Trillions of dollars are invested in Wall Street through retirement savings, but banks and individual retirement account (IRA) and 401(k) administrators generally do not provide their clients with the opportunity to channel their investments into locally-owned enterprises. Self-Directed IRAs and Solo 401(k)s are alternatives, but are underutilized. This may be due to legal barriers, cost barriers, or lack of public awareness and education. We want to change that and tap into the incredible potential of retirement savings!
What We're Working On
- Overview: This blog post details early takeaways from our research: Can We Harness Americans' Retirement Savings to Create Local Sustainable Economies?
- Community education about how and why to self-direct your IRA now: What are the technical and legal nuances of self-directing IRA savings? One of our early conclusions is that self-directing IRA savings may not be as cost-prohibitive as we originally thought. Viable opportunities do exist for self-directing IRAs and therefore we need to prioritize educating the public about what is possible. Check back soon for more on how you can begin to take control of IRA savings.
Testing self-directed Solo 401(k)s with a cohort of volunteers: What is it really like setting up and self-directing a Solo 401(k)? We have some volunteers ready to pilot the process, so that we can compare multiple methods of setting up a Solo 401(k). We will compare administrators and also determine whether it is possible for someone to serve as their own 401(k) trustee and administrator.
- Creating nonprofit and cooperative IRA custodians: One question driving this work is: Can we help create a self-directed IRA custodian that is more affordable than those that currently exist? We have been researching the steps to becoming a custodian and hope to assist one or more organizations to set up IRA custodian programs. In particular, we'd like to support the creation of nonprofit and cooperative custodians as a way to maximize benefits returned to communities.