Building Lasting Wealth for Your Future
Technology has changed everything, including how we approach investing. In today’s fast-paced world, companies providing financial and retirement services have had to adjust to meet consumer demand. New digital signature capabilities, online platforms and digital portals have provided consumers with on-demand access to their finances and investments as well as the ability to initiate transactions electronically.
These days people want more than a retirement strategy that relies on a “wait-it-out” mentality. Relying entirely on Wall Street has not proven to be the most effective long-term strategy.
While most traditional brokerage companies offer traditional and Roth IRAs, giving you the ability to select investment choices such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds, not all of them provide diversification outside of Wall Street. It is in your best interest to check whether your current custodian is regulated as a self-directed custodian and thus able to allow you to hold alternative assets in your IRA.
Self-directed IRA custodians enable you to invest in alternative assets that may not be directly impacted by the traditional markets. These alternative investments may include (but are not limited to) purchasing an investment property, intellectual property, limited liability partnerships, precious metals and private company stock.
The next question most people have is, “Where do I start?”
As a self-directed IRA owner, you can build substantial and lasting wealth for your future, starting with these five easy steps:
1. Seek out a licensed custodian.
Not all custodians are the same. Make sure you select a custodian that is highly regulated, provides timely funding of investments and has an accessible service team, competitive fee structure and educational resources to support your growing knowledge of viable investment options.
2. Complete the application process.
In addition to the application, you will need to provide personal identification and, if applicable, pay an account establishment fee.
3. Identify qualified funds that you would like to transfer.
Qualified funds are those already in an established IRA or a 401(k) left with a former employer. If qualified funds are not currently available, contributions can be made annually up to $5,500 for individuals under the age of 50 or $6,500 for those over 50.
4. Activate the transfer process by requesting a transfer of funds.
You will need a statement from the financial institution that currently holds the funds to be referenced during this process. Your new custodian will take the next steps by engaging this custodian to transfer the funds. A transfer of funds may take approximately three days to three weeks to be completed. This transfer is not a taxable event. Once your new account is funded you are free to begin investing your way.
5. Begin diversifying your portfolio.
Self-directing your retirement accounts provides you 100 percent control of your investment choices and the results. The key to being successful is maintaining an active involvement with your account and your custodian. This account allows you the freedom to invest in a variety of alternative investments. However, it is important to work closely with your custodian to ensure 100 percent compliance with IRS regulations.
With technological help so readily available these days, it is easy—and essential—to evaluate the many investment choices you have. Many people mistakenly assume that financial advisers and planners and Wall Street professionals always have all the right answers and provide the only credible plans for building your retirement wealth. Take the time to research appropriate self-directed custodians that are properly regulated for the state in which you reside. Each state has different rules, guidelines and regulatory oversight over custodians that could directly impact you and your retirement wealth if proper due diligence is not conducted.