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Take Control of Your Future: Use Your SD IRA to Invest in Real Estate 4/17/2012

Did you know you could use your nest egg to purchase an investment property and increase its value through cash flow? You can roll your traditional IRA or 401k into a self-directed IRA (SD IRA) and—as the name implies—have direct control over where your funds are invested, namely a cash flow-producing rental property.

Traditional IRAs, in most cases, are distributed among stocks, bonds, and mutual funds at the discretion of the bank or financial institution by which they’re managed. The financial institution acts as the trustee or custodian of the IRA; it distributes, receives, and holds the account funds for the investor. In most cases, the investor is out of touch with his or her investment activity and just hopes for the best.

While approximately 97% of all retirement account assets are invested with banks, brokerage firms, mutual fund companies, and insurance companies, many people don’t know there are other retirement investment options available and that many of these options have greater return capabilities.1 Real estate, limited liability companies, private companies, and joint ventures are just a handful of possibilities. These investments require that you first roll your IRA into a self-directed IRA to allow you to direct its activity. Because self-directed IRAs are less profitable for financial institutions than traditional IRAs, and because fewer institutions are proficient at handling them, they’re more reluctant to communicate this option to investors.2

There’s no penalty for rolling your retirement funds into an SD IRA, but like a traditional IRA, it requires an account custodian. The difference is your ability to tell your custodian where to invest your funds. For example, you can have your custodian purchase real estate with your SD IRA, then hold the property as a rental investment and have the cash flow go back into your SD IRA. As a bonus, the fees associated with SD IRA custodians can be lower than traditional IRA fees.3

It’s much simpler than most people think. The first step is to find an SD IRA custodian. Not all banks and brokerages handle this type of account, and you’ll want to find one that specializes in SD IRAs. And be aware, rolling your IRA into an SD IRA typically takes six to eight weeks.

Once you have your SD IRA all set up, you can make an offer on a selected investment property in the name of your SD IRA. After negotiating a deal, your custodian executes the contract. There’s extra paperwork involved when going this route, but your custodian can help guide you through the process.

If you’re interested in boosting your retirement and diversifying your investments, using an SD IRA to invest in real estate is a great strategy. You’ll want to consult with your accountant and find a custodian who is experienced with SD IRAs. This method is certainly more proactive and lucrative than leaving your retirement funds in the hands of someone else and simply hoping for the best.


1Allen, Matthew M. Leverage Your IRA: Maximize Your Profits with Real Estate, Scottsdale: LIFESUCCESS PUBLISHING, 2010.

2Ibid.

3http://www.biggerpockets.com/articles/3088-4-reasons-to-invest-with-your-sdira-in-real-estate


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