Most people are not aware that they can decide how the funds in their IRAs are invested. In today's economy, many people are finding that they would have done better if they had invested the monies in their IRAs them instead of relying on someone else.
IRAs were originally designed for people who did not have a pension plan where they worked. In 1982, the law was changed to make them accessible to anyone under the age of 70 1/2 who had earned income.
Traditionally, an individual sets up an IRA with an investment company such as a bank or brokerage house. Then, he is furnished with a small list of investments from which to choose.
Because the investor “chose” his investment, he sometimes thinks he has a self directed IRA. That is not true. He has been limited to the investment products offered by the company where his IRA is held.
A truly self directed IRA allows the owner to choose from a wide variety of investments. No longer is he limited to choosing between a few products offered by the investment company. Here is a partial list of investments available:
• Discounted Notes
• Foreign Currency
• Limited Liability Companies
• Limited Partnerships
• Mortgages and Deeds of Trust
• Oil and Gas
• Precious metals (certain types of gold, silver and others)
• Private Developments
• Private Placements
• Public and Private Companies
• Secured and unsecured loans
• Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds
• Tax Liens and Deeds
• Real estate – including domestic, foreign, investment property, commercial property, & raw land
• Much more
With a few exceptions specifically prohibited by the IRS, the owner may invest in almost any type of investment available. Examples of prohibited transactions are:
• Lending money to yourself
• Selling personal property to your IRA
• Paying yourself unreasonable amounts to manage your IRA
• Using it as security for a loan
• Buying property for personal use (your home)
Self directed IRAs are not for everyone. Some people do not want the responsibility of choosing and managing their investments. For those who do, there are many advantages, especially with an IRA LLC:
• More control over your IRA's investments
• Minimal Custodial fees
• Better Asset Protection
• Tax deferral
• Ability to partner with an IRA LLC or a self directed IRA
• Less administrative bureaucracy
• No transactional fees or holding fees
• Less paperwork
If you already have a traditional IRA, it is not too late to convert it to a self directed IRA. While all IRAs are required to have a custodian, a self directed IRA can give you a checkbook control of your retirement funds and allow you to decide how they are invested. In a short time, your IRA can be transferred to a self directed IRA and you can take control of your retirement and your future.