Can You Have an IRA Without a Custodian?

Can you have an IRA without a custodian

An Individual Retirement Account, or IRA, allows investors to diversify their investment portfolio through banks, brokerage firms, mutual fund companies or trust companies.

When choosing an IRA custodian, make sure they offer low fees – this will prevent fees from eating into your investment earnings and being transparent about how they charge fees.


Selecting an IRA custodian that meets your investment preferences and charges low fees is of utmost importance. Fees to consider when selecting your custodian include account maintenance charges, load charges in mutual funds and trade commissions; additionally it is also essential that they offer investments you’re interested in.

Some custodians offer investment options in alternative assets, such as real estate and precious metals. These investments typically occur through specialized exchanges and can involve additional risks; additionally, fraud could occur.

Some robo-advisors and discount brokers charge no fees when opening an IRA, providing assistance in choosing suitable investment strategies to match your goals and budget.

Mutual Funds

IRAs are tax-advantaged accounts used for retirement savings. You can invest them in various assets, such as real estate (directly or through REITs), private mortgage notes, closely held businesses or precious metals. It’s essential to understand which custodians manage IRAs effectively and the regulations surrounding each investment choice.

Trust and custodianship services are typically only provided by select organizations such as banks, credit unions, insurance companies, life insurance firms and investment brokerage firms. A good custodian should offer a wide variety of investment options with low fees and excellent customer service – the IRS website contains a list of approved nonbank custodians.

Insurance Companies

If your child earns income through employment or self-employment, a custodial Roth IRA could be ideal. An adult will need to act as the custodian until he or she reaches “age of majority”, which typically falls between 18-21 depending on your state of residence.

Custodians for individual retirement accounts don’t provide advice or recommendations regarding investments; rather, they ensure compliance with IRS regulations.

Verification is key when managing a self-directed IRA account, including verifying pricing and asset values as well as compliance with prohibited transactions outlined by your IRA rules.

Brokerage Firms

Fundrise provides FDIC-insured investments but lacks the flexibility of holding real estate assets within an IRA account. If this is important to you, Fundrise offers solutions for opening an IRA without needing a custodian.

Custodial accounts allow an adult to maintain full control until the minor reaches “the age of majority,” typically 18-21 in most states. Once at that point, their ownership passes to them directly and full control is assumed by them.

Most brokerage and wealth management firms provide Roth IRA accounts. NerdWallet uses an in-depth scoring methodology that compares and rates the top online brokers and robo-advisors based on factors like account fees/minimums/investment choices/customer support/mobile app capabilities – in short everything an investor might look for when selecting their ideal investment service provider.


Self-directed IRAs (SDIRAs) provide individuals with an alternative retirement solution by enabling them to invest in non-traditional assets like real estate and precious metals. You can establish one by rolling over funds from traditional or Roth IRAs, employer sponsored retirement plans (such as 401(k), etc.

Process can be complex and time-consuming; careful attention must be given to avoid prohibited transactions and illegal activities. A facilitator or administrator may assist with opening an SDIRA; these companies do not serve as custodians and charge fees for their services, though they cannot give financial advice. NerdWallet’s rating methodology considers account fees, minimums, investment choices, customer support features and mobile app features when rating providers.


Custodians and administrators share many similarities, yet have their own distinct roles: administrators usually handle paperwork related to tax reporting while custodians keep assets safely secured in their custody.

Traditional and Roth IRAs typically utilize banks, brokerage firms, mutual funds and trust companies as custodians; however, these types of custodians limit investment options to CDs, bonds and publicly traded stocks.

Selecting an ideal custodian is critical to the success of any retirement plan. Look for one with a range of investment options, low fees and excellent customer service; additionally choose one who discloses all costs such as transaction and administration charges upfront; selecting an unsuitable custodian could ultimately cost more over time.

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