Advanta IRA on Alternative Investments and Self-Directed IRAs: What Bitcoin, Thoroughbred Horses, and Precious Metals Might Mean to You

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By now, most sophisticated investors have heard about Fidelity’s partnering with Secondmarket’s Bitcoin Investment Trust and offering bitcoin this month to accredited clients using self-directed IRAs. However, according to reports by, Fidelity immediately ceased allowances of investments in that particular option.

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...I would urge people not to be focused on one investment house or even one investment. The greater take-away is the fact that bitcoin is an alternative investment to the typical stock, bond or mutual fund that can be acquired using a self-directed IRA.

As reports “Chamath Palihapitiya, a member of SecondMarket's board of directors and part owner of the Golden State Warriors, was the only investor allowed to buy into the trust before Fidelity halted further investments.” The reason Fidelity had for discontinuing bitcoin offerings remains unknown and they are providing no explanation at the moment for this maneuver.

Bitcoin—digital currency—has caused quite a stir among investors in the U.S. and overseas in the hope that it might at some point become a global currency. However, it’s costs have fluctuated dramatically over the past few days and until regulations are considered and in place if deemed appropriate some consider it a highly volatile investment. The bitcoin opportunity was offered by Fidelity to sophisticated investor(s) requiring a minimum $25,000 investment—typical of private investments offered by brokerage firms, which only allow accredited investors’ offerings, usually at a high sticker price. These investors are considered the crème of the crop who are not only able to take advantage of the benefits but also able to weather the risks of investment options that the average investor is not.

“While the bitcoin is a hot topic these days, I would urge people not be focused on one elite investment house or even on one investment. The greater take-away is the fact that bitcoin is an alternative investment to the typical stock, bond or mutual fund that can be acquired using a self-directed IRA,” says Jack Callahan, Managing Partner of Advanta IRA Services (Largo, Florida) and Advanta IRA Administration (Atlanta, Georgia).

Alternative investments include things such as private placements, LLCs, real estate, notes and mortgages, futures trading, foreign exchange and much more. “Self-directed IRAs allow a myriad of alternative investments…and one does not have to possess the financial pedigrees of Chamath Palihapitiya or Mitt Romney or to acquire them as assets with IRAs,” says Callahan.

Savvy investors—who are not even wealthy by today’s standards—use self-directed IRAs to acquire alternative investments to build wealth for retirement. This is not news to many investors, but others do not understand the advantages of self-directed retirement accounts. Investors who self-direct do not have to be ultra-wealthy acquire alternative assets within self-directed IRAs and do not rely on third parties to invest for them. Self-directed account owners control their own investment choices based on what they know and understand.

As a leading, nationwide administrator of self-directed IRAs, Advanta IRA does not offer investment advice. Advanta IRA facilitates the administrative process of investing for clients so those individuals can concentrate on the most important task of choosing potentially successful investments. If Advanta IRA’s clients desire to invest in any alternative investment deemed acceptable by the IRS—those clients may acquire those alternative investments in an effort to build wealth in retirement portfolios.

The whole point of self-direction is that the account owner is in the driver’s seat when choosing his or her own investments. Interested in investing in gold, silver or an entire mountain promised to produce the same? Do it! Want to invest in timber, cattle, the neighborhood bank seeking start-up capital, or bitcoin? Go for it! Think a thoroughbred horse may gain wealth towards retirement through prize money it might win in races across the country? Go right ahead and purchase one with a self-directed IRA.

Alternative investments have the potential to gain income at a faster pace than traditional methods may and this income flows directly into the retirement account on a tax-free or tax-deferred basis. Self-directed account owners make their own investment choices, but must also clearly understand that due diligence is key, as it is within any investment realm. Nothing is guaranteed so it is critical to thoroughly investigate all aspects of any investment to ensure its viability and potential success.

About Advanta IRA

Advanta IRA Services, located in Largo, Florida, has been in operation for over 10 years, providing administrative service to owners of self-directed IRAs throughout the Tampa Bay and Sarasota, Florida regions. Advanta IRA Administration offers a second location serving the Atlanta, Georgia area and surrounding regions. Both offices are managed by Jack Callahan, J.D., CFP™. Advanta IRA offers classes, seminars and other educational tools designed to assist clients in managing self-directed IRAs by investing in real estate, notes, private placements and other non-traditional assets that have the potential to maximize IRA earnings on a tax-free or tax-deferred basis.

About Jack Callahan

Jack M. Callahan, J.D., CFP™, is the managing partner at Advanta IRA Services in Largo, FL and Advanta IRA Administration in Atlanta, GA. Jack established the corporate office, Advanta IRA Services, in 2003. Prior to that, Jack delivered specialized counsel to real estate investors, small business owners and real estate professionals on tax, legal and financial matters. As an industry expert, Jack is a frequent speaker on the topic of self-directed retirement plans and an accredited continuing education instructor for the Florida and Georgia Bar Associations, Florida and Georgia Real Estate Commissions, and The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He earned his bachelor of science degree in finance and multinational business from Florida State University and his law degree from the University of Florida College of Law.

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