What Kind Of Assets Can I Hold In My Self-Directed IRA?

Consider Your Opportunities for a Self-Directed Accountstocks and bonds in an IRA

Saving for retirement can be an automated process if you set up an account through your employer. However, taking a more hands on approach to investing for retirement could net more sizable returns for you in the long run. If you’re trying to decide if a self-directed retirement account is right for you, then consider what options are available in a standard IRA. You may be surprised at how limiting these managed accounts can be for professionals.

Bonds, Stocks or Both?

Many IRAs are primarily composed of stocks and bonds. Opposing Views says that the company managing the account will usually set limits on which bonds and stocks can be purchased.(http://people.opposingviews.com/assets-can-held-inside-ira-5537.html) If your IRA is run by a mutual fund firm, you’ll likely have all of your investments in one of their funds. This is the main reason many people choose the self-direction option. You will have to switch companies if you want more freedom to choose from different stocks and bonds not offered by your current custodian. Looking for a alternative IRA custodian? Click the link to learn about Sunwest Trust.

The Importance of Interest

IRAs are designed to use your savings for investments that produce extra income. Most of these opportunities provide interest rather than business profit. Savings accounts that return interest, such as money markets or certificates of deposit, can be used in your IRA, according to Opposing Views. (http://people.opposingviews.com/assets-can-held-inside-ira-5537.html) If you sink thousands of dollars in savings into these accounts without setting them aside for retirement, you will end up paying taxes on all of your income from interest. IRAs and 401ks allow you to delay your tax burden until you decide to use the money.

Land and Property – Tangible Assets

If you’re experienced in the world of real estate and you have a healthy savings account, consider using rental properties to produce a steady investment income. The IRS is happy to allow these properties in IRAs, but Opposing Views reports that most standard IRAs will not allow these types of investments. (http://people.opposingviews.com/assets-can-held-inside-ira-5537.html) A self-directed account is the easiest way to expand your portfolio. You’re welcome to sink your money into arable farmland if you have plenty of experience with agriculture or a large apartment building with multiple paying tenants. However, there are plenty of limitations on how property can be used if it is an investment for your retirement. Don’t expect to live in a property as you collect rent from the rest of it and avoid taxation.This kind of situation triggers one of the conditions to make the building a prohibited investment.

Precious Metals and Collectibles

There’s no reason why you can’t invest in gold and silver if you like how their values have been increasing over the years. However, you need to pick the right type or you could run into trouble with the IRS. Collectibles are not eligible for use in a retirement account, even in a self-directed arrangement. The IRS has included most coins and other items made from precious metals in this category. According to Gainsville Coins, the following types are coins are allowed and can be held inside an IRA account.


  • American Eagle
  • Pamp/Credit Suisse Bars .999 Fine
  • Canadian Maple Leaf
  • Austrian Philharmonics
  • Australian Nugget/Kangaroo
  • U.S. Buffalo Uncirculated version
  • Gold Bars-.995+Fine that are accredited by Comex, Nymex, LME, LBMA, Liffe, NYSE, CBOT or ISO 9000


  • American Eagle
  • Austrian Philharmonic
  • Australian Kookaburra
  • Canadian Maple Leaf
  • Silver Bars-.999+ Fine that are accredited by Comex, Nymex, LME, LBMA, Liffe, NYSE, CBOT or ISO 9000


  • American Eagle
  • Australian Koala
  • Canadian Maple Leaf
  • Isle of Man Noble Coins
  • Platinum Bars-.9995+Fine that are accredited by Comex, Nymex, LME, LBMA, Liffe, NYSE, CBOT or ISO 9000


  • Bars that are .9995+ Fine that are accredited by Comex, Nymex, LME, LBMA, Liffe, NYSE, CBOT or ISO 9000

There is a crucial exception made for silver and gold in coin form that is purchased from the U.S. Mint. Bullion from the Mint is also acceptable for use in your self-directed IRA.

However, These Coins Are Not Acceptable Inside a Precious Metal IRA.

  • Rare or collectible coins, including certified or “graded” coins
  • South African Krugerrand
  • Swiss 20 Franc
  • French 20 Franc
  • Belgian 20 Franc
  • Mexican 50 Peso
  • Chilean 100 Peso
  • Italian 20 Lira
  • Hungarian 100 Korona
  • Austrian Corona
  • U.S. Liberty
  • U.S. Buffalo Proof
  • Dutch 10 Guilder
  • British Britannia

Other Prohibited Assets To Watch Out For…

Artwork, jewelry, fine wine and valuable stamps are also prohibited items. Insurance policies and many other unusual investment opportunities are banned by the IRS even for your most flexible account. It’s crucial to discuss any ideas you have for alternative investments with a competent, experienced financial adviser before moving a dollar from your savings account into an investment.

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