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Personal Finance

How to Invest in a Silver IRA

Gold has long been popular among those who want to guard against the declining value of the dollar and create a hedge against inflation. However, silver provides the same benefits, costs less, and may even have a smaller markup than gold if you’re purchasing less than $1,500 of precious metal, according to some precious metals dealers.

Opening a silver individual retirement account (IRA) is a way to diversify your investments with this valuable commodity while saving for retirement. These accounts come with tax incentives that can include deductible contributions or tax-free withdrawals in retirement, depending on how your IRA is set up.

Keep reading to learn more about silver IRAs, how to open an account, and what companies are considered the best in the industry.

What is a silver IRA?

A silver IRA is a retirement account designed to hold precious metals. It’s essentially the same as a gold IRA, and you can hold gold, silver, platinum, or palladium in both accounts.

All precious metal IRAs are self-directed IRAs. These are special accounts in which the IRS allows individuals to hold “alternative assets,” such as commodities, real estate, and cryptocurrency. The government has specific requirements for these accounts. For a silver IRA, you must follow these rules:

  • Use a custodian to administer the account.
  • Store silver in an approved depository, not your home.
  • Hold only silver that is 99.9% pure.
  • Silver coins, bars, or rounds must come from an approved manufacturer or a national government mint.

Some items are excluded from a silver IRA. For instance, rare or old coins considered collectibles cannot be held in a self-directed IRA even if they meet the IRS requirements for purity.

Types of silver IRAs

When you open a self-directed IRA, you have two options as to how to structure the account: traditional or Roth. Each has its own set of tax benefits.

Traditional silver IRAs

Traditional accounts offer a tax deduction for contributions, and the value of your assets grows tax-deferred. You can make penalty-free withdrawals after age 59½, and distributions are subject to ordinary income tax.

At age 73, the government mandates account holders begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs), based on their age and the account balance.

Roth silver IRAs 

Roth accounts are funded with after-tax dollars, meaning you won’t get a deduction for your contributions. However, your investment grows tax-free, and distributions in retirement are tax-free.

A penalty may apply to withdrawals taken before age 59½, and if you make a withdrawal before the Roth IRA account has been funded for 5 years (regardless of your age), the earnings and growth on the original contributions are taxed as ordinary income. However, there are no RMDs with Roth accounts during the original owner’s lifetime.  

What are the best silver IRA companies? 

Investing in a silver IRA might seem daunting with so many providers on the market. But a well-informed choice can pave the way for a secure and lucrative investment in precious metals. 

This round-up offers a guide to four of the top choices to consider. This detailed guide aims to simplify your decision-making process by highlighting four leading silver IRA companies, each with unique strengths. Whether you prioritize customer service, educational resources, or the best financial guarantees, our roundup provides insights into top choices that cater to diverse investor needs.

CompanyBest for
American Hartford Gold Best overall
Lear CapitalBest risk-free guarantee
Augusta Precious MetalsBest intro offer
GoldcoBest buy-back guarantee

American Hartford Gold – Best overall

LendEDU rating: 5.0 out of 5

  • Highest rated among similar companies
  • Known for customer-friendly policies
  • Extensive selection of metals 

American Hartford Gold stands out as the premier choice among silver IRA providers. We like its high standards and attention to detail. This company has earned its reputation by prioritizing customer satisfaction above all, evident in its user-friendly policies and broad spectrum of products. 

Clients can explore a diverse selection of precious metals, including silver, gold, platinum, and palladium, suitable for various investment strategies. What sets American Hartford Gold apart is not just its extensive inventory but its commitment to providing personalized service, ensuring that every client’s investment journey is successful and satisfying. 

With an emphasis on transparency and reliability, American Hartford Gold establishes itself as the optimal choice for investors seeking a comprehensive and hassle-free experience in precious metals investment.

Lear Capital – Best risk-free guarantee

LendEDU rating: 4.7 out of 5

  • Risk-free guarantee with 24-hour cancellation window
  • Comprehensive educational resources
  • Integrity and transparency in transactions

In the competitive landscape of silver IRA companies, Lear Capital distinguishes itself through its commitment to risk mitigation and consumer education. Offering a standout 24-hour cancellation policy, the company ensures that clients can make investment decisions without the pressure of immediate commitment. A guarantee like this is rare in the industry. 

Lear Capital invests in educational resources, empowering customers with the knowledge needed to navigate the complexities of precious metals investment. This focus on integrity and transparency in transactions has cultivated a trust-based relationship with clients, establishing Lear Capital as a leader for those who value security and informed investment decisions.

Augusta Precious Metals – Best intro offer

LendEDU rating 4.7 out of 5

  • Gives free metals when you open an IRA account
  • Provides secure and insured storage
  • Offers a wealth of expert advisors

Augusta Precious Metals distinguishes itself with incredible introduction offers for new customers, making it an excellent entry point for beginners. New clients are greeted with the unique opportunity to get free metals upon opening their IRA accounts, a gesture that enhances the initial investment. 

Augusta ensures the safety and security of these investments through secure, insured storage solutions. The company’s commitment to customer service excellence is further demonstrated by its expert advisors, ready to guide investors through the process with personalized advice and insights. 

This approach demystifies the investment process for beginners while establishing Augusta Precious Metals as an inviting option for those looking to embark on their precious metals investment journey with added value and support.

Goldco – Best buy-back guarantee

LendEDU rating: 4.7 out of 5

  • Guarantees metals bought back at the highest price
  • Known for its simplicity and ease of use
  • Committed to financial education

Goldco ensures security and value for clients with its unmatched buy-back guarantee, reflecting its forward-thinking approach and commitment to customer satisfaction. We’re fans of the platform’s simplicity and user-friendliness, making it accessible to novice and experienced investors alike. 

Goldco’s dedication to financial education underlines its mission to empower clients, providing them with the resources and support needed to make informed investment decisions. This blend of security, ease of use, and educational commitment makes Goldco an outstanding choice for investors who value a comprehensive, client-centered approach to precious metals investment.

How do you open a silver IRA account?

Opening a silver IRA is more complex than opening a regular IRA, but the companies above have experienced staff members who can walk you through the process.

You’ll go through the following steps:

  1. Decide whether you want a traditional or Roth IRA: Before you open an account, you should decide which tax benefits you’d like: Do you want a tax deduction now or tax-free withdrawals in retirement later?
  2. Select a custodian: The custodian is required by the IRS, and this company is responsible for administering the account. It does not provide investment advice. Equity Trust and Strata Trust Company are two common custodians of precious metals IRAs.
  3. Select a depository: The IRS also requires precious metals held in an IRA to be stored in an approved depository. If you store your silver at home or in a bank safe-deposit box, the IRS will consider the silver distributed to you, and you will lose all tax benefits. Delaware Depository may be the most well-known option, but several companies offer this service.
  4. Fund your account: Once you have created your silver IRA, you’ll decide how to fund it. If you have an IRA, 401(k), or similar retirement plan, you can roll over some or all of your balance from those accounts to your silver IRA. You can also make a cash deposit up to an annual limit set by the IRS.
  5. Purchase your silver: After your account is funded, you can use the money to purchase the IRA-eligible silver items of your choice. Work with a reputable silver dealer, and have your silver shipped to the depository.

The timeline for this process depends on the companies you are using and how you are funding the account. In most cases, it may only take a day or two to create your silver IRA. However, if you’re rolling over money from a retirement account, it may be several weeks before the rollover is complete and the silver you purchase is shipped to the depository.

Can I convert my IRA to silver?

If you have an IRA, you can convert the balance of that account to a silver IRA. The process requires you to contact the administrator of your current IRA and instruct them to transfer the funds in your account to your new IRA custodian.

You also have the option to roll over money from a different type of retirement account. For instance, if you have a 401(k) account, you could roll over the balance to your silver IRA. Again, you’d need to contact the administrator of your current plan to start the process.

Pros and cons of investing in a silver IRA

Before opening a silver IRA, you should consider whether it makes sense as part of your investment strategy and for your financial goals. Here are the pros and cons.


  • Silver is a physical asset that many use to diversify investments and provide a hedge against inflation.

  • Silver has industrial uses, which could increase its value.

  • The value of precious metals isn’t tied to any country’s currency, making them appealing in times of political upheaval.

  • Silver IRAs can also hold gold, platinum, palladium, and other alternative assets.

  • Accountholders get tax incentives: a deduction for contributions or tax-free distributions in retirement.


  • Silver prices can be volatile, and this precious metal has not always appreciated at the same rate as gold.

  • IRA accountholders cannot make penalty-free withdrawals until age 59½.

  • IRS regulations requiring a custodian and depository means silver IRAs may have higher costs than regular IRAs.

Depending on your specific financial goals and personal preferences, a silver IRA may be a wise choice, or you may be better off with a gold IRA or other retirement account.

Is a silver IRA a good investment?

Silver has been used for thousands of years in trade and industry. A look back at its value over the past 100 years shows many peaks and valleys, with the greatest gains in recent years occurring in 2011 and 2020.

Like all investments, there is no guarantee as to what the future of silver prices will be. However, many people don’t look to silver as a way to make money but as a safeguard against inflation. They note that even if the U.S. dollar should collapse or disappear, silver has an intrinsic value that will remain.

Before investing in silver, ask yourself these questions:

  • Why am I interested in investing in silver?
  • Do I understand the risks and benefits of a silver IRA?
  • Will I have enough diversity in my portfolio after buying silver?
  • How will I liquidate my silver when I need cash?

A silver IRA can be a solid investment for those who want a physical asset not tied to any one country’s currency. However, you must understand the limitations of silver—perhaps most notably, that liquidating silver to cash isn’t as simple as making a withdrawal from a regular IRA. It is also wise to keep your portfolio diversified rather than investing all your money in a single asset.

As with any other financial decision, it is smart to do your research and speak to a professional for personalized advice. Once you’ve decided a silver IRA is right for you, contact one of the best silver IRA companies listed above to get started today.

Our expert advises: Traditional vs. Roth silver IRA

Erin Kinkade


If you’re deciding between a traditional and a Roth silver IRA for retirement savings, important factors to consider include your current tax bracket and expected future tax bracket. You can review your taxable income now and estimated taxable future (retirement or semiretirement) income. A good rule of thumb is to contribute to a Roth IRA now if you expect your taxable income to be higher in the future. If you expect your taxable income to be less in the future, contribute to a traditional IRA now. You can also open both for tax diversification and contribute to both. Anyone can contribute to a traditional IRA regardless of the amount of earned income and modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). However, for a Roth IRA, if an individual’s MAGI is greater than $161,000, they can’t contribute to a Roth IRA. For those married and filing jointly, if their MAGI is greater than $240,000, they can’t contribute to a Roth IRA. If this is the case, I still recommend contributing to a traditional pretax IRA.


Where do I find IRA-approved silver?

To find IRA-approved silver, consider choosing a reputable precious metals dealer. Not all types of silver are eligible for inclusion in a silver IRA. Look for companies that deal with 99.9% pure silver in forms such as coins or bars that are minted by a national government or a recognized private mint.

What fees do I pay if I invest in a silver IRA?

When investing in a silver IRA, expect to pay several fees. Common charges include setup fees, annual administration fees, and storage fees. Some providers also charge a purchase fee, delivery charges or have a minimum purchase amount.

Can I hold silver in my current IRA?

Yes, you can hold silver in a self-directed IRA, which allows a broader range of investment options than traditional IRAs. However, special rules apply to this type of investment, and not all custodians offer it. Always consult your custodian or advisor to see whether this option is available.

Recap of the best silver IRA companies

CompanyBest for
American Hartford Gold Best overall
Lear CapitalBest risk-free guarantee
Augusta Precious MetalsBest intro offer
GoldcoBest buy-back guarantee