Finding the Right Self-directed IRA Custodian
Make no mistake about it, self directed IRA is a great thing. Not only do you get to save up for your retirement, but you get a free hand as to where you should invest. Depending on how involved you would like to be in your retirement investment, investing in your retirement using self directed IRA may be a good thing or a bad thing. Let us get it out of the way now, it is a bad thing for people who do not have the time. If you do not have time and do not have motivation to research specific investments for your retirement, it is probably a good idea to invest your IRA in mutual fund or managed fund. The great thing about managed fund is that all the leg work and all the research is taken care of by the company that is handling your IRA. You simply get a report card periodically showing how well managed fund has managed to grow or not grow your hard earned money.
If you are a person that likes to be in control or would like to have some level of control regarding how fast your retirement resources increase, you might want to get self directed IRA. While non directed IRA is great if you do not have time or energy to research investment options for your retirement funds, self directed IRA is great for people who have interest and time. The difference in return between the two can be quite significant if you are methodical and systematical regarding your self directed IRA. With that said, there is really no guarantee that you would make more money with your self directed IRA. After all, with managed fund, you are banking on competence and expertise of the fund manager to grow your money. With sub directed IRA, you are directing the flow of your retirement investment. You have nobody else to blame except for yourself. This is why it is really important for people who are looking to get to self directed IRA making sure that they do have time and space to be able to properly manage their retirement funds correctly. Otherwise, you might just be buying to a headache. With that said and assuming that you would like self directed IRA, the next question is how to find the right self directed IRA custodian.
The custodian is a company that is basically in charge of your self directed IRA. It works with your previous retirement funds, whether they are 401k or other types of retirement programs and pulls all your retirement funds to one account or set of accounts. This is the main job of self directed IRA custodian. It is basically a custodian of all your funds in one particular company and put it under your control, supervised by one particular company. This may seem very basic however, it is the small details that set apart one self directed IRA custodian company from another. These small differences that can add up to quite a big difference when something goes wrong in the future or you need certain services. At this stage of the game, now that you have decided that you would like to have a self directed IRA, now you have to analyze your self directed IRA custodian options so you can truly make an informed decision. Keep the following factors in mind when trying to pick out self directed IRA custodian for your hard earned retirement money.
Great customer service
A really professional self directed IRA custodian has excellent customer service. We are not just talking about great salespersons telling you the right thing so you can sign on to particular self directed IRA custodian, no. We are talking about a company that still takes good care of you after you have signed on. You have to remember, this is a big deal. Many investors and investment companies think that the job of self directed IRA custodian is basically ministerial. They would like to think that the job of such company is just to get all your funds together, send your monthly statement and basically stay out of your way. While there is some truth to that, you also want a company that is very responsive to you. At the very least, they are always in touch, they offer you many different ways of getting hold of them. Considering that this is your retirement money we are talking about and the market does go through certain fluctuations, you need comfort and convenience of having self directed IRA custodian that is willing to go through an extra mile to help you with your account. A great customer service is important, being able to reach a live person at any time of the day is crucial. Dealing with a company that will bend over backwards to give you the service that you need is very important. Customer service comes in many forms and should be greattly considered when rolling your 401(k) to a gold IRA etc.
Proven track record of excellent service
Just like any financial market, there are many self directed IRA custodian options out there. Not all of them are excellent, some of them just got started, others do not have the expertise, others do not have a track record. Treat looking for self directed IRA custodian the same way you would treat the task of looking for a new doctor. Ask for references, take a look at their operating history, see if there are complaints against the company and check for proper accreditation. In the same way you would look for a new attorney, look for self directed IRA custodian. Do not just rely on word of mouth.
As mentioned above, a key component of great customer service is accessibility. Sure, you might be able to find a service provider that charges really low rates. However, those low rates go out the window and is worthless to you if you cannot access your account. The low fees that are being charged to your account are in material if you cannot get a hold of anybody. Accessibility is crucial since you are dealing with financial markets and you are dealing with investments, you need to be able to quickly access people in the company that is providing self directed IRA custodian services to you. At the very least, insist on many different ways of getting hold of them. Email is not enough, a phone call is not enough. There should be a long list of different alternative means of communication. The more, the better.
Wide range of access tools
One of the most important accessibility tools that you should look for in self directed IRA custodian is online access. You should be able to access your account and your sub accounts within that account. It is very important that regardless of where you are in the planet, whether you are at home or whether you are out travelling, you should be able to get access to your account from any laptop, desktop or mobile device. Obviously, the wider the range of access tools, the better. At the very least, insist on some sort of mobile app or some sort of mobile specific access tool so you can always be in the loop regarding how your investments are doing and also your self directed IRA custodian can get a hold of you.
The very best self directed IRA custodian companies have other add-on services. These services help you manage your IRA. Either they give you news or they give you some sort of research information, anything that does not produce conflicts of interest is welcome. Investments can get quite tricky, it is really hard to tell whether one investment is good or not. It is hard to tell how to diversify your investment portfolio when there are so many different options on the table. When you have ready and easy access to add-on services provided by your self directed IRA custodian, you can get as much information as you need so you can make the right choices. Keep in mind that the best self directed IRA custodian companies offer these add-on services in such a way that they avoid conflicts of interest. Avoid a situation where you are dealing with one company that is the custodian of your IRA and then recommend certain stocks to you. This could be a serious issue down the road.
You worked hard for your money. You sacrificed for your money. You are looking forward to your retirement years as the best years of your life. Do not let that dream go up in smoke by picking the wrong self directed IRA custodian. Keep the tips above in mind so you can make a clear and competent informed decision regarding which service provider to go with.