Jim Hitt, CEO of American IRA LLC-a National Provider of Self-Directed IRAs says, “There are misconceptions in the recent Mitt Romney article by Time Moneyland“. Mr. Hitt explains those misconceptions.
The article ‘The Lessons of Mitt Romney’s IRA’ starts by saying that “Mitt Romney may have made the classic IRA mistake: holding low-tax investments inside a tax-favored account.” Jim Hitt says, “There is no mistake in holding investments inside a tax-favored account. Every dollar saved by doing so is a win!”
The article goes on to explain that the mistake that was made is that Romney should have held high-tax investments such as real estate investment trusts, rental properties, bonds and other income generating investments, instead of low tax investments such as stocks in his IRA.
Mr. Hitt continues, “They are correct on this point in that it is ‘more’ beneficial to hold investments such as real estate in an IRA than it is to hold investments such as stocks in an IRA. Still I think the further point here is not what Mr. Romney chose to invest in with his IRA but rather the investment vehicle that he selected. A Roth IRA would have caused him taxable consequences up front but then would have allowed him unlimited tax free gains within his Roth IRA thereafter, which he could draw without taxation when he becomes eligible.”
A further point within the article states that investing in an IRA and or 401k doesn’t work with limited resources.
Mr. Hitt strongly disagrees stating “I have seen countless examples of clients that started out with very small self-directed IRAs and then, through their determination, careful research, and due diligence, grew those accounts to substantial amounts. The amount you start with isn’t important; anyone can be successful with a self-directed retirement account. What is important is that they have the drive to succeed and the willingness to invest in areas they know well or the willingness to bring in experts (i.e. accountants, tax advisors, financial advisors) when they are investing in an area they are not familiar with.
“Saying that ‘limited resources’ is a determining factor in any realm of life is a major mistake. Anyone with the determination to succeed can succeed. Think of Oprah Winfrey for example…what if someone had told her that her limited resources meant she couldn’t do anything with her life? On second thought, perhaps someone did, perhaps many people did, but she pushed forward and she became successful.”
Finally, the article mentioned that ‘Romney’s IRA is valued between $20.7 million and $101.6 million according to The Wall Street Journal.’
Mr. Hitt concludes, “Given the annual contribution limits one has to reason that Mr. Romney has experienced extraordinary gains within his IRA, no argument there. No one can say with certainty what type of investments netted him those gains. While TimeMoneyland cites that he must have invested in stocks and other high-yield investments, the truth of the matter is that I have watched clients experience a very high return on real estate investments many times over. It is entirely possible that Mr. Romney did invest in some lucrative real estate or other high-tax investments within his IRA.
The bottom line…if Mr. Romney’s IRA is valued between $20.7 million and $101.6 million…how can we possibly say that he ‘made a mistake’?!”