Can I Manage My Own IRA?

Managering an IRA has many benefits, but it’s essential that you adhere to its rules. For instance, your IRA cannot lend money directly to disqualified persons such as family or employees of your business.

If you don’t have the time or experience necessary to manage your own IRA, why not consult a robo-advisor? These automated investment platforms select investments suited to your goals and timeline.

Choosing a Custodian

Custodians are the only providers authorized by the IRS to hold your assets, while administrators and facilitators serve only as intermediaries between you and an actual custodian. When selecting an IRA custodian, select one who specializes in your desired type of investments – traditional investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds etc) may not be suitable compared with alternative assets such as real estate investments such as private mortgages, tax liens, physical gold and silver or even company stock that require self-directed IRAs.

Consider all fees charged by each custodian, such as annual account maintenance fees, commissions charged for making trades, loads on mutual funds and any additional charges that might occur. Likewise, finding one with excellent customer service should be your top priority – that way you’ll always have someone available by phone with answers for any of your questions promptly and in an understandable way.

Investing in Alternative Assets

Traditional IRAs provide investors with a broad selection of investment choices – such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds – often at lower costs than some 401(k) plans.

Roth IRAs offer higher income earners the opportunity to invest post-tax dollars tax-free for retirement withdrawals without incurring penalties or restrictions from Uncle Sam. Income limits exist with this account type, and your contributions decrease as retirement age approaches.

SEP IRAs are traditional IRAs designed specifically for self-employed individuals and small business owners with few or no employees, as well as sole proprietors and freelancers. Employers can contribute dollar for dollar up to 25% of compensation.

IRAs offer investors an opportunity to diversify their retirement portfolio beyond stocks and bonds with alternative investments such as real estate, private equity, promissory notes and precious metals that provide stable returns while mitigating market fluctuations.

Managing Your Investments

IRAs allow investors to hold various assets, including turnkey real estate, private equity investments, precious metals, cryptocurrency and other alternative investments. Collectibles cannot be held within an IRA due to law restrictions on investing in volatile assets – you must conduct due diligence on yourself to understand any prohibited transactions and conduct due diligence on investments you wish to own within it.

Many individuals find the most effective way to manage an IRA is selecting investments that align with your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. A financial advisor can be useful in crafting your strategy and putting it into action; however, fees from these professionals will reduce the amount of money in your account over time.

As another option, robo-advisors provide another great alternative. Simply complete an online questionnaire addressing your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance; the robo-advisor then selects an asset portfolio suited to these criteria and makes adjustments as necessary – an ideal solution for investors wanting to reduce advisor and fund manager expenses.

Rolling Over a 401(k)

If you’re changing jobs or retiring, one way to ensure your retirement savings remain tax-deferred is to transfer your old 401(k) into an individual retirement account (IRA). Traditional IRAs provide much wider investment choices than most employer plans do.

Work closely with your new IRA provider to ensure the correct process is followed. Each institution may require that distribution checks contain specific information, like your IRA account number.

As well as choosing an IRA custodian, you must also determine whether you want to manage your investments on your own or hire a financial professional to do it for you. Be sure to carefully compare fees between each option; perhaps an online broker with low account fees and access to low-cost investments makes more sense; otherwise there’s always the robo-advisor which selects and rebalances portfolios at much reduced costs than human advisors.


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