rollover Funds

To fund your Precious Metals IRA, you’ll need to either transfer funds from an existing IRA or 401(k) or rollover funds from a previous employer’s retirement plan. Your custodian can help you with this process.

4) Setup Storage and Insurance

Once you’ve funded your Precious Metals IRA, your custodian will arrange for the physical precious metals to be stored in a third-party depository. The metals will also be insured to protect against theft or loss.

It’s worth noting that there may be fees associated with setting up a Precious Metals IRA, including custodian fees, storage fees, and transaction fees. Be sure to ask your custodian about any fees that may apply so you can factor them into your investment strategy.

Get Your FREE Gold IRA Guide Here!


A gold IRA is a great way to diversify your investments and protect your savings from inflation. If you are looking for a safe investment with stable returns, then a gold IRA might be right for you. Be sure to do your research before investing so that you can make the most informed decision possible about whether or not a gold IRA is right for you.

Our Gold IRA Company Recommendation

We recommend Augusta Precious Metals as the top Gold IRA company to work with. 

Augusta Precious Metals has a highly trusted name in the gold investment industry, with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, as well as a AAA rating from the Business Consumer Alliance, and loads of reviews from satisfied customers.

They can help you move an existing registered plan into an IRA, as well as set up a new one. Augusta Precious Metals team members are always there to answer your questions and concerns, and to help you pick the right precious metals that will suit your needs. With your personal financial goals in mind, the Augusta Precious Metals team ensures a smooth and clear transfer process with no additional IRS fees.

Augusta Precious Metals offers a wide variety of precious metals so that you can diversify your portfolio with a selection of gold and silver bars and coins. As you work your way towards retirement, continue to add to your IRA each year to grow your wealth.

We are confident that you’ll choose Augusta Precious Metals as your top pick as well. Visit the Augusta Precious Metals website today and fill out their application form to begin the process in setting up your IRA. You’ll be happy you did!

Augusta Precious Metals

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A Gold IRA is an example of a Self-Directed IRA. Self-Directed IRA’s were designed to give individuals more freedom in the selection of investments that they could hold in their retirement account. A Gold IRA is unique to precious metals, where the investor/individual has the ability to hold gold, silver, and other precious metals such a platinum and palladium in their account rather than being limited to traditional stocks and bonds.

By holding precious metal investments in a Gold IRA, this gives the ability for individuals to make their portfolio more diverse and prepare themselves for future financial success. Having a diversified portfolio makes for a better chance to survive a stock market crash and still have some of your funds held in other categories, such as gold.

There are various options when it comes to investing in gold. One option is to purchase gold coins or bars from a local retail shop or gold investment company. You may then hold the metals until you are satisfied with their growth, ready for retirement, or need them for another expense. 

Another option to invest in gold is by setting up a Gold IRA. These are a form of a Self-Directed IRA, only your funds can be held in gold rather than stocks and bonds. This is a good way to invest in precious metals without worrying as much about taxes.

The value of a gold coin increases as the value of spot gold increases. The number that is printed on each gold coin (known as the face-value) is not an accurate reflection of its true valuation. In fact, its value is likely much higher than the face-value based on the current price of gold today.

Depending on your age, current financial position, and personal preferences, the answer to this question will vary per person. If you are coming up on retirement, you’ll want to take fewer investment risks and may not want a large portion of your money in gold. If you’re still young and have more time to take greater investment risks, you may want a larger percentage of your portfolio invested into gold. 

Like many investments, it is optimal to buy at a low value. Generally speaking, when the stock market is over-performing, the value of gold is at a much lower amount. Gold also follows some trends such as a decrease in certain months of the year, including January, March, and April.

It is always a good idea to seek out a financial advisor to help discuss the best options for your current situation. This way you can shift your investments based on what makes the most sense for your financial goals, and the current economy.

Your current plan may not give you the option to invest in gold, but there are numerous other plans that allow gold investments. Keep in mind that there are specific rules set out by the IRS regarding how gold can be bought and stored. Because of these rules, it’s important to find a reputable company to work with.

You are legally allowed to do a 401(k) rollover and avoid paying taxes and penalties, but to do this you must follow the correct process. Start by contacting your current 401(k) plan and explain your situation. The rollover may take several weeks or months to complete, so it’s best to begin as soon as possible.

Traditional 401(k) plans and IRA’s are tax-deferred savings accounts, meaning you do not need to pay any taxes on your contributions. Once you retire and eventually withdraw your funds, you will pay taxes on those withdrawals. You will not get any tax breaks if you purchase gold for personal ownership. Right now, the only way to avoid paying taxes on gold is by purchasing it through your 401(k) plan or IRA.

Although this process is a bit tricky, you absolutely can purchase physical gold in your 401(k) plan. Since your IRA cannot be the seller and holder of the gold, they will need to store the physical gold with a third party. You are also not personally allowed to hold the gold. You may only keep gold and silver in a plan of this type if someone else is storing it, according to the IRS. While you will not be allowed to have physical control over the gold, you may still be allowed to access the storage facility.

Yes, any gains made on the gold held in a Gold IRA are subject to capital gains taxes. Additionally, if you take a distribution from the Gold IRA before you reach the age of 59 and a half, you may be subject to income taxes and a 10% early withdrawal penalty. Things may differ depending on whether you have a traditional IRA or Roth IRA.

No. You are not allowed to take physical possession of the gold or other precious metals held in an IRA account. 

No. Home storage is not allowed and could have serious tax implications if you are found to be taking physical possession of the gold held in your IRA. You must store the gold with an IRS-approved custodian. Any company that promotes home storage is not providing sound advice and should be avoided. 

No. The IRS does not allow precious metals to be stored in a safe deposit box. The custodian/depository must always maintain possession of the gold.

This is a tricky question. 

Mostly, no. For most folks, it’s impossible to take physical possession of their gold without paying severe fees.

There is however a workaround for very (VERY) few individuals. 

A “Checkbook IRA” allows the IRA owner to have more control over their investments. They can use an LLC to make investment decisions and hold assets on behalf of the IRA. The LLC is owned by the IRA and managed by the IRA owner or someone else. The assets, including precious metals, can be stored in a place chosen by the LLC, like a storage facility or the IRA owner’s home as long as it’s secure and insured. Though, the IRS has strict rules for using a Checkbook IRA and storing IRA-owned assets. 

Some of these rules include:

  • A minimum net worth of $250,000.
  • Must have a corporate legal counsel.
  • Ownership must be shared among multiple individuals.
  • And much more

Keep in mind that this loophole is not recommended. There is a possibility that you will be penalized and even possibly disallowed from future investments. It’s not worth the risk, even if you do meet all these requirements. 

Remember that your specific situation and goals should always be discussed with your tax advisor.