Tag Archives: retirement

One month til IRA School

20 Mar

These are the reading materials I am supposed to study with for the next month leading up to IRA SCHOOL in Kansas. Cross your fingers that come May I will be a CISP – Certified IRA Services Professional!

Coordinating with your spouse about your IRA. What to do

7 Mar

Individual Retirement Accounts were designed to be a savings vehicle for individuals, not couples. So even though you can designate your spouse as a beneficiary of your IRA, there’s no way of combining your spouse to your IRA account as a joint owner.

But that doesn’t mean that coordinating with your spouse on how to best contribute to your self-directed IRA isn’t important. In fact, working together to coordinate your contributions to these retirement accounts is the safest way to ensure a healthy retirement, and is the closest you can get to combining your spouse to your IRA.

Coordinating with your spouse about your IRA Contributions. The general rule for IRA contributions is that a person needs to have at least as much earned income in a given year as they seek to contribute to their IRA. One significant exception to this general rule is that their spouse can make a contribution to their account on their behalf, provided that the couple’s tax filing status is married filing jointly.

This is significant because even if the working spouse is unable to make a contribution to their own self-directed IRA (as may be the case if his or her level of earned income is too high and he or she is covered by an employer sponsored retirement plan), they still may be able to make a deposit to the non-working spouse’s IRA on the basis of the spousal contribution rules. This can be a sizable financial benefit for a couple where the working spouse is ineligible to make contributions to their own IRA in any given tax year.

Coordinating with your spouse about the deductibility of contributions. The rules for deductibility of contributions to a traditional IRA are more favorable and flexible for married couples. For example, consider a married couple where one spouse has an adjusted gross income of $150,000 in 2013, and is covered by a 401(k) at work. This individual cannot make a deductible contribution to a traditional IRA because their income is too high (for 2013, the maximum income level for any degree of deductibility is $115,000). But the non-working spouse can make a deductible contribution to their own traditional IRA because the income threshold that applies to them (where deductibility begins to phase out) is $178,000. By paying attention to these rules for spousal contributions, a couple can be sure to maximize their tax benefits each and every year.

Coordinating with your spouse about your IRA diversification. You may already be doing the work necessary to make sure that you’re properly diversified across your various retirement savings vehicles and non-retirement savings accounts as well. By analyzing all of your investment holdings, regardless of the type of account they’re held in, you can be sure that you’re not taking on more investment risk than is appropriate for your situation and needs. But it’s also important to make sure that your family’s investment risk is appropriately diversified as well. Analyze what your risks are for each individual’s account, and make your contributions accordingly.

The spousal benefits that relate to self-directed IRAs can be very valuable if you know how to maximize their effectiveness.

IRA Bootcamp

12 Feb

Think Big- Think Local

13 Nov

Self-Directed IRAs give you the freedom to invest in assets you understand and can apply your knowledge to. Recently, SDIRAs have come under a lot of criticism by main stream press. There has been an emphasis on the dangers and risks related to this alternative style of investing. Though it is true that no investment is risk free (including traditional investments), SDIRAs hold unique advantages and social benefits to them. Traditional and alternative assets both face the possibility of losing value due to fraud, Ponzi schemes, unpredictable situations, or just plain bad luck. However, investing in alternative assets allows you to apply your life experiences to your investments. Are you knowledgeable about Real Estate? You can invest in that. Are you knowledgeableabout creating Notes? You can invest in that. Are you Knowledge about Oil Wells? The list goes on. The real question is would you feel comfortable investing your retirement dollars into assets you understand?

Most Americans wealth lies in retirement funds, estimated at 18.5 trillion dollars[1]. An estimated 3% of that is self-directed. That means that there is about 17.95 trillion dollars investment in traditional assets like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. If you asked most of those Americans what their retirement funds were invested in, they are likely to answer with mutual funds. If you persisted and inquired and what the actual companies involved were, often they do not knowledgeable. We are, for the most part, uneducated on where our retirement dollars are invested in.

Quest IRA CEO Nathan Long likes to say “Your money should be treated like your teenage daughter, at midnight you should know where she is and what she is doing”. By investing in tangible assets, you are provided the sense of comfort that your investment cannot disappear. It is tangible; you can touch it, feel it, drive past it, and check on it.  For example: Let’s say you established a SDIRA and used it to purchase and rehab a rental property. You are likely to purchase a property close by to you, use materials from your local community (creating jobs in the process), and create the American dream for the family that moves in. You are also taking an eye sore in your community, adding value to it, and creating a home for people to live, work, and raise their children. You are investing in your community.

When you are Self-Directing with Quest IRA, you are also helping a small company that has big ideas for your community as well as big ideas for the education and financial health of the younger generation.   As a recent college graduate, I feel very fortunate to have the job that I do. In the last year, I have received a unique and sophisticated education and training that few companies offer. I have been given all the resources and tools that I need to expand my knowledge, and strengthen me as a young professional. I have been allowed to excel (even at my young age) to the best of by abilities. The opportunity and experience I have received is second to none.

The possibilities are endless with a Self-Directed IRA.


  1. Investment Company Institute. 2012. “The U.S. Retirement Market, Second Quarter 2012” (September). http://www.ici.org/info/ret_12_q2_data.xls.