How Much Gold Can I Own in a Gold IRA?

  • Gold-backed IRAs allow you to purchase physical gold bullion as part of a broader retirement account.
  • While gold-backed IRAs allow you to own physical gold, there are restrictions regarding the amount you can own.
  • The gold must be stored by a custodian approved by the IRS, and these custodians have additional rules regarding gold pricing.

Gold-backed IRAs allow you to own physical gold bullion as part of a broader retirement account. Gold IRAs are fairly strict when it comes to the amount you can own, and the price you pay for your gold, and the rules vary among different custodians.



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IRA Gold

There is a limit as to how much gold you can own in your IRA account. Your account cannot have more than 25% of its value in gold. However, this limit does not apply to IRAs that invest in gold bullion, coins, or gold certificates.
Individual Retirement Account
This account is similar to a traditional IRA. The investor is not allowed to make more than $5,500 in contributions annually.

Types of Gold IRAs

There are four basic types of gold IRAs.
Gold bullion IRAs: Gold bullion is physical gold, in bars, coins, or ingots.

Gold certificates: Gold certificates are financial contracts that hold the value of gold.

Gold mining stocks: Gold mining stocks are shares in gold mining companies that produce gold.

Gold ETFs: Gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are baskets of financial contracts that hold the value of gold.

Individual Retirement Account

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows individuals to own up to $5,500 worth of gold bullion per year in their IRAs.
Retirement Plan
Retirement plan participants are allowed to own up to $50,000 worth of gold bullion per year in their retirement plans.

Gold Investment Options

Gold bullion bars.
Gold bullion coins.

Gold bars or coins that have been allocated and segregated in a certified depository program.

Gold ETFs or shares.

Gold futures, options, and swaps.

You can start your gold IRA with as little as 0.5 troy ounces of gold. However, you must buy at least 1 troy ounce of gold per account.

Gold Bullion

Unlike stocks and bonds, which trade on a centralized exchange, the price of gold on the open market fluctuates largely based on supply and demand. As a result, gold bullion is physical gold held in the vault of an approved storage facility. Gold bullion can be purchased in 1-, 10-, and 100-ounce increments.
Bars
Gold bars come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the most common is 1-troy-ounce. Gold bars are typically 99.99 percent pure, making them the most easily traded form of gold. A 1-troy-ounce gold bar, for example, is worth about $1,330.
Coins
Gold coins come in a variety of purities, including .900 fine (99.9 percent), .800 fine (99.8 percent) and .750 fine (99.75 percent). A .900 fine gold coin, for example, is worth $1,300, while a .750 fine gold coin is worth $1,250.

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Gold coins include American Eagles, Kangaroos, Philharmonics and Pandas.

How Many Coins Can I Have?
Gold investors can own as many gold-backed IRAs as they choose, but, for practical reasons, investors usually work with a single custodian and are limited to no more than 25% of their total assets in physical gold.

Gold Bullion Certificates

Most Gold IRA companies let you purchase gold in the form of paper certificates instead of the actual gold. The advantage is that you can have more gold in your account without spending more.
Gold Bullion Coins
Gold bullion coins, such as the American Gold Eagle coin, are another form of gold ownership. Gold bullion coins come in different denominations and weights and are usually considered legal tender by the U.S. government.
Gold Jewelry
Gold jewelry is another way to own gold. Most gold jewelry is hallmarked with the karat weight and fineness of the metal.
Bars and Rounds
Gold bars and rounds are another form of gold ownership. Bars might be 1 or 10 troy ounces and come in various sizes and weights. Rounds might be 1, 10, 100, or 1,000 troy ounces.

Gold Bullion Coins

Any coin or ingot that is produced by a government mint and is .995 fine (99.5% pure) is considered eligible to be purchased inside of a precious metals IRA. The most popular coins that can be purchased are American Gold Eagles, Gold Maple Leafs, and Gold Philharmonics.
Gold Bullion Bars
Gold bullion bars can be of 1 ounce, 1⁄2 ounce, 1⁄4 ounce, 1/10 of an ounce, or even .25 ounce. Gold bullion bars can be purchased from the major refiners of the world or from private refineries. The gold bar must meet government standards and be 99.5% pure.

Other Gold Metal
Gold jewelry, gold bullion coins, and gold bullion bars make up 90% of the gold IRA assets. However, individuals can also buy gold bullion coins, gold bullion bars, or gold bars from other metals, such as platinum or palladium, that are considered acceptable by the IRS.



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Gold Bullion ETFs

ETFs that invest solely in physical gold bullion are counted as physical gold bullion for the purposes of your IRA. Popular gold bullion ETFs include the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), the iShares Gold Trust (IAU), and the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX).
Gold Coins
The IRS defines gold coins as "United States coins and bullion." Examples of gold coins are the American Gold Eagle, Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, Austrian Philharmonic, and South African Krugerrand. The coins must be 24 karat (24K), which is 99.99% pure. IRA custodians accept gold bullion coins in their original form or as bars.
Gold Bars
Gold bars must be 99.99% pure (24K) and weigh at least 400 ounces. The IRS allows IRA custodians to accept gold bars in their original form or as coins.

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Gold Futures

The total gold that you can own in a gold IRA is capped at 50% of the account's total value. For example, if your account has a value of $100,000, the maximum value of gold that you can have in your plan is $50,000.
Coins and Bars
The IRS has imposed a limitation on the types of gold that you can own in your gold IRA. The IRS states that you can own only bullion or coins with a minimum fineness of 0.995, or 24 karat gold.

Gold Coins

Individual gold bullion coins include the American Gold Eagle, Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, Austrian Philharmonic, South African Krugerrand, Australian Gold Kangaroo, and American Gold Buffalo. The face value of each of these coins is $50.
Gold Bars
Gold bars come in many sizes. The most common sizes of gold bars are 100 troy ounces, 1 kilogram, and 1,000 troy ounces.
Gold Bars in a Gold IRA
Gold bars in a gold IRA come in four forms:
Minted gold bars.

Privately minted gold bars.

Dust.

Gold bullion coins.

Gold Savings Bonds

Your gold IRA can hold paper gold in the form of savings bonds, issued by the U.S. Treasury. These bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government and are considered legal tender.
You can buy up to $5,000 per year in gold savings bonds, and $20,000 over the lifetime of your IRA.
Coins
Your gold IRA can hold physical gold in the form of gold bullion or gold coins.
You can buy up to $20,000 worth of gold and silver coins per year, and up to $100,000 over the lifetime of your IRA.
Gold Stocks
Your gold IRA can hold physical gold in the form of gold stocks.
You can buy up to $20,000 worth of gold stocks per year, and up to $100,000 over the lifetime of your IRA.

Gold Bullion Funds

A gold bullion fund is a fund that invests in gold bullion. As with gold in the form of bars and coins, the bullion is held in a vault and is readily available for purchase.
You can hold gold bullion funds in a gold IRA account. However, a bullion fund's value changes daily based on the price of gold, and if you're depending on its value for retirement, it might not be the best option.
Gold ETFs
An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a basket of assets traded on an exchange. An ETF can be used to purchase gold directly through the fund, or indirectly through investments in companies that mine for gold.
Gold ETFs can be held in your IRA account. Like bullion funds, the value of ETFs can change daily based on the price of gold, and if you're depending on its value for retirement, it might not be the best option.
Gold Coins
Gold coins are the oldest form of gold ownership. Gold coins can be held in a self-directed IRA. Coins are typically valued based on their weight, purity, and age, so their value is more stable than that of a gold fund or ETF.
Investing in gold in an IRA account for the purpose of retirement can be profitable if the price rises. However, it's important to realize that gold, like all other investments, can be volatile.

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how much gold can a person own

Gold Bullion Accounts

This account type allows you to own gold bullion coins or bars, or certificates. You can own gold bullion outright, or you can form an LLC or corporation to own the bullion.

Gold Bullion Accounts can be setup with as little as $5,000 to $250,000, but any gold held in a Gold Bullion Account must be held in physical form. The account holder must elect to have custodianship of the bullion, or elect to have a third party hold the bullion.

Gold Bullion Accounts can be self-custody, meaning that the account holder stores the bullion in his or her own home, or they can be third party custody, meaning that the bullion is stored in a vault under the care of a third party.

Gold Bullion Accounts can be held with precious metals dealers or with custodians.

Gold Bullion Accounts are a subset of Gold IRAs.

Gold ETFs

Gold bars
Gold coins
Gold mining stocks

Gold ETFs are one of the best options for investors looking to diversify their assets through a self-directed IRA. There are over 50 ETFs available to investors, and each comes with its own risks and rewards. The SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) is the most popular gold ETF, holding 1,299.82 metric tons (t) of gold as of April 10, 2019.



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Gold Bullion Options

You can now buy gold coins and bullion from most major U.S. Gold bullion dealers. American Gold Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs, Australian Koalas and South African Krugerrands are among the most popular choices.
You can buy gold bullion coins in increments of 1 troy ounce (31.1 grams), 1/2 troy ounce (15.5 grams), 1/4 troy ounce (7.0 grams), 1/10 troy ounce (3.1 grams), 1/20 troy ounce (1.51 grams), and 1/30 troy ounce (0.51 grams).
You can also buy gold bars in increments of 100 troy ounces (31,103.6 grams) and 50 troy ounces (15,151.6 grams).

Gold Bullion ETFs
Gold ETFs are exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that hold gold bullion in trust for the shareholders. There are a variety of gold ETFs available, and these can generally be purchased through traditional brokerage accounts. Gold ETFs have very low fees, making them attractive investment vehicles.