What Type of Retirement Plan Do You Have?

Do not overlook your retirement and assume your financial planner has your best interests at heart. You need to be educated and take control of your retirement. Over the next month, we will be going in depth about the differences inherent among common retirement terms.

What types of retirement accounts are there?

Employer Plans

  • If your retirement plan is offered through your company, they may call it a 401(k), 403b, 457, Thrift Savings Plan; there are many other names depending on the type of company you are working for. The employer determines if there is the option to contribute to a Traditional account or Roth (I will cover these differences next week). Employer plans often have a pre-determined set of investments that the employees can invest in. Some employers allow for employees to choose high-risk or low-risk and the company’s financial planner will do what best suits that person’s risk assessment. Most companies do not allow for employees to rollover/direct rollover their retirement plan to invest in alternative options. This leaves the employee trapped with the decisions the employer has available.
  • I’m retired, or I have left the company now what?
    Once you are no longer employed by the company, they will prompt you to rollover your IRA to another Custodian, distribute, or some plans may allow you to set up a distribution plan upon retirement. If you are interested in using your retirement account for investing, you will choose a rollover or direct rollover option. At this point, you can establish an IRA with Mountain West IRA and begin looking for an investment! The IRS will see a rollover or direct rollover and, if done in a timely manner, this will not be a taxable event. Most employer retirement plans will not withhold taxes if the funds are going directly into another qualified retirement plan. You should speak to your plan administrator for specific details.
  • You can review the complete IRA Starter Kit process here

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

  • Individuals who do not have the opportunity to participate in an employer plan should definitely look into IRAs. Even if you can contribute to your employer plan, an IRA may be a better fit for you. You can contribute to a Traditional IRA or in a Roth IRA because you are making the decision. You can also decide if common stocks/mutual funds are the route for you or if alternative assets are a better fit. IRAs are qualified retirement accounts that have contribution limits. However, if you need additional funds for an investment, you can transfer IRAs you currently hold, or rollover funds from your employer plan, to add to the amount you have available to invest.
  • You can look into each type of plan here, or you can watch our webinar on Which IRA is Right for You here.

Are you unsure what type of account you currently have? This information is typically found near your name on the first page of your statement. If you need help, you can submit your statement to accounts@mwira.com, and we can assist you!

How to Double Your Retirement Overnight

The following is a hypothetical model based off of an investors figures he figured on this actual property.

Back in 2007, the average IRA that was transferred to a self-directed IRA was about $200,000. After the crash in 2007-2008. The average value of IRAs decreases to about half, thus putting the current value at $100,000.

We will be walking through this example of a $200,000 IRA in a real-life scenario to show you how you can double your retirement overnight.

The investor purchased a rental property at the height of the market in the name of his IRA. The investor is utilizing a self-directed IRA where he can purchase alternative assets, NOT taking a distribution from your retirement account.

The property was purchased for $180,000 in a self-directed IRA coupled with a non-recourse loan. The investor was able to leverage the funds in his IRA to purchase an investment property.

What the investor had to put down on this property to qualify for a non-recourse loan was $63,000. The remainder was a loan from the bank in the investor’s IRA. The IRA will have a mortgage and a deed of trust that goes inside of the IRA. The investor does not own the property, the IRA does.

The market value on the day that IRA closed on the property increased the value to $217,000. Let’s break down how this happened; $180,000 on the property and $37,000 cash. The day before the value was $100,000.

If you recall the original value before the crash was $200,000, then the market crashed which brought the value of the IRA to $100,000. The current value was able to double overnight by using other people’s money through a non-recourse loan.

When the investor calculated this investment he chooses to calculate the value of the investment now and projected value in the future to determine when and if he would like to sell the property.

The investor projected about a 3% capital appreciation on this property per year. This percentage is based on the market value of the property at the time of purchase ($180,000). The property should make about $5,400 per year and the investor plans on holding this property for 10 years. After 10 years, the capital gain is estimated to be $54,000.

At this point, we are 10 years after the purchase. The investor’s calculations are almost spot on, the calculations fell a little below 3% but has caught up recently. The original idea was to sell this property after 10 years.

The value of the property and cash in the self-directed IRA is now $271,000. Remember, the investor started with only $100,000 in this IRA. You may be saying, “yes, but there is a loan on the property.” You are correct. However, the investor paid more than the minimum of $700 per month on the loan. This property is currently producing $1,350 per month in income. The net income has been about $900 after setting aside money for property taxes, management fees, and repairs that must be paid by the IRA. After 10 years of paying more than the minimum, the balance is now at $40,000. If the property would have been sold at 10 years for the IRA would receive $231,000 – the investors IRA only put $63,000. That is about 30% per year average annual return on this investment in a tax-sheltered self-directed IRA.

Here is a table to show how the IRA doubled overnight:
2007 IRA account value $200,000

 

After crash IRA account value $100,000

 

Investment Property Purchased:
Funds from IRA $63,000

 

Funds from non-recourse mortgage $117,000

 

New value of IRA + Cash Funds $180,000 + $37,000

 

Long-term Investment Calculation*:
Capital Appreciation at 3% times 10 years $54,000

 

10-year appreciation $271,000

 

Loan Payment at $900 per month (-$40,000)

 

IRA Tax Advantages Appreciation $231,000

 

*Estimated by investor, not advice

If you would like to learn more please visit our webinar, Alternative Asset Allocation Model 

The Basics of Mortgage Notes

To diversify their portfolio, investors sometimes need to think outside the box. This means considering alternative investments such as mortgage notes. Investing in mortgage notes allows investors to get involved in the real estate investing world without flipping houses or vetting tenants for rentals.

When an investor uses their self-directed IRA to invest in a mortgage-backed note, the IRA acts like a bank by loaning money to the borrower. The IRA then receives a note and deed of trust. According to the terms of the mortgage, the borrower pays back the principal and/or interest to the IRA each month until the loan is satisfied. Once payments have been completed, the borrower owns the property outright.

The deed of trust provides protection for the investor in the event of default, putting a lien against the property so the mortgage holder can foreclose and take control of the property if necessary. If this happens, the IRA will own the property instead of the mortgage. The investor is then free to do with the property as they see fit.

To invest in a mortgage note, the investor needs to work with a title company or real estate broker. They will help to gather all of the necessary forms for the investor to sign and send to Mountain West IRA. As the custodian, Mountain West IRA will then review the paperwork before approving the investment to make sure everything is in order.

Mortgage notes do not require as much personal involvement as directly owning a piece of real estate, making them a favorable investment to many investors. For those interested in investing in mortgage notes with their self-directed IRA, visit the Mountain West IRA website to learn more.

Investing in Raw Land

When investors with self-directed IRAs consider investing in real estate, they usually think of rental properties or homes they can flip instead of raw land. For many people it can be difficult to imagine the potential of vacant land and the healthy returns which may be available from this type of investment.

While raw land can require a longer investment timeframe than some other real estate investments, it offers great opportunities for those who understand and are willing to take on the commitment. There are a variety of prospective uses for raw land, including:

  • Residential and Commercial Development Property

If growth is expected in the area of the raw land, it could be parceled off and sold or leased to building contractors and investors. Or, investors could choose to develop the land themselves.

  • Oil and Mineral Producing Land

Investors may choose to lease mineral rights to mining companies or other investors.

  • Timberland

Soft and hard woods can be planted, harvested, and sold for profit. Tracts of the land could also be leased to others such as timber companies.

Some other uses for raw land include:

  • Raising crops
  • Raising cattle or other animals
  • Orchards
  • Vineyards

When considering investing in raw land, investors should understand not only the process, but the rules set forth by the IRS regarding this type of investment.

  1. All income and expenses relevant to the investment must flow directly into and out of IRA funds
  2. Avoid prohibited transactions and dealings with disqualified persons.
  3. Land purchased with the intent of running a business within an IRA is subject to Unrelated Business Income Tax.
  4. If the IRA took out a loan to purchase the asset, Unrelated Debt Financed Income Tax may apply.

For those interested in diversifying their portfolio by investing a self-directed IRA in raw land, contact Mountain West IRA. They can answers question investors might have before starting the process.

Gold Investments

Gold is not only a great way to diversify an investment portfolio, but has also been a reliable investment commodity for throughout history. Take a look at why many investors choose to include gold in their investment portfolio:

History

Over the decades, gold has generally been trusted as a wealth-preserving commodity holding its value during financial upsets. This is because gold can not be created like other currency with an assigned value. While currency fluctuates and weakens, gold tends to stay strong and not waiver much in value.

Diversification and Protection

Most investors stick to traditional investments such as stocks and bonds. However, a lack of diversification could put them in danger if things start to go downhill. Having a nontraditional investment like gold can help protect their portfolio from volatile times. While the value of the dollar has dropped, the value of gold has actually risen.

Types of Gold Investments

Gold Bullion– The value of a gold bullion is determined by the market price of gold at the time of purchase and it comes in two forms.

  • Bars: Gold bars are not generally kept in physical possession of the investor. The larger sized bars are usually only purchased by larger companies and organizations instead of individuals. However, there are smaller bars that are kept by individuals.
  • Coins: Gold coins are minted in several different one ounce forms ranging from 1/10 oz. to 1 kilo. The smaller coins are most popular among individual investors.

Jewelry/Coins with Artistic Value– Numismatic coins and jewelry made of gold are also purchased for their cultural, historical, or aesthetic appeal. Generally this leads to their value increasing faster in a bull market. In a bear market, they will decrease faster.

Gold Mining Stocks- With this, investors are buying a share in a gold mining company. Share prices are subject to a variety of factoring including performance of company management, auditors and geologists, cost basis, and the environmental and economic risk of the company.

Gold ETFs– Gold Exchange Trade Funds are products that track the price of gold and are traded on major stock market exchanges. They are not all backed by physical gold.

To learn more about investing in gold using a self-directed IRA, contact Mountain West IRA or visit their website. It breaks down what types of gold investments are allowed in a self-directed IRA and how they are handled.

Five Threats to Retirement Savings

Saving for retirement does not always go as planned. Retirement savings are subject to threats, both direct and indirect. Some of these threats are just unfortunate circumstances, while others are deliberate actions trying to take advantage of the investor.

  1. Boomerang Children

These are the children of the Boomer Generation that are still being supported by their parents by living at home. According to a study by Hearts & Wallets, only 21 percent of Boomers still supporting their children are fully retired, compared to the 52 percent who are not supporting their children.

To avoid this threat, investors need to teach their children how to properly handle finances and be self-sufficient. This way they are less likely to move back in with their parents due to money issues.

  1. Caring for Parents

As investors’ parents age, they often need help either with personal care or finances. Helping them financially can make it more difficult for the adult child to save for retirement. Also, 25 percent of adult children younger than 65 help parents with chores, personal care, etc. This may lead to less time spent at a paying job, causing them to earn less than they otherwise would earn.

Although difficult to avoid, there are assistance programs and other means for children to help their parents get what they need without sacrificing their time at work.

  1. Spousal Death without Life Insurance

For those who have a mortgage, debt, or children to support, life insurance can be critical. It can also be critical to those in their final years of saving for retirement. The loss of that second income can hit a spouse hard financially, making saving next to impossible.

Spouses should evaluate life insurance options and have a clear plan if something were to happen to one of them.

  1. Medical Crisis

In the US, medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy. Those with injuries or a chronic illness might not be able to work, causing investors to dig into savings to pay for medical bills. Long-term care is also very expensive and can derail even the most stable retirement plans.

Health Savings Accounts are one way to battle this issue. With this account, investors can use it to pay qualified medical expenses tax-free at any time.

  1. Scams

There are plenty of people attempting to scam people out of their retirement savings. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority advises people to be cautious around schemes that promise returns of 12 percent or higher. Often these scammers use early retirement seminars to pitch their strategies.

Being aware of potential threats is the first step to avoiding them. Meeting with a financial planner can also help to address concerns investors might have about their retirement savings. To maximize potential retirement savings, contact Mountain West IRA to learn about their self-directed accounts and investment options.

The Balancing Act

Many younger workers have the task of balancing debt reduction with retirement savings. Often the debt they have accrued is related to student loans and credit cards. Many of these workers believe they need to pay off their debt before they begin actively saving for retirement.

However, to be able to save a sufficient amount for their golden years, young workers are going to need to save while also paying off debt. Here are some ideas on how to do that:

  1. Focus on High Interest Debt

Getting out of high interest debt should be a priority. Credit cards are usually the main culprit with interest rates as high as 18 or even 25 percent. Once rid of high interest credit card debt, try to stay out of it. When these debts are out of the way, there will be more funds available to allocate to retirement savings.

  1. Be Smart with Loans

Often, loans are just a necessary evil in life. This is especially true when making large purchases, such as buying a new car. Try to find the best deal possible, with smaller payments. Sometimes this means buying a used car or a less expensive option. The larger the down payment, the smaller the monthly payments. With smaller payments, more money can be put toward retirement.

  1. Set Realistic Goals

Instead of having an illusion of spending very little in retirement, plan for spending more. The average annual spending for those age 65 and older is $40,938. Workers need to realize they will probably spend more and account for that in their savings.

This is especially true of spending money on healthcare. Many retirees do not account for medical needs when saving. One way to be cognizant of upcoming healthcare costs is to start a health savings account. These accounts help retirees cover the medical costs rather than dipping into their retirement savings.

Often, younger workers are only encouraged to take advantage of a 401(k) match plan through their company. While this is a great tool, opening a separate account in addition to a work-sponsored one can bump up their savings potential. Visit Mountain West IRA’s website to learn about their retirement plans and investment options.