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The Dos and Don’ts of Gold Storage

Updated: July 3, 2024
By: Jonathan Trout
Jonathan Trout
Content Manager
Jonathan is a former product and content manager for Retirement Living. His background spans sales/marketing, finance, and telecommunications. Jonathan’s expertise in consumer wellness and research-backed data stories helped educate seniors on financial planning, retirement, and community resources. Jonathan graduated from Oklahoma State University with a B.S. in Environmental Sociology.
Content Manager
Edited by: Lauren Hamer
Lauren Hamer
Sr. Editor
Bringing more than a decade of editorial experience to Retirement Living, Lauren focuses on reporting senior-related issues, including retirement planning, finance, consumer protection, and health and wellness. Lauren has edited consumer content for Credible, Angi, Slickdeals, Jobs for the Future, and more.
Sr. Editor

Proper gold storage is important to protect the high value of gold bars and bullion. If you have stocks, your ownership can be stored electronically or on paper, but gold and other precious metals take up space and require storage in a secure location safe from theft.

The rules for storing the physical gold you purchase for personal use are different than those you must follow to store the gold you buy to fund an IRA.

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Proper Gold Storage for IRAs

Gold IRAs are funded using physical gold or silver. You’ll work with a gold IRA company to buy gold to create the account, and then you’ll store the gold in a physical location somewhere safe. Unlike gold you might purchase for physical possession, the IRS has strict guidelines that require you to store gold purchases for an IRA.

DODON’T
Follow laws imposed by the IRSChoose between allocated or comingled storage
Store it at home, in a safety deposit box, or in the groundForget to do your own depository research
Gold IRA Storage Best Practices

By law, you cannot keep IRA-eligible gold in your home or in a local security deposit box. Instead, you must store them “in the physical possession of a trustee.” IRS-approved storage facilities (trustees) include the Delaware Depository Service Company, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, and CNT Depository. These companies partner with brokers and IRA custodians to securely ship and store your investments. Many of these companies have insurance available or included with storage plans.

Many gold IRA dealers partner with reputable storage facilities for gold they work with frequently. While you’re not required to work with a partner facility, these relationships can help streamline the storage and shipment process and make liquidating metals safely and quickly easier.

Gold IRA Storage Types

Given the IRA regulations, this means that you cannot store your gold IRA investments at home in a safe or bank deposit box. This is not an IRS-approved method and would result in the removal of the metals from your IRA and potentially incur a withdrawal tax penalty.

Approved storage depositories offer two types of storage options: commingled (segregated) and allocated. Ask your gold IRA company how they store your assets in the depository.

  • Commingled storage, also called segregated storage, keeps your metals in the same facility or area but are kept separate from other people’s metals in a storage vault or box.
  • Allocated storage maintains a record of the deposits in your name, but the physical asset might mingle with the holdings of other depositors. This option is more affordable but does not guarantee you will receive the exact bullet you purchased upon withdrawal, though you will receive an equivalent type.

No matter which storage type you choose, research the company by checking its Better Business Bureau rating and history to see possible complaints and how the company responds to those complaints.

Bottom line: Can I store my gold for an IRA at home? No. If you unlawfully keep IRA-purchased gold at home, you could face distribution penalties and taxes. Home storage qualifies as a distribution, which signals a 10% penalty if you’re under age 59 1/2. This also means that the investments are not tax-deferred, so you’ll owe hefty income taxes on the distribution. The best way to store your gold is with a vetted, reputable depository that will insure and protect your valuable assets.

Proper Gold Storage for Physical Possession

Investing in physical gold can be wise, but you must consider safe storage methods. Options for physical storage include at home in a safe deposit box or in a bank vault.

DODON’T
Research the pros and cons of banks vs. depositories vs. safety deposit boxesInsure your metals
Tell people you store gold at homeStore metals meant for an IRA at home
Physical Gold Storage Best Practices

While many opt for a safety deposit box at the bank, it’s important to remember that the items you store are not insured by the FDIC if they are damaged or stolen. Plus, your access is limited to the bank’s operating hours. Any private storage company you consider should have clear policies in place for access times and speed at which you can retrieve your gold.

If you choose at-home storage, be sure to keep your investments in a safe and insure them. Not all homeowners insurance providers cover gold under their standard policy, and if they do, the limits are very low (some as low as $1,000). A “personal articles policy” can help protect higher-value assets like gold. Also talk with the dealer to learn about the steps they take to protect your valuables during shipping.

Bottom line: Can I store physical gold at home? Yes, many investors prefer to store their gold at home for easy access—if it’s not allocated to a self-directed IRA. However, storing your precious metals at home requires careful consideration and planning. Insure your metals and keep them in a safe place. Chat with your gold dealer or broker to determine your safest options.