American IRA Review

American IRA Review Table
American IRA Review Table - by, April 1, 2011
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Review Summary :

American IRA has been helping clients retire early since 1985. One thing that separates American IRA from the competition is the fact that it offers many different account types and alternate asset investing options. The company also has some of the best customer reviews written about it across many different platforms, which should give investors some confidence in choosing the company over the competition.

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Pros:

  • Many different account and investment types
  • Solid customer reviews
  • 34 years in business

Cons:

  • Limited info on fees
  • Handful of valid customer complaints
Quick Facts about American IRA
Year Founded:1985
Location:Asheville, North Carolina
Annual Fees:$295
Offers 401(k)?:Yes
Offers Roth IRA?:Yes
Crypto Offered?:No
Reviewed By:Jack Choros
Published On:April 4, 2020
Last Modified:May 25, 2020
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American IRA is a self-directed IRA provider located in North Carolina. The company is a former franchisee of a bigger firm called Entrust Group. It offers investors the opportunity to put their funds into real estate, precious metals, private placements, private lending deals and other types of investments.

The company boasts 19 reviews on its Google business profile with a rating of 4.3 stars out of five stars, which gives the organization an above average rating. Like many other IRA providers, American IRA earned its keep from charging service fees.

In this review we come for more than just fees and customer opinions. Take a look at this comprehensive analysis of what American IRA has to offer the self-directed retirement planner. After reading this it’ll be easy to see that American IRA indeed keeps pace with other competitors and offers certain unique advantages and disadvantages that set it apart from other providers, like PENSCO Trust Company for example.

American IRA CEO and Staff

All in all American IRA’s website lists 12 different employees. Jim Hitt and Sean McKay act as CEO and Senior Vice President of the company. See a bit of biographical information about both of them below.

Jim Hitt, President of American IRA

Jim Hitt, President, American IRA

Hitt has been using self-directed IRA accounts for his own investing since 1982. He’s got more than 40-plus years of experience in all aspects of investing according to the company website. Throughout his career he has developed and maintained multi-million dollar businesses and commercial properties as well as keeping significant interests in residential properties as well. Hitt prides himself on not only the investing side of real estate, but the financing aspect as well. He believes in allowing clients to invest in nontraditional assets using limited liability corporations and is dedicated towards teaching investors how to squeeze as much tax-free income out of their choices as possible. He resides in Asheville, North Carolina where the company’s head office is located.

Sean McKay, Senior Vice President of American IRA

Sean Mckay, Senior Vice President, American IRA

Sean McKay has 15 years of experience investing in real estate. He’s part of the Board of Directors of the Metrolina REIA, a non-profit real estate organization in addition to acting as the chairman of the Charlotte Landlord Group. McKay enjoys teaching investors how to get the most out of their money using their retirement investing accounts.

Investments Allowed in an American IRA

American IRA offers several different types of IRAs and savings accounts that enable investors to reach their long-term investing goals. They also offer a wide range of different kinds of assets that investors can choose from. Self-directed investors who want to go beyond basic stocks, mutual funds, bonds and certificates of deposit have a slew of options with American IRA. Here’s a list of all of the investing options available:

  • Self-directed IRA for real estate
  • Self-directed IRA for private lending or notes
  • Self-directed IRA for precious metals
  • Self-directed IRA for tax liens and deeds
  • Self-directed IRA for a single member LLC
  • Self-directed IRA for joint ventures and partnerships
  • Self-directed IRA for brokerage accounts
  • Self-directed IRAs for other investments

Noting the above types of IRA accounts, it’s easy to see that American IRA is committed to covering virtually any kind of an investment a client might want to include as part of their long term retirement plans. While most competitors will set up a single member LLC should clients wish to do so, very few IRA providers will take the time to set up accounts for joint ventures and partnerships. That’s one advantage to choosing American IRA over the competition.

American IRA Fee Schedule

The American IRA fee schedule features a pretty simple to understand approach to charging investors for account maintenance. The math is very basic, no need to get into complicated account value and percentage-based calculations.

Here’s a chart featuring all of the company’s fees:

Account Fee TypeFee Amount
One-time Fee$50
Basic Account Fee$285
Unlimited Account Fee$450
Minimum Account Cash Balance$750
Wire Transfer$30
Asset Re-Registration$95
Cashiers Checks$50
ACH/Void Checks$10
Notary$5
Overnight Mail$20
Certified Mailing$10
Expedited Investment Review$95
Special Services$75 per 30 minutes
Minimum Balance Fee$25/month
Credit Card Convenience Fee4%
Deposit Research$25
Copy of Statements$15
Returned Items/Stop Payment/Credit Card Decline$30
Account Termination0.5% (minimum $150, maximum $500)
Federal or State Tax Withholding$10

IRA Rollover Rules

American IRA offers a great IRA Rollover tool online that makes it easier to complete the rollover process. Investors typically rollover a 401(k) into an IRA when they move on from an employer and still want to focus on retirement. American IRA doesn’t charge any opening, closing or transfer fees to investors initiating a rollover.

The full gamut of investing options listed in the sections above are available within an IRA that gets rolled over from a 401(k).

As far as penalties go, a 10% early withdrawal penalty will apply to investors withdrawing any assets from their IRA or 401(k) before the age of 59 ½. That’s a government rule enforced by the IRS. All investment custodians must enforce this rule. There is the possibility of a penalty free withdrawal if the investor is using funds for a first time home purchase. All investors are required to distribute a minimum amount of their investment funds by the age of 72.

Aside from explaining the above rules, American IRA’s online tracker tells investors exactly what they need from their employer’s 401(k) administrator in order to complete an IRA rollover. It’s a great customer experience that makes everything more efficient and easy.

IRA Transfers

American IRA makes it really easy for investors to transfer their IRA. It doesn’t matter if the investors with another provider, or initiating a trustee to trustee transfer. The company’s copywriting promotes low fees and access to guidance as the top reasons people switch. Transfers can be done in person at an Investor Center, over the phone or online.

Customer Service and Support

Like many of the top brokerages providing investors with IRA accounts, American IRA offers 24/7 customer support. That’s over the phone. Investors checking in online can do so between 8 AM and 10 PM Eastern standard Time and normally receive a response from a customer service representative in less than a minute. Investors who wish to speak to somebody face-to-face can go to any one of the 196 brick-and-mortar locations American IRA has sprinkled all across the United States.

American IRA ranks at the top when it comes to customer service and support with only a few other brokerages competing with them in terms of speed and ease of use within their customer support channels.

American SIMPLE IRA

SIMPLE stands for Savings Investment Match Plan for Employees. American’s SIMPLE IRA is for self-employed individuals or small businesses with less than 100 employees wishing to take advantage of tax-sheltered retirement plans.

The advantage of this particular IRA is that the employer can write off employer contributions to employee IRAs as business expenses. Participants in a SIMPLE IRA, meaning the employees, get pretax contributions from the employer and they also get tax-deferred growth within the account.

Employers who want to use this plan can’t have any other employer-sponsored plans and employees must’ve made at least $5,000 with the company they’re working for an order to be eligible.

American IRA vs. E*TRADE

Outside of American IRA there are a few other brokerages that stand above the rest and we’re going to review them all here at GIG. One comparison that investors seem to draw pits American IRA against E*TRADE, so here, we offer our own quick summary of both.

Neither brokerage charges for stock trades. Both charge similar amounts for options trades at $0.65 per contract. E*TRADE charges less to investors who make more than 30 options trades.

While American IRA doesn’t require any minimum deposit to get an account open, E*TRADE asks customers to deposit a minimum of $500. Although that shouldn’t be upon for most people serious about saving for retirement, it is an added unnecessary barrier that American IRA doesn’t require jumping over.

That said, one area where E*TRADE does China were American IRA is when it comes to mutual fund fees. Neither broker charges investors anything when it comes to no-load mutual funds, but loaded mutual funds always come with a fee for the most part. American IRA charges $49.95 for a loaded mutual fund purchase while E*TRADE only charges $19.95.

Still, the added fees that American IRA charges is why the company can have 196 brick-and-mortar locations to serve customers where E*TRADE only has 30+. American IRA also offers way more options when it comes to basic banking services and more than 350 commission free ETFs to choose from. E*TRADE on the other hand only offers closer to 250 ETFs.

The bottom line is that American IRA is more of a full service brokerage where E*TRADE is more focused on the online experience. In some ways E*TRADE offers bigger discounts, but American IRA offers a better bang for the buck overall when it comes to service. Choosing between the two depends on what you really want. An investor who wants to handle everything themselves might use E*TRADE, where somebody with considerable wealth who want some guidance will choose American IRA.

Does American IRA Have A Robo Advisor?

As mentioned previously in this review, American IRA doesn’t have a robo advisor exactly. At least that’s not what American IRA calls it. Instead they offer The Single-Fund Strategy group of portfolios broken down in the above sections. They are essentially prebuilt portfolios that cater to different levels of risk tolerance investors can choose from based on the answers they provide in the most common risk tolerance questionnaires the majority of brokerages will ask investors to answer. There is still some choice in terms of which fund or strategy works best for the individual investor to be sure, but overall, the goal is to set it and forget it. The investor picks a portfolio that works for their strategy and other than reviewing their financial situation once a year, they don’t have to look back.

American IRA vs. Other IRA Accounts

American IRA doesn’t offer the same number of options when it comes to ETFs and stocks that larger discount brokerages like Fidelity, Charles Schwab or Vanguard do, but most smaller IRA providers are in the same boat. In terms of fee, most of American IRA’s charges are reasonable and the average retirement focused investor won’t worry about paying those commissions and fees.

The obvious advantages to using larger discount brokerages is that consumers get the peace of mind in knowing they’re working with a recognizable brand name, and that they have access to bigger pools of investments that bigger companies can get great deals on simply because they have a higher volume of purchasing power and can negotiate better deal with investment funds and mutual fund managers.

Should You Invest with American IRA?

Ultimately the decision to go with American IRA as your IRA provider really comes down to you and your personal preferences. When do you hope to retire? How much do you hope to have in your account when you retire? How old are you now and how much money do you make? What kind of investments do you know a lot about?

These are all questions you need to answer before you pick an IRA provider. The good news is that American IRA does have decent reviews and a solid track record of helping people.

Before you choose though, make sure that you take a look at other reviews and other providers. American IRA is a good option but it’s not the only game in town and choosing an IRA provider is a serious decision.

American IRA Review Table
American IRA Review Table - by, April 1, 2011
4/ 5stars
on
American IRA Review Table
  • Editor Rating
  • Very Good
  • 0/5 Avg. User Rating
  • 0 No reviews yet!
Review Summary :

American IRA has been helping clients retire early since 1985. One thing that separates American IRA from the competition is the fact that it offers many different account types and alternate asset investing options. The company also has some of the best customer reviews written about it across many different platforms, which should give investors some confidence in choosing the company over the competition.

Have you purchased products from American IRA Review Table? Leave a review!

Leave your rating

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