Can I Have a Self Directed IRA and a Solo 401k?

Self-directed Individual Retirement Accounts (SDIRAs) give investors access to alternative assets not typically available from traditional brokerage firms, including real estate, LLC ownership interests, promissory notes, tax lien certificates and precious metals.

However, it’s essential that investors understand the rules and restrictions associated with investing. For instance, the Internal Revenue Service frowns upon investing with unqualified persons or purchasing property that will become your residence; these practices could ruffle feathers with them.


Self-directed individual retirement accounts offer investors more flexibility when investing in alternative assets like real estate or precious metals, with higher contribution limits and pre-tax savings benefits than standard IRAs. Investors should follow IRS regulations closely in order to avoid prohibited transactions.

Verifying information in your self-directed IRA account statements is crucial, given the inherent illiquidity and difficulty valuating alternative investments like real estate. When buying and selling these in your IRA, capital gains taxes could apply if purchased and sold quickly enough. Also be wary when investing with someone with conflict of interests known as disqualified persons as this can void any tax advantages you might otherwise enjoy; to avoid this scenario it would be wiser to work with an expert rather than DIY methods alone. Furthermore, short-term capital gains taxes must be paid as this could significantly decrease profits; consulting an accountant will allow them to determine an accurate rate applicable for your investment strategy.


An SDIRA is an individual retirement account that gives investors greater autonomy when choosing investments, unlike conventional IRAs (and many employer-sponsored plans like 401(k), 403(b), Thrift Savings Plans, or pensions). They feature the same contribution limits as regular IRAs ($6,500 for 2023/2024 with an extra $1,000 catch-up contribution for people over 50), but may offer investors access to non-Wall Street brokerage firm assets for investment.

Real estate, promissory notes, private equity investments, precious metals and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are examples of assets which must be overseen by an expert custodian.

This means the account owner must conduct thorough due diligence and comply with all IRS rules, such as not purchasing real estate that they or a disqualified person currently or plans to occupy (unless for investment purposes), lending money to family members or receiving compensation in return for advice given – these transactions could all constitute prohibited transactions.

Checkbook control

Self-directed IRAs with checkbook control provide greater investment flexibility than traditional IRAs, enabling investors to invest in alternative assets like real estate, promissory notes, tax liens, precious metals and private shares without needing approval from an outside custodian or custodial fees. This increases investment efficiency while simultaneously saving on custodial fees.

To gain checkbook control, an IRA owner can set up a single-member LLC and act as manager on its Articles of Organization. Next, funds from their IRA account are moved directly into an LLC bank account so they can write checks directly for investment properties without involvement from third parties.

Checkbook IRAs offer an ideal retirement investment solution for people who prefer avoiding high custodian fees, yet at the same time want to avoid incurring high custodial fees. However, it should be remembered that an IRA must abide by IRS rules regarding prohibited transactions and disqualified persons; additionally it cannot invest in life insurance policies or collectibles – restrictions which might make checkbook IRAs less appealing.


Similar to its traditional IRA counterpart, a self-directed IRA requires the services of a custodian for asset storage; however, you have more freedom in selecting where your funds should go with this investment vehicle. All investment rules and prohibited transactions still apply (i.e. no collectibles, life insurance policies or real estate you reside in can be invested in as well as purchasing assets from “disqualified persons”).

Earnings accumulate tax-deferred and won’t be subject to taxes until they’re withdrawn in retirement. Contribution limits remain similar, yet investment options for an SEP IRA are much broader, including real estate, promissory notes or lending, private equity, precious metals trading accounts and foreign currency, tax liens, cryptocurrency and other alternative assets. But note: some investments come with higher fees and recordkeeping requirements compared with traditional IRAs; additionally a professional can assist in deciding if an LLC is necessary.

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