Many people invest their IRAs in stock, bonds, or mutual funds. They may not realize that other alternatives are available too. For individuals looking to tread a different path when it comes to investing their IRAs, one exciting alternative is a self-directed IRA. MarketSpace Capital provides the following information on Self-Directed IRA’s. 

A self-directed IRA – Individual Retirement Account – is a retirement account which is quite similar to a traditional IRA. The purpose of a self-directed IRA account is to allow individuals to use their funds to make investments in non-traditional areas like businesses, real estate, and precious metals. Traditionally, financial institutions like banks, brokerage firms, and insurance agencies limited the number of investment options open to IRA account holders, forcing individuals to invest only in bonds, stocks, or mutual funds. Today, people have multiple sources of knowledge and information at their fingertips. Thus, through self-directed IRAs, they are looking to gain more control over their investment decisions. 

One attractive investment option for individuals using self-directed IRAs is real estate. First, real estate is real and tangible. It has always been viewed as a safe and reliable means of generating and growing wealth. Second,with an unpredictable and highly volatile local and global economy, people feel that leaving their IRA funds in the hands of a few money managers operating on one platform such as Wall Street is not the wisest course of action. Additionally, access to investment information on the Internet has left people feeling more confident about their ability to research investments that will generate high profits. Thus, real estate, with its potential for higher, more stable returns, is an ideal option.   

There are two ways to undertake self-directed IRA investing. You can invest your funds with the help of a custodian who is a specialist in self-directed IRA accounts, or you can invest your funds directly through a checkbook IRA account. In case a financial institution does not allow you to put your IRA funds in to a non-traditional investment, you can invest by transferring funds through your current account to the IRA custodian’s accounts. Reputable custodians like Provident and IRA Service Trust Company have directed investments of hundreds of individuals in this manner. 

If you choose to invest in real estate through self-directed IRAs, you must remember to follow all rules. The most important rule to remember is that the real estate you invest in is for investment purposes only. Other important rules to remember include no self-dealing – purchasing or selling to and from persons related to you; no improvement through sweat equity – employing unpaid efforts in improving the condition of a piece of real estate; and no personal benefits – like living in the piece of real estate yourself or lending to a family member. Once the property you placed your funds in is sold, the returns will be transferred back to you via the custodian or the check book account, whichever method you opted for. 

For individuals interested in self-directed investing, whether it be in real estate or some other area, the first and most crucial step of the way is research. Before making a decision about your investments, research the demographics, location, markets, sponsors and custodians – everything! Thorough research will result in improved decision making and higher returns which in turn will ensure a constant increase in your wealth.

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