Self-Directed IRA Rules and IRS Regulations

If you’re new to the retirement world, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the amount of jargon and rules. If you familiarize yourself with the essential rules, you can avoid penalties, and reach your retirement goals.

Disqualified persons

One of the easier ways someone can violate self-directed IRA rules is by not understanding who exactly is a disqualified person. These people include the IRA owner’s parents, spouse, their children, and grandchildren. These people are excluded from benefitting from the IRA owner’s investments, for example, if the IRA owner’s adult child needs a home to rent, and the IRA owner has property in their IRA, their child cannot stay in that investment property.

Investment Types

The first thing you learn about self-directed IRA rules is that you, as the owner, are allowed to invest in pretty much anything you’d like. For the most part, that’s true, but there are limitations and exclusions to keep in mind. The IRS has a handful of basic assets that aren’t allowed:

  • Life insurance
  • Collectible items (like paintings, antiques)
  • Gems and coins

Borrowing and lending money

Borrowing and lending in a self-directed IRA gives the owner the ability to loan their IRA money to non-disqualified persons. How it works is that if pre-agreed to, an IRA can receive a certain amount of principal and interest, just like a bank would. What’s appealing is that the IRA holder chooses who to lend to, the interest rate, the principal amount, length of the loan, payment amount, and frequency, and whether the loan is secured by collateral or not.

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