Archive for September, 2013

Tips to Survive Renting a Home

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Rental Property

If you have a real estate IRA and are ready to rent out your property the following are a few tips to help protect your property. Of course each situation might call for going with some of these tips, or none of them, but overall these tips should be taken into consideration to make sure you have your bases covered. 

Hire a Management Company

Hiring a management firm isn't for everyone but here is what a management company usually gets paid to do: find a tenant- which includes the advertising and the background checks. Managing the property- this includes most of the things you probably don't want to do like collecting the rent and charging late fees to handling repairs and dealing with early vacancies and evictions.

When choosing a management company make sure to choose a company that is a licensed professional. To find a professional near you check out NARPM. One important thing that the management company does is that it takes out the emotional aspect of being a landlord. They are the ones at the end of the day that need to collect the paycheck.  Lastly, the rest of the tips that are mentioned can for the most part be done by the management company.

Find a Good Tenant

A great way to find a tenant is to advertise in local newspapers, both in print and online. Never forget the power of word of mouth and spread the word through everyone you know.

It is important to have potential tenants to fill out an application form, listing their basic information: name, employer, salary, previous landlords and references. It is also very important for any landlord to do a background check. For these checks you'll need their Social Security number and signed authorization to check credit reports and criminal history. This can also be done by an online agency and as always make sure your company is accredited. Do this by checking the BBB.

Charge the Correct Rent

It is important to to be at the correct price point for your rent or you may never see the tenant you are hoping for. To do this check rent amounts around your property. Check newspapers or online resources for prices. Remember, be realistic and that may mean having a lower rent than what your mortgage is.

Quality Written Lease

This is one thing you will want to make sure you get right. You may want help from a real estate lawyer that has experience in creating leases. Some of the things your lease should spell out are:

  • Lease Term
  • Security Deposit
  • Due dates and late penalties
  • Who is responsible for what (repairs, upkeep like lawn care, homeowners fees, ect.)
  • Behavioral rules like smoking and noise level
  • Pet policies
  • HOA rules that tenant must follow
  • Eviction terms

Property Insurance

Home insurance for a rental property is different than home insurance for a home you live in. Make sure you are getting rental property insurance. This typically covers the structure, legal costs, medical expenses, rental income loss and repairs. 

These are just a few tips to help you on your way to renting your property from a real estate IRA. In regards to the self directed IRA in real estate you must make sure you are following correct rules. Contact us today to talk more about how to get invest your IRA into real estate or to talk about more of the specific real estate IRA rules.

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Retirement Contribution Limits – IRA Limits

Friday, September 20th, 2013


Traditional and Roth Contribution Limits

Are you wanting to contribute to your retirement accounts? Make sure you know your IRA Contribution Limits. The limits can change year to year or every couple of years so it is vital to make sure you are sure you know what the specific contribution limits are for the particular year you are contributing to.

For instance, in 2012 the maximum you could contribute to all of your traditional or Roth IRA were:
$5,000 or $6,000 if you are 50 or older. One thing to note is that you cannot contribute that maximum if your taxable compensation for the year is smaller than the $5,000 or $6,000. You will only be able to contribute to what your taxable compensation is if smaller than that $5,000 or $6,000.

For 2013 the maximum you can contribute to all of your traditional or Roth IRA are:
$5,500 or $6,500 if you are 50 or older. One thing to note is that you cannot contribute that maximum if your taxable compensation for the year is smaller than the $5,500 or $6,500. You will only be able to contribute to what your taxable compensation is if smaller than that $5,500 or $6,500.

Situations that will affect what you can contribute

The basic contribution numbers are good to be aware of but they are not the say all. You need to know that depending on your specific situation it could change what you can contribute.

For instance, if you are 70 1/2 or older you cannot contribute to your Traditional IRA anymore. Although, you can still contribute to a Roth IRA.
If you file a joint return and only one of you have has taxable compensation, you and your spouse can both make IRA contributions. You must remember though that your combined contributions cannot be more than the taxable compensation that you reported on your return.

Can you contribute if you have a retirement plan at work?

Simply yes. There are still situations that might affect what you can contribute to your Roth IRA or what can be deducted from your traditional IRA contributions. The general rule is that yes you can.

As noted before, your specific situation can change what you can contribute. It is important to talk to your CPA or tax accountant. If you are looking for general contribution info in regards to a self-directed IRA or 401k feel free to contact us.

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Can I Store Gold and Silver in my Self Directed IRA Myself?

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
"Image courtesy of Ventrilock /"

Gold bars in an IRA. Image courtesy of Ventrilock /

Investing in gold backed IRA or silver IRA can be a great investment in your IRA to hedge against Inflation and the devaluation of the US dollar.   In addition, your IRA is storing a physical asset rather than a paper asset so the chances of the asset going to 0 are minimal.  Gold and silver have always been worth something.  I get many questions related to storing metals in an IRA.  Below are a couple of commonly asked questions that I get:

Q. Can I store gold and silver myself in my self directed IRA?

A. In order to have an IRA account you must have an IRA custodian hold the assets for you.  The IRA custodian has many roles including:

1.     Report to the IRS an annual 5498 form.  This form indicates to the IRS the clients that have an IRA with the custodian and the current value of the IRA
2.    The IRA custodian needs to ensure that the investments the clients are investing in are allowed and not disqualified.

The custodian is performing a similar role as an escrow company is for real estate.  When property is bought or sold the cash goes to an escrow company to be distributed to the buyers and sellers.  With an IRA account it is the custodian’s job to hold the assets for their clients.  As a result, it is not possible for the IRA account holder to hold the metals themselves.

 Q. What are the negatives/benefits to storing it myself or having it stored somewhere else?

A. If you store the metals yourself this would be considered a distribution and the current value of the metals would be taxable to you.  You would no longer have an IRA account since you had physical possession of the metals.  The only way to keep and maintain the IRA account is if the IRA custodian holds the metal for you in your behalf.

There are many advantages in storing the metals with our company.  We store all our metals for our clients in a depository, whether it be Brinks or another company.  The advantage of storing it as at a depository are the following:

1.     All metals are insured through the depository.  The insurance is based on current market values not what you paid for the metals
2.    All metals are secured through the depository.  Their facility is very secured to ensure that no one can steal the metals
3.    All metals are weighed and inspected to make sure that the metals are legitimate and not counterfeit.

If you have any more questions about a gold IRA or silver IRA feel free to contact me or leave comments on our self directed ira blog.

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Can You Use a 401k or IRA to Start a Business?

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

There is usually one thing that makes starting a business tricky. Many people do not start their own businesses because they simply do not have it. What is this one thing? CAPITAL/MONEY. Without money it makes it really hard to jump out on a ledge and start a business, especially if that business requires some sort of purchase of a machine, building or product in order to get started. There is an option out there that many people do not know about that will allow you to get the capitol needed to start your business. The way to do this is to use your IRA or 401K. You must have a "self directed" 401k to do this so if you have an IRA or 401k you will need to convert that account into a self directed 401k. As we continue we will talk about self directing your 401k in order to invest in a business.

A Self Directed 401K is a 401K plan setup for your company. As the Manager of the company, you can act as the Trustee for the Plan's monies. Like a self directed IRA, the 401k enables you to self direct your investments, but in this case it is on behalf of your 401K.

One investment option available through the Self Directed 401k is buying shares in your own company, thereby allowing you to fund and run a business.  This can be a great benefit to you if you wanted to start a business or franchise but didnt have the start up money available.  It allow allows you direct control over how well your 401k performs through direct ownership in your own business.

How does it work?

1.Create C-Corp.   Accuplan will create the entity with the appropriate state.
2.Create the mySOP Plan (Trust with Plan documents).  Accuplan will create the Plan and file with the IRS.
3.Roll over all or some of your monies from an IRA or 401(k) to your mySOP.
4.Set up Checking Accounts for the Company and the Plan.
5.Direct Investments by purchasing stock in your C-Corp with pre-tax mySOP monies.


Want more information about setting up a self directed 401k? Want to talk to a professional? Contact me today.

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What is a Checkbook IRA, Self Directed IRA with Checkbook Control?

Friday, September 6th, 2013

To truly understand a self directed IRA with checkbook control you must first know what a self directed IRA is. I am proceeding under the assumption that you have a knowledge of what a self directed IRA is.

The benefit and main difference between a self directed IRA and checkbook IRA also known as a self directed IRA with checkbook control is that you have the ability to write checks or wire funds straight from your self directed IRA bank account to make an investment. Typically you must go through your custodian when investing with the account and so this allows you to eliminate the IRA custodian when investing with your IRA.

Knowing the basics of what a checkbook IRA allows you to do is great but you must know how to properly set one up and it is vital to know the processes you should follow when dealing with your checkbook control IRA. The below info-graphic shows the steps required to creating your self directed IRA with checkbook control correctly.


Contact Accuplan Benefits Services to talk with a professionals about any further questions you may have about a checkbook IRA. Please feel free to call or chat live now.

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