What Investments Cannot Be Held in an IRA?

What investments cannot be held in an IRA

Self-directed IRAs allow for many creative investments, but certain investments may be restricted due to Internal Revenue Code and IRA regulations.

An IRA cannot lend funds to anyone considered disqualified (including your spouse, parents and children) – this type of prohibited transaction is known as self-dealing.


Collectibles fall outside the scope of stock and mutual fund regulations and enforcement. As such, their laws, regulations, and enforcement procedures can often be less clear-cut. Typically speaking, you cannot invest any tangible assets that could qualify as collectibles in your IRA account.

Your IRA prohibits investments that could be considered collectible coins, since these contain precious metals like gold.

Keep IRA transactions out of prohibited transactions by carefully reading IRC 4975 and reviewing how you use your income from rental property to pay mortgage on it personally. Doing this would constitute an illegitimate act and should be avoided at all costs.

Real Estate

While stocks, bonds, and mutual funds are typical investments for an IRA, nontraditional assets like real estate also may be included as viable choices provided they follow IRS regulations regarding transactions with disqualified persons and compliance requirements.

Investment properties owned by an IRA may include single and multifamily rental homes; commercial buildings; raw land and lots; boats. Such assets can generate rental income that is tax-free if managed by a custodian. IRA-owned investment properties cannot be used by the taxpayer or his or her family members for personal purposes; investors must also cover property taxes, mortgage interest expenses, eligible expenses and depreciation charges associated with ownership.


An IRA allows investors to hold virtually any type of stock, such as company shares, mutual funds, unit investment trusts (UITs), exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and real estate. They also allow investments in options but some strategies require margin and are unavailable through Schwab accounts.

Investors may wish to increase the allocation of assets with greater growth potential in their retirement account, such as stocks. Although stocks can be more volatile and riskier than bonds, tax-deferred growth allows investors to enjoy tax-free growth until withdrawals at retirement time are made. Furthermore, investors with business acumen may look into private equity or venture capital investing through self-directed IRAs which allow such options.


Many IRA custodians restrict certain investments that do not qualify for the tax advantages provided by these accounts. IRAs should contain investments which allow for deferral of taxes on dividends and interest income.

Bond funds can make an excellent addition to an IRA because their returns typically come through interest payments, while investments sold within an account do not incur capital gains taxes. Municipal bond funds also work well since their interest payments are tax-exempt.

TIPS funds, or inflation-adjusted bonds, may also make for excellent IRA investments; as their principal increases with inflation over time, these are an ideal solution for investors in higher tax brackets who wish to protect their interest income from taxes each year.

Mutual Funds

The IRS generally allows most investments within an IRA as long as they comply with established guidelines and don’t constitute prohibited transactions, such as investing in cattle-breeding operations or using your funds to leverage stock purchases; such transactions would generate unrelated business taxable income (UBTI), something they do not approve of.

An Individual Retirement Account, or IRA, allows investors to invest in mutual funds, bank certificates of deposit, taxable bonds, annuities and certain coins – but cannot hold collectibles or real estate directly within its purview. A self-directed IRA may also invest in notes as agreements to extend credit or make loans.


IRAs can hold various coins and bullion that meet certain fineness standards, including American Eagle proof and bullion coins. Investors can also invest in metals through mining companies or mutual funds that hold these stocks.

Most IRA custodians forbid derivative trading because it exposes accounts to undue risk – something an IRA is meant to stand for.

Commercial papers are short-term debt instruments available for investment in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). It’s important to be aware of any risks involved with trading commercial papers in an IRA as the IRS doesn’t consider it suitable as retirement investments.

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.

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