The Differences Between a Traditional IRA and a Roth IRA

Choosing the correct account for yourself and your family may seem complicated and confusing, but you only have a few options when it comes to how you wish to be taxed. Below we share a comparison between a Traditional IRA vs a Roth IRA.

Traditional vs. Roth

  • Traditional: You may potentially receive a write-off on your taxes for contributions, determined by your household income. The funds then grow tax-deferred by revenue and dividends generated from your investments. Upon retirement age (59.5) you can begin distributing funds from your Traditional IRA without penalty, but this income will be added to your gross household income, so you will have to pay taxes on these funds. You can, if you wish, wait to distribute any funds from your account until 70.5 years old. At that point, the IRS rules say you must begin taking Required Minimum Distributions or RMD’s. This is basically the government’s way of saying, you received a write-off when you put these funds into this account we need to make sure to get our taxes before you pass away. I know, somewhat morbid!
  • Roth: You do NOT receive a write-off on your taxes for contributions. The contributions you make to this account are “after-tax dollars.” However, you will get to grow your retirement money tax-free, forever! Like the Traditional IRA, the funds then grow by revenue and dividends generated from your investments. After age (59.5 and 5 years of the account being opened) you can take a distribution that is both penalty and tax-free. This tax-free distribution increases your NET household income. This is also an excellent choice for an estate planning tool, as you do not have to take any RMD’s, at any age. You have already paid your taxes. You are free to do what you wish with your distributions.

* High-income households: your financial advisor may tell you that you do not qualify for a Roth. There is something called a backdoor conversion that you can contribute to a Traditional and not receive a write-off, then convert the next day to a Roth. There is never a no iif this is the account type you want!

These are the primary differences between Traditional and Roth retirement accounts. There are some other rules that may or may not apply to you depending on your household income. Please speak to a Mountain West IRA representative if you wish to learn more.

Are you interested in learning more? Here is a no cost, no obligation webinar for you to check out: Alternative Asset Allocation Model

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 

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.