Who is the Custodian of My IRA?
Custodians of an IRA oversee its assets and ensure they meet IRS regulations, such as complying with contribution limits and age restrictions for its holders.
Consider factors like investment options, fees and customer service when choosing an IRA custodian. Also look for companies offering self-directed IRAs which allow investments outside marketable securities.
What type of account do you offer?
Custodians for individual retirement accounts offer an assortment of investments, but not all are created equal. When searching for an IRA custodian that offers non-traditional investments such as real estate, private companies, or precious metals to expand your investment possibilities and lower risk while increasing returns. A larger portfolio will reduce overall risk and boost returns.
Banks make an ideal IRA custodian because they provide FDIC-insured certificates of deposit and money market mutual funds; however, their marketable security restrictions may limit your investments and they typically charge higher fees than other custodians.
Fraudsters often employ fake custodians to steal from IRA owners. To ensure your IRA custodian is legitimate, refer to the IRS list of approved nonbank trustees and custodians as well as select an administrator that offers multiple custodian options so you can find one best suited for your retirement goals.
What type of investments do you offer?
As well as traditional and Roth IRAs, consider selecting custodians that provide other types of retirement accounts such as 401(k), health savings accounts, Coverdell accounts and ESOPs. It would also be wise to confirm licensing from SEC, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and state regulators as this may prove invaluable when making important financial decisions.
Find a custodian that offers a diverse range of investments such as mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), stocks and bonds as well as alternative non-traditional options such as real estate or private companies.
Some Self Directed IRA custodians can accommodate alternative assets like tax liens and precious metals; just be sure to select one with experience in making such investments. A good custodian will verify prices and asset values listed on your account statements and report transactions to the IRS while keeping records of expenses, such as property tax payments on real estate investments.
What type of fees do you charge?
Many custodians charge fees for various services they provide, such as annual account maintenance fees, mutual fund loads and trade commissions. Selecting an IRA custodian that charges low or no fees is essential to its success.
Find a custodian that supports investments beyond traditional stocks, bonds and mutual funds – such as real estate, private companies and precious metals. Consider one that provides self-directed IRA options so investors can select their retirement investments themselves.
Discover a custodian that is responsive and available to answer questions quickly. Make sure they offer open channels of communication – be it online or via telephone; inquiries should never go unattended for long. IRA holders should inquire whether their custodian only serves clients in their home state, or can serve investors worldwide (IRA Financial Group provides all-in-one custodial and administrator services for Self Directed IRAs no matter where in the world their investors may reside).
What type of customer service do you offer?
When selecting a self-directed custodian, it’s essential to learn about their background and experience. A lack of industry expertise has cost clients their retirement savings in the past; thus it’s vital that you understand exactly what type of support is provided by this custodian.
Find a custodian that provides investments you plan to make and check if they provide open lines of communication (online or by telephone) for answering questions about them. Nothing is more frustrating than not receiving complete and clear responses when making investments.
Finally, research what fees the custodian charges. These could include annual account maintenance fees, loads (charged in mutual funds) and trading commissions. Look for an organization that charges these fees fairly and transparently as well as one offering no-load mutual funds which will significantly cut investment costs over time. Furthermore, select a custodian that serves your area or even global.
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