How to Buy Physical Silver With a Self-Directed IRA

by Ashley Mott
Self-directed IRAs can hold 99.9 percent pure silver bullion.

Self-directed IRAs can hold 99.9 percent pure silver bullion.

An individual retirement account, or IRA, may be opened at banks and other financial institutions. Options include traditional, Roth, SEP (simplified employee pension), simple and self-directed IRAs. Until 1997 purchases of precious metals through an IRA were limited to American Gold Eagle and American Silver Eagle coins. Since then, the range of possibilities has expanded. With a self-directed IRA, the account owner may purchase silver through a custodian, who arranges the storage of the actual metal in a depository.

1. Open a self-directed IRA with the option of investing gold and silver if you do not already have an IRA that allows you to purchase precious metals.

2. Add money to the self-directed IRA by moving funds to the account or writing a check. If you are moving funds from another financial account such as a 401(k), ensure the proper steps for transfer are followed and all forms are completed.

3. Place an order for silver or tell your custodian which silver coins or bars to purchase with a portion or all of your IRA funds. If you place the order independently, alert your custodian about the purchase and grant it permission to pay for the silver.

4. Monitor the contact methods provided on your IRA account. When your silver is purchased and left in a depository approved by the IRS, the trust company handling the transfer of the silver updates the status of your order. The trust then verifies the receipt of the silver and adds the value of the holdings to your account.

5. Check your IRA regularly to monitor the value of the silver held in your account. Like other assets held within an IRA account, physical silver coins and bars may be sold when the market changes.


  • Because physical silver requires physical storage space, the depository holding the silver assesses a storage charge on the coins and bars held.


  • Silver already owned by the holder of an IRA cannot be added to an IRA.

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