The Top IRA Companies for Self-Directed IRAs

Last Updated on 6th July 2022 by Jeffrey Camerda

Investors in individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are increasingly flocking to self-directed IRAs (SDIRAs) in search of greater returns and more diversity. The reason for this is that SDIRAs enable clients to invest in assets other than the conventional stock, bond, ETF, and mutual fund investments that are available in a traditional IRA. SDIRA clients who are ready and able to take on greater risk might potentially generate considerably higher returns by investing in assets such as real estate, tightly held enterprises, precious metals, foreign currencies, private loans, cryptocurrencies, and commodities.

SDIRAs, on the other hand, isn’t for everyone. Because of the high degree of expertise required, they are beyond the reach of the majority of investors, even if they do provide them more control and flexibility over their investing decisions. The process of establishing, administering, and investing in SDIRAs is a little more involved than that of standard IRAs. As a result, working with an SDIRA business that has a wealth of knowledge and resources is essential.

In order to determine the best in six separate areas, we examined a dozen of the top self-directed IRA firms based on important characteristics including investment alternatives, fees, the convenience of account registration, and customer support.

The 6 Best Self-Directed IRA Companies of 2022

  • Most effective in every way: Equity Trust.
  • IRA Financial is the best option for audit protection.
  • uDirect IRA is the best option for real estate investors.
  • The Entrust Group has the best online portal.
  • An Alto IRA account is the best option for investors.
  • Rocket Dollar is the best option for those with larger portfolios.

Warning: Before putting money into a self-directed IRA firm, investors should do their homework. In addition to the stricter IRS regulations, the business also draws scammers who prey on unsuspecting investors.

Equity Trust

Over the course of its thirty-four years as a supplier of SDIRAs and with over $34 billion in assets under management, Equity Trust has established itself as the top overall provider of these plans.

Pros

  • SDIRA custodian with a wealth of knowledge
  • It’s free to buy and sell
  • 400 professionals provide individualized service to each customer.
  • Investing options that are more conventional (i.e., stocks, bonds, ETFs)

Cons

  • Fees for administrative services on the upper end of the scale.
  • Checkbook control is absent.

In the very competitive SDRIA market, Equity Trust has a lot of expertise. As a result of its foresight and exceptional customer service, it has earned our selection as the top overall SDIRA supplier.

Real estate was the focus of Equity Trust’s earliest SDIRA investments. Since then, it has expanded to include private equity, precious metals, tax lien certificates, cryptocurrencies, and foreign currencies in its alternative investment portfolio. Equity Trust, which began as a securities business, now provides stocks, bonds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to SDIRA participants.

Investors who expect to make more than a few trades in their accounts each year can save money by using Equity Trust, which charges no transaction fees despite having higher annual administration costs than some of its competitors ($225 to $2,250 depending on the number of investments and size of the account). $50 is the charge for establishing an internet account. If you use a paper application, the cost is $75.

Checkbook control is one of the drawbacks of Equity Trust. Clients must give Equity Trust permission to invest their money. Customers who choose to keep more of their money in their own hands might make use of the more than 400 professionals available to them.

To help customers better understand their investment options, Equity Trust offers a wide range of educational resources, including videos, webinars, and other resources.

IRA Financial 

Investing in SDIRAs might attract the attention of the Internal Revenue Service, but if you ever find yourself the target of an audit, you can rest assured knowing that IRA Financial has your back.

Pros

  • Anti-audit measures have been implemented
  • Resources for learning on the internet
  • Control by use of a checkbook
  • yearly custodial charge that is low

Cons

  • Setup of an account might be a time-consuming procedure.

Due to its unique position as the only SDIRA business that would stand behind its customers in the event of an IRS audit, IRA Financial, which was established in 2010, is quickly gaining momentum in the SDIRA market.

It is imperative that you deal with a business that is ready to stand by you in the event of IRS investigation due to the intricacy of SDIRAs and the transactions that take place inside them. SDIRAs are governed by an extensive set of laws and regulations, and a team of tax experts was brought together to create this company.

With IRA Financial, you may invest in real estate, precious metals, private equity, private loans and currencies from across the world, as well as cryptocurrencies. In contrast to SDIRAs, IRA Financial checkbook IRA gives significantly more investment alternatives and is more cost-effective than the SDIRA.

A checkbook IRA LLC startup charge of $999 and an annual custodian fee of $360 are required for customers to form a checkbook IRA LLC. There are no fees associated with purchasing, selling, or exchanging an investment.

With IRA Financial, setting up an SDIRA might be a hassle. The procedure may be begun online, but there are further steps that must be taken by phone with the guidance of an IRA Financial account professional.

IRA Financial makes up for any shortcomings in their set-up procedure with dependable customer service. Customers may contact customer support representatives via phone or online chat. Many instructional materials and investment-specific manuals are also available to clients to aid in their understanding of the many sorts of investments.

uDirect Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

Since its inception, uDirect IRA has focused on the SDIRA real estate investing market exclusively. As a result, we’ve decided it’s the greatest SDIRA firm to work with when it comes to real estate investment.

Pros

  • In-depth knowledge of real estate investment and resources
  • Control by use of a checkbook
  • Minimal yearly cost of administration

Cons

  • An unwieldy set-up procedure

Because of its founders’ background in the real estate industry, the company’s checkbook-style individual retirement account (IRA) focuses heavily on real estate assets, such as real estate notes, REITs, and tax lien certificates. The uDirect SDIRA firm is our pick as the top SDIRA company for real estate investments because of this.

uDirect’s checkbook IRA offers access to a broad range of investment possibilities, including real estate, tightly held firms, private loans, accounts receivable finance, judgments, legal settlements, and precious metals. When real estate auctions take place and tax lien certificates become available, investors can respond more swiftly if they have checkbook control.

The costs of using uDirect SDIRA are quite low. To open an account, you’ll need to pay $50, and the yearly price for record-keeping and reporting is just $275. First six transactions are completely free of charge. Precious metals and money storage costs between $8 and $18 per month for investors.

uDirect’s account setup process is rather straightforward. If you want to begin the process online, you’ll need to print and sign paperwork that can be scanned and sent to the agency. Accounts may be accessed and maintained online after they’ve been established. A wealth of online educational tools are available to clients, including investing advice on a variety of asset classes. In addition to live chat and email, uDirect offers phone and online help for its customers.

The Entrust Group

Customers of The Entrust Group that use SDIRA have access to a private web portal via which they may conduct their business with ease. A portion of the Entrust Client Portal dubbed Entrust Connect connects users to various more investing options, making it our top pick for the finest online platform for SDIRAs.

Pros

  • SDIRA custodian with a wealth of knowledge
  • Access to investing choices provided by clients
  • Financial planning software such as eMoney Advisor may be integrated into the online site.

Cons

  • At the highest end of the scale, administrative fees.
  • There must be a system of checkbook control in place outside of Entrust

One of the most respected SDIRA firms in the market, The Entrust Group, has been around since 1981. Unlike other financial advisors, Entrust allows customers to use their services either directly or via a financial adviser. In any case, customers may use an online platform for managing their money and looking for investment opportunities through an internet browser window. eMoney Adviser is also integrated with the platform’s advisor site for investors who wish to prepare for retirement in a more comprehensive way. As a result, Entrust has been chosen by us as SDIRA’s preferred online platform.

As a custodian, Entrust goes out of its way to educate investors about self-directed retirement accounts and alternative investments, providing seminars and a library of online information aimed to educate both clients and advisers. Entrust doesn’t provide checkbook control, which gives customers greater investing freedom, therefore this is a minor drawback. Although it does provide services to help customers set up their own LLC,

Compared to other SDIRA firms, Entrust’s fees are in the middle of the pack. Annual administration costs range from $199 to $1,995 depending on the assets kept in the account or the size of the account, including a $50 account setup fee. The costs associated with buying, selling, or exchanging an asset vary from zero dollars up to two hundred and fifty dollars.

Entrust’s account opening and funding process is simple and takes less than 10 minutes. Entrust or an independent financial adviser may set up an account for you. It’s up to customers to set up an LLC on their own if they wish to handle their own finances. Entrust will help in that process, but clients maintain it on their own. A team of in-house specialists provides excellent customer support, and customers have access to a variety of educational resources to assist them make educated choices.

Alto IRA

When it comes to SDIRA investing, we’ve found the most user-friendly, automated, and streamlined SDIRA provider in Alto.

Pros

  • investing process is simplified by the use of a technology platform
  • Setting up an internet account in a matter of minutes.
  • Inexpensive charges

Cons

  • Relatively newbie
  • Convoluted fees for the service
  • Sponsors must register with an account to participate in deals.

Aiming to empower all investors seeking higher returns and diversity, Alto IRA launched in 2018 with the goal of making SDIRA investing in alternative assets more accessible. The Alto SDIRA provider has the finest investor experience, thus we’ve included them in our top picks.

For most investors, setting up and investing in SDIRAs is a time-consuming and costly process. Investors may benefit from Alto’s scalable technology platform’s user-friendly and cost-effective automated procedure because of its user-friendly design.

Alto’s platform connects investors with a broad variety of alternative investment providers, such as real estate loan firms, cryptocurrency exchanges, angel investment funds, and many more. With Alto’s checkbook IRA, customers have full control over their real estate assets, allowing them to better manage their portfolios.. Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, and SEP-IRAs are all supported by Alto.

Alto’s lifelong goal has always been to make SDIRA investment accessible to the widest possible audience. The Starter plan costs $10 per month, while the Pro plan costs $25 per month. You may save two months’ worth of fees if you pay them in advance. The Starter plan restricts your investment options to those offered by Alto’s partners, while the Pro plan enables you to introduce your own deals. Alto has more than 50 partners, but users on the Starter plan may not be able to access all of them. Partners and private investors pay a fee of $10 to $50 each investment, and $75 per investment.

With Alto’s online, automatic account creation, you can get up and running quickly and easily. Account management and transaction processing are handled by the same technology. It offers both online and phone help for customers.

Rocket Dollar

Rocket Dollar, a relative newcomer to SDIRA investment, has established a flat $15 monthly administration cost, which works especially well for bigger portfolios.

Pros

  • Smaller portfolios benefit from lower fees.
  • Creating a new account is a breeze.
  • Set up automatic control of the checkbook.
  • The solo-401 self-direction is encouraged (k)

Cons

  • Only started in 2018 and is still in its infancy.
  • Setup costs are astronomical.

Rocket Dollar was established in 2018 but has already built a name for itself in the SDIRA market. It competes with the finest in terms of investing options and simplicity of usage. Larger portfolios, such as those in IRA rollovers, SEP-IRAs, and Solo 401(k)s, may make SDIRAs more cost-effective for investors.

There are many more investing options available to Rocket Dollar customers since they are instantly given a checkbook LLC. Real estate, precious metals, cryptocurrencies, and private equity are just a few of the alternative investment choices that Rocket Dollar has collaborated with to provide crowdfunding real estate and peer-to-peer loans.

Investors with bigger portfolios may find Rocker Dollar’s fee structure particularly appealing since there is no sliding scale for expenses dependent on asset size. The monthly price for Rocket Dollar is $15. That comes out to only 0.05 percent for an SDIRA with $360,000 in assets. In comparison to its competitors, it has a setup cost of $360, but at least that’s one-time. The Rocket Dollar Gold account comes with a $600 registration cost and a monthly fee of $30.

There is no minimum deposit required for customers to open an SDIRA account online, and the process takes less than ten minutes. Customers may reach customer service via their RocketDollar.com dashboard. Any time, a dedicated help line is available to Gold members. In order to assist customers connect with any of Rocket Dollar’s investment partners, the account service staff is available.

What Is a Self-Directed Individual Retirement Account (IRA)?

This sort of retirement account, known as an SDIRA (self-directed individual retirement account), may be set up via a custodian or administrator and used to invest in a wide range of non-traditional assets. Real estate, precious metals, tightly held businesses, cryptocurrencies, tax liens, and private loans are all common forms of investing. SDIRAs, like standard IRAs, provide the same tax benefits and contribution limits as traditional IRAs.

Investment due diligence is the responsibility of the investor since custodians do not give investment advice. Because of this, investing in SDIRAs is a riskier proposition. SDIRAs, on the other hand, have a lot of rules and regulations that might be difficult to follow, which increases the chance of an IRS audit. Always seek the advice of a tax professional before making investments in an SDIRA.

Cost of a Self-Directed IRA

SDIRA custodians impose three fees: a startup fee, an annual administration fee, and a transaction cost. In our analysis, we found that the setup charge for custodians ranged from $0 to $360. Annual administration fees typically range from $150 to more than $2,000, depending on the size of the investment account. Some of the custodians in our evaluation charge lower administrative costs, ranging from $15 per month to $360 per year.

In addition, depending on the magnitude of the transaction, most custodians levy a transaction fee, which normally ranges from $35 to $250 per purchase, sell, or exchange. On our list, there are a few custodians that do not charge a transaction fee for their services.

Who Should Get a Self-Directed Individual Retirement Account?

Experienced and knowledgeable investors who are dissatisfied with the returns and diversity offered by standard investments are ideal candidates for an SDIRA. Larger profits are possible with alternative investments, but the risks are also higher. Investors with a greater income or net worth have fewer choices in alternative investments. Nevertheless, modest investors have a wide range of possibilities, but it is their duty to fully comprehend the dangers.

Jeffrey Camerda

Dr. Jeffery Camerda, PhD, is a financial planner who specializes in wealth management and retirement planning. With a PhD in Economics and Financial Planning, Jeffery represents the highest level of financial planning expertise and achievement in the USA In addition to preparing you for a career in financial planning, a PhD in economics and finance also prepares you for academic pursuits, such as becoming a university professor in teaching or doing research. Here at the Wealth Builder, our financial advisory company was founded in 2007 and services all across the USA with over 16 years of expertise. In order to provide the finest advice and services, we pay close attention to the specific financial circumstances and requirements of each client. In order to guarantee that our clients don't get a sales pitch for insurance or investments, as well as a lack of conflict of interest from a prospective commission-bearing corporations, Jeffery focuses on fee-based services. Financial planning for wealth managers, financial well-being workshops, and personal financial planning packages are all part of the company's offering. Jeffrey Camarda, PhD, CFA, EA is also the founder of the Family Wealth Education Institute, is a member of the Financial Planning Association and serves as the Chairman of Camarda Wealth Advisory Group

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