5 Habits of Highly-Effective Self Directed IRA Investors

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Investing in self directed IRAs is a great opportunity to truly exert your choice over your retirement fund— but how do you translate that freedom of choice into excellent returns? Though the types of investments held by IRA investors varies, some commonalities between the most successful investors are clear. But what separates the regular investors from the SDIRA superstars? What is it that makes the most successful self directed IRA investors so successful?

 With my experience in the self directed space, I’ve got some pointers:

1. Know the Self Directed IRA Rules and Regulations

The most successful investors know the important rules and regulations about self directed IRAs, especially as they relate to their investments. Knowing these regulations puts you in the right mindset for successful investing— thinking of your retirement plan and investing strategy long-term, big picture, and not for personal, immediate benefit (which is not allowed within your IRA anyway, but this is where many investors get tripped up). Not only does knowing what to expect speed up any transactions you will conduct, but it helps keep every aspect of your self directed account running smoothly.

Not knowing the rules can really hurt you. Your IRA could lose its tax-advantaged status, which comes with some major tax consequences and penalties. Be aware of what you can and can’t do— like engaging in prohibited transactions— and your IRA can be an essential component for retirement success.


2. Informed and Knowledgeable About Their Market

Savvy investors are generally familiar with their investment of choice before they begin— either through personal experience or through lots and lots of research. Truly, any investment can be a good investment— if you do your research and know exactly what the pros and cons are.

Often clients are investing in offerings that are less common, so it's important that you understand that market and how to go about the process. Since you’re free to invest in truly unique ways with your self directed IRA, it’s your responsibility to be familiar with the intricacies of your investment. If you’re not comfortable investing without advice, it’s a good idea to find a trusted advisor to assist.


3. Organized and Up-To-Date

What absolutely sets these investors apart from the rest? Being prepared, organized, and on top of all things related to their self directed IRA. Timing is key when it comes to these investments— they can’t happen at a drop of a hat— so making sure you have enough time to get everything together before the deadline is essential. Whether it be a purchasing an LLC or paying a property tax payment— getting us the correct, completed, and signed forms with time to spare ensures success (and that your funds get here in time for any deadline).

Getting us as much information as possible beforehand also helps us process your transactions faster and more effectively. By doing small things, such as submitting your fair market valuation forms ahead of time or letting us know where your funds will be coming from when submitting paperwork, can speed up the process behind the scene. Particularly prepared investors even make a point to submit all their documents together at the same time, which ensures every element if your transaction ends up where it needs to be, before you even need it.


4. Know Who to Go to for Clarification

The best prepared self directed IRA investors know it’s impossible to have all the answers in every situation. It’s important you have resources for when you don’t have the answers— and this is where IRAR Trust comes in. Though we can’t give you investment advice, we’re always glad to share accurate and up-to-date self directed knowledge as it relates to your investment strategy. Our experts are Certified IRA Services Professionals (CISP) and we’re committed to answering the phone— along with your questions, whenever you call.

Many of our clients have a tax, financial, or legal professional they go to when they need advice on their chosen investments. Is your advisor unfamiliar with self directed IRAs? Many people are, even within the finance industry, as self-direction is a growing but underutilized niche of the financial sphere. We’d be happy to explain the process to both you and your advisor— reach out to one of our representatives and we’d be happy to set up a call.


5. Choosing the Right Custodian For Your Needs

Truly effective self directed IRA investors know the importance of having the right people standing beside you. This is a common refrain, especially with real estate investors, but it’s true for any investment. This applies to any advisors, employees, and investment partners, but it also includes your self directed IRA custodian.

Working with the right team lets you take a breather, take a load off, and just stress less— you know they’re doing their part to keep things running smoothly and efficiently, you don’t have to worry. That’s what the right IRA custodian can do for your self directed IRA. It’s easier to self direct your retirement confidently when you know your provider is doing their job— so you can do your job (investing for your retirement!)



With self directed IRAs, it’s not just the assets and investment strategy that makes you successful—it takes more than just a retirement fund and a dream to get the kind of returns most investors hope for. What is it that elevates the self directed success stories above the rest? Quite simply— it’s these habits.

These investors do their research and find out exactly what they need to know before they get there— about self directed IRAs, about their investment space, about the investment itself and their investment provider. They pick investments they’re already familiar with, utilizing their existing knowledge base and experience, so they’re ahead without even trying. They’re organized and prepared ahead of time, submitting what they need before it’s needed— with plenty of time to spare for whatever life may bring. They know when they’re in over their head and who to go to when they need help or have questions— so they don’t make a costly mistake they later regret. And lastly, they know the value of having the right team behind them, starting with the right IRA custodian— the right (or wrong) team can truly make or break an investor.

Do you have what it takes to be a self directed IRA superstar?

Whether you’re still trying to figure out your winning strategy or looking to compare providers and prices, we’re here when you need us. Schedule a free consult and one of our Certified IRA Services Professionals (CISPs) will reach out to you to answer all your self directed IRA questions.


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