Can I Be the Custodian of My Own IRA?

Can I be the custodian of my own IRA

Self-directed IRA custodians do not provide investment advice or recommend specific investments; rather they act as gatekeepers for funds within an IRA account by making sure investments do not violate IRS rules (i.e. prohibited transactions).

A top custodian should provide transparent fees and exceptional customer service, while IRA administrators and facilitators who charge hidden fees should be avoided at all costs; typically these are individuals or small companies pushing IRA owners towards another custodian partner.


IRA accounts that incur investment management or custodian fees must either deduct them as itemized deductions or use outside/personal funds to cover them; if using this latter route, be wary not to exceed either your annual contribution limit or total earned income for that year as this could incur penalties.

Make sure the IRA custodian you select has an extensive track record in managing all of your investments and offers the type of IRA that best meets your needs, for instance self-employed individuals may require a Solo 401(k), while small business owners might benefit more from SEP or SIMPLE accounts.

Most IRA custodians charge investment management and/or custodial fees, so be aware of all their charges before selecting one. In general, avoid those charging annual maintenance fees, mutual fund loads or trade commissions and additionally look for one offering no-load mutual funds.


As custodian of your own IRA, there are multiple fees you must cover, including account maintenance fees, transaction fees, and commissions on trades. Because these vary among custodians – some charge flat fees while others have different costs depending on which assets they’re managing – it is wise to do your research prior to selecting one.

When it comes to self-directed IRAs, service is of utmost importance in selecting a custodian. This involves offering high levels of knowledge, timeliness of response, precision of processes and consistency in processes. Furthermore, it’s essential to see whether or not they offer various alternative investments options.

Some IRA custodians specialize in traditional investments while others focus on alternative assets like real estate and private equity, which often have complex documentation requirements. When searching for such asset classes, find someone familiar with them; the ideal custodian will have a dedicated team of specialists on board to assist with these investments.

Investment options

Self-directed custodians should provide a wide selection of investment opportunities, from private investments such as real estate and privately-held companies, to non-traditional assets like digital currencies. Fees and charges should also be disclosed openly, while knowledgeable specialists should be on call 24/7/365 to answer your questions online or over the telephone.

Banks may provide custodial services for individual retirement accounts (IRAs), though their investment options and flexibility tend to be more limited than what traditional brokerage firms can provide. Furthermore, banks tend to charge higher brokerage services fees.

Investors must exercise extreme caution when selecting a custodian that offers brokerage services or recommends investments, since fraudsters may claim they are custodians of IRAs while actually selling fraudulent investments – illegal action that can have dire consequences. Furthermore, it’s crucial that “disqualified persons” such as parents, children and spouses do not manage this money for investors.

Customer service

IRA custodians are financial institutions authorized by the IRS to hold assets within self-directed IRAs. These banks, credit unions, or other financial institutions must adhere to strict policies and procedures as well as deliver excellent customer service – ideally offering a range of investment options at reasonable fees with user-friendly online tools that offer complete flexibility for account holders.

Self-directed IRA custodians are special financial institutions that allow alternative investments into individual retirement accounts, since traditional institutions such as banks and credit unions only permit marketable securities into an IRA account.

Self-directed IRA custodians meet the growing need of retirement account holders who wish to invest in non-prohibited alternative assets in their IRA, such as real estate and private placements. A directed IRA custodian does not act as fiduciary nor sell investments – instead, they act simply as passive custodians of alternative asset ownership that facilitate transactions at the request of account owners.

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