Physical gold has been a highly sought-after asset for centuries due to its ability to hedge against inflation, protect investor privacy, and preserve wealth over long periods. These attractive characteristics make many investors wonder if they can gold physical gold in their Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Yes, you can! With a self-directed IRA, you can place a portion of your nest egg in physical gold and silver coins and bullion bars for a more diversified and secure retirement plan.

IRS Limitations & Rules on Gold IRA Assets

Investors can hold various kinds of physical precious metals in their precious metals IRA. However, the IRS does have some limitations in place. The only types of physical precious metals eligible for an IRA are gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. There are further restrictions on asset type, weight, and purity.

Unfortunately, some precious metals dealers take advantage of these restrictions by intentionally misleading investors into purchasing so-called “exclusive” coins. This clever descriptor can make a gold and silver coin seem rarer, more expensive, and more valuable than it actually is, leading unwitting investors to overpay significantly.

That’s why investors should work with reputable precious metals dealers or firms who can guide them in purchasing IRA-eligible physical metals at reasonable rates that fall in line with their investment goals.

What is a Self-Directed IRA?

A self-directed IRA is a special type of retirement account that allows owners to invest in a standard range of assets such as stocks and bonds in addition to a slew of alternative assets including real estate, cryptocurrencies, loans, and physical precious metals. On the other hand, traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs, and 401(k)s only permit the purchase of paper precious metals assets such as ETFs, mutual funds, and mining stocks.

A self-directed IRA is often called a gold IRA, or a gold backed IRA, when it’s specifically set up to hold physical metals in the form of bullion bars, coins, or proof coins. A gold IRA can be traditional or Roth in format just like standard IRAs. They’re subject to the same rules as their more mainstream counterparts except for eligible assets. As mentioned before, you can hold various kinds of precious metals in a self-directed IRA including gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.

How Does a Gold IRA Work?

Whether you’re planning to start a gold IRA from scratch or rollover your current retirement account, the process begins by creating a self-directed IRA. Trust companies and other agencies can set up the account on your behalf. Just make sure you’re working with a government-approved entity that permits physical metal investments.

Alternatively, you can choose to handle all the paperwork on your own or find a gold IRA company who specializes in the process. Working with an experienced precious metals IRA advisor would save you valuable time, energy, and headaches. Plus, these specialists help you purchase the right physical assets based on IRS requirements and your parameters, so you’re taking care of the account setup and investments at the same time.

Learn more about How a Precious Metals IRA Works

How Much Can You Put in a Gold IRA?

gold coins in gold ira

A gold backed IRA allow investors to put their money in a greater variety of assets, but they’re still subject to the same contribution limits as mainstream retirement accounts. In 2023, the Internal Revenue Service is allowing investors to move up to $6,500 into their self-directed IRAs. Individuals 50 years or older can contribute up to $7,500.

In contrast to annual contributions, the IRS doesn’t put any limitations on gold IRA rollovers. In other words, you can transfer your current retirement account to a self-directed IRA no matter the size of the account. Similarly, you can open a gold IRA with as much or as little funds as you want. Of course, some providers place their own requirements.

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The Benefits of a Gold Backed IRA?

Hedge Against Inflation & Stagflation

Precious metals tend to perform well during periods of economic downturn. When stocks, bonds, and other standard IRA assets are under threat from inflation, and stagflation, people flock to safe havens like gold and silver to protect their wealth. Over centuries, gold has proven to be one of the steadiest assets which makes it a fantastic candidate for your IRA.

👉 Related Reading: Is Silver a Good Hedge Against Inflation?

Increased Privacy and Security

Many investors are concerned about the government’s consistent expansion into seemingly every area of their lives. Physical gold and silver investing is an effective way to protect against this overreach by greatly improving the privacy and security of your savings. The powers that be have less visibility and control over your assets.

Greater Control of Your Wealth

Traditional IRAs, 401(k)s, and other conventional retirement accounts only allow for indirect exposure to precious metals. Through a self-directed IRA, you can hold physical metals which gives you tangible control over your wealth. This reduces counter-party risk while giving you greater peace of mind.

Diversified Retirement Savings

Risk mitigation is a critical part of financial retirement planning. It’s impossible to avoid the downturns in the market, but you can put yourself in the best position to weather the storm. Gold’s stability, inflation protection, and high demand make it an essential part of a diversified retirement portfolio.

Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of a gold-backed IRA by reading: Gold IRA Pros and Cons


No, you cannot hold physical gold in your 401(k). The only exposure to the metals market through a 401(k) is through paper assets or mining funds. You’ll need to open up a self-directed IRA in order to hold physical gold and silver.

No, you cannot hold physical gold in your Roth IRA. The only exposure to the metals market through a Roth IRA is through paper assets or mining funds. You’ll need to open up a self-directed IRA in order to hold physical gold and silver.

The rules surrounding the physical placement of physical metals held in an IRA are complex and detailed. It’s best to speak with an experienced broker about the legal limitations and your options.

If you’re interested in learning more about setting up a gold IRA, contact one of our precious metals advisors via our live chat function or by calling 1-888-812-9892. We help clients through all stages of the process from setting up the account to finding the best physical metals to buy.