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Common Self-Directed Investments

Real Estate

Real Estate Investing Within an Equity Trust Self-Directed IRA

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Real estate is a common alternative investment that can be purchased for many purposes including long term rental, rehabbing, or quick re-sales such as flipping and wholesaling.

Examples of real estate investments include:

  • Residential Homes
  • Commercial Properties
  • Deeds of Trust
  • Mortgage Notes

Learn More About Real Estate

Promissory Notes / Lending

Promissory notes or lending (also known as private debt) provides self-directed account holders with the ability to loan money from their account. Loans can be made to an individual or a company.

Examples of promissory note investments include:

  • Mortgage Notes
  • Corporate Debt
  • Draw Notes

Learn More About Promissory Notes / Lending

Private Equity / Entities

Private equity (also known as an entity) investments can include purchasing ownership in start-up companies, real estate development companies, private LLCs, private placements, etc. You can purchase ownership of a company as long as it is not publicly traded and the investment follows the rules for ownership by a retirement account, as outlined by the IRS.

Examples of private equity investments include:

  • Private LLCs
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Corporations

Learn More About Private Equity / Entities

Precious Metals

Precious metals are an alternative investment option that can be held within your self-directed account. Equity Trust Company (ETC) custodies certain types of gold, silver and platinum coins and bullion, subject to applicable rules and regulations.

Examples of precious metals investments include:

  • Gold and Silver American Eagle Coins
  • Proof Coins
  • Australian Perth Mint
Learn More About Precious Metals


Cryptocurrency is a digital currency designed to work as a medium of exchange. To do this, it uses cryptography to secure and verify transactions as well as control the creation of new units of a particular currency. Essentially, digital currencies are limited entries in a database that no one can change unless specific conditions are fulfilled.

Examples of cryptocurrency investments include:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Ripple
  • Litecoin
  • Stellar
Learn More About Cryptocurrency

Trading Accounts and Foreign Currency

Trading accounts can be used to trade traditional investments such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, foreign currency (Forex), futures, and commodities. Trading accounts can either be self-directed or managed.

Examples of trading account investments include:

  • Stocks
  • Foreign Currency
  • Commodities

Learn More About Trading Accounts and Foreign Currency

Tax Liens / Tax Deeds

A tax lien is the purchase of a lien on a property, typically related to unpaid taxes. A tax deed is the purchase of a property from the county as a result of the non-payment of taxes. The process and rules may vary across each county and you may attend an auction to facilitate the investment in one of these assets.

Examples of potential returns from investing in tax liens include:

  • Redeemed Tax Lien: Lien amount paid to investor plus interest
  • Un-Redeemed Tax Lien: Investor is given the deed to the property
  • In some states tax deeds (rather than tax liens) offer an investor has an opportunity to buy property deeds at discount


Learn More About Tax Liens / Tax Deeds

Mutual Funds, Stocks and ETFs

Combine traditional assets with self-directed alternative investments within an Equity Trust account.

Equity Trust also offers the opportunity to invest in traditional investments such as stocks and mutual funds.  There are multiple ways to invest in traditional assets within your Equity Trust account. Brokerage services are available to clients with individual retirement and other custodial accounts, for which Equity Trust Company serves as custodian, through an account with our affiliate, ETC Brokerage Services, LLC.

ETC Brokerage Services, LLC provides a simple solution for combining traditional assets such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds with alternative investments using an Equity Trust self-directed account.

Examples of traditional investments include:

  • Publicly Traded Stocks and REITs
  • Mutual Funds
  • Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)
  • Fixed Income Securities: Bonds, Treasuries, CDs
  • Options



Learn More About Mutual Funds, Stocks and ETFs

Other Investment Possibilities

Popular alternative investments for self-directed IRAs include real estate, promissory notes, private placements, and cryptocurrency. However, there are even more investment types that can be held within your self-directed account.

Examples of additional investment possibilities include:

  • Oil & Gas Wells
  • Livestock
  • Agriculture & Farmland
  • Food Trucks
  • Auto Finance Notes
  • Commodities
  • Managed Futures
  • Judgments/Structured Settlements
Learn More About Other Investment Possibilities

100+ IRA Investment Options Checklist
List of over 100 alternative investment types, each with the potential to be held within an IRA or other tax-advantaged account at Equity Trust.

Talk to An Experienced Account Executive

Get answers to your questions and learn more about building wealth with tax advantaged accounts.