Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are one of the most popular ways to save for retirement, because they offer such beneficial tax advantages. The details of IRAs have been simplified over the years, with many of the older versions of the investment becoming obsolete due to certain alterations in the manner by which traditional IRAs are managed. It’s never a bad idea to combine other investments with your IRA, particularly when it comes to investing in a permanent residence.

It is not difficult to open an IRA, but make sure that you select one that will allow you to invest your money the way you want to. The ability to fund the investment over time makes it easy for most people to accomplish saving for retirement. There are annual limits applied to contribution levels, so you may not need to contribute a flat amount every month; you can fluctuate the amounts of your contributions based on your income. The most severe restrictions include the fact that you cannot invest into an IRA with proceeds from capital gains.

It is important to note that IRAs differ significantly from standard savings accounts. If you are accustomed to depositing funds and withdrawing them as you please, you will have to make quite a few adjustments in order to get used to the IRA system. The money that is contributed to an IRA should be viewed as an investment towards your retirement, and should not be withdrawn until you reach retirement age. It is still possible to withdraw your money, but not without incurring some pretty strict penalties. The penalties for a Roth IRA are even more stringent, because you will forfeit the tax benefits you would have accrued had you held out until retirement.

Perhaps the most difficult choice for beginning IRA savers to make is what exactly to put their money in. The most common choice is to put the money into stocks, but securities carry a significant degree of risk. You will also need to make sure that you’re closely tracking the activities of the market, so that you can bail out of the investment if necessary if a downturn occurs. Additionally, it is important to understand that you are not able to ask for financial advice from the institution that is managing the investment. The most common type of investments are mutual funds, which usually provide greater diversity.

There are IRA plans that allow for various types of investments as well. There are certain types of individualized investments that are simply not allowed to be a part of an IRA, including artwork, precious stones, antiques, or any other item of volatile value. There are, however, several IRAs that allow real estate to be a part of the portfolio. Certain strict requirements exist, though, that prevent the owner from directly benefiting from the real estate investment. This is why you can never include your own home as a component of your IRA. Other restrictive statutes cover borrowing and collateral within the IRA as well.

The happiest retirees are those who have combined their IRA investments with other sources of income, including an investment in their own property. If you are able to retire having already paid off your mortgage, you will have several additional options available to you. You will be able to abide in your residence without having to pay monthly mortgage payments, or you could choose to sell your property and downsize into smaller housing. You also have the option to borrow against the equity that you have in the property. The additional capital provided by these options can be combined with the other funds you have accumulated in your IRA account.