Protecting Your IRA – Part IV: Your Own Personal Tax Haven
By Terry Coxon - July 31, 2010

An ordinary IRA requires you to be passive. You're not driving the bus, you're a passenger.

An Open Opportunity IRA, on the other hand, lets you act. The IRA owns just one asset—a limited liability company (LLC). All the investing and earning happens inside the LLC. And you're in charge because you are the LLC's Manager. You make all the financial decisions; you don't need to wait on anyone's consent or approval; when you are ready to act, you act and you act immediately.

The Open Opportunity structure lets you pour your skill, experience and energy into your IRA, where the rewards can be collected free of current tax (and free of any tax at all if you have a Roth IRA). Big chunks of your financial life can migrate into your IRA, which then becomes your own personal tax haven. For example…

• Rental real estate. Being a landlord is work. You can hire a property management service to do the work for you, but you'll have to pay 20% of the rental income for their help. On the other hand, if you do the work yourself, the money you save – the reward for your effort – will flow into the tax-deferred/tax-free environment of your IRA.

• Housing rehabilitation. If you have the skills required for rehabilitating run-down properties, you can put those skills to work for the benefit of your Open Opportunity IRA's LLC. You swing the hammer, you climb the ladder and you oversee the workmen helping with the project. When you collect the pay-off for your effort by selling the property at a big increase in price, the profit goes into your Open Opportunity IRA — no current tax.

• Intellectual property. If you are a computer programmer, web site builder, author, songwriter, filmmaker, inventor – anyone who produces intellectual property that earns royalties – you can do your work as a volunteer for your IRA's LLC. That way, there's no current tax on the royalties your effort produces and no tax at all if your Open Opportunity IRA is a Roth.

• Equipment leasing. If you have knowledge and experience in connection with any type of equipment for which there is a rental market, you can put that knowledge and experience to work for an equipment-leasing business owned by your IRA's LLC. You turn your expertise into money, and the money accumulates inside your IRA.

And those are just examples.

Sometimes work is fun. And sometimes it's just work. Either way, you'll like the experience far better if the rewards are flowing into your IRA's tax-favored environment.

There's one more topic for Protecting Your IRA to cover. Because an IRA is such a congenial environment for wealth, you probably won't spend all of your IRA money during your lifetime, so part of it will be going to your heirs. I'll explain the financial logic driving that conclusion in Part V, "An IRA Blessing for Your Heirs," and also show how, dollar for dollar, an Open Opportunity IRA can be so much more valuable for your beneficiaries than anything else you leave.

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