Planning for retirement can be difficult. There are many steps to take and plenty of research that needs to be done to get the most out of your investments. Plus, if you go by traditional means, there are limits to what you can do with your funds to help them grow long-term.

If you want to take control of your retirement, and give yourself more investment options, consider a self-directed IRA. Self-directed investing is an excellent option for anyone with the discipline and patience to plan for the future. If you’re interested in taking a roll in your retirement plan, here’s how a self-directed IRA runs.


What is a Self-directed IRA?


A self-directed IRA is an investment account overseen by you. As the account holder, you are responsible for setting up all aspects of your IRA, from the type of IRA to the assets that will build long-term savings. The key to SDIRAs is that they are self-run. Additionally, they operate differently than traditional IRAs purchased through bank trusts simply because you are allowed more opportunities to invest.

These accounts, though set-up and run by the account holder, must be filtered through a certified IRA custodian as per IRS regulations. There are many other nuances to having a self-directed account. If you are interested in taking the reins of your retirement planning, there are a few things you should know.


What’s Needed To Run A Successful Self-Directed IRA?


Before you run off to open an SDIRA, there are a few steps you should take. As the account holder, you are responsible for your retirement savings. Make sure that this investment style is right for you. Do your research; see what investment options are open to you. As you perform your due diligence, you can build a strategy; a plan is an essential step to running a successful SDIRA.

Additionally, you need to select the right assets and form a diversified portfolio. Finally, choosing the best IRA custodian is not only important; it is unavoidable. If this sounds appealing, here are the next steps to setting up a self-directed account.


Tax-advantaged Savings


One of the perks of opening a self-directed account is tax-advantaged savings. When you open an SDIRA, you can choose how contributions will grow over time. Traditional IRAs grow tax-deferred. Contributions made to a traditional IRA account will compound, tax-deferred until you retire. You will have to pay taxes on withdrawals after age 59 ½, but the amount of taxes paid will depend on your tax bracket as you retire.

Roth IRAs, on the other hand, grow tax-free. All contributions are taxed up-front. As account holders reach retirement age and begin to take withdrawals, these funds are received tax-free. Depending on your income and goals, either of these accounts can be beneficial.



Consult with Horizon Trust

Investing in Alternative Assets


Another benefit of owning a self-directed IRA is the option to invest in alternative assets. Beyond the traditional stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, SDIRA account holders have many additional options. The more current selections include real estate, promissory notes, precious metals, tax lien certifications, and businesses.

The IRS is hasn’t defined exactly what is considered an alternative asset; however, they have identified what is not allowed. Forbidden assets include collectibles, S corporations, and life insurance. While there are a few limitations, there are endless options to build a successful portfolio and accumulate funds for a comfortable nest egg.


How to Get Started


If self-directed investing is for you, the process is straightforward. Investors need to do their research, plan and fill out the proper paperwork. Additionally, it’s good to have an idea of how you plan to fund your account. After you go through the steps and file the paperwork, select your assets and custodian. As your account becomes active, the final step is maintaining your SDIRA. Your involvement doesn’t only end when the account is opened. As the account holder, you are responsible for making it succeed. Perform regular maintenance and keep an eye on your investments.


Be Careful of Pitfalls


Self-directed investing is not without its troubles. With more freedom comes more room for error. There are a few pitfalls you should be aware of before opening an account; otherwise, you may end up with a disqualified savings fund.

The most crucial factor you want to avoid is prohibited transactions, such as self-dealing. You cannot benefit from your account until you retire. Likewise, you cannot use personal funds to manage or upgrade your investments, like real estate. Additionally, there are specific ‘disqualified individuals’ you cannot do business with, nor can they benefit from your assets. As with any investment, perform your due diligence to avoid any possible entanglements.


Is self-directed investing right for you?


When done right, self-directed investing can be very rewarding, especially in your golden years. If you are willing to do the research, put in the time to plan, and maintain your investment, it is possible to build a successful retirement fund. Keep on top of your investments, avoid the pitfalls, and manage your portfolio for the most optimal long-term growth. Of course, before making any investment decisions, take the time to consult with a trusted Horizon Trust financial advisor. Take charge of your retirement and discovered the possibility of self-directed investing.