How Can your Self-Directed IRA Help the Environment?

You might wish to consider an eco-friendly investment for your Self-Directed IRA, especially when looking at the long term. Thinking green can make you some “green”, as in cash, if you can find the right opportunities.

Businesses which demonstrate a commitment to “environmental responsibility” are now expected to outperform those which do not over the next 20 years. The recent study published by the Harvard Business Review confirms this, citing that the “aware” businesses will be prepared well ahead of possible new regulations as well as civic pressure.

Even if you have designated your Self-Directed IRA for real estate investing, you have this opportunity. This could include raw land which could be used for solar panels, wind turbines, nuclear energy, and/or existing energy efficient properties.

Such properties, whether residential or commercial, could bring added appeal to buyers that are already environmentally conscious. Wind turbines are also an eligible investment, with or without owning the land they occupy.

There is also what are commonly known as “Green Bonds”. These are used by municipalities and appropriate organizations to assist with the development of sites and projects with energy efficiency, protection of ecosystems, sustainability, and prevention of pollution.

However, eco-friendly investments through your Self-Directed IRA are not limited to real estate. You could also invest in “green” technology, such as hydro-technology.

Technology investments could include electric and/or fuel-efficient cars and other motor vehicles, as well as trains and other modes of transportation, including bicycles. Garbage and recycling are other areas which are faced with the challenges of serving in a cleaner environment in years to come.

Finding a unique opportunity for investment with your Self-Directed IRA could turn into a family project, especially with the variety of categories which can be explored.

You could, for example, enlist the help of your children, nieces, nephews, and/or trusted family members to research categories of interest to them.

There are several student organizations which take up environmental causes and may be able to provide information about entities which are leading the way. You could then research the companies with an eye toward investment possibilities, whether with those companies or a form of their competition.

One category is called MHK, which is marine and hydrokinetic technologies. These are used to convert the energy from tides, waves, and river and ocean currents into electricity. The U.S. Department of Energy has a partnership with International Energy Agency Ocean Energy Systems, which has created a database known as Tethys. This database contains research data about the potential impact of offshore wind and MHK on the environment around the world.

Although this information appears confusing to many of us, it is this type of research which serves to uncover opportunities for long term investors, especially when a Self-Directed IRA allows you to have such a possibility.

Another category to consider is Geothermal Energy, which is actually heat from the earth. Sources are hot water or steam reservoirs which are accessed by drilling in locations such as Alaska and Hawaii, where the shallow ground under the surface is able to maintain consistent temperatures in the 50 to 60-degree range. The steam can be used to drive generators and produce electricity, while the heat from the ground could impact heating or cooling for agricultural and industrial use.

On the automotive side, there are opportunities involving Hydrogen. When combined with oxygen in a fuel cell, Hydrogen produces heat and electricity. However, it needs to be produced from other sources of energy. A recent U.S. Government report shows that technology is needed to transport and/or store it. Development is reportedly in the early stages to be able to make Hydrogen from renewable energy sources.

The point is that there are numerous possibilities for long term eco-friendly investments through your Self-Directed IRA. You have the ability to do your own research on your own time, and not be forced to share your findings with others if you do not wish to do so. This could be your method to becoming a “private investor” by finding the right opportunity for you. Your Self-Directed IRA allows you these and many other possibilities for your long-term investments.

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