You can establish a SIMPLE IRA plan if you meet BOTH of the following requirements:
- You meet the employee limit
- You do not maintain another qualified plan, unless the other plan is for collective bargaining employees
You can establish a SIMPLE IRA plan only if you had 100 or fewer employees who received $5,000 or more in compensation from you for the preceding year.
Under this rule, you must take into account all employees who were employed at any time during the calendar year, regardless of whether they’re eligible to participate.
The SIMPLE IRA plan generally must be the only retirement plan to which you make contributions, or to which benefits accrue, for service in any year beginning with the year in which the SIMPLE IRA plan becomes effective.
What Makes a SIMPLE IRA Self-Directed?
When a SIMPLE plan is referred to as a self-directed account, it simply means you can use the account invest in areas outside of the traditional stocks and bonds. That’s the primary difference between a self-directed and traditional retirement account — where you put those investment dollars.
With a self-directed IRA or 401(k), you can invest in a variety of areas, including:
- Real estate
- Private debt like corporate debt offerings, notes secured by deeds of trust or mortgages
- Private equity-like stock of C-corporations, limited partnerships, LLCs and REITs
- Precious metals, including gold, silver, platinum, and palladium
- Cryptocurrency like Bitcoin