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By Josh Manier, Kaplan Professional SchoolsPublished April 2014
Over the past seven years, many individuals invested in Wall Street have seen their retirement accounts lose 50 percent of their value or more, only to watch them slowly creep back up to near pre-recession levels. Many investors who plan to retire in 10 to 15 years have opted to avoid market volatility by converting their retirement account to a self-directed retirement account (SDRA), whereby they can invest in real estate, private mortgages, commodities, and private businesses. This little known program was originally passed by Congress in 1974 under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). This act gives individuals the freedom to choose these various alternative investment options within their retirement account. The most common alternative investment held within an SDRA is real estate, representing over 50 percent of total assets.
For example, if an individual purchases a piece of investment real estate within their SDRA, they could be able to earn a mid to high single digit annual rate of return on the rental income and own a tangible asset that can appreciate in value, all without the volatility associated with traditional financial markets. As the time nears to draw from their retirement fund, many investors desire a lower risk, more passive income-generating investment such as real estate. If the rental income generated within the SDRA from the investment real estate can equal or exceed the amount of cash being used to subsidize an individual's retirement lifestyle, then the account can potentially last in perpetuity. The idea of retirement income lasting an unlimited number of years is one I'm sure most of us find highly desirable.
Over 1 million self-directed retirement accounts are in existence today, but they represent only 2 percent of the overall retirement assets held nationwide. Why haven't you heard about SDRAs before? Well, it's not an investment account that most traditional financial planners offer. Also, traditional financial planners typically can't be compensated for SDRA investments.
That said, after working within the SDRA industry for the past five years providing alternative investments and financing for investors, I was asked by Kaplan Real Estate Education to author and teach a real estate continuing education course that covers the topic. The course highlights how SDRAs can be used to increase real estate sales, how SDRA accounts are set up, how title can be held, various investment strategies, real estate financing, and how to present SDRAs to potential clients who may be interested in purchasing investment real estate.
To learn more about the course: Investing in Real Estate Using Self-Directed Retirement Accounts, please visit: www.kapre.com/real-estate-courses/minnesota/continuing-education/salesperson/details/110114
Josh Manier an Instructor at Kaplan Professional Schools. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
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