It can be a painful experience. Many people cringe as they open their stock market investment statements. Discouraged by the lack of earnings, many are retiring Wall Street's services and instead seeking other investments in an effort to build up their retirement portfolios.
Most brokerage or mutual fund firms are similar, offering services that require clients to invest in mutual funds or stocks and bonds.
But, "We are one of a few firms in our business that will accommodate what is known as unique assets or non-traditional assets," says Jim Wagner, CEO of Trust Administration Services Corporation, a subsidiary of First Regional Bank.
The Carlsbad, Calif.-based company has been helping clients broaden the diversification of their retirement portfolios since 1998. "Our niche is that we will accommodate traditional retirement investing, but in addition we will administer and record-keep for real estate trust deeds, private stock, things like that," says Wagner.
Through the use of a "self-directed IRA," an account that allows you to select your own investments, "investors can sell real estate, buy stocks, sell stocks, buy real estate, back and forth, all within one retirement plan," explains Wagner.
The same tax benefits remain regardless of whether you're buying stocks or real estate, "All gains are tax-deferred as you buy and sell within the retirement," says Wagner.
The concept, although not new, is catching on, likely because of our hot real estate market.
"A bigger percentage of our new plans that we set up is being invested in real estate and have been over the last year-and-a-half. I'd say 65 percent of our new business goes into real estate of some fashion, either direct investments or trust deeds or things like that," says Wagner.
Court Wilson is an Investment Retirement Consultant with Scripps Investments and Loans, Inc. The company provides opportunity for those interested in using their IRAs to invest.
"What my company does are Trust Deed Investments. We do a loan and we use a pool of investors' money to fund that loan. And some of it comes from personal money and some of it comes from retirement money," says Wilson.
Using your IRA for real estate investing has to be on investment properties only, not a residence. These days the returns can make the investment a welcome addition to a retirement portfolio, by using your IRA to fund another's loan.
"We can offer investors a real estate loan to a retirement account paying anywhere from 12-14 percent, collateralized by a first trust deed," says Wilson.
It's a fact that most people aren't prepared for retirement, the lack of corporate pension plans and the limited resources of Social Security are just a few contributing factors that make saving on your own even more vital.
Having diversification and a wide variety of investment choices for your IRA brings more opportunity for success, "It just opens up another window," says Wilson.