Individual Retirement Account

What is an IRA?

An IRA (Individual Retirement Account) is a form of retirement savings account which is approved by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to provide for saving money for retirement in a tax advantaged manner, i.e. on either a tax-free or on a tax-deferred basis, depending on the specific kind of IRA. It is like a trust or a custodial savings account set up by a specific taxpayer for the exclusive benefit of that U.S. taxpayer.

Who Can Open An IRA?

Anyone with taxable earnings in the United States who is eligible to place a limited amount of retirement savings per year into a personal IRA. There are rules and regulations which determine both the eligibility and the maximum annual approved amount of a contribution that any specific individual can make according to his/her specific circumstances.

Why Should I Open An IRA Account?

First, it will save you money today by postponing taxes on a portion of your earnings until a later date when you retire, and when you are usually in a lower tax bracket. Second, it allows you to self-direct your own retirement account, and to choose both what to invest in (with a few limitations) and where to invest.

When Should I Open An IRA Account?

The sooner an IRA retirement account is set up, the sooner it can begin to earn a tax free return and accumulate savings for retirement. Although the answer to the question is very much an individual one, it would seem prudent in most cases to begin as soon as a person has any discretionary income which is earmarked for savings and retirement, and which qualifies under the IRA program rules.

Where Should I Set Up My IRA Account?

There are literally thousands of financial advisers and financial planners etc. who are licensed to set up and administer officially approved IRA accounts. It would make sense to choose an adviser who has years of experience in dealing with retirement and estate planning solutions, as well as the ability to establish self-directed IRA's with the capability to legally make investments in other jurisdictions. An "International IRA" can have several advantages over a "Domestic IRA". Only a small percentage of financial advisers have the experience and knowledge base, and the ability to provide practical legal advice, to establish and execute cutting edge international solutions for retirement, investing and estate planning - and that would include an international IRA account where a person qualifies.

Can I Move My Standard IRA Into A Self-Directed International IRA?

In most cases the answer is yes. There may be isolated exceptions, but it is usually possible to make a tax-free transfer of a regular domestic IRA into a self-directed "International" IRA which is allowed to invest in a number of different kinds of investments in practically any country in the world. There are rules and regulations which must be followed, which would include setting up a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in a foreign jurisdiction. It is important to remember that all financial and legal advisers are not created equal - there are indeed tricks of the trade so to speak which can make one international IRA structure theoretically or practically better than another, and simply put, some advisers have better solutions than others. Thus it pays to consider the credibility and track record of any financial/legal adviser you choose to assist you with your retirement planning. Some advanced IRA-LLC structures are possible which can get rather sophisticated under certain circumstances, but they can be very financially rewarding if they are set up and used correctly.