Retirement Portfolio

Self-Directed IRA Statistics

You might have heard of a Self-Directed IRA—but do you know the hard numbers behind who uses them, how they use them, and what retirement planning looks like in the modern United States? Here are some statistics that might startle, surprise, or shock you.

How Many IRA Assets Are There in the United States?

Let’s start with the big one: the total value of IRA assets in the United States. Using data from Statista, we were able to identify the following:

  • The total value of IRAs keeps going up. The most recent year available, 2020, showed 12.3 trillion dollars in retirement assets held in IRAs across the United States.
  • The most popular type of asset was “other.” This highlights just how many people invest in asset classes that aren’t mutual funds. Statista classified $5.6 trillion of the assets—the largest single number—as “other.”
  • $5.5 trillion was held in mutual funds. Close behind “other” was the astounding amount of money investors keep in mutual funds, at about $5.5 trillion.

How Many People Own an IRA?

Now that we know the raw data in terms of assets held, what about how many people own an IRA? We previously looked at the statistics and found that about 19% of U.S. households hold a Roth IRA, with the total holding a Traditional or Roth IRA at over 42 million. Since this data goes back a few years, there’s always the possibility that this number has gone up in the intervening time.

Whatever the number is, one thing is clear: while IRAs are popular, there’s still some room for improvement here. It seems as though not enough people hold retirement accounts when you consider how many people might end up needing them—which means that there’s still work to be done to convince the general public that accounts like Traditional and Roth IRAs are hugely beneficial.

Most People Aren’t Making IRA Contributions

Even though there are tax benefits to making Self-Directed IRA contributions, most US households who were eligible to make IRA contributions did not do so, according to some data. “Only 12 percent of US households contributed to Traditional or Roth IRAs in tax year 2019,” according to the data, suggesting that even though IRAs are popular, the amount of people actually using them actively is not enough.

This is a key statistic in the world of Self-Directed IRAs. Self-Directed IRA investors, who are accustomed to making decisions themselves, take the reins over their retirement accounts. If there were more people making IRA contributions in the world, there’s a chance the U.S. would be more financially stable when it comes to how households manage their money.

IRA Ownership Tends to Go Up with Age and Income

Of course, not everyone has the cash to spare for a Self-Directed IRA. That’s why it was interesting to note just how many people own IRAs. At younger than 35, the number is only about 32%–which is surprising, considering that this is the best age to open an IRA, even if you aren’t making huge contributions! The highest percentages belonged to people ages 45 to 64, as this group had a rate of ownership at about 40%. Higher, but still not enough.

These statistics all show that the world of IRAs and Self-Directed IRAs is still unexplored by many. That’s why it’s so important that people understand how easy they can be to use, set up, and contribute to. Interested in learning more about Self-Directed IRAs?  Contact American IRA, LLC at 866-7500-IRA (472) for a free consultation.  Download our free guides or visit us online at

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