Self-Directed IRA & 401K Basics

Is a Self-Directed IRA a Good Idea? — Maybe Not!

Okay, you got me on this one.  Is an IRA a bad idea or consideration?  Of course not. Now, ask me if a self-directed IRA is a bad idea or consideration and the water just got murkier. Why? It is not that a self-directed IRA is bad….I would always choose a self-directed IRA over your standard IRA.  Personally, I do…read more →

My Self-Directed 401K Plan — When Should I Start One?

In today’s current growth of the market, it is not surprising to hear the following statements: “The DOW is doing so well, this would be the absolute worst time to set up a self-directed IRA or self-directed 401K for my retirement savings.” “The DOW is doing so well, this would be the absolute best time to set up a self-directed…read more →

What is a Self-Directed IRA — The Proverbial Dog?! (Part 1)

Okay, every so often I like to pull out some movie references.  You may remember “Kevin” in the 1980’s classic, “Home Alone.”  There is a part in the movie where Kevin has his older brother’s (Buzz) wallet, proceeds to pull out a picture of Buzz’s girlfriend and says, “Buzz your girlfriend…woof.”  So, what, pray tell, does this movie reference have to…read more →

What is a Self-Directed IRA…And, Why You Don’t Care!

Many times people will call and ask the following: 1)  “What is a Traditional IRA?” 2)  “What is a Roth IRA?” 3)  “Can I Self-Direct”? Typically, they have done some online research and realized that they may be able to self-direct the assets within their IRA or 401K.  However, while these folks have clicked endless online links as to why…read more →

What is a 401K Plan? If You Self-Direct, You May Get Confused!

People inquire frequently on what is the difference between all the self-directed 401K plans they see advertised on the internet.  When they see different “named” type of plans, they naturally assume there is a difference.  Research the topic on any given day and you will see references to: My 401K Plan Self-Directed 401K Self-Administered 401K IK I401K IPlans SoloK and…read more →

IRA Accounts — Don’t Face IRS Scrutiny or Penalties

There is a saying that goes something like, “with great freedom comes great responsibility.”  This statement, when applied to IRAs in general, and self-directed IRAs in particular, couldn’t ring more true.  It may not be a question of “how to be self-directed”, but rather IF you should be self-directed. Why? The penalties associated with triggering an IRS Prohibited Transaction within…read more →

My 401K Plan — Do I Need ERISA?

The conversation of ERISA….and whether a self-directed 401K plan falls under its mandate…comes up a few times a year.  However, strangely enough, when people inquire as to whether a self-directed 401K plan falls under ERISA, they have typically been informed by financial professionals, CPAs or attorneys that their plan MUST comply with ERISA.  This creates the impression with the prospective…read more →

More IRS Agents? I Guess More Audits!

Many people who have established self-directed IRA and 401K plans are always cautioned about maintaining strict  compliance with IRS Prohibited Transactions.  One might always want to consider such prohibited transactions similar to the IRS’ 10 commandments. However, before even starting with investing from their plan, there is a very key issue for many people that, if not careful, may present…read more →

Self-Directed 401K Plans — Time to Fund

Just like any 401K plan, you may now wish to fund your plan and maximize it to the highest potential possible.  Of course, you always have and, should exercise, the option of funding your plan with contributions….both employee deferrals and profit share contributions.  But, you have other options available to you, should you desire, get fund your plan as much…read more →

401K Plan Loans — Why 72(p) May be Your Friend

I often receive many inquiries related to loans permitted from a qualified plan, such as a 401K plan, but also including 403(b) and 457 plans.  I always advise that while loan provisions are an attractive feature to a 401K, including a self-directed 401K, it is only my job to educate on what is permissible, and not that they should exercise…read more →