Benefits of a Checkbook IRA

Cheque | Blog | Mountain West IRA

To maximize your IRA investment options, it is essential to have a retirement plan that allows you to select your own alternative IRA investments. Self-directed IRA’s allow you the freedom to invest in what you know. At Mountain West IRA we can help you with that. Your IRA can invest in real estate, private stock, notes or mortgages and even Partnerships & Joint Ventures. The list can be as diverse as your imagination and only limited by the IRS rules in place for IRA investing.

Self-Directed IRA LLC 101:

1. An LLC is a legal organization that provides the advantages of a partnership while limiting legal liability of the individual partners much the same way a corporation does.

2. An Investor can use a self-directed IRA to invest in LLCs.

3. It is not necessary to create an LLC to invest in your IRA.

4. An IRA invested in an LLC tends to be complex and requires careful management to avoid tax penalties and/or prohibited transactions.

5. When setting up an LLC for your IRA, you should always consult with a lawyer who is familiar with ERISA law.

So, what are the benefits of investing in an Self-Directed IRA LLC?

1. Speed

Normally, when making a transaction through your retirement account you would need to contact us here at Mountain West IRA as your third-party administrator. This requires some paper work, possibly some check processing or wiring of funds, and depending on the type of investment, there will be forms, You can skip all of this when you establish and LLC, and set up checkbook control with your IRA. An IRA LLC gives you easy access to your funds so you can react quickly in a volatile market, and easily take advantage of a time sensitive investment. Many investment transactions will be much quicker and can be as simple and expedient as writing a check.

2. Cost Benefits

Who doesn’t want a way to pay lower fees? Checkbook control can help you avoid the transaction fees and check-writing fees normally associated with any self-directed IRA. Also, if you own multiple investments in your LLC, rather than paying bookkeeping fees on each asset, Mountain West IRA only charges you for that single asset, the LLC.
So, an LLC with checkbook control may actually help you save money, which leaves more funds available for investing.

3. Control and Freedom

Once you identify an investment you want to purchase, you can just write a check. You don’t have to fill out paperwork or get approval from Mountain West IRA. If you have performed your due diligence and are ready to invest, you can take care of it yourself.
If you have an LLC, your Self-Directed IRA is truly in your hands. You are the one who is in total control of how your IRA operates, you have the freedom to choose how and when to invest.

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.

Benefits of Rental Properties

Real estate is a tangible investment, which is one of the main reasons it has become a popular choice for IRA accounts. Unlike stocks and bonds, investors can actually visit their properties. Rental properties are a great way to diversify a portfolio and provide the ability to earn measurable income for the investor.

Here are some benefits to investing in a rental property with a self-directed IRA:

  • Income from Renters

The main benefit of rental properties is the direct income from renters. However, this is only true if the property is occupied. With a house, this can be more difficult, because there is only one renter and the property may remain vacant during transitions between renters. Apartment complexes, duplexes and other multifamily properties have more than one renter and therefore generally provide a more balanced income stream.

  • Income from Property Value Growth

Over time, property value traditionally increases, even with no changes made to the property itself. This depends heavily on the location of the rental property as some areas increase or decrease in value more quickly than others.

  • Sweat Equity

When a property is well maintained and upgraded when necessary, it will add additional value. This allows the owner to charge more for rent and sell if for a larger profit later, if they choose. Home improvement projects such as landscaping, repainting, and upgraded appliances can significantly increase the property value and attract potential renters.

  • Property Management

For investors who do not want to personally manage the property, a property manager can be hired to take care of finding and evaluating renters and ongoing maintenance. Many investors find having a property manager relieves the stress and day-to-day activities from the owner.

For investors interested in investing in rental properties with an IRA, contact Mountain West IRA for more information. Real estate is just one of the many investment opportunities available to Mountain West IRA account holders.

The Basics of Limited Partnerships

In a partnership, which is a type of unincorporated business organization, multiple individuals, called general partners, manage the business and are equally liable to the debts of the business. Investors can invest their Self-Directed IRA in these businesses. These investors are then called a limited partners. They simply invest in the business but are not involved in management.
Limited partnerships are an investment option for Individual Retirement Account holders with Mountain West IRA. The partnership does not pay income taxes, but the individual partners have to report their share of business profits or losses. This means the investment is subject to Unrelated Business Income Tax. However, this is only if the IRA earns more than $1,000 in unrelated business income.
Although the investment might require the IRA to pay taxes, it requires little involvement by the owner since they are not involved in management. This is one of the benefits of this type of private placement investment. One important advantage when investing as a limited partner is the liability limitation. If the business goes bankrupt or is sued, the investor is only responsible for their own investment and not the debts of the business. General partners have a much greater liability.
Some rules regarding partnership investment with a self-directed IRA include:
• The partnership agreement must permit an individual retirement account or a qualified plan to be a partner
• The partnership must comply with the appropriate state law, have a determinate life, and be assignable
• The partnership subscription agreement must be signed by the investor as having been read and approved, and will be executed by Mountain West IRA on their behalf
Research and learn about Unrelated Business Income Tax and the company itself before making any investing decisions related to limited partnerships. Visit the Mountain West IRA website to learn more about private placements such as limited partnerships.

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.

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.