Investing From Within An IRA

by William Brightworth

Are you unhappy with how slowly your IRA account seems to growing? If so, maybe you would like to look into investing from within your IRA account. The money in your IRA account is not as untouchable as you might think, if you learn a few rules and take the initiative, there are options for you.

Even cautious investors should consider doing this with their IRA today. We may be entering a period of slowed growth and rapid inflation, and while CDs and other conservative investment tools have been stable and safe in the past, it’s possible that they will lose real value rather than gain it over the long term foreseeable future. Investing from within your IRA, diversifying into more risky tools with a higher potential payoff, may make the difference between a comfortable retirement and one that’s just scraping by for you.

To start with you will need to talk to the bank or financial institution that has your IRA on account for you and see if they will allow you to invest from within your IRA. If you bank or other institution holding your IRA account doesn’t’ have the option for doing this without having to give you financial advice (part of the bank or financial institution’s policies) you will need to get a third-party custodial firm to administer you IRA.

Cost-compare fees carefully. Some banks and firms will administer your IRA for a nominal charge; others will charge $2000 a year or more in base costs and transaction fees. Make sure you’re clear on how fees work before choosing an administrator.

Think carefully about diversifying and how you’d do it with your IRA. Just as with any gamble, you don’t want to bet everything you have on new investments. Instead, take a specific percentage of your IRA holdings to invest in riskier holdings like stocks or even venture capital. You can invest another small percentage in real estate, using Section 408 rules in the Internal Revenue Code. Investigate all the possibilities, and keep an open mind.

After you have outlined your options and chosen what you want to try, wait a year before activating these plans. The rules are somewhat twisted or complex and you want to give yourself time to make sure you haven’t overlooked any important rules that will cost you more in fees and taxes than a profitable investment will pull in.

Don’t take many chances on investing from within an IRA if you’re within ten years of retirement. This is about the buffer you need to give your money a chance to recover if things go terribly wrong and you lose more than you are comfortable with. IRAs this old should be left to grow more slowly. Besides, they’ve been growing slowly for long enough that they have nearly reached maturity already, limiting your returns and minimizing the impact from the slowing economy.

It can be both fun and lucrative to make money by investing from within an IRA, provided you understand the rules and risks. If you’re ready for a more aggressive approach or you want to change the direction of your IRA investments, talk to the institution holding your account today. It’s your money, and it should go where you want it to.

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