Can I Be My Own IRA Custodian?

There are many companies offering retirement account services, but only some qualify as custodians for Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA). To prevent being scammed, make sure that any company uses secure systems to protect personal information and avoid hackers who could gain access to sensitive data.

Custodians cannot provide investment advice or recommend investments, leaving the responsibility for research and due diligence with you.


When shopping for an IRA custodian, it’s essential that you understand their fees. Some can be flat fees while others depend on what kind of investments are held by them. Your custodian should always be open about these charges so as to prevent unnecessary overpaying. If they are not, this could result in overspending on your behalf.

Verifying information contained in account statements is also essential. Due to their illiquid nature and difficulty of valuation, some alternative assets can sometimes have inaccurate valuations reported in account statements; using an independent, third-party professional or market expert’s services may help prevent you from being mislead by false assumptions in account statements.

Other fees you should keep an eye out for include:

Investment options

Self-directed Individual Retirement Account (SDIRAs) offer retirement savings a host of new investment options, from real estate and precious metals to privately offered investments and more. But be wary when investing in alternative assets with your self-directed IRA (SDIRA). Any transactions must comply with IRS rules. In addition, take note of custodian fees; some charge annual account maintenance fees while others have load charges or trading commissions attached.

SDIRAs also allow you to write checks directly into your LLC bank account without incurring transaction fees, providing greater investment flexibility and opportunity. Furthermore, their LLC structure permits non-recourse real estate loans which can provide leveraged growth.

An SDIRA allows you to purchase assets such as mortgage notes, startup equity through crowdfunding platforms and tax liens and deeds on foreclosed properties. Because these investments are often difficult to value independently, always confirm any information in your IRA statement such as prices or asset valuations before acting upon it.


When choosing a custodian for self-directed IRAs, it is essential that owners understand exactly what can and cannot be done by them. Some custodians allow owners to invest in alternative assets like real estate and private equity; these investments, however, tend to be riskier than traditional exchange-traded funds and bonds and often carry greater risk of fraud and volatility performance. Furthermore, custodians should be mindful of IRS rules regarding prohibited investments like collectibles or certain precious metals.

As well, it is advisable to select a custodian with knowledgeable specialists available online or via telephone. You can gauge their expertise through customer testimonials and the security protocols they employ; also pay attention to servicing times and how responsive they are when answering your inquiries.

Due to SDIRA custodians not being approved by the IRS to give financial advice, account owners are ultimately responsible for conducting due diligence when choosing one to help meet retirement goals. This may involve checking licensing and registration, consulting an advisor or lawyer as well as making personal selection decisions.


Self-Directed IRA custodians are financial institutions that hold your alternative assets safely while assuring you are following IRS rules. A good custodian will offer a selection of investments with low fees and provide excellent customer service, in addition to being able to verify any information, such as prices or asset values reported on account statements. Furthermore, good custodians protect you against fraud and regulatory violations.

Custodians for traditional and Roth IRAs tend to be banks, trust companies or other entities approved by the Internal Revenue Service. If you plan to invest in alternative assets like real estate or private equity, however, specialized Self-Directed IRA custodians may be necessary; such companies typically charge transaction- or asset-based fees that could quickly reduce returns; additionally they should have expertise in your chosen asset class and be capable of processing transactions quickly.

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