What you can and can’t do with your IRA

Many people are unfamiliar with the rules governing private investments in retirement plans, including some sophisticated financial professionals. The reason for this is that 98% of the $27 trillion in retirement plans are invested in marketable securities. These assets are held at brokerage firms, banks, and insurance companies who are in the business of marketable securities. So for the most part, people have been unaware that there are other types of investments they could include in their IRAs. Here we take a look at what you can and cannot invest in with your IRA. 

In this video, Joe DiDomenico, Founder of WealthFlex, explains what types of investments are and aren’t allowed in your IRA and why. 

What are the types of investments allowed in IRAs?

Exchange-traded stocks, bonds, and mutual funds are the most common asset types in IRAs. But other asset categories including real estate, precious metals, private notes, and private equity are also allowed in IRA accounts.  

The rules around the types of investments allowed in IRAs were designed to afford a tax-advantaged way for all Americans to save for their retirement and relieve pressure from social security. 

When congress first passed legislation on IRAs, they wanted to avoid some unintended consequences, and so investment permissibility rules were put in place. These rules are defined by US Treasury Regulations (26 U.S. Code § 4975) and are detailed and governed by the US Department of Labor and policed by the IRS. Each has its roots in one of three major concerns:

Rule Number 1: No unfair competition 

The ERISA Act of 1974 was intended to encourage saving for retirement. It was a primary concern for lawmakers that the act did not reduce taxes on money put in retirement plans without any arms-length requirements. If the rules allowed IRA owners the ability to enjoy funds in their retirement accounts too much, they would never take taxable distributions. They would simply enjoy the things the IRA buys even before the time for retirement. This is why even collectibles are off-limits to retirement plans.

During the enactment of ERISA, many congressmen owned businesses that were not owned in tax-advantaged accounts. They wanted to prevent competitors who didn’t have to worry about paying taxes to have a pricing advantage over their family dynasty.  

Rule Number 2: Prevent the loss of estate tax revenue 

To lessen the load of having to police every transaction in retirement plans, it became off-limits to conduct business with lineal ascendants and descendants of a retirement account owner. This includes things like renting a home your IRA owns to your child or parent, but renting to your sibling or cousin is within the rules.

Without considering the estate tax issue, it would be too tempting for some people to pass wealth to the next generation by giving preferential treatment on transactions to family members, thus avoiding estate taxes. 

Rule Number 3: No benefiting today’s lifestyle 

Actively contributing to your retirement plan assets is also off-limits. Carrying out property improvements to investments in your IRA is off-limits. Such active participation by the account owner is considered making a contribution to your IRA outside of the conventions allowed by the rules, which is not allowed. The reason for this is that it makes it difficult for the government to limit the amount of contribution you are making to your IRA each year if it is done with labor.  

If you are making bonafide IRA investment to benefit your retirement, are not participating in the activity of the investment, and are not dealing with family members, you are likely to be in the clear. However, we recommend speaking with a tax professional about what you are looking to do with your IRA if your investments do not follow any one of these rules.   

If you enroll in a Yieldstreet IRA, we take care to avoid any such issues and ensure that all the investments you could choose to have in your IRA are 100% allowed. Learn more about how you can take retirement planning to the next level with a Yieldstreet IRA. Contact us at [email protected] with any questions.

Please note that Yieldstreet cannot provide tax advice, so please consult a tax professional for advice specific to your situation. 

This communication and the information contained in this article are provided for general informational purposes only and should neither be construed nor intended to be a recommendation to purchase, sell or hold any security or otherwise to be investment, tax, financial, accounting, legal, regulatory or compliance advice. Any link to a third-party website (or article contained therein) is not an endorsement, authorization or representation of our affiliation with that third party (or article). We do not exercise control over third-party websites, and we are not responsible or liable for the accuracy, legality, appropriateness or any other aspect of such website (or article contained therein).

How helpful is this content?

Share this article:

Sign up for Yieldstreet in 3 easy steps

Sign up with your email address

Securely verify your identity and link a bank account

Verify your accreditation (if applicable) to access all of Yieldstreet’s offerings.

The Yield

Our weekly podcast providing ideas about how to make money work for you and bring you closer to your dreams.

Since inception, over $2.2B has been invested on Yieldstreet

Join today for free to access alternative investment opportunities.

1 Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Any historical returns, expected returns, or probability projections may not reflect actual future performance. All securities involve risk and may result in significant losses.

3 "Annual interest" or "Annualized Return" represents an annual target rate of interest or annualized target return and "term" represents the estimated term of the investment. Such target interest or target returns and estimated term are projections of the interest or returns and or term and may ultimately not be achieved. Actual interest or returns and term may be materially different from such projections. This targeted interest or returns and estimated term are based on the underlying investments held by the applicable.

4 Reflects the annualized distribution rate that is calculated by taking the most recent quarterly distribution approved by the Fund's Board of Directors and dividing it by prior quarter-end NAV and annualizing it. The Fund’s distribution may exceed its earnings. Therefore, a portion of the Fund’s distribution may be a return of the money you originally invested and represent a return of capital to you for tax purposes.

5 Represents the sum of the interest accrued in the statement period plus the interest paid in the statement period.

6 The internal rate of return ("IRR") represents an average net realized IRR with respect to all matured investments weighted by the investment size of each individual investment, made by private investment vehicles managed by YieldStreet Management, LLC from July 1, 2015 through and including Dec 22th, 2021, after deduction of management fees and all other expenses charged to investments.

7 Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the Yieldstreet Prism Fund before investing. The prospectus for the Yieldstreet Prism Fund contains this and other information about the Fund and can be obtained by emailing [email protected] or by referring to www.yieldstreetprismfund.com. The prospectus should be read carefully before investing in the Fund. Investments in the Fund are not bank deposits (and thus not insured by the FDIC or by any other federal governmental agency) and are not guaranteed by Yieldstreet or any other party.

8 This tool is for informational purposes only. You should not construe any information provided here as investment advice or a recommendation, endorsement or solicitation to buy any securities offered on Yieldstreet. Yieldstreet is not a fiduciary by virtue of any person's use of or access to this tool. The information provided here is of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. You alone assume the sole responsibility of evaluating the merits and risks associated with the use of this information before making any decisions based on such information.

300 Park Avenue 15th Floor, New York, NY 10022


No communication by YieldStreet Inc. or any of its affiliates (collectively, “Yieldstreet™”), through this website or any other medium, should be construed or is intended to be a recommendation to purchase, sell or hold any security or otherwise to be investment, tax, financial, accounting, legal, regulatory or compliance advice. Nothing on this website is intended as an offer to extend credit, an offer to purchase or sell securities or a solicitation of any securities transaction.

Any financial projections or returns shown on the website are estimated predictions of performance only, are hypothetical, are not based on actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results. Estimated projections do not represent or guarantee the actual results of any transaction, and no representation is made that any transaction will, or is likely to, achieve results or profits similar to those shown. In addition, other financial metrics and calculations shown on the website (including amounts of principal and interest repaid) have not been independently verified or audited and may differ from the actual financial metrics and calculations for any investment, which are contained in the investors’ portfolios. Any investment information contained herein has been secured from sources that Yieldstreet believes are reliable, but we make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy of such information and accept no liability therefor.

Private placement investments are NOT bank deposits (and thus NOT insured by the FDIC or by any other federal governmental agency), are NOT guaranteed by Yieldstreet or any other party, and MAY lose value. Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any federal or state securities commission or regulatory authority has recommended or approved any investment or the accuracy or completeness of any of the information or materials provided by or through the website. Investors must be able to afford the loss of their entire investment.

Investments in private placements are speculative and involve a high degree of risk and those investors who cannot afford to lose their entire investment should not invest. Additionally, investors may receive illiquid and/or restricted securities that may be subject to holding period requirements and/or liquidity concerns. Investments in private placements are highly illiquid and those investors who cannot hold an investment for the long term (at least 5-7 years) should not invest.

Alternative investments should only be part of your overall investment portfolio. Further, the alternative investment portion of your portfolio should include a balanced portfolio of different alternative investments.

Articles or information from third-party media outside of this domain may discuss Yieldstreet or relate to information contained herein, but Yieldstreet does not approve and is not responsible for such content. Hyperlinks to third-party sites, or reproduction of third-party articles, do not constitute an approval or endorsement by Yieldstreet of the linked or reproduced content.

Investing in securities (the "Securities") listed on Yieldstreet™ pose risks, including but not limited to credit risk, interest rate risk, and the risk of losing some or all of the money you invest. Before investing you should: (1) conduct your own investigation and analysis; (2) carefully consider the investment and all related charges, expenses, uncertainties and risks, including all uncertainties and risks described in offering materials; and (3) consult with your own investment, tax, financial and legal advisors. Such Securities are only suitable for accredited investors who understand and willing and able to accept the high risks associated with private investments.

Investing in private placements requires long-term commitments, the ability to afford to lose the entire investment, and low liquidity needs. This website provides preliminary and general information about the Securities and is intended for initial reference purposes only. It does not summarize or compile all the applicable information. This website does not constitute an offer to sell or buy any securities. No offer or sale of any Securities will occur without the delivery of confidential offering materials and related documents. This information contained herein is qualified by and subject to more detailed information in the applicable offering materials. Yieldstreet™ is not registered as a broker-dealer. Yieldstreet™ does not make any representation or warranty to any prospective investor regarding the legality of an investment in any Yieldstreet Securities.

Banking services are provided by Evolve Bank & Trust, Member FDIC.

Investment advisory services are provided by YieldStreet Management, LLC, an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Our site uses a third party service to match browser cookies to your mailing address. We then use another company to send special offers through the mail on our behalf. Our company never receives or stores any of this information and our third parties do not provide or sell this information to any other company or service.

Read full disclosure
Copyright © 2022 YieldStreet, Inc.