Once upon a time, in a sunny Southern California town not too far from La Jolla, IRA Resources took root. Not that I knew it at the time. Then, I was working at a land syndication company. Many of the company’s clients used their IRAs to make long-term real estate investments, both for the market appreciation and the tax benefits.
From my position in the IRA Investments Department, I got to know a lot about the ins and outs of using IRAs to invest in alternative assets, like real estate.
Better yet, I got to know our clients, the kind of service they appreciated, and the kind of communications that were most helpful to them. (I have always enjoyed talking to people and learning from them). I also got to work with many of the IRA custodians in the marketplace— big and small, successful and not so. In a few years, I was in charge of the IRA Investments Department, making sure that all the paperwork was completed accurately and submitted on time.
Before too long, one of the not-so-successful IRA custodians went into receivership. This created a problem for our clients, but turned into an opportunity for me.
My boss at the land company encouraged me to take over as the custodian for the failing business. Talk about surprised! But as I thought it over, I realized that I could. I knew the processes, the people, and the industry. I could do a better job for the IRA account holders. I knew how to get things done, and done with a smile.
Once that seed of an idea—running my own business—was planted, I nurtured it carefully. I reached out to my network of bankers, attorneys, and real estate and financial professionals.
I chose the name IRA Resources because that’s what I wanted to provide, resources of all kinds: administrative, custodial, and educational for IRA holders.
From the start, IRAR’s growth has been organic. Every morning, the mail carrier delivered envelopes containing the paperwork—yes, it was all paper-based then—to open new accounts. I was super-excited, but also getting super-nervous about being able to handle everything at the high standards I expected of myself. The solution? Hire people with equally high standards, rent an office, and keep on growing.
Just like weeds can invade even the best-tended garden, there were challenges. The worst was employees whose standards didn't live up to expectations. But I shook that off, found better people, and put stronger processes in place to protect IRAR and our clients. Satisfied clients referred others. Business partners sent clients our way. IRAR grew by word of mouth.
As IRAR grew, the self-directed space gained ground in stature and sophistication. That was especially true when it came to technology. Email replaced snail mail. Websites overtook brochures. Often created by or for the largest custodians, some of this technology was out of my reach and my budget. But without it, IRAR couldn’t deliver the services our clients needed. I asked the CEO of one self-directed IRA firm if IRAR could license its software. “Help a competitor?” the CEO responded. ” Absolutely not!“
Fortunately, one established firm was more open-minded. We partnered for many years, allowing IRAR to leverage economies of scale.
Today, IRAR is solidly rooted and bearing fruit for more than 7,500 accountholders. To position IRAR for even more growth, we hired two self-directed retirement industry veterans, Jason Craig and Yvonne Garcia, to strengthen our infrastructure, sales, and marketing initiatives. We also branched out by opening another office, which also serves as a processing center, in Oakland, California. To staff the Processing Center we hired the best, a team of seasoned self-directed IRA specialists.
Our expansion will be guided by the principles that have been so important from the beginning of IRAR: Excellence in the services and experiences we deliver. Personal and professional growth, so we can deliver even better service. Honesty in our relationships with our clients and each other. Teamwork grounded in respect. Transparency in our client relationships. Offering clients education that enhances their understanding of self-directed retirement saving.
I couldn’t be happier or more proud of how IRAR has grown. My passion for the industry and hard work have paid off. I can’t wait to share more of our story with you.