Your Top 10 Most Common Self-Directed IRA Questions Answered!

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Understanding how self-directed IRAs work can be some of the most lucrative and useful knowledge to have. When you know even just the SDIRA basics, you’ll find that there are many ways this information can help not only yourself and others around you as you continue to invest. So, what are some of the most common questions people ask about self directed IRAs? Below are the top 10 most common questions surrounding SDIRAs:

  1. What is the difference between a Self-directed IRA and a regular IRA? This is a great question and probably the most common question asked. The answer is actually simpler than it may seem. There is no legal distinction between a self-directed IRA and any other IRA. The difference is that with a truly self-directed IRA, the account agreement allows the broadest spectrum of investments. Legally, there is no difference between the two; self-directed is simply a term used to help describe that the account allows for the investor to have full control over their investment choices and the type of alternative assets than can be held. 
  2. What is the benefit of having a self-directed IRA? There are many benefits of using self-directed IRAs. Not only can you diversify your portfolio, moving beyond stocks, CDs, and mutual funds, but you can also have more control on the investments you choose. Unlike having a financial advisor that will trade and sell your stocks for you, when you have a self-directed IRA, you are truly getting to find the investment of your choosing. Everything is on your terms when you self-direct your account at a non-traditional custodian, because you choose the investment. This allows you to invest in the things you know and understand, as opposed to things you may not be as familiar with. Not everyone understands the stock market – or is comfortable with its current state, anyway – so, having the opportunity to invest in private assets like real estate, is a much better option.
  3. What type of accounts can be self-directed? There are many different accounts that can be self-directed. At Quest, we offer seven different types of accounts, all which can be self-directed. Because each account works a little bit different, it is beneficial to speak with someone like an IRA Specialist who can provide education about specific accounts.
  4. Can I have multiple IRA accounts? One of the great features of self-directed IRAs is that they don’t have to be used only on their own. Self-directed IRAs can work together by using a beneficial strategy called “partnering”. This term is used when one entity (or more) and an IRA come together to put up the funds for an investment. In this strategy, all parties have a vested percentage of ownership in the deal. When doing this, the percentage of ownership is decided at the beginning of the investment and must remain the same throughout the life of the investment. This means that any profit the investment receives is returned based on this percentage of ownership. Additionally, the IRA would be responsible for its percentage of any expense associated with the investment, too.
  5. Can I move a 401(k) to a self-directed IRA if I am currently still employed with my company? Typically, you cannot move your IRA until you have left your company or have some separation from the company that could allow you to move a portion of those 401(k) funds. This is not to say that you cannot have both an IRA and a company 401(k) at the same time. Many people have an IRA and make personal contributions to the account, you just may not be able to receive a deduction for your IRA contributions. In some cases, companies will allow for an “in service” rollover, meaning that some of the funds may be eligible to move to an IRA while still employed. 
  6. Is it possible to have a Roth IRA if I make too much money? One of the most common questions surrounds a certain type of IRA account – the Roth IRA. Many people believe that if you make too much money that you cannot have a Roth IRA, but this would be incorrect. Although it is true that if your modified adjusted gross income is over a certain limit you still cannot directly contribute, it would be false to assume this means you cannot have one at all. Check out our other articles about Roth conversions to learn more. 
  7. Is it possible to own real estate in an IRA? This is a very common question, and it is true that one can purchase and own real estate in an IRA. Due to the potential predictability and security of the asset, many people are making the decision to diversify their retirement accounts into tangible assets like real estate. With self-directed IRAs, you are able to invest in all types of real estate such as land, single family, multifamily properties, commercial properties, mobile homes and much more. When using an IRA to purchase real estate, your IRA is the purchaser and you make all the decisions about your investment and the profits grow in your IRA!
  8. What happens if I don’t have enough money in my IRA to purchase my investment? If you don’t have enough money in your IRA, don’t worry! There are other options available to you that can allow you to still use your self-directed IRA for the investment. You can:
  • Make your annual contribution if you haven’t made one for the year already.
  • Partner your IRA with another IRA or personal funds to make up the total cost of the investment
  • Utilize getting a loan from a private lender to help make up the remainder of the funds
  • Get a non-recourse loan from a qualified lender
  1. Can I live in or work on a house that my IRA owns? This is one of the most important common questions that involves IRAs. When you are using a self-directed IRA to invest, there are certain people that your IRA cannot participate in deal with. Certain disqualified people (you, your spouse, your lineal ascendants and descendants and any companies owned or controlled by those people) cannot do business with your IRA or else it will be seen as a prohibited transaction. If you are using your IRA to do business with a 3rd party, this can be done all day long! But this mean, you would not be able to work on or live in a house that your IRA owns. More about that here!
  2. Do I need an LLC to purchase investments in a self-directed IRA? No! You actually do not need to create any LLC when using an IRA to invest. When using your IRA to purchase alternative investments, you simply let your custodian know what you would like to invest in, and then your custodian will purchase the investment in the name of the IRA. 

Self-directed IRAs aren’t the easiest thing to understand, but once you’ve taken the time to ask yourself some of the most common questions, you’ll be able to understand them a little better. It’s important to have a knowledgeable investment professional or a certified IRA custodian/specialist that can help answer questions when needed! To learn more about how to get started investing with a self-directed IRA, schedule a 1-on-1 consultation with an IRA Specialist by clicking HERE.

Quest Against the Rest: A Self-Directed IRA Custodian Comparison

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

When choosing to open your self-directed IRA, there will be many things to consider before selecting the best custodian. Alongside service and experience, one of the main considerations will most likely be the fees. Some custodians boast minimal fees, and although that may seem enticing at first, this usually comes with a less positive overall experience. 

Our mission at Quest Trust Company has always been to provide the best experience for our clients and the highest quality of customer service, or as we like to call it “world famous customer service.” At Quest, we make sure our clients’ needs are always at the forefront of every choice we make, from day to day decisions to companywide implementations like systems and procedures. 

So, how do those fees compare to other Self-Directed IRA custodians?

Quest Fees Compared to Others

Our rates remain competitive compared to other self-directed IRA providers. While their administrative fees may appear lower, transaction and miscellaneous fees may be substantially higher. Additionally, services like closing an account, 24-48 hour turn-around time, or doing Roth conversions remain free at Quest when other companies charge hidden fees for similar accounts tasks. 

Quest Trust Company: 3 Administrative Fee Options, NO Account Termination Fee, 24-48 hour funding time with NO Expedited Fees, NO Minimum Cash Balance Required, NO charge on incoming wires/checks and more!

Quest was determined to rank in the top half compared to other custodians, taking the spot of 3rd place overall when compared to 12 others. The level of customer service received when you have an account at Quest surpasses that of custodians with cheaper fees, allowing us to still be one of the custodians to provide the best value!

Education to Set Us Apart

While other custodians may be able to provide the ability to self-direct your IRA, not every custodian will provide quality education to help the client make the best investment decisions. Quincy Long, our CEO, has always said, “the best clients are the most educated clients,” and this is why we have always provided the free, quality educational material to our clients and to the public. 

We also believe the same holds true with our staff. At Quest, we believe that an educated and qualified staff is necessary in order to provide the level of service our clients deserve and set us apart from other custodians, regardless of fees.  

Features with your Quest Accounts

Quest is always working to enhance the education programs we have in place, but also develop new training programs centered on providing better and faster service. Continuous advances to our systems allow Quest to be one of the self-directed IRA custodians on the forefront of investing technology. Whether we are giving clients more access to take control of their investment all throughout the process in the improved Client Portal or implementing new features, we’re focused on being able to put the control in the hands of the client.

Fees will always be a consideration when choosing to open a self-directed IRA, but remember- cheaper isn’t always better. We hope that our clients continue to find our services valuable as we strive to be the best Self-Directed IRA custodian in helping new and old investors to create their wealth for tomorrow!

We would love to share the many benefits of being with Quest Trust Company. To get more free education or information about starting your self-directed IRA, give a friendly Quest Certified IRA Specialist a call at 855-FUN-IRAS (855.386.4727). To learn more about how to get started investing with a self-directed IRA, schedule a 1-on-1 consultation with an IRA Specialist by clicking HERE.