After the 2008 financial crisis that lead to the Great Recession, many Americans started looking for a way to protect their retirement savings against such sudden fluctuations in the market. One popular route is to diversify your retirement savings by investing in precious metals and other alternative assets. Many people invest in gold, though silver also has attractive properties.
But you have to be careful—only certain types of silver bullion are allowed in your IRA. Not just any ol' piece of silver will do. To be used as an investment metal, the coins and bars you purchase must be IRA approved silver.
Because it is less expensive per ounce, silver provides a more affordable entry into precious metal investing. For the same reason, it can also be more convenient to sell if you want to cover a small expense, but don’t want to sell a full ounce of gold.
What Does IRA Approved Silver Mean?
Here are the main requirements for IRA approved silver:
- The silver coin or bar must be above 0.999% purity.
- It must be stored in an IRS-approved depository. The firm handling your precious metal IRA will probably have a preferred depository they use.
- The IRA must have a custodian who is appointed trustee. Typically, the company that provides your IRA will be the trustee, and they will have a depository and a list of dealers who they work with and trust.
- A silver bar must be manufactured by a COMEX or NYMEX approved assayer/refinery.
What Silver Coins or Bars Are Safe to Invest In?
Here are some popular coins and bars that meet the requirements for IRA eligible silver:
American Silver Eagle: Introduced by the US government in 1986, the Silver Eagle has quickly become an extremely popular way to invest in silver bullion coins.
Silver Morgan Dollar: Despite competition from the Silver Eagle, the most popular silver coin in America remains the Morgan Dollar. Because of the number of them that have been melted down since they were introduced in the mid-1870’s, nobody knows how many are left.
South Africa Silver Krugerand: In 1967, the South African National Mint changed the international precious metal market by introducing a gold coin that was legal tender and came in a standard troy ounce. Fifty years later, in 2017, they introduced a silver equivalent.
Johnson Matthey Silver Bars: Founded in 1817, Johnson Matthey is one of the most trusted brands in silver production.
Royal Canadian Mint Silver Bars: At 99.99% purity, these silver bars are the purest currently available on the market.
Many other coins and bars have been approbated and are safe to invest in, though a majority of the current supply in circulation is not eligible.
Before purchasing a new bar or coin, always do a little research to ensure that it meets all the requirements.
Can I Invest in Collectible Coins?
You are welcome to purchase collectible coins as an investment on their own, but they cannot be included as part of your precious metals IRA. Most collectible coins fall below the minimum purity requirements.
In addition, numismatics, commemoratives, and collector coins often have a sharp markup that won’t translate into any greater value for your investment. Be wary of any dealer that pushes you to buy the following coins:
- United Kingdom's Silver Britannia
- Great Britain Silver Queen's Beasts
- Chinese Silver Panda
- South African Pel's Fishing Owl Coin
- Isle of Man Silver Angel
- French Silver Coins
- Silver Swiss Francs
- Somalia Silver Elephant Coins
- Soviet and Russian Silver Coins
- Fiji Great Wave Silver Coins
- Cook Islands Silver Bounty Coins
- Andorra Silver Coins
- Niue Silver Hawksbill Turtle
- New Zealand Silver Kiwis
Want to Know More?
Diversifying into silver can protect your retirement savings against inflation and help ensure your wealth descends to your heirs intact.
But it’s important to know the rules and regulations first.
If you want to know more, consider our free gold IRA investment guide, which also includes some excellent advice on investing in silver as part of your precious metals IRA.
Sign up to receive a copy of the guide below to get started and see if starting a precious metals investment is right for you.