Updated on March 14, 2020
A self-directed IRA is a type of retirement account that allows you to place your own trades. It’s typically used by more active investors who want more control over their portfolios. Most self-directed IRAs allow you to invest in a full range of stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and options, though option trading is generally recommended for more experienced investors.
Self-directed IRAs generally have a far wider range of investment options than what’s in employer-sponsored plans like a 401(k). This is one reason why people choose to rollover a legacy 401(k) into a self-directed IRA. It’s generally a good option for more confident investors who are comfortable building their own portfolio. If that’s not you then you’ll be better served by picking an automated rollover IRA where the portfolio is constructed and rebalance for you.
Besides fees, these are the key features that self-directed IRAs can differ on: