3 Most Common Mistakes When Opening A Self-Directed IRA

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We know you want to help your clients open their self-directed IRAs as quickly and seamlessly as possible. We want that too! Our team is always aiming to make the process as simple as possible for investors and their advisors. The process with IRAR is quick and easy, but there are a few things we see investors miss pretty frequently.

Here’s what to watch for with your clients, so they can start investing ASAP:

1. They don’t completely fill out the account application.

The most common reason for delays in opening an account? The application isn’t fully filled out.

We try and keep our forms simple for the ease of the client, and we don’t ask for unnecessary information. We’re required to collect and verify some things by law, but before we add a field we make sure it’s actually needed. It’s a pain filling out page after page after page of tedious detail when you’re just trying to start your investment process— we get it. We won’t torture you like that.

However, that does mean most of the information we ask for on our forms is required. Make sure each section is fully filled out, and if any questions arise you can give us a call.

We’ve combined almost all our signatures and acknowledgements to just two places— once at the very end, and another under “spousal consent” (required if you’re married and live in a community property state). Missing either of these signatures, if applicable, will hold up the process.

The “Beneficiary Information” is not required to open your account, but we are required by law to acknowledge if you skip this section.


2. They don’t include a clear, signed copy of their identification.

Another item that holds up the account opening process— an unclear copy of their photo identification.

We need a copy of a non-expired, government-issued, photo ID with a signature, most often a driver’s license or passport, to open an account. The photo on the identification must be clear, and signature legible. If the signature is on the back, we’ll need a copy of the back as well.

If the address listed is not current, please provide a copy of a current utility bill for verification purposes.


3. They don’t include an email address. 

Lastly— clients need an email address not already in our system to open an account.

For the account to be properly set up, clients need their own individual email address to open an account. If they share an email address with a spouse or another family member and that person already has an account with IRAR, they’ll need to make another email address.

The way our record-keeping and client communication system works requires each client to have a unique email, and this address is how you access your online portal. There are many free email resources online to create a new account if needed.


Quick Tip at Set-Up to Save Money:

Investors often bill fees straight to their retirement accounts— it seems easier, and you don’t have to get out your credit card. But if you do that, you’re spending your limited tax-advantaged retirement funds on fees instead of on investing for your future— and these funds are limited by yearly contributions. By paying these fees with a credit card instead of debiting your account, that money stays where it ought to be— investing for your future retirement. Sometimes, these fees may even be considered a tax write off (we suggest consulting with an advisor before making tax plans).


In a Nutshell

When opening your client’s account, don’t let their application get rejected for silly reasons. These missteps seem like small things —and they are, really, as they can be quickly corrected— but they can cost you and your clients time, which you don’t always have. Plus, isn’t it nice to get it right the first time? IRAR requests the information we do because we have to, both because we’re required by law AND because we want your clients to get the best service possible for their self-directed IRAs. But if you can catch these mistakes before firing off that email, your clients will be self-directing their retirement much faster.

However, if you do have any questions about our application (or anything else!), we’d be happy to help. Give us a call or email and one of our experienced representatives would love to assist.



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