Can You Hold ETFs in an IRA?

Can you hold ETFs in an IRA

Roth individual retirement accounts (IRAs) offer you many investment choices, but one popular selection among Roth IRA owners are exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which provide both diversification and low costs.

ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds) are baskets of securities that trade like stocks intraday, typically tracking an index. Their benefits include low fees and tax efficiency.


As with mutual funds, ETFs must distribute capital gains annually to shareholders. Although such distributions can result in tax liabilities for investors, several features exist within ETFs that help minimize these tax costs for their investors – these include their fund structure, intraday tradability mechanism and tax sensitive intraday trading features.

Costing of owning ETFs is determined by their net asset value (NAV), with investors trading shares of them according to this fast-changing value. They buy and sell shares based on this NAV which fluctuates quickly throughout the day, just like stocks do. Like stocks, however, ETFs also pay dividends; when doing so they must determine their cost basis which encompasses original purchase price plus any commission fees paid.

Investors have the option of receiving ETF dividends as cash or investing them through a dividend reinvestment program (DRIP). The IRS taxes nonqualified ETF dividends at 15%; qualified dividends are taxed at zero for investors in the 10%-15 brackets and 20% in higher brackets.


Fees associated with your IRA investments can make an impactful statement about how serious you are about saving for retirement and increase the chance that savings will run out before reaching age 66. Therefore, it is crucial that you fully comprehend and select funds with low fees when selecting funds to put into an IRA account.

ETFs typically offer lower fees than mutual funds, since they tend to follow an index or sector without trying to outwit it. Their expense ratio, which measures fees as an annual percentage of net assets, also tends to be more competitive with that of mutual funds.

Investors must also carefully consider the hidden costs associated with purchasing and selling ETFs, such as commissions or the bid/ask spread. Unfortunately, these costs can often be difficult to quantify; fortunately, many brokers now provide commission-free ETFs.

Tax-efficient funds

Tax-efficient funds help investors retain more of what they earn. With their lower turnover rate and protection from other ETF shareholders’ actions, tax-efficient funds enable investors to maintain lower cost bases and perform rebalancing transactions without realizing capital gains on securities underlying them.

ETFs have earned themselves an excellent reputation as tax-efficient investments, but not all are equal in this respect. Before investing, investors should carefully consider several factors, including their tax bill and portfolio design.

Investors typically opt for passive bond funds in their taxable accounts, while some choose more tax-efficient stock index funds. Some investors use a hybrid approach by holding total-market bond funds in an IRA and passive stock index funds in taxable accounts – it is best to start filling these tax-advantaged accounts first before moving funds over into your taxable accounts if space allows.

Inverse ETFs

ETFs have quickly become a key part of many taxable portfolios, yet they still fall within Uncle Sam’s reach. If you purchase an ETF that relies on derivatives like short sales transactions, these could potentially incur unlimited losses and are usually not allowed within an IRA account.

Instead of using derivatives as they make their returns, some inverse ETFs generate profits by capitalizing on price decreases of underlying index or asset. This process resembles short selling but exposes investors to various market risks.

Inverse ETFs offer investors looking to capitalize on price declines while being wary of shorting. However, fees and commissions can often be higher than traditional ETFs.

Raymond Banks Administrator
Raymond Banks is a published author in the commodity world. He has written extensively about gold and silver investments, and his work has been featured in some of the most respected financial journals in the industry. Raymond\\\'s expertise in the commodities market is highly sought-after, and he regularly delivers presentations on behalf of various investment firms. He is also a regular guest on financial news programmes, where he offers his expert insights into the latest commodity trends.

Categorised in: