Before You Choose a Self-Directed IRA Custodian

Before You Choose a Self-Directed IRA Custodian

You’re all set. You know that a Self-Directed IRA can make it possible for you to invest in a wide range of retirement asset classes, so you’ve chosen yours. You have vision of retiring with multiple commas in your retirement account, plenty of income for life, and most importantly, peace of mind. And these are all great things. But before you take that first leap into Self-Directed IRA investing, it helps to get yourself on solid footing. That’s why we’ve put together this brief guide for figuring out what you need to do to choose a Self-Directed IRA custodian who can do the best job possible for your retirement goals.

First Things First: Understanding the Self-Directed IRA

Let’s get clear about what a Self-Directed IRA is. This is a style of investing in which you choose the assets to buy, set the investment strategy, and make the decisions for yourself. The custodian you’re going to work with is simply that—a custodian on the account, not a financial advisor. They handle administrative duties, carry out your buy/sell orders, and make sure that the paperwork is handled properly. Those are important roles, and it’s important that you have someone on your team that you can trust. But always remember that you are ultimately responsible for the investment decisions you make, which means you’ll have to do your own due diligence on the investments you choose.

What Kind of IRA Do You Want?

One of the most important decisions you have to make about your retirement goals is the type of retirement account(s) you’ll use. For example, a retirement investor can have a Roth IRA and a 401(k), while emphasizing one or the other. But another investor might do better with a SEP IRA. Know what you want out of your retirement strategy, because that will dictate the decisions you make with your IRAs. Here’s just a brief list of the types of retirement and savings accounts you might be able to use, depending on what you qualify for:

  • Traditional IRAs
  • Roth IRAs
  • SEP IRAs
  • Solo 401(k)s
  • HSAs
  • Coverdell Education Savings Accounts

Fee Dynamics: What to Know About How Self-Directed IRA Custodians Charge Fees

Next up, you’ll need to know something about the bottom line. A custodian may not charge fees the same way another custodian does. For example, American IRA uses relatively static fees—meaning the fees don’t change as your account gets larger. This is a great way to ensure that your fees stay the same even while you continue to add to an account that’s generating nice returns for you. In contrast to this idea, some custodians may charge dynamic fees that go up and increase as the size of your account goes up as well. This can obviously eat into your retirement savings, which is why it’s so important to vet the custodian you’re working with before you ultimately take that plunge and decide to use them.

Here at American IRA, we have a dedicated team of experienced professionals ready to administer your account. And we charge static fees that help you retain more of your money even as the account grows in size. Those are two great elements of what makes a good Self-Directed IRA custodian. And now that you know what the next steps are, it may be time for you to begin your Self-Directed IRA journey. We encourage you to keep on reading about the topics you’re interested in here at But if you’re ready to take the next steps, you can always call us at 866-7500-IRA to learn how it all works.