Back to Basics — Investing with Self Directed IRA

Whoa, Nelly!  If you”re not suffering motion sickness from watching the Dow, you”re probably still recovering from the market”s overall poor performance over the past few years.  You”re not alone.  After a brief recovery, we”re back where the Dow was one year ago.  Meanwhile, real estate prices are a bargain, but getting a loan is still a major challenge.  Many people are discovering the benefits of using their IRA to invest in real estate.  To be successful, you need to understand the basics about both using your IRA and investing in real estate.  We”ve got two very affordable events coming up that will cover both!

A lot of people are taking a new look at using their pension funds to invest in real estate.  The process is relatively simple — you roll your plan funds (401k, SEP, 457, etc.) into an IRA with a custodian that allows you to invest in “Alternative” investments, such as real estate, businesses, notes, precious metals, etc.  Since 1974, the IRS has allowed individuals to use their self-directed IRAs to invest in anything except collectibles or insurance.  (IRS Publication 590).  There is a catch — it has to be an arms-length investment; the account holder cannot receive any direct or indirect benefit.  And, you may not use your self-directed Le jeu de Happy Circus est une machine à sous très colorée et pêchue ! Retrouvez les symboles du cirque et des fêtes foraines avec le célèbre Monsieur Muscle, le lion qui traverse le cercle de feu, l’éléphant, le clown, etc. IRA in a transaction involving yourself, your spouse, parents or children.  But the range of permitted options is extremely wide.

Using your self-directed IRA, you can purchase investment rental property, make private loans, purchase a percentage interest in a commercial development, or invest in a new business.  You can combine your IRA with others, and even borrow money using your IRA to leverage your purchasing power.  Investment opportunities are not limited to real estate; you can invest in oil & gas leases, businesses, and yes, even stocks!  The key is to find something you are comfortable with that will generate a nice return on investment for your IRA.  But there are special restrictions, and if you violate IRS rules, the penalties are severe!  On September 21, from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., I will be joining Ron Ricard, Certified Exchange Specialist at IPX1031 at Intero Santana Row to discuss the use of the self-directed IRA for investing.  Additional details will be updated here soon.

Learning that you can use your IRA to invest in real estate is exciting, but it is easy to get overwhelmed with the range of opportunities, especially with real estate prices at bargain levels.  Even if you have some experience investing in real estate, the market has changed, and like new investors, you need to go back to basics.  On September 17, I will be moderaing a panel of experienced real estate investors who will provide an all-day JumpStart seminar in Cupertino on the basics of real estate investing.  Nothing will be sold — it”s all education and networking.  Topics to be covered will include the pros and cons of different types of real estate investments, how to find good deals, tax considerations, how to finance transactions, and exit strategies.  To attend the JumpStart program on 9/17, go to to register and get more information.  Seating is limited, so be sure to register early!

Learn before you earn.  Using a self-directed IRA is not for everyone, and you need to understand what risks are involved before making important decisions involving your pension funds.  The two programs are designed to provide you the basic information you need to make an informed decision.