Real estate, private equities and lending money with your IRA are all self-directed options we have discussed recently. (link to those posts) While those are all tangible items in a sense, this post is all about something you can actually reach out and hold in your hand: precious metals.

Many financial professionals from all over the world would agree that asset diversification helps spread the risk of investing. Precious metals are another option self-directed investors have to choose from when it comes to diversifying their retirement portfolios.

With a precious metals IRA, you can actually invest in all types of precious metals, including gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

There are some unique considerations though when it comes to investing in precious metals. As a self-directed IRA administrator, IRA Innovations is equipped to handle all the requirements involved, such as arranging for storage in a depository institution of your choice, valuations for IRS reporting, and account administration.

Let’s go through a few facts you should know about investing in precious metals:

You choose the precious metals dealer. As the IRA holder, you get to choose the precious metals dealer and the type of product you want. IRA Innovations does not sell or promote any products or vendors.

You choose the depository. Unlike most self-directed IRA administrators, IRA Innovations allows you to choose any precious metals storage facility.


You have several types of metals to choose from.

  • Gold bars: They must have a purity of 24 karat (0.995+ fineness) and be hallmarked by a NYMEX- or COMEX-approved refiner/assayer. These bars come in 1 oz., 10 oz., 1 kilo (32.15 oz.), 100 oz., and 400 oz. sizes.
  • Gold coins: They must have a purity of 24 karat (0.9999 fineness), with the exception of the 22 karat U.S. Gold Eagle. Bullion coins from America, Australia, Austria and Canada are acceptable, but the South African Krugerrand is not allowed, being that it’s a 22 karat bullion coin.
  • Silver coins & bars: They must have a 0.999+ fineness, like the 1 oz. U.S. Silver Eagle, Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, and the Mexican Silver Libertad bullion coins. You can purchase 100 oz. silver bars and also 1000 oz. silver bars. Pre-1965 bags of US silver coins (dimes, quarters, half dollars and silver dollars) are not allowed in an IRA because their alloy contains only 90% silver.
  • Platinum/palladium bars & coins: They must have a 0.9995+ fineness and be hallmarked by a NYMEX- or COMEX-approved refiner/assayer, however, private companies who manufacture platinum and palladium bars ranging in size from 1 oz. to 100 oz. with well-established hallmarks, are acceptable as well. Both the U.S. and Canadian mints make 1 oz. platinum coins meeting these standards. Other countries, such as Great Britain and Australia, have 1 oz. platinum coins, which are not as well-known but are also acceptable.

Precious metals can be held in different forms. Precious metals can be held in your IRA in the form of physical (allocated or unallocated) gold and silver bullion, certificates, and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs.)


There is a difference between allocated and unallocated storage.

Allocated or segregated storage only applies to gold bars 10 oz. or greater, and it ensures that the bars are kept separate from the other metals in the depository’s vault. Bars are identified by size, refinery and serial number (for example: 100 oz. PAMP Swiss gold bar SN#35427681). When the metal is distributed from the depository, it will be the exact same bar that was originally deposited.

With unallocated or unsegregated storage, the metals are commingled in a depository metal account. Bars are identified by size/weight and refinery (for example, a 100 oz. JM silver bar). When the metal is distributed from the depository, it will be the same size bar, from the same refiner as the bar that was originally deposited. Coins are identified by type and year minted (for example, a 1992 American Silver Eagle). When the coin is distributed from the depository, it will be the same year coin as the coin that was originally deposited.

IRA Innovations provides self-directed retirement account administration and education. As the experts when it comes to “alternative” investments including private equity, they can provide the necessary tools and information to get started with a real estate IRA.