The Best IRA You’ve Never Heard Of: The Self-Directed IRA
Posted By Isaac Nuriani
Not all Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are created equal. One lesser-known type of IRA, the self-directed IRA, is becoming more common in this day and age, but there remain countless numbers of people who’ve never heard of it. You may be one.
If you already have an IRA (and you should), chances are pretty good the account is at your local bank, or maybe at a discount broker, like Charles Schwab or T.D. Ameritrade.
If the account is at your bank, it might mean your investments inside the IRA are limited to very safe, very low-earning kinds of instruments, like certificates of deposit (CDs).
If you’re invested at a brokerage, then you’re probably invested in individual stocks, mutual funds, and/or exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
But what if you want to invest in something different? Something far outside the realm of standard bank products, or even stocks and mutual funds? Can you do that in an IRA?
Actually, you can, but you’ll need the self-directed IRA to make it happen. With a self-directed IRA, you may purchase a wide array of assets, including real property, tax lien certificates, equipment leases, nonpublic businesses, and a number of other alternative investments.
You can also invest in physical precious metals – more about that in just a minute.
Note that you can’t invest in anything you want within a self-directed IRA. Plenty of purported “assets” are explicitly prohibited by the IRS, and they generally fall into the category of collectibles; no artwork, rugs, or antiques, for example. No stamps. Oh, and no alcohol, either, so if you were thinking to buy a bottle of rare vintage wine in hopes that it eventually appreciates nicely, don’t do it. If the IRS finds out, they won’t like it. You might not even be allowed to keep it long enough to drink it.
Besides collectibles, you can’t buy life insurance inside of an IRA, either.
But there’s still a wide range of options available to you, including gold and silver bullion that meets the IRS’s standards of refinement.
THIS is where the benefit of the self-directed IRA really comes in. Not for the purpose of making novelty IRA investments, but to invest in meaningful alternative assets that can provide effective diversification on behalf of your retirement plan.
Take precious metals, for example. Gold and silver are considered smart assets to include in your retirement plan because, in addition to serving as genuine stores of value, the metals have a very low correlation to the stock market. This means they generally don’t move as the stock market does, and therefore have the potential to offer real diversification.
But in a “typical” IRA, like one held at a discount broker, you are limited to gold and silver securities, like mutual funds, or the stocks of mining companies. Not only is this a less direct way to own precious metals, but the benefit of low correlation is largely mitigated. Even though the securities give you an investment interest in gold and silver, they are still subject to stock market pressures in the way gold and silver bullion are not.
This is what is so great about a self-directed IRA. Own physical gold and silver, and do so inside of a tax-deferred account. Talk about a win-win!
So, what do you do now? How do you get started with buying gold and silver inside of a self-directed IRA?
You begin the process by talking to professionals knowledgeable about precious metals, as well as the details of self-directed IRAs. For example, you will need a special self-directed IRA custodian to administer your accounts in the same way your bank or brokerage acts in that capacity on behalf of other investments.
A good place to find more information about precious metals and self-directed IRAs is at Augusta Precious Metals. The Augusta team is ready to assist as you move toward in taking true ownership of your retirement planning. Call us at 855-242-4121 to learn more about buying gold and silver bullion in an IRA.