Starting May 28th, through September 3rd, the Next Generation office will close at 3:30pm ET on Fridays.

State IRA Programs Give Workers a Retirement Plan Choice – But Self-Directed Investors Have Broader Investment Choices

State IRA Programs Give Workers a Retirement Plan Choice – But Self-Directed Investors Have Broader Investment Choices

We’ve written before about the lack of retirement readiness for so many Americans. And although IRAs have been in existence since 1975, available to anyone with earned income to save for retirement, millions of workers rely on an employer-based plan instead—especially if they work for larger firms.

Policy makers in many states are trying to level the retirement savings playing field for millions of workers who do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.  To do so, some states are mandating certain small businesses to offer a qualified retirement plan or automatically enroll their employees in a state-sponsored, payroll deduction IRA program.

The concern behind the mandate stems, in part, from these figures:

The state-run IRA basics

The criteria differ slightly from state to state, but to put it into a nutshell, they require companies who do business in the state and meet a certain employee census to offer a qualified retirement plan or offer the state-run IRA program to their workers. Within this requirement, is an automatic payroll deduction for participants. Employees can choose to opt out, select a different contribution percentage, or select an investment other than the default, but there is no other plan flexibility.

As of May 2021, over 30 states are considering retirement savings plans for small-business employees, and 12 states are already implementing them. Here is the list of those states with the mandated IRA and links to their program details:

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Illinois

Maryland

Massachusetts

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

Oregon

Vermont

Washington

Greater flexibility and choice: a self-directed IRA

At Next Generation, we’re all about saving for retirement. We encourage all workers to open an IRA and contribute as much as they can, up to the annual contribution limits, based on the type of IRA they have. We’re also all about investment options—and for individuals who are comfortable making all their own investment decisions, a self-directed IRA offers tremendous flexibility about the types of investments they can include in their plan.

Self-directed IRAs have the same tax advantages as their regular counterparts, with funds growing tax free or tax deferred, depending on the type of plan. However, rather than relying on stocks, bonds and mutual funds, self-directed investors can diversify their retirement portfolios by including non-publicly traded, alternative assets – such as real estate, private equity, precious metals, notes and loans, cryptocurrency, and much more. Self-directed retirement plans create a hedge against stock market volatility while enabling individuals to invest in more creative assets, with the added potential of greater control over investment returns.

We applaud lawmakers for putting retirement readiness on their dockets and for encouraging Americans to save for retirement. But for savvy investors who know and understand alternative assets, an employer-based plan or state-run IRA program won’t come close to the nearly limitless investment choices a self-directed IRA provides.

Want to learn more? You may schedule a complimentary education session with a Next Generation team member; or email NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com or call 888.857.8058 with your questions about the broad choices of alternative assets these plans allow.

How Real Estate Syndications Benefit Self-Directed IRA Investors

Although real estate syndications are not new, they are becoming a popular way for individuals to invest in real estate, including those with self-directed IRAs.

Real estate syndication—also called property syndication—is essentially a partnership between people who operate in two roles: the syndicator (or sponsor) and the investor(s). By partnering up, investors combine their resources, capital, and skills to purchase and manage a property or multiple properties that would not have been feasible to purchase on their own.

In short, the syndicate pools funds for greater buying power, enabling all parties, as a group, to access deal flow. You may hear syndication referred to as real estate crowdfunding because it is a way of making investments more accessible to a wider pool of interested parties. Syndicates may invest in office buildings, multifamily properties, warehouses, or a property fund.

Sponsors and investors

The sponsor is the individual responsible for finding, acquiring, and managing the real estate. Ideally, this person has experience in this area and can underwrite and conduct necessary due diligence on the property. He or she may choose not to put up any cash, and may also earn an acquisition fee or a property management fee if a third party is not contracted to handle that. Everyone else—including self-directed IRAs that participate—are the investors, who own a percentage of the real estate. It is passive ownership for them, providing all the benefits of owning real estate in their portfolios without having to do all the work.

Syndicate structures, syndicate profits

Syndicates are usually limited partnerships or limited liability companies; in these cases, the sponsor is the managing member or general partner. These are special purpose entities through which investors purchase the real estate. All members of the syndicate, including the sponsor, earn periodic returns on the initial investments.

A syndicate agreement is drawn up between the parties, with all arrangements agreed upon in advance (such as acquisition fees, returns on net income, ownership percentages, voting rights, the exit strategy, and how to divide profits after the property is sold). When it is sold, the syndicate is complete.

Using a self-directed IRA in real estate syndication

Rather than go all in on your own, you can have your self-directed IRA partner up with a syndicate. This lowers overall investments costs compared to buying real estate directly, since expenses are spread out over multiple investors. Plus, if your IRA is short on the necessary funds to directly invest in commercial property, participating in a syndicate is a great way to include this asset in your self-directed retirement portfolio.

As with all self-directed investments, you, as the investor, are expected to do your full due diligence—in this case, about the syndicate and the property or properties it plans to include in its portfolio. And, like any other asset, all income and expenses related to this investment flow through the self-directed retirement plan, which will earn returns on the investment until the syndicate is complete. Note that when using your self-directed IRA to invest in a syndication, you may NOT also act as a general partner; investments should be limited partnership only.

If you have questions about using syndications to include real estate investments in your retirement plan, or want to better understand how self-direction as a retirement strategy works, you may schedule a complimentary education session with Next Generation. You’ll gain insights into how these and other assets can be included to create a more diverse portfolio. Alternatively, you may contact the Next Generation team directly via phone at 888.857.8058 or via email at NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com.

Investing in Oil and Gas Royalties Through a Self-Directed IRA

Last summer, we shared information on investing in energy assets through a self-directed IRA, including investments in mineral rights. Digging a bit further, some self-directed investors choose to include oil and gas royalties in their self-directed retirement plans. Let’s look at how that works.

What is a royalty interest in mineral rights?

In general, royalties are ongoing revenue streams based on production (in the case of energy assets) or licensing/usage (for intellectual property). In the case of oil and gas royalties in a self-directed IRA, the retirement plan owns a portion of the revenue that the oil or gas wells produce.

While most self-directed investors don’t have the equipment and financing needed to explore, extract, and produce oil or natural gas themselves, they can passively earn a royalty from the producing company that leases the land in exchange for access to it (and the ability to produce these energy assets).

How is the investment structured?

There are a couple of common scenarios. The first of which is when the oil/gas company leases land from a property owner (the IRA in this case), with mineral rights as part of the lease; this gives the producer access to the goods that lie beneath the surface (oil, natural gas, uranium, coal, etc.). The property owner is paid a percentage of the total production by the company—so if your self-directed IRA owns the land, the IRA will receive that income as landowner.

As an alternative to the above scenario, the IRA may choose to instead purchase mineral rights to the resources below the surface on a per-acre basis. The IRA then leases those mineral rights to the production company, which keeps its share of the revenue and distributes monthly royalty payments to the self-directed IRA.

These monthly royalty payments can range from a traditional 12.5% in the oil industry to upwards of 25%, depending on what is negotiated. The investor that owns the mineral rights—in this case, the self-directed IRA—may choose to sell those rights in the future for a profit. With profits flowing into the IRA, tax on those earnings would either be deferred or eliminated (in the case of a Roth IRA).

Benefits of mineral rights investments

  1. The production company is responsible for all exploration and extraction operations while the self-directed IRA passively collects an ongoing revenue stream.
  2. Unlike commercial and vacation property real estate investments, there are very little ongoing costs incurred by the investor, since the producer is dealing with expenses associated with working the land.
  3. Similar to real estate investments in self-directed IRAs, diversification is available within one asset class. Your self-directed IRA can invest in multiple oil and gas fields simultaneously—and collect royalties from these – or buy and sell as desired (with all income and expenses flowing through the retirement plan).

As with all self-directed investments, account holders are encouraged to conduct full due diligence about mineral rights investments and different energy assets, to fully understand how mineral rights work and the mechanics of land leases to energy producers.

At Next Generation, we’re here to answer questions you have about many types of non-publicly traded, alternative assets, including oil/gas. You may schedule a complimentary educational session with one of our knowledgeable representatives to discuss the nontraditional investments allowed through self-direction. Additionally, you may enjoy free access to our on-demand webinars and blog articles that cover many topics related to self-direction as a retirement strategy.

Alternatively, you may contact us directly via phone at 888.857.8058 or via email at NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com.

Are You Approaching Retirement? Consider Speeding Up Your Savings Through Self-Direction

The U.S. Census Bureau has reported that more than 3.1 million Americans age 55 or older have retirement income on their minds. The bureau’s Household Pulse survey, conducted between March 3 and March 15, 2021, reveals that these respondents expect to apply for Social Security benefits earlier than they had originally planned because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The subsequent survey, conducted between March 17 and March 29, showed that more than 2.7 million people planned to apply for Social Security earlier than they’d planned due to COVID.

While those early retirements will mean good news regarding job openings for younger workers, it will mean permanent cuts in monthly benefits for those who claim Social Security earlier than full retirement age (as well as their spouse or beneficiaries).

Consider this alternative to Social Security

Rather than rely on Social Security—which was conceived as a safety net, not to replace full working income—rely on your investment expertise. If you are knowledgeable about certain alternative asset classes, you can build up (and potentially speed up) your retirement savings through a self-directed IRA—or, as a business owner or solopreneur, with a self-directed SIMPLE IRA, SEP IRA or self-directed solo 401(k).

The Social Security Trust Fund’s long-term viability has long been called into question. However, one thing self-directed investors should not have to question is their confidence when it comes to making their own investment decisions, their ability to thoroughly research the non-traditional investments they wish to include in their retirement plan, and their willingness to stay abreast of the markets and assets in which they invest.

These individuals are actively working to boost their retirement savings by including a broad array of non-publicly traded, alternative assets, within their plans. That way, they not only diversify their retirement portfolios and build a hedge against stock market volatility, they can also take advantage of interesting investment opportunities that arise with such assets as real estate, precious metals, private equity, hard money loans, promissory notes, energy rights, music royalties and more. Alternative assets tend to be non-correlated with the stock market, therefore, this strategy also allows for added diversification and control over investment returns.

If claiming Social Security early is not in your plans, and you’re comfortable making your own investment decisions and conducting full due diligence on your investments, self-direction can be a great way for you to build retirement wealth. Take the first step by opening a new self-directed account at Next Generation, where you get comprehensive, superior service you can always rely on—with account administration, transaction support, and custodial services under one company umbrella.

If you need more information about how self-directed investing works, or the types of alternative assets these plans allow, you can schedule a complimentary educational session with a knowledgeable member of the Next Generation team. You may also contact us directly via phone at 888.857.8058 or email to NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com.

Using a Self-Directed IRA to Invest in Music Royalties

A royalty is essentially the income stream generated from certain intellectual property—usually music, books, and films—and earned by the rights holder of said published or produced properties. Singers, songwriters, producers, labels, publishers and authors are among the individuals or companies that can have legal claim to the income generated from the intellectual property (IP).

Did you know that music royalties are considered an alternative asset that can be bought or sold and included in a self-directed IRA?

Self-directed investors can invest in music royalties to diversify their retirement portfolios with a non-publicly traded asset. Like many other nontraditional investments allowed through self-direction, music royalties are considered uncorrelated assets, meaning they perform unrelated to public markets (such as the stock exchange); therefore, they provide a good hedge against market volatility.

Royalties as revenue streams

Royalties are legally-binding payments from a licensee to a licensor—the party with the legal claim to the intellectual property. In the music world, royalties are paid based on album sales, song/album downloads, streams, or whenever a song is used in a commercial or movie—any sales channel. They can generate a consistent cash flow, especially in today’s age of digital streaming. Think Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and other pop music artists who’ve created the asset one time but earn income for years; their songs and records climb the charts and continue to sell or be downloaded time and time again, year after year.

Royalties are a long-term asset, paid for the life of the artist plus seven years, creating the potential for capital appreciation over time.

Artists may sell royalties to their back catalogs or even current works to raise capital in the short term or create financial security, enabling them to earn money immediately from their works, or even have the proceeds donated to charity. Sometimes estates auction off the catalogs.  Investors can earn passive income when holding the IP asset in their self-directed IRA.

How to invest in music royalties

In the past, investing in royalties had been limited largely to private equity investors or institutional funds. Today, royalties are bought and sold on exchange platforms created specifically for this purpose, making this alternative asset more accessible to a wider pool of investors (including those with self-directed retirement plans).

There are four main categories of music royalties:

The account owner invests in a percentage of the royalties through auction and can earn a healthy yield. According to Royalty Exchange, one of the exchange platforms for entertainment IP, music royalties earned 10% or more average ROI (annualized asset return) in the first six months of 2020. Other exchanges are SongVest and Lyric Financial.

Other types of royalty investments

Self-directed investors may include royalties in trademarks, patents, mineral rights, educational materials, pharmaceuticals, or invest in royalty trusts. When investing in items with copyrights or patents, the income – and the percentage ownership – lasts for the lifetime of that copyright or patent.

At Next Generation, our clients invest in a broad array of alternative assets through their self-directed IRAs, from real estate to royalties, private equity to precious metals. Next Generation offers custodial and administration services for these accounts, and as part of our white-glove service, we offer client education through webinars and our complimentary educational sessions. Alternatively, our helpful team is available to answer your questions directly via phone at 888.857.8058 or email at NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com.

Show Your Retirement Portfolio Some Love this Year

Whether you’ll be staring adoringly into your partner’s eyes on Valentine’s Day or celebrating with a Galentine’s/Malentine’s Day get-together with friends, February is the month of love and friendship—and your retirement plan also deserves some special attention.

The first way to give your retirement plan a loving boost is to open a self-directed IRA. Why a self-directed plan? Two words: alternative assets. And those non-publicly traded, alternative assets provide you with many ways to diversify your retirement portfolio with an array of investments you may already be “engaged” with outside of a retirement plan. In most IRAs held with a brokerage, those alternative investment options are not always available to you. Hence, the self-directed IRA.

Sure, you may love playing the stock market and enjoy the thrill ride of that roller coaster by way of its volatility. However, as a self-directed investor there’s no reason to limit your investing to stocks, bonds and mutual funds. In fact, most advisors may actually encourage diversification and alternative investing to allow you added control over your investment returns while providing a hedge against that volatility. Investment options include real estate, private equity, notes and loans, social causes, cryptocurrency, precious metals and more.

What do you already love?

Think about the investments you already know and understand—the ones you already love investing in, like real estate, precious metals, or private equity. As explained before, the list of possible investments through self-direction is long and enables individuals to take advantage of market opportunities and apply what they know to their tax-advantaged retirement account. For example:

Many types of retirement plans can be self-directed—a Traditional or Roth IRA, SIMPLE or SEP IRA, or solo 401(k), even health savings accounts (HSAs) and education savings accounts (ESAs). Depending on your goals and situation, you have plenty of options in terms of the type of plan to open. That flexibility may come in handy when you do retire and want a combination of tax-free and tax-deferred income, for example, or if you are self-employed or own a small business with employees.

Here’s more to love: opening a new self-directed IRA is easy and you can fund the new account the same way as you would any other plan—with a transfer from a like account, a rollover, or a personal contribution. At Next Generation, we simplify the process with our electronic starter kits that walk you through every step from opening the account through sending your instructions to our transaction specialists. As a third-party administrator and custodian of self-directed IRAs and other plans, we will review and execute investment transactions, custody asset(s) for our clients, provide recordkeeping and complete all necessary tax reporting.

If you are comfortable making your own investment decisions and conducting your full due diligence on the investments you wish to include, we invite you to learn more about this retirement strategy by scheduling a complimentary education session with one of our knowledgeable representatives. You may also contact our team directly via phone at 888-857-8058 or via email at NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com.

What’s Your Retirement Planning Strategy?

If you’re a younger worker, it’s easy to think you have your whole life ahead of you to plan for retirement. And if you are nearing retirement, you may think you’ve got it covered through your employer’s retirement plan or other means. But with so much uncertainty swirling around us right now and with the cost of living rising, a proactive approach to your retirement planning strategy is always wise.

Plan ahead to be less dependent on Social Security or someone else’s bank account. Many older adults may feel that Social Security benefits will keep them financially secure or their adult children will help them out. But with real concerns about the Social Security Trust Fund’s sustainability and Generations X and Y facing their own savings issues, there are no givens. Besides, Social Security was meant to be a supplement to retirement income, not a main source of income.

Plan ahead for how (or if) the sale of your home will fund your lifestyle. Those who own a home may feel confident about living off the proceeds of the home’s sale, especially if the house is paid off already—but a lingering mortgage cuts into proceeds, capital gains may be a factor to consider, and if you’re thinking of moving into a retirement community, the rents can be quite high.

Plan ahead for possible early retirement. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on employers nationwide. Businesses are closing or tightening their financial belts in response to market conditions; extended furloughs may become permanent, and this may motivate some people to consider an early retirement.

Plan ahead for a smaller pension plan. Part of the corporate belt tightening has been the steady disappearance of traditional pension plans. Plus, many pension plans are in distress and may have to reduce distribution levels due to various factors such as poor ROI on investments, lower participant rates, and economic factors brought on by COVID-19.

Plan ahead for “I’m that old already?!” When getting our careers in gear, many of us think we have “forever” to get started on saving for retirement. Then suddenly, 20 years have passed and that time horizon for putting money away is much shorter.

Plan ahead for retirement through self-direction

Self-directed retirement plans offer an alternative strategy to traditional investing, by including non-traditional assets that brokerage accounts do not allow. For seasoned investors who are comfortable making their own investment decisions and are confident about conducting their own full due diligence on those investments, a self-directed IRA can be a great way to build retirement income with a powerful hedge against stock market volatility. Self-directed IRAs also allow for retirement portfolio diversification and greater control over your investment returns.

If you have an employer-sponsored plan, it is likely limited to stocks, bonds and mutual funds that are susceptible to the ups and downs of the market. You may also have an IRA (or brokerage account) that offers a “self-directed” option; however, it is not truly self-directed. The true definition of a self-directed IRA is a tax-advantaged retirement account that allows you to invest in non-publicly traded assets. These non-publicly traded assets, also known as alternative assets, can include real estate, private equity, social/impact investments, cryptocurrency, notes/loans, and more.

As a custodian and administrator for these self-directed retirement plans, the team at Next Generation is here to help. You can schedule a complimentary educational session to learn more about self-direction; or you may contact the Next Generation team directly via phone at 888.857.8058 or email at NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com.

It’s a New Year – Do You Have a New Outlook on Your Retirement?

The new year often brings promises and resolutions to create new habits, get back to something we enjoy, or try something new. Why not apply the “new year, new you” mindset to your retirement planning as well?

Do any of these scenarios sound like you?

Get a new plan for your retirement in the new year with a self-directed IRA

Self-directed investors are those who are comfortable making their own investment decisions (that’s where the “self-directed” part comes into play), and who are knowledgeable about (and often experienced in) investing in various alternative assets. For example, you:

  1. Already invest in real estate (residential, commercial, industrial, raw land, etc.)
  2. Understand how to make a secured or unsecured loan with interest and terms
  3. Are involved in private equity funding
  4. Trade in agricultural or energy commodities
  5. Buy and sell cryptocurrency
  6. Are passionate about investing in social causes

The list goes on and is as diverse as the investors who self-directed their retirement plans.

Open a new self-directed IRA at Next Generation

Whether you’re just starting out with your self-directed IRA or have one that needs some catchup contributions, Next Generation is here to help. As a self-directed retirement plan custodian and administrator, we work with investors who wish to include alternative assets in their self-directed IRAs. Our clients understand that this strategy enables them to diversify their retirement portfolios with investments they already know and understand, while also providing a hedge against stock market volatility and the same tax advantages as regular retirement plans.

The turn of the calendar page is a great time to consider opening a new self-directed retirement account and start putting your investing expertise to work through a tax-advantaged plan. We offer client education through webinars, on our blog, and  complimentary education sessions to help you evaluate if self-direction is the right direction for your retirement goals. If you have a specific question or want to know more, you may also contact the Next Generation team by phone at 888.857.8058 or by email at NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com.

Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Business Owners and Retirement Readiness?

COVID-19 has affected the American economy across a number of sectors and business owners nationwide are feeling the effects. Last month, TD Wealth released the results of a survey conducted in July among 1,296 business owners and individuals in two groups: high-net-worth business owners and individuals with investable assets of more than $500,000, and mass affluent business owners and individuals with investable assets between $100,000 and $499,000. The survey was about the pandemic’s impact on revenue and how or if that affected their retirement planning.

However, 85% of respondents said they had not altered their retirement planning in spite of the pandemic’s negative economic effects on their businesses. Further, it appears they feel retirement-ready:

The TD Wealth survey also showed that together, retirement savings and investment portfolios comprised more than half of the retirement income across all survey respondents.

Get Retirement Ready with Self-Directed Retirement Plans

Savvy business owners already know a lot about running their businesses and are already comfortable making decisions that affect their operations every day. They could be building a diverse retirement portfolio with a range of alternative assets they also know a lot about—and make their own investment decisions regarding those assets—with a self-directed retirement plan.

Business owners may open several types of self-directed retirement plans based on their business situations, with all having the same benefits as their traditional counterparts but with added advantages—the ability to include nontraditional investments they already know and understand, and create a hedge against stock market volatility.

SEP IRA: SEP stands for Simplified Employee Pension plan; it’s an easy, flexible, option if you are self-employed, or a partner or owner of a corporation with 25 or fewer employees.

SIMPLE IRA: For larger companies of up to 100 employees, the Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees enables employers to make contributions towards their retirement as well as their employees’ retirement.

Solo 401k: The individual/solo 401(k) is for sole proprietors who employ only themselves, their spouse, or partners. It has deduction and contribution benefits similar to a regular 401(k).

At Next Generation, we offer free education to help individuals make informed decisions about which type of self-directed retirement plan to open—including Traditional and Roth IRAs as well as health savings accounts (HSAs) and education savings accounts (ESAs). We always recommend you speak to a trusted financial or tax advisor who knows your specific financial situation to determine if, as a business owner, a SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, or Solo(k) will be the plan to help you meet your financial goals.

Once you decide which type of account to open, we make it easy with our starter kits and detailed instructions for funding a new account. As a self-directed investor the rest is up to you—selecting and researching the alternative assets you wish to include, conducting your full due diligence on each investment, and then providing Next Generation with instructions to execute the transaction.

If you are interested in learning more about self-direction as a retirement strategy, please sign up for a complimentary educational session with one of our representatives. Alternatively, you may contact our team directly via phone at 1.888.857.8058 or email NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com.