One tax downside is that if your property has a net loss, you don’t get the tax breaks other investors get. You also can’t claim depreciation. Another advantage of real estate over traditional retirement accounts is the return. Real estate can net you perhaps an 18-20% return over 30 years, whereas the more common accounts, IRAs, 401(k)s, etc., might only get you 3-6%. Not only that, but you can use compounding to your advantage. If you keep investing your money for the first 20 years, you can leave it for the last 10 and just let it grow. Doesn’t doing almost nothing while still making plenty of money sound great? As with any investment, there are risks to using an SDIRA. You might make a bad decision or get scammed, which is so common that the SEC has an investor alert about the scamming risk for SD- IRAs. Other risks include not having enough diversity in your investments (it’s hard when you have limited funds) and potentially not being able to access the money — even once you’re retired, due to liquidity issues. This means you might not be able to take out the required minimum distributions. Again, this is why diversification is important; you need to have enough cash to meet all the requirements. Speaking of “following the rules,” it’s vital you know them all. If you do something wrong, you might accidentally disqualify the IRA, which means you’d owe taxes. This includes not purchasing property for yourself your immediate family members. (You can’t buy property from them or sell property to them, either), but there are many other more nuanced rules, as well.
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