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The internal revenue service (IRS) decree holds that Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) should have a custodian. The custodian is a financial institution that holds the account’s investments just for preservation. The custodian also ensures that all the government and IRS regulations are honored accordingly. While custodians are very easy to find, the problem is how to make the best choice. First, you have to decide the type of IRA you need and the type of investments you need to make with it.
Traditional vs. Roth IRA
Both accounts allow the money to grow free of income tax. The difference between the two is:
- In Traditional IRA, a tax deduction is made on the contributions from that year; this defers any tax payments until withdrawals are made years later.
- Whereas for Roth IRA, there is no tax break on the amount of money invested. In a nutshell, there are no taxes owed on the amount earned.
Whether Traditional or Roth, as an investor, you can choose to have your custodian manage the investments for you entirely or be self-directed.
A self-directed IRA allows for expanded investment options. Although the name self-directed makes it seem like the owner has all the control, that’s not how it is. A Self-directed IRA will allow you to move away from the traditional publicly traded assets and utilize your money for alternative assets: Real Estate, Private companies.
With this in mind, an investor, whether self-directed or not, would want to get the best custodian.
The following are characteristics of the best IRA custodian.
An Experienced Custodian – The best custodian for your self-directed IRA is a financial institution with significant experience in offering that service. Also, a custodian that focuses its efforts on providing self-directed IRA custodial services is more likely to serve your needs.
Smooth Account Set-up – The process of setting up an IRA with a traditional custodian should be as brief and quick as setting up a self-directed IRA. Quest Trust Company, for example, provides easy downloads for new account information packages and forms on its website.
Low-fees – Cost is one of the essential factors in business because it determines the total amount of profit expected. The most common fees for a custodian are the annual account maintenance fees, commissions, and loads for the mutual funds. All custodians do not charge the same. For example, maintenance fees are not a must. And if you are thinking of investing in mutual funds, it would be better to look for a custodian offering no-loads.
Wide Selection – It would be best to have a more excellent variety of investment options, especially the individual stocks and bonds.
Customer Service – It is imperative to have a knowledgeable person answering your calls and emails. It is very frustrating to receive incomplete or confusing information about your accounts. Therefore, while looking for a custodian, always vet the customer service.
No Restrictions – As an investor, you must get a custodian that doesn’t limit your investment options.
Education – Even if you are an experienced investor, you can benefit from an IRA custodian who provides you with educational opportunities. It would be wise to look for custodians who have relevant educational materials on their websites, such as in-person courses, live webinars, and overall educational resources.
Consolidation Savvy – For people having multiple IRA accounts, most custodians advise consolidation of the accounts into one single fund. Therefore it will be advisable to get a custodian who thoroughly understands the rules regarding consolidation.
After considering all of these characteristics, you should be able to make an informed decision about choosing the best custodian to help you set up and maintain your Self-directed IRA.
At Quest Trust Company, we offer self-directed IRA accounts that place the customer at the heart of the decision-making process. Contact us today to discover how our expert staff can ease the administrative burden and help you to make the investment that is right for you.