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The Rocket Dollar Guide to Self-Directed Retirement Plans
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2 min read

What It Means To Have ‘Checkbook Control’ of Your IRA or 401(k)

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Just like online trading platform E*Trade completely changed with way people invest in the stock market, checkbook control is reshaping the future of retirement investing.

E*Trade created an explosion of retail stock traders in the 1990s by offering a low flat-rate fee for online transactions. The retirement investing arena is poised for a similar paradigm shift as more and more investors open Self Directed Individual Retirement Accounts in order to gain checkbook-level control over their 401(k) investment decisions.

Checkbook control is a powerful tool for retirement investors. Let’s take a closer look at how Rocket Dollar self-directed account holders can take charge of their investments using checkbook control, as well as the many advantages checkbook control offers.


Checkbook Control: How it Works

When you open a Self-Directed Solo 401(k) through Rocket Dollar, you will have an IRA that houses your tax-deferred retirement dollars at our custody partner. You’ll also form a single-member Limited Liability Company so that you can begin making investments directly from your LLC’s bank account. Rocket Dollar provides all the paperwork and guidance you’ll need to easily get these pieces assembled and into place.

Once you fund your LLC with qualified contributions, including tax-deferred salary or rollover contributions from existing employer-sponsored 401(k)s, you’ll have full access to those retirement dollars and the authority to make a wide range of alternative investments. These include:

You can even invest in alternatives such as timber, oil and gas, and even livestock.

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Timeliness is one of the primary advantages of having checkbook control over your retirement funds. As the managing entity of your LLC, you don’t have to get third-party approval or rely on an IRA custodian to write a check—you have full authority to use the funds in your LLC account for non-traditional investments. And since you are master of your LLCs financial decisions, you can act quickly when you spot qualified opportunities that fit within your retirement investment strategy.

This can be particularly important when investing in real estate. In today’s hot real estate markets, properties often sell within a day or two of being listed. You can fund investments as soon as you identify opportunities so you’ll never get beat to the punch. It also can be advantageous in meeting strict deadlines when investing in private business equity or funding peer-to-peer loans.

By relying on your own business acumen, you’ll also avoid paying transaction fees and high annual account fees often attached to institutional or custodian-controlled 401(k)s. Rocket Dollar charges a one-time fee of $360 to set up your account and just $15 a month for account administration and investment compliance. With traditional IRAs, account holders typically pay high fund management, advisory and transfer fees, as well as commissions on trades if they buy or sell stocks.

Your Tax-Advantaged Tool For Building Retirement Wealth

Checkbook control means you are the director of your investing platform. Whenever you need to fund investments, you simply write a check or initiate a wire transfer. Of course, there are many Internal Revenue Service rules regarding prohibited investments and prohibited transactions that are disallowed from Self-Directed Solo 401(k)s, but Rocket Dollar provides compliance guidance to ensure all investments meet IRS guidelines for non-traditional asset investing.

A checkbook IRA is a powerful tax-advantaged tool for retirement investors who want to take control of their investment decisions, reduced custodial fees and increase flexibility as they build retirement wealth through alternative investments.


Learn more in The Rocket Dollar Guide to Self-Directed Retirement Plans



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