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Promissory Notes

A hands-off investment with steady profit potential

Skip the Learning Curve

Learn more about private lending within an IRA

What is a Promissory Note?

A promissory note is a loan, with a signed “promise” to repay the loan amount by a certain date, typically with interest added. Think of it like a loan from a bank – but with private lending, you’re the bank. Talk to an IRA Counselor about the range of note investing possibilities for your IRA, including:

note icon

Simple Promissory Note

real estate promissory note

Real Estate Promissory Note

commercial real estate loan

Commercial Promissory Note

investment note

Investment Promissory Note

personal loan

Personal Loan Promissory Note

student loan

Student Loan Promissory Note

Why Invest in Notes?

Interested in real estate investing, but don’t want to be a landlord? Know of a local business in need of a boost? Promissory note investing – or private money lending – gives you the opportunity to loan funds from your IRA or other account to real estate investors, business owners, or others, providing you with a stream of passive, predictable, tax-advantaged income.


It’s not uncommon for investors to receive a 10 percent or more interest rate on a promissory note investment


Invest in real estate without the added work of managing a property: there’s little to do other than watch your payments flow in


Hedge against the traditional market with an alternative investment that’s not tied to stock performance


Loaning from a qualified retirement account shields you from taxes on your interest


You are the bank, so you set the terms, including interest rate and repayment schedule, for predictable returns


Help a struggling business, fund a promising startup, or contribute to a neighborhood housing revitalization, for example

Real Estate Note Profits: How Equity Trust Investors Fared

Wondering how fast you can grow your account with private money lending? An overwhelming majority of Equity Trust clients investing real estate notes receive 10-percent or more profits back into their retirement account.

Interest Rates Percentage of All Notes Secured by Real Estate
Under 3% 2%
3% – 5% 2%
5% – 7% 6%
7% – 10% 23%
10% + 67%

Note Investing in Your Retirement Account: How to Get Started

Equity Trust enables you to loan money from your self-directed retirement account, tax-deferred or tax-free. Here’s what you need to know to reap the benefits of private lending in your retirement account:


Open an Equity Trust Account

One of our specialized counselors will walk you through the process, or you can do it online with myEQUITY.


Find a Note Investment Opportunity

It could be an investor or business in need of a loan, or you could buy a note from another investor.


Create a Note

Draw up the document with the terms of the note. A note servicer can help with this.

Direct Equity Trust to Fund Your Investment

Easily initiate your investment with the Private Debt Wizard in myEQUITY.

Our liaisons are ready to help if you need it.

What Equity Trust Clients are Saying About Self-Directed Note Investing

Alexander W.

Equity Trust Client

“My last transaction, lending money on a private note was effortless and took minutes.”

Mark K.

Equity Trust Client

“I just wish that I would have known about this 10 years earlier than I do. But I’m glad I do it today.”

Greg Z.

Equity Trust Client

“If I loan to other investors at a fixed rate, I have predictability and have agreed upon my yield up front. To me, that doesn’t happen in investing anywhere else.”

Note Investing Made Easy: myEQUITY

Easily invest in promissory notes and countless other assets online with myEQUITY, our state-of-the-art online account management system. Our technology enables you to:

  • Open and fund your account easily
  • Complete a note investment purchase quickly
  • Track the status of your investment in real time
  • Receive borrower payments online

Why Investors Choose Equity Trust

What are you investing for? Whether your “why” is retirement, healthcare expenses, or a loved one’s education, we make the journey easy with innovated technology and first-class service.

self-directed ira at Equity Trust: limitless possibilities

Nearly Limitless Investments, One Account

Traditional financial institutions limit your account to traditional investments. With Equity Trust, you can truly diversify into a range of options including real estate, private entities, cryptocurrency, precious metals, and more, in addition to stocks, bonds, and mutual funds – all in one account.

self-directed ira at Equity Trust: power to succeed

The Power to Help You Succeed

Our size, expertise, and technology help us ensure that we’re there when you need us most. With more than 400 associates focused on processing over 2 million transactions each year, we work diligently to enhance your experience with us.

self-directed IRA at Equity Trust: support team

Your Direction, Our Support

While you’re in control, rest assured knowing you’re not alone: our knowledgeable, client-focused associated are here to provide dedicated, personalized service, from opening your account to assisting you with investment transactions. You can lean on our more than 50 years of experience in the financial services industry. Talk to a knowledgeable IRA Counselor.

Self-Directed IRA at Equity Trust: access to opportunities

Access to Opportunities that Match Your Goals

Don’t have an investment in mind? Most custodians establish your account and leave you on your own to figure it out. Our WealthBridge portal and Investment District online marketplace enable you to find potential investment opportunities with the click of a button. Start your search

Client Benefits Come Standard


  • Free annual membership to one of the nation’s largest real estate investors associations, which includes several benefits and discounts for real estate investors
  • Free access to a leading marketplace for construction services and contractors to ensure a fair price


  • Titling services specifically tailored to real estate investors who use a self-directed IRA
  • Special rental property insurance discounts
  • Access to a nationwide database of foreclosures, pre-foreclosures, real estate owned properties, and more – before the properties hit the mass market
  • Membership to real estate investor software system to help you generate leads, automate marketing campaigns, analyze deals, manage renovations, and more


  • Access to time-saving, and hassle-free assistance to help you navigate the real estate investment process
  • Extensive free education for real estate investors

Become the Note Investing Expert

Let our industry-leading education and resources help you navigate through your private money lending journey.


Learn how it works, promissory note investing rules, a real–life example, and how to get started.


Browse the tax-advantaged accounts and find one that matches your savings and goals- from retirement to education to health care savings.


Dig deeper into how note investing works in a retirement account.

man on mountain

Ready to Get Started?

Our knowledgeable IRA Counselors can answer your questions about the self-directed investing process and share insight and education about our self-directed accounts to help you decide what options may be best for you.

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