Amid Stock Market Downturn, Consider Self-Directed IRAs

Amid Stock Market Downturn, Consider Self-Directed IRAs

Many investors are dealing with yet another stock market downturn, which is in reaction to current events such as global concerns about the Coronavirus and U.S. politics during an election year. These and other factors—from geopolitics to macroeconomics, trade issues to plant closings to a company’s profitability and earnings—can influence a stock market downturn.

Stocks by nature are volatile, which is why many investors look to alternative assets to build their retirement savings and avoid stock market downturns that are often hard to predict. That means looking at self-directed IRAs, which allow individuals to include a variety of nontraditional investments and build a more diverse retirement portfolio based on assets they already know and understand.

Look at it this way: unless they work there, many people are not experts on what a Blue Chip or Fortune 500 company produces or sells, and they certainly cannot control what those companies do in the marketplace. However, many people know a lot about investing in real estate, precious metals, or private equity. Others like the idea of including secured or unsecured loans in their retirement plan, with terms they determine with the borrower. All of these investment types can be included in a self-directed IRA, where investors build retirement wealth with alternative assets—and have better control over their earnings.

A self-directed IRA has the same tax advantages as regular retirement plans with the added bonus of being a great hedge against stock market volatility. For those who are comfortable making their own investment decisions and conducting their due diligence, self-direction is a powerful retirement strategy.

Typical retirement plans offered by brokerage houses or banks limit investors to publicly traded stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, and mutual or exchange-traded funds. But a self-directed IRA allows you to hold the alternative investments noted above plus notes, private placements, limited partnerships, tax lien certificates and more.

Our whitepaper library has a lot of great information about self-directed IRAs and our helpful team is here to answer your questions about self-direction. To find out more about self-direction, you may call us at 888.857.8058 or send an email to Alternatively, you can sign up for a complimentary educational session with one of our knowledgeable representatives.

Retirement Plan Contribution Limits for 2020

The 2020 contribution and benefit limits were announced in early November by the IRS.  The annual limit for IRAs remains the same at $6,000 with the catch-up contribution for individuals aged 50+ also remaining at $1,000.

There are slight increases for other retirement plans, as follows:

For 401(k), 403(b) and most 457 plans, plus the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan, the limit is bumped up $500, from $19,000 to $19,500 annually. For individuals aged 50+, the catch-up contribution also goes up $500, from $6,000 to $6,500.

In addition, SIMPLE retirement accounts now have an increased contribution limit of $13,500, up $500 from the current $13,000.

Retirement plan account holders should also be aware of annual limitations and income phase-outs for defined contribution and defined benefit plans in the workplace.

There are new income ranges for determining eligibility to contribute to a Roth IRA and to claim the Saver’s Credit, which all increased for 2020. The income phase-out in 2020 for individuals contributing to a Roth IRA went up for singles, heads of households, and married couples filing jointly. Additionally, taxpayers may be able to deduct contributions from a Traditional IRA if they meet certain criteria. A list of those figures is available in IRS Notice 2019-59.

As always, this new information is strictly for one’s own knowledge, and we encourage individuals to consult their trusted advisors regarding their specific financial situations to determine what works best for them.

Boost your retirement savings with alternative assets

Whether you’re already in the real estate market, invest in precious metals, or are interested in putting private equity in your retirement plan, nontraditional investments are a powerful way to build a more diverse retirement portfolio that provides a hedge against stock market volatility. What many people don’t know is that there are many different types of accounts that can be self-directed to include those nontraditional investments within them. So, if you’ve reached your annual contribution limit on an employer sponsored plan, or an IRA with a brokerage firm, you can still open and fund an account with Next Generation through a transfer or a rollover. Our self-directed IRA specialists are happy to review your options with you.

The deadline to contribute to your retirement plan for the 2019 tax year* is April 15, 2020, but it’s always the right time to contact Next Generation to open your self-directed IRA. You can arrange a complimentary educational session if you have questions about self-direction as a retirement strategy. Alternatively, you can contact our helpful team of professionals directly via phone at 888.857.8058 or email at You can always read more about the many options and benefits of self-direction on our FAQs page.

*Please visit our website for 2019 contribution limits.

You Could Work a Little Longer to Build More Retirement Savings—or Invest More Creatively through Self-Direction

 Did you know that by working six months longer, workers can reap significant Social Security compounding benefits? A Stanford University economics professor, John Shoven, says that older people who are behind on their retirement savings goals can catch up pretty well and increase their retirement standard of living by working just six months longer (and paying into Social Security).

 In his paper, “The Power of Working Longer,” Shoven showed that postponing retirement by just three to six months is equivalent to saving an additional percentage point of earnings for 30 years. Plus, for individuals who are in their mid-60s, working just one month longer is equal to saving ten more years for retirement.

 Shoven’s study is geared toward people ages 62 to 69 who have a retirement plan but have saved less money for retirement than they desire, have an annual income up to about $200,000 and who rely largely on Social Security during their retirement years. His model used an inflation-adjusted rate of six to eight percent real returns and assumed a safe strategy of investing mostly in bonds.

 However, even with higher risk factored in, Shoven found that working slightly longer was still the better way to raise retirement income. Those extra months enable individuals to contribute more to their retirement plans while also boosting Social Security benefits by continuing to pay into the system.

 Working a couple of years longer than originally anticipated—say, retiring at age 66 instead of 64—provides even more income when factoring in contributions to both one’s retirement plan and Social Security. Of course, as with any financial planning around one’s retirement age and when to claim Social Security benefits, it’s always best to consult a trusted advisor.*

 Invest smarter—and make self-direction work for you

If working longer than originally planned isn’t for you, but investing in alternative assets is, you can boost your potential retirement savings with a self-directed IRA. If you start early enough (or are able to make additional catch-up contributions later on), and you are comfortable making your own investment decisions, self-direction can work for you in a number of ways:

 You can build a more diverse retirement portfolio that is not dependent on stocks, bonds and mutual funds – or subject to stock market volatility

So, you can keep that original retirement date on your calendar and start putting a broader array of investments in your retirement plan with a self-directed IRA. Next Generation makes setting up and funding your new account easy with our helpful starter kits, and our team is here to answer your questions about this type of retirement strategy. Contact Next Generation via email at or call us at 1.888.857.8058 or email

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*Next Generation Trust Company (“NGTC”) does not review the merits or legitimacy of any investment. NGTC does not endorse or recommend any companies, products, services or investments. NGTC does not provide any financial, legal or investment advice.

If the services of NGTC were recommended by any third party, such persons or entities are not in any way affiliated with NGTC. All information provided is for educational purposes only. All parties are encouraged to consult with their professional advisors prior to making any investments.

Next Generation Services (NGS) is a third-party administrator of self-directed retirement plans, located in Roseland, New Jersey. NGS handles all the back office administration, record keeping, mandatory reporting, and transaction support. Accounts are named with Next Generation Trust Company as the custodian and holder of assets, for benefit of the individual account.
NGS does not review the merits or legitimacy of any investment. NGS does not endorse or recommend any companies, products, services or investments. NGS does not provide any financial, legal or investment advice.

If the services of NGS were recommended by any third party, such persons or entities are not in any way affiliated with NGS. Next Generation Services is not a “fiduciary” as defined in the IRC, ERISA, and/or any applicable federal, state or local laws. All information provided is for educational purposes only. All parties are encouraged to consult with their professional advisors prior to making any investments.


Are you an Active or a Passive Saver?

self directed ira

Are you an Active investor or Passive investor?

A Harris Interactive poll conducted online in November 2010 asked 2151 adults about how their savings (if any) are invested now. For their retirement savings, most have parked their money in some combination of stocks/mutual funds, bonds and money market funds; for their personal savings nearly one third (31 per cent) keep their money in bank accounts or CDs. Although individuals will earn negligible interest on those accounts, it seems that for those who struggle to save, “Better safe than sorry” is the guiding factor as they seek the most stable, safest investment vehicles possible.

Concern about market volatility appears to affect the younger age groups as well, even though people in their 20s and 30s have many more years ahead of them to build their retirement wealth, and they are often counseled to be more aggressive early on with their investing.

Harris also reported that a majority of respondents had not changed their portfolio mix in their personal savings and investments or their retirement savings and investments in the six months leading up to the poll (70-74 per cent). A hands-off approach doesn’t serve anyone well except the financial institutions holding those funds. Even the most cautious of investors should sit down with their financial advisers periodically to review their account’s performance, revisit their long-term and short-term financial goals, and make course corrections for how their funds are invested.

What many consumers do not realize is that even for those individuals who have just a few thousand dollars socked away for their retirement, they can boost their yield with some know-how and moxie through a self-directed IRA. Investors who are interested and comfortable in taking a more active role in their retirement strategy should learn more about this growing trend in retirement savings strategy.