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Self-Directed IRA

Unlock the power to control your financial destiny

Skip the Learning Curve

Learn more about investing in real estate within a Self Directed IRA

What is a Self-Directed IRA?

A self-directed IRA (SDIRA) 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 it enables you to 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.

Talk to an IRA Counselor about the range of investing possibilities for your IRA, including:

real estate icon

Real Estate

note icon

Promissory Notes

private company llc icon

Private Equity

Bitcoin IRA


gold bars or sliver bars

Precious Metals

mutual funds and stocks

Mutual Funds and Stocks

oil and gas

Oil and Gas



commodities and futures


Advantages of a Self-Directed IRA

Why self-direct your account? 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.

The Possibilities are Endless

Nearly unlimited investment options – including private market alternative investments, combine with the tax advantages of retirement accounts to create a portfolio that truly works for you.


You’re in the Driver’s Seat

Self-Directed IRAs allow you to invest in assets you know best. You can invest in a wide range of alternative assets, such as real estate, promissory notes, cryptocurrency, and private equity, in addition to traditional investments, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. YOU direct your investment choices.

Keep More of What You Earn

Sick of paying taxes on your investments? An Equity Trust account provides you with the opportunity for tax-free or tax-deferred profits.

Look Out for Loved Ones

Certain self-directed accounts allow the beneficiaries to receive the account’s assets after the account owner’s passing with little to no tax. You can leave a legacy for those you love and care about.

Why Do You Need a Self-Directed IRA Custodian?

Due to the unique nature of a self-directed IRA, you need a custodian that’s specially equipped to handle the accounts’ administrative requirements. Not all self-directed IRA custodians are equal: before entrusting your financial future to a firm, you should ensure you’re comfortable with their industry experience, knowledge, and customer service.

Custodian Responsibilities Account Holder Responsibilities
Distribute funds to chosen investment Find your own investment(s)
Custody assets Perform due diligence
Process transactions Direct the activities for your account
Maintain records
IRS reporting

Self-Directed IRA Rules and Regulations to Know

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)
  • Unrelated business income tax (UBIT)
  • How to Set Up a Self-Directed IRA

    Here are the three steps to getting started with an Equity Trust self-directed IRA or other account:


    Open Your Equity Trust Account

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


    Fund Your New Tax-Advantaged Account

    You can fund your account via rollover, transfer, or out-of-pocket contribution.


    Select Your Investment and Direct Equity Trust to Fund It

    myEQUITY investment wizards walk you through the investment process online at your convenience. We have liaisons ready to help if you need it.

    Learn more about setting up a self-directed IRA.

    Equity Trust: No. 1 Self-Directed IRA Company

    Don’t entrust just any company with your financial future. Named Best Overall Self-Directed IRA Company from 2020-2023 by Investopedia, Equity Trust is your best choice:

    self-directed ira at Equity Trust: limitless possibilities

    Nearly Limitless Investments, One Account

    Traditional financial institutions limit your IRA 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 over 400 associates focused on processing more than 1.2 million transactions each year, we work diligently to enhance your experience.

    self-directed IRA at Equity Trust: support team

    Your Direction, Our Support

    Our knowledgeable, clientfocused associates are
    here to provide dedicated, personalized service,
    from opening your account to assisting you with
    investment transactions. You can lean on our
    more than 45 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 Investment District online marketplace enables you to find potential investment opportunities with the click of a button. Start your search

    What Clients Are Saying About Equity Trust Self-Directed Accounts

    Jennifer S.

    Jennifer S.

    Equity Trust Client

    Equity Trust has opened a whole new way of thinking and looking at investing. My current interest is in helping people find stable housing. By working with Equity Trust, I am able to assist individuals to better their lives. The tools and resources allow a person who is interested in investing in real estate or mutual funds or bitcoin or other investment areas to do so with little cost beyond their time. I recommend anyone interested in pursuing self-directed investments to contact Equity Trust.


    Bob B.

    Equity Trust Client

    Equity Trust Company is just what I needed when I wanted to roll over my 401(k) after retirement. I opened a self-directed IRA with Equity and have been completely satisfied with them. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to open their own self-directed IRA. They have many options available to investors looking to have a hands on approach to their investments.


    Nancy L.

    Equity Trust Client

    If you are looking for an industry-leading custodian of tax-advantaged accounts, your search has ended. Equity Trust enables individual investors to diversify investment portfolios through alternative asset classes, including real estate, tax liens, private equity and precious metals, using a self-directed IRA and innovative technology. Their staff is very knowledgeable, professional and helpful. I have a self-directed IRA with Equity Trust Company since 2004 and I am a very happy investor.

    Holly P.

    Equity Trust Client

    I’m so glad we moved our money to a self-directed IRA. We have more control over where and what our money is invested in.


    Grover M.

    Equity Trust Client

    This is a great company if you have alternative/unusual investment types that other companies typically don’t handle, and you prefer to self-direct your investments.

    Mary B.

    Equity Trust Client

    I finally opened my own self-directed IRA after years of waiting. Equity Trust has processed my transactions smoothly and efficiently. My account is doing what I wanted it to do for my retirement. I wish I had done this years sooner!

    Become the Self-Directed IRA Expert


    Read about investing rules including disqualified persons, indirect benefits, and more.


    Browse the taxadvantaged, self-directed acounts and find one that matches your savings goals from retirement to education to health care savings.


    Learn what you need to know about self-directed IRA fees and access Equity Trust’s straightforward, all-inclusive fee schedule.

    man on mountain

    Let’s talk about your financial future.

    Schedule a one-on-one session with an expert alternative investment counselor. We’re here to answer any questions, help guide you through the process, and provide more detailed information and education specific to your journey.

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