Advantages of a Self-Directed IRA

Whether you choose a self-directed IRA LLC or IRA Trust, you will have the freedom and flexibility to invest as you see fit. While there must be strict compliance with IRS regulations, you now have the freedom to invest into assets that make sense to you vs. being limited by what brokerage firms permit you to invest in. Here are some of the benefits you will have with either structure.

Checkbook Control

With great freedom comes great responsibility. While a saying in an old beer commercial, it really fits having “checkbook control” of your IRA. Freedom, yes, undoubtedly. Great Responsibility as you must stricly comply with all IRS Prohibited Transaction regulations. 

The “checkbook control” feature provides you the freedom and flexibility to invest as you wish. Enjoy your investing, be prosperous and comply with the rules!

Reduced Custodian Fees & Oversight

Under IRA law, unlike the requirements for a Trustee-directed Solo-K, your IRA must be held through an IRS-approved custodian. These custodians are “passive” in nature, meaning they fulfill their responsibilities as the custodian, but do not sell you investments. As a result, they charge annual fees for serving as the custodian of your IRA. Typically, you will be responsible for fees that range from account balance fees, asset fees, transaction fees, etc. Yes, it goes without saying that you can get “fee’ed” to death.

In contrast, a passive custodian that permits the IRA LLC or IRA Trust structure is less involved in the administation and oversight of the IRA’s investments. This is because the IRA funds are being capitalized into the LLC or Trust. You, as either the manager of the IRA LLC or Trustee of the IRA Trust, now assume that administrative function. All this means for you…the less involvement the custodian has usually means cost savings to you with their custodian fees.

In almost all cases, the IRA account owner will save on custodian fees over the long haul. Initially, the IRA account owner will expend more funds with the set-up of the IRA LLC or IRA Trust; however, they will save money in custodian fees over time. And, have more direct control of their investing through the IRA LLC or IRA Trust process.

Asset Diversity

Of course, an IRA LLC can invest into any asset not prohibited under IRS Prohibited Transactions. However, by having the LLC or Trust, the investment world is at your fingertips, and no waiting on the IRA custodian to process your request.

The Family IRA

With the IRA LLC structure, one is permitted to form a Family IRA LLC. The Family IRA LLC permits an LLC structure to be established that can accept two members (i.e., two IRAs). This is common in spouse/spouse IRAs where the spouses wish to combine their IRAs into one LLC for greater investment power and ability.

Of course, there are rules. What rules must you adhere to in this structure:

  1. Proportional/Percentage Ownership — When creating, the two IRAs holding membership will be assigned a percentage of ownership based on the capitalization from their respective IRAs. Once established, these percentages cannot change until dissolution of the IRA LLC.
  2. Partnership Tax Return — The IRS tax rules requires any multi-member LLC (two or more members) to file a partnership tax return. Generally speaking, no taxes would ever be due (unless UBIT or UDFI was triggered), but a partnership would still need to be filed with the IRS.

The Family IRA (cont.)

The Family IRA can be used when the desired investment is too large for your IRA to purchase alone. In the below illustration, Bill and Sue use their IRAs to buy a prorated interest in a third LLC. Then that third LLC purchases the property. In this strategy as in all investment strategies, structure and adherence to the IRS rules is of the utmost importance.

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Checkbook Control Of Your Retirement Funds

ImageYou have heard it said that “time is money”. Never has that been more true than with investing. When a good real estate deal comes along, you can not afford to take weeks to act. With a typical bank or brokerage IRA it can take a few days to a few weeks before you receive a check out of your IRA. Why? After all, it is your money that you are requesting. At PGI, we will help you with the simple yet effective steps of establishing Checkbook Control over your retirement funds. Once completed, you can simply write a check when you have the opportunity to grab a great investment. What could be simpler than that?

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Minimal Reporting

There are minimal reporting requirements when you establish an LLC inside of your IRA, since the LLC is by definition a “pass-through entity”. This means that all of the LLC’s gains and losses pass-through to its owner; in this case, the tax-deferred entity of the IRA. The tax-deferred structure of the IRA usually prevents current taxation.