Precious Metal IRA Fees: What You Need to Know

Author: Focus on the User | 4 min read

Precious metals IRAs have gained popularity among potential investors seeking to diversify their retirement plans and protect their assets against economic uncertainty. These self-directed IRAs allow for investments in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bars, coins, and bullion. However, before jumping into gold investments, it's essential to understand the various fees and expenses associated with precious metals IRAs, as these can significantly impact your investment returns. This article will provide an overview of the fees involved in precious metals IRAs and offer insights on what potential investors need to know before committing to this investment strategy.

Application Fee

When opening a precious metals IRA, investors are typically required to pay an application fee to the IRA custodian. This one-time fee covers the account setup and administrative expenses. The cost of the application fee can vary depending on the custodian and the type of account being opened, so it's essential to shop around and compare fees before making a decision.

Annual Maintenance Fee

In addition to the application fee, precious metals IRA custodians charge an annual maintenance fee. This fee covers the ongoing administration and management of the account, including record-keeping, tax reporting, and compliance with IRS regulations. The annual maintenance fee can vary from one custodian to another, and it may be based on the account size, type of assets held, or other factors.

Storage Fees

One of the critical differences between precious metals IRAs and traditional retirement accounts, like mutual funds, is the need to store the actual gold, silver, platinum, or palladium bars and coins. Since the IRS prohibits investors from taking personal possession of the precious metals held in their IRAs, these assets must be stored in approved depositories.

Depository storage fees can vary based on the type and size of the precious metals held in the account, as well as the specific storage options chosen by the investor. Some depositories offer segregated storage, where the investor's metals are held separately from other clients' assets, while others provide co-mingled storage. Segregated storage generally comes with higher fees, but it may offer greater peace of mind for some investors.

Termination Fee

When closing a precious metals IRA account, investors may be charged a termination fee by their custodian. This fee covers the administrative costs of closing the account, liquidating the assets, and transferring the funds to the investor or another retirement account. Like other fees, termination fees can vary depending on the custodian and the specific terms of the account agreement.

Wire Fees

Investors may also encounter wire fees when transferring funds to and from their precious metals IRA. These fees cover the cost of sending and receiving electronic funds transfers between the investor's bank account and the custodian or depository. Wire fees can vary by financial institution and the amount being transferred.

Gold Bullion Premiums

When purchasing gold bullion, such as Gold American Eagles, investors should be aware that they may be charged a premium above the spot price of gold. Gold companies often charge these premiums to cover their costs, including minting, marketing, and distribution. Gold bullion premiums can vary depending on the specific product, market conditions, and the dealer from whom the investor purchases the metals.


While precious metals IRAs can offer valuable diversification and potential protection against economic uncertainty, it's essential for potential investors to be aware of the various fees and expenses associated with these accounts. By understanding the application, annual maintenance, storage, termination, and wire fees, as well as gold bullion premiums, investors can make informed decisions about whether a precious metals IRA is the right investment strategy for their retirement plans.

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