Self-Directed IRAs

Discover the Power of Self-Directed IRAs

Self-directed IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts put you in control of your financial future. Create a customized portfolio with the freedom to invest in alternative and traditional assets, while potentially reducing or eliminating taxes on your investments.


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With a self-directed IRA, you are in control. You find your own investment(s), perform due diligence, and direct the activities for your account. We handle the distribution of funds, asset custody, transaction processing, record maintenance, and IRS reporting.

Investments are not limited to stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Self-directed IRAs allow you to invest in real estate, private equity, notes, precious metals, tax liens, and much more. 

Explore the advantages and common questions related to self-directed IRAs.

What Is a Self-Directed IRA?

Tax-Advantaged Retirement and Savings Accounts

A self-directed account is technically the same tax-advantaged account you may find at any brokerage firm, custodian, or bank.

The difference with a self-directed IRA is that you can invest in a wide range of alternative assets, such as real estate, promissory notes, and private equity in addition to traditional investments, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

Benefits of Self-Directed IRA

Tax-Advantaged Diversification and Control

You Are In Control
Self-directed IRAs allow you to invest in assets you know best. You direct your investment choices.

Diversified Portfolio
These powerful accounts combine the tax advantages of retirement accounts with nearly unlimited investment options to create a portfolio that truly works for you.

Tax Advantages
Investing with a tax-advantaged account, such as a self-directed Roth IRA or self-directed Traditional IRA, provides you with the potential opportunity for tax-free or tax-deferred profits.

Build Wealth for Future Generations
Certain self-directed accounts allow the beneficiaries to receive the account’s assets after the account owner’s passing with little to no tax.

Self-Directed IRA Investing Process

We Custody Traditional AND Alternative Asset Classes

When you open a self-directed retirement account, you will find your own investments and perform the necessary due diligence to determine if the investment is the right fit for you.

Equity Trust, as directed custodian, processes all account-related transactions and fund disbursements at your direction, custodies your account’s asset(s), maintains records and completes required IRS tax reporting.

Getting Started

Opening an Account is Easy

For most accounts, all you’ll need is a signed application and copy of your driver’s license.

To fund your account, you can make a contribution or move funds from an existing 401(k), IRA, or other retirement savings plan to your new account.

Self-Directed IRA Fees

Account Fee Schedule

Equity Trust has eliminated complicated fee structures common with other custodians.

New accounts are subject to a one-time set-up fee in addition to a standard annual maintenance fee based on your account value.

Real Estate IRAs

Real Estate Investing Within a Self-Directed IRA

Most investors believe that their only IRA investment options are bank CDs, the stock market, and mutual funds.

Few Americans realize that they have the option to self-direct their IRAs and other retirement plans into real estate—and that they can benefit from the tax advantages those plans provide.

Investment Options for Self-Directed Investors

As long as IRS guidelines are followed, investment options within a self-directed IRA are virtually limitless. Some of the most popular investments Equity Trust Company custodies include:

Real EstatePromissory Notes
Precious MetalsPrivate Equity
REITs Mutual Funds
Tax Liens/DeedsCryptocurrencies
StocksForex
ETFs Countless Others

Self-Directed IRA Rules and Regulations

IRS tax code defines retirement plans and The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974 outlines rules and tax implications of transactions within qualified plans. General rules to follow can be broken down into a few categories: prohibited transactions and investments, disqualified persons, indirect benefits, contribution limits, fair market valuations (FMV) and unrelated business income tax (UBIT). 

Why Equity Trust?

Investment Freedom
Create a customized portfolio of alternative assets as well as traditional investments with a single custodian. You can maximize your account and gain new insights with access to unparalleled educational resources.

Innovative Technology
Simplify investing through myEQUITY, our industry-leading online account management system. myEQUITY makes it easy for investors to direct and manage their accounts with intuitive online wizards and a clear line of sight to account data.

Recognized Leader
Our track record of excellence is unmatched in the industry. With 45 years of financial service experience, over 170,000 investors rely on us to custody over $25 billion in assets.

Service Excellence
Recognized as an exceptional service provider, we have nearly 400 employees dedicated to you.  We serviced 1,000 calls per business day in 2018, completing 1.2 million transactions – Over 3,500 a day!

Industry-Leading Education
You can maximize your account and gain new insights with access to unparalleled, on-demand education from webinars, case studies, how-to guides and live workshops.

Resources