Gold IRA Statistics

To understand the Gold IRA market comprehensively, it is essential to consider various factors beyond the mere knowledge of individuals interested in investing in gold. Firstly, we should examine the context of the typical IRA consumer and then focus on those seeking to diversify their IRA by exploring other investment avenues. Finally, we need to identify the specific individuals investing in Gold IRAs.

Moreover, it is crucial to analyze the performance of gold itself, compare it with other precious metals, and assess the returns offered by a Gold IRA in contrast to traditional IRAs.

Now, let’s delve into the numerical aspects to explore this topic further.

An Overview of Key Concepts

Before delving deeper, we must familiarize ourselves with some fundamental terms. The subsequent explanations are derived from the official IRS page and related resources, paraphrased for clarity.

IRA (Individual Retirement Account)

An IRA is an investment portfolio managed individually, where a portion of one’s income is allocated for investment purposes. The funds deposited into the account, along with their accrued earnings, can be withdrawn once the individual reaches the age of 59 ½.


    Contributions made to a Traditional IRA are tax-deductible at the time of deposit. However, when withdrawals are made during retirement, they are subject to taxation as regular income.


    Unlike a Traditional IRA, contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax-deductible. However, qualified withdrawals from a Roth IRA are exempt from taxation.

Self-Directed IRA

In a Self-Directed IRA, investors can personally direct their investments into various assets, including collectibles like art, fine wine, or gold. It’s important to note that many of these investments are considered distributions, attracting a 10% tax as soon as the purchase is made.

However, there is an exception. If the investor establishes a Custodian specifically for qualified gold, silver, platinum, and palladium investments, these assets are treated similarly to regular stock or bond investments within an IRA. They are subject to the same taxation rules outlined in the Traditional or Roth IRA guidelines.

Comparison: Traditional vs. Roth IRA for Gold Investments

When investing in gold through an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), the debate between Traditional and Roth IRAs takes center stage. It’s a crucial consideration that demands the attention of any prudent investor. You can only contribute pre-tax dollars if you want to open a traditional gold IRA. On the other hand, a Roth gold IRA only allows investments with post-tax dollars. Putting your funds in a Roth IRA will experience tax-free growth, and you won’t be required to pay taxes when you make eligible retirement withdrawals.

Both types of IRAs offer similar tax benefits, the opportunity to capitalize on the potential appreciation of gold’s value over time, and the advantages of diversifying your investment portfolio with gold.

However, knowing the associated risks of gold IRA investments is essential. These risks include the potential increase in gold IRA fees and the inherent price volatility of gold.

Exploring the Gold IRA Option

A Gold IRA, also known as a precious metals IRA, is a type of Self-Directed Individual Retirement Account (SDIRA) that allows individuals to include physical precious metals, such as gold coins and gold bullion, in their retirement portfolios. However, adhering to IRS regulations is essential when holding precious metals within a gold IRA.

There are three primary types of gold IRAs, each offering its unique features:

  • Traditional Gold IRA
  • Roth Gold IRA
  • SEP (Simple Employed Pension) Gold IRA

These gold IRAs function as IRS-approved accounts, similar to regular IRAs. However, they can only hold IRS-approved precious metals, namely gold bars, which must meet specific purity criteria to qualify for an IRA.

For example, gold products eligible for IRAs must have a purity level of 99.5%. The American Gold Eagle coin is currently the only exception to this rule. A gold IRA is a precious metals IRA account that protects against inflation while providing tax advantages. A gold IRA can provide diversification benefits and long-term stability for your retirement portfolio.

Exploring Self-Directed IRAs and IRA Ownership Trends

Self Directed IRA

A self-directed IRA allows investors to invest directly in various collectibles, such as fine wine, antiques, art, and precious metals. However, it’s important to note that when investors purchase most of these assets, the IRS considers them as distributions, which makes them subject to a 10% tax penalty if withdrawn before the eligible age of 59.5.

To avoid this tax penalty when investing in a self-directed IRA, one can open a gold IRA through an IRS-certified custodian and make precious metal investments through that custodian. In this scenario, the IRS treats these investments similarly to regular bonds or stocks, following the taxation guidelines applicable to Roth and Traditional IRAs.

Analyzing IRA Ownership and Assets in the United States

  • The overall value of IRA assets has consistently increased. In 2021, United States citizens’ total IRA retirement assets amounted to a staggering $14 trillion.
  • Among the various investment types, “other assets” emerged as the most popular category. This implies that many individuals choose to invest in vehicles beyond mutual funds. Notably, “other assets” accounted for $5.6 trillion, making it the most significant individual amount.
  • Mutual funds ranked as the second-largest investment category, with a total value of $5.5 trillion. This highlights the significant amount of capital allocated to mutual funds by investors.

Delving into IRA Ownership Statistics

Moving beyond asset values, examining the number of people who own IRAs in the United States is valuable.

  • According to the Investment Company Institute, approximately 36.7% (47.7 million) of United States households own at least one type of IRA. Among these households, the Traditional IRA emerged as the most popular, with 28.2% (36.6 million) owning this type. The second most prevalent type is the Roth IRA, possessed by 21.0% (27.3 million) of households.
  • Therefore, 63.9 million households in the United States own either a Roth or Traditional IRA. The remaining 6.6% (8.6 million) of households hold other IRA types, such as SIMPLE, SEP, or SAR-SEP IRAs.

These statistics, although not specific to 2023, provide recent insights. The numbers are expected to grow this year as more individuals turn to IRA investments. Nevertheless, these figures indicate that there is still considerable work to be done in educating the general public about the substantial benefits of retirement accounts like Roth and Traditional IRAs.

Factors Influencing IRA Contributions and Ownership

Despite the potential for IRA ownership, the Investment Company Institute data reveals that only a fraction of United States households contributed to their Roth or Traditional IRAs in the 2020 tax year. Specifically, 37% of households owning these gold IRAs contributed, indicating that 63% did not. Potential reasons for this disparity include:

  • Limited available cash to make additional contributions.
  • Lack of awareness regarding the ability to roll portions of a 401(k) into an IRA.
  • A preference for saving money in easily accessible bank accounts for flexible withdrawals.

Among households that own traditional IRAs but did not contribute, a significant proportion (60%) comprised rollovers or accounts linked to Defined Contributions (D.C.) plans. Additionally, 44% of these households were already retired.

The Relationship Between IRA Ownership, Age, and Income

  • Individuals younger than 35 represent only 31% of total IRA holders, despite this age bracket being an opportune time to open an IRA, even with modest contributions.
  • The age groups with the highest IRA ownership percentages are 55 to 64 (43%) and 45 to 54 (39%). Although these figures are higher, they still fall short when considering the total number of households in the United States.
  • IRA ownership tends to increase with age but experiences a significant decline in the 65 and above age brackets. This decline can be attributed to individuals within this age range taking IRA distributions during their retirement years.

These findings highlight that not everyone has the financial means to invest in an IRA. The statistics underscore the importance of promoting IRA awareness and accessibility, particularly among younger individuals, to ensure a more secure retirement future for a broader demographic.

IRA Ownership

Insights from the American Gold Ownership Survey

Findings from a 2020 survey conducted by Gold IRA Guide revealed that 10.8% of Americans own gold, while 11.6% own silver. However, the survey did not specify whether the gold ownership pertained to physical holdings or gold held within an IRA. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that a gold IRA enables investors to include physical gold and other precious metals in their retirement accounts.

Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the facts and figures related to gold ownership can significantly contribute to making well-informed investment decisions regarding gold, silver, platinum, and palladium for retirement purposes.

Tracking precise data on gold holdings and the amount held in IRA accounts can be challenging. However, here are some general figures for context:

  • Self-Directed Individual Retirement Accounts (SDIRAs) account for only 3 to 5% of the total retirement accounts in the United States. It’s essential to note that this figure encompasses all SDIRAs, not exclusively gold IRAs.
  • Gold owners constitute just 12% of the entire American population. However, it is crucial to recognize that this figure does not exclusively represent gold IRA ownership.

Obtaining demographic data on investors who own gold IRAs poses challenges due to the privacy of records. Therefore, the above survey does not provide specific insights into individuals who own Traditional or Roth gold IRAs.

Further research reveals the following specific results:

  • Among males aged 45 to 54, 14.3% own gold and silver.
  • For males aged 35 to 54, 5.1% exclusively own gold.
  • Among females aged 35 to 44, 7.8% exclusively own silver.
  • For males aged 35 to 44, 1.8% exclusively own silver.

Suppose the ownership trends observed for gold and silver carry over to gold and silver IRA investments. In that case, it suggests that a significant portion of investors in this domain consists of males between the ages of 35 and 54.

Exploring Gold’s Average Annual Returns

The growing popularity of precious metals like those from Augusta , particularly gold, as investment options for Americans is no longer a well-kept secret. A visual representation displays the average annual return of gold from January 1971 to December 2022, which stands at an impressive 7.78%.

Furthermore, the data indicate that gold outperformed many other assets across various investment classes. This showcases the potential of gold IRA investments to diversify one’s retirement portfolio, protect funds against market volatility and inflation, and achieve significant returns.

Advantages of Gold IRAs: A Comparative Analysis

Let’s delve into the benefits of Gold IRAs compared to stocks, explore their performance within IRAs, and examine the associated tax implications.

Gold versus Stocks and the Dollar

Between 1990 and 2020:

  • Gold prices witnessed a 360% increase.
  • The Dow Jones (stock index) experienced a 991% increase.
  • The dollar saw a 198% increase.

In summary, gold outperformed the dollar by almost two-to-one, while the stock market averaged gains five times higher than gold. It’s worth noting that gold tends to perform better in a low-interest-rate environment, typically between 0-4%.

Gold IRA Performance Versus Traditional IRA

Investment returns vary based on market dynamics, making direct comparisons difficult. However, if we consider a $1,000 investment in gold and the Dow Jones in 1990, as of July 19, 2022, we would observe:

  • A $4,419 return from gold resulted in a $3,419 profit.
  • $11,878 in stock gains.

In contrast, simply holding onto the same amount of dollars would have led to a loss of twice the purchasing power.

Tax Implications of a Gold IRA

The tax treatment of gold investments from the best gold IRA company differs depending on whether it is held as a collectible or within an IRA. Understanding how gold is invested is crucial for assessing the associated tax implications. According to data compiled by the Journal of Accounting, the following annualized returns were observed for a $10,000 investment after taxes and broker fees:

  • Physical investments: 5.85%
  • Roth IRA: 6.88%
  • Traditional IRA: 8.94%

For higher earners ($398,500), the returns were:

  • Physical investments: 3.71%
  • Roth IRA: 5.68%
  • Traditional IRA: 7.94%

Considering tax implications, these returns indicate a slight advantage for earners in lower tax brackets (25% tax bracket at the time of investment, 15% tax bracket at retirement) compared to wealthier investors.

Consider the Source

It is essential to evaluate the source of information when analyzing Gold IRA data from gold IRA companies like Augusta Precious Metals. While one survey cited originated from a Gold IRA industry publication, the data relied on anonymous polling, similar to surveys conducted by external top gold IRA companies.

Insights from Financial Advisors

According to the investment arm of Prudential Financial:

  • 50% of analysts utilize alternative investments for clients.
  • 62% of those analysts have a wide range of alternatives available.
  • 6% of those analysts have limited or no range of alternatives.
  • 49% stated that their clients needed more portfolio diversification.
  • 40% reported that clients rely on them to identify alternative investments.

When we combine feedback from financial advisors from a reputable gold IRA company with the relatively low rates of total investment in IRAs and the minimal allocation to precious metals ira accounts in self-directed assets (less than 2%), a substantial gap likely exists between traditional stock/bond IRAs and Gold IRAs.

It is essential to consider these factors carefully and conduct thorough research when evaluating the advantages of Gold IRAs over other gold IRA investment options.

Tim Schmidt


Tim Schmidt is an Entrepreneur who has covered retirement investing since 2012. He's also a published author, and his views on investing have been featured in USA Today, Tech Times, The Huffington Post, Nasdaq, and many more.