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

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.