Vantage IRA Review

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Vantage IRA is an investment administrator that specializes in offering non-traditional investment options to investors to help them diversify their tax-advantaged savings.

These include real estate, private notes, private equity, private placements, and limited partnerships.

Their expertise and experience are respected by investors as well as advisors in the finance, tax, and legal industries.

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Background on Vantage

vantage homepage

Since 2004, Vantage has been leading the industry in promoting different investment choices that are available through their retirement accounts. They focus on American investors who may not prefer to invest in the stock market.

When you have a better understanding of alternate asset IRAs and custodial accounts, you will be able to make informed decisions on how you want to invest your money.

Vantage has a team of advisors ready to help you go through the process smoothly and promptly. 

Vantage is here to help investors of alternate assets who want an account administrator who is knowledgeable, friendly, and accessible to help them manage their unique investments.

Vantage is committed to taking care of your special assets for your retirement. They strive to offer you flexible and potential-filled investment vehicles that will allow you to direct your funds to exactly where you want them to go.

Leadership Team at Vantage Self-Directed Retirement Plans

Founder and CEO: J.P. Dahbah 

Vantage currently administers more than $2.5 billion in retirement assets. Vantage is a leading self-directed retirement plan administrator in the U.S.

They serve investors who want more diversification in their retirement savings by directly investing in alternative investments like private entities, real estate, and promissory notes.

Mr. Dahbah has been working in the financial industry for 26 years.

He has earned multiple recognitions and awards during the span of his professional career, including the prominent "Entrepreneur of the Year" award from the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

In addition, he also earned the honor of the "Forty Under 40 Award" from the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Phoenix Business Journal for his role as one of the most influential business leaders in the community in Arizona.

In 2020, he was recognized as one of 25 honorees of the prestigious "Most Admired Leaders" award.

Types of Investment Accounts at Vantage IRA

different types of self directed iras available

The website of Vantage IRA is a little difficult to navigate. There is no separate menu option that you can click on to see the various types of investment options that are available through Vantage IRA.

All of the information is labeled under a tab called "Forms." There can be some improvements in making the website more user-friendly.

With some effort digging around, we were able to identify the different types of retirement accounts available at Vantage IRA.

The options include:

Traditional IRAs
Roth IRAs
Simple IRAs
Qualified Retirement Accounts

Most people are familiar with traditional and Roth IRAs. These are the two most common types of IRAs that people open for retirement investing.

A traditional IRA allows you to defer paying taxes on the amount that you are contributing during the calendar year.

A Roth IRA, does not allow for deferred taxes, but when investors withdraw their Roth IRA funds after they retire, they do not have to pay taxes on the amount withdrawn. 

If you believe that you will have a lot of money coming in after you retire, it is better if you pay taxes on that money during your retirement years.

SEP and SIMPLE IRAs are designed for businesses that would like to support their employees' retirement planning by contributing toward their employee retirement funds. At the same time, the business can benefit from tax write-offs.

These are designed for companies with less than 100 employees. The SEP and SIMPLE IRA are different from the 401(k) plan in that the 401(k) plan has high administrative costs.

This is one reason why 401(k)s are designed for big businesses and corporations that have the means to cover the administrative costs.

What is a Self-Directed IRA?

Also known as a SDIRA, a self-directed IRA is a retirement account with tax advantages similar to that of a traditional or Roth IRA.

The difference is that an SDIRA allows you to invest in a broad range of non-traditional investments. These investment "alternatives" are not allowed in regular IRAs.

How A Self-Directed IRA Works

A SDIRA follows many of the same guidelines as a standard IRA. Both have the same annual contribution limit, which is $6,000 for those under 50 years of age and $7,000 for people age 50 and up.

You can open a self-directed traditional IRA or a self-directed Roth IRA. They follow the same rules around pre-tax and post-tax contributions.  The main difference is that the SDIRA custodian lets you purchase non-traditional or alternative investments. 

In regular IRAs, the custodian is usually a brokerage house or a bank. They restrict your investment options to paper securities such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds. 

In self-directed IRAs, you can invest in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and physical precious metals like silver ingots and gold bars. Investors look to tax-advantaged alternative investments as a way to diversify their retirement portfolio or for potentially higher returns. 

You should know that generally, you cannot purchase alternative assets from the custodian of a SDIRA. You must buy these non-traditional assets from another broker.

When you have the assets under your ownership, you transfer them to the custodian where they will be held. This makes opening a SDIRA a little more complex.

Rules of Self-Directed IRAs

If you choose to open a self-directed IRA, make sure you comply with the IRS rules. Otherwise, you will risk forfeiting the tax advantages of your IRA.

The fact that this type of IRA is a bit more complex makes people think twice before going this route.

cartoon of woman looking at taxes and a calculator

If the rules around self-direct IRAs are too confusing to you, you are probably better off just going with a regular IRA with a brokerage or bank. For regular IRAs, the brokerage will send you an annual tax statement.

For a self-directed IRA, you do the tax preparation yourself. This is why it is called self-directed. You need to keep track of what is IRA-approved. For instance, collectibles and a rental property that is also your place of residence are not eligible for IRAs.

If you do not comply with the IRS rules, you might risk having your entire SDIRA balance be taxable in its entirety. In terms of early withdrawals, SDIRAs are under the same rules as traditional IRAs. Both are subject to early withdrawal penalties from the IRS.

You are not allowed to withdraw from a SDIRA until you turn 59.5 years old because the retirement account is tax-deferred. If you withdraw funds before you turn 59.5, you will be hit with a 10% penalty. The lesson here is: to avoid early withdrawals at all costs.

Investment Options

Self-direct IRAs from Vantage lets you invest in assets not covered in the stock market. Here are some options that are popular with investors.

  • Real Estate

This asset class is the most popular with SDIRA investors. You can invest in all types of properties including commercial, residential, multi-family, unimproved land, vacation rentals, fix and flips, and more. 

The IRA can buy real estate much like the way you buy property without an IRA. You can purchase with cash, with a mortgage, or through entities. The choice is totally up to you.

  • Promissory Notes

Investors of SDIRAs who are looking for fixed income can lend money on their terms. IRAs can invest in all kinds of promissory notes. These include unsecured, secured, convertible notes, trust deeds, or private credit funds. 

You are in full control with a self-directed IRA. You use the money in your SDIRA and be the lender if you so choose. You can do private lending through a SDIRA.

  • Private Entities

You can invest in private entities. These are companies that are not publicly traded. These include small to mid-size companies and startups.

These are structured in many ways including limited partnerships, LLCs, private placements, private funds, and private stocks, among others. 

Private companies raise money from private investors. These can include IRAs that can be a source of funding that can infuse capital into a growing business. The benefit is that when these ventures are profitable, your IRA does not pay any capital gains taxes.

  • Checkbook IRA LLC

Limited Liability Companies, also known as LLCs, are a type of entity that can protect the assets that it holds. A Checkbook IRA LLC is an entity structure where an IRA is 100% the owner. 

It offers multiple benefits. Investors of SDIRAs who want to own multiple assets also have the flexibility to jump on investment opportunities when they arise often like this structure.

Use Your IRA to Invest In Precious Metals

Investment gurus all agree that diversification of your assets is the secret to success. You can buy gold and silver through your self-directed IRA if the assets purchased are IRA-approved according to IRS requirements.

These assets do not include collectibles that include collectible coins. Precious metals are a smart way to diversify a retirement portfolio. They can be a solid hedge against inflation and an unstable market. 

Vantage partners with depositories to set up new accounts. They provide account administration and facilitate asset valuation for IRS reporting purposes. 

Investors should firmly understand the advantages of investing in precious metals through an IRA. They should fully comprehend the guidelines, rules, and types of precious metals that are IRA-approved.

This is very important for keeping the tax-advantaged status of your IRA.

Advantages of Keeping Gold and Silver in an IRA

  • The metals are tangible, physical assets
  • They provide a hedge against market uncertainties and inflation
  • They are the ideal assets to hold for diversification
  • Profits and asset growth are tax-deferred

Frequently Asked Questions

Do tax laws allow me to buy non-traditional assets using my IRA?  

The answer is yes. ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) of 1975 transferred the retirement saving obligation from the employer to the individual by way of creating the IRA (Individual Retirement Account).

Ever since these retirement accounts were introduced, American investors could direct their retirement funds to non-traditional assets. 

Since its inception, it is financial institutions have placed restrictions on investment options for IRAs. The government did not set these restrictions. 

Can I directly invest in traditional options, like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc., through my Vantage IRA?  

No, your Vantage IRA does not allow you to directly invest in the stock market. Vantage IRA serves as the custodian, record keeper, and administrator of alternative assets held in IRAs. They are not in a position to trade securities.

However, you can use an IRA LLC, also known as a Checkbook Control IRA, and use this entity to create a brokerage account for the LLC at a regular brokerage firm or bank.

Then, through the IRA LLC, you can self-direct and access the options available from the stock market.

Can someone sue my IRA?  

Yes, your IRA can be sued. IRAs may or may not be exempt from creditor claims, and they are never exempt from claims from the federal or state taxation board. With that said, however, some states do not allow creditors to collect proceeds from IRAs.


Vantage IRA is one of the leading SDIRA administrators in the southwest quadrant of the United States. They have over 7,000 clients. They work with some trust companies and serve as a third-party administrator.

The non-traditional asset choices that Vantage offers are real estate IRAs, private lending, private companies, precious metals IRAs, and much more.

They have a reasonable annual fee that does not include fees for the storage and administration of precious metals.

Vantage IRA is a decent company but we do not recommend them because they are not the best option for investors looking to protect their savings with physical precious metals held in a tax-advantage individual retirement account.

There are much better companies that we recommend.

You can get a Free Gold Investors Guide from our top gold and precious metals company recommendation by clicking the link above or you can read our article of the top companies we reviewed this year:

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