Key takeaways

  • If you choose to manage your own IRA, you’ll select your own investments and manage the account.

  • A self managed, or DIY (do it yourself), IRA could be appropriate if you enjoy investing on your own and feel comfortable with your knowledge of the investments available within a traditional brokerage account.

  • Risks of managing your IRA include, but are not limited to, a lack of expertise, emotional decision-making and diversification challenges.

Are you someone who likes to research and educate yourself to accomplish tasks and projects? If so, managing your own individual retirement account (IRA) may be a good option to explore. A self-managed IRA allows you to choose your own investments from the myriad options provided within a custodial brokerage account.

Self-managing your IRA investments can be rewarding, but it also comes with risks and considerations that you need to carefully evaluate. As a result, this “DIY” IRA, and self-directed investing in general, may be more appropriate for seasoned investors, as it could be risky for someone who doesn’t understand the nuance of selecting appropriate investment options for their situation.

A note that if you’re interested in managing your own IRA, be sure to look closely at the account stipulations. Some self-directed IRAs allow you to invest in alternative investments such as commodities and futures. Others offer investment options more in line with a traditional IRA, such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds. This article will cover the second type.


Benefits of a self managed IRA

If you want to put your money into specific assets, sectors or industries, you can manage your own IRA to build a portfolio that matches your interests. Your earnings then have the potential to grow in the account and are tax deferred until you withdraw them.

You can open a self-managed IRA account as either a Roth, traditional or SEP IRA, with the latter applying to self-employed individuals or small business owners. Determining which IRA is best for your unique situation depends on your age, income and financial goals. Each type also has eligibility, contribution and withdrawal differences.

By managing your own IRA, you could fulfill your desire to take total control of your retirement savings. It can be satisfying to work hard on researching investments that may bring successful outcomes.

A managed IRA is different than a self managed IRA in that a custodian chooses your investments and manages your portfolio, which may be more appropriate for less experienced or hands-off investors. A self managed IRA, in which you choose your own investments and manage your portfolio, may be better for more experienced investors.


Don’t ignore the risks of a self-managed IRA

Managing your IRA gives you more control over your portfolio, but it also comes with potential risks. Review the following considerations to determine your comfort level with self-managing your IRA.

  • Make sure you have the appropriate investment expertise. With a self-managed IRA, you’re responsible for choosing your own investments and managing your account, which means it’s usually a better option for experienced investors. Managing your own IRA requires a deep understanding of financial markets, investment strategies and asset allocation. Without this expertise, you may make poor investment decisions that can negatively affect your retirement savings.
  • Steer clear of emotional decision-making. Emotions like fear and greed can lead to impulsive investment decisions. When managing your own IRA, it’s essential to stay disciplined and avoid making emotional decisions during market volatility.
  • Be aware of diversification and asset allocation challenges. Diversifying your investments helps spread risk, but achieving proper diversification can be complex and time-consuming. Failure to diversify adequately may expose your IRA to greater risk. Creating the right mix of asset classes that suits your objectives and time horizon is a key factor in managing investment risk.
  • Monitor your portfolio regularly. Stay informed about your investments and regularly review your portfolio. Adjust your strategy as needed to adapt to changing market conditions or personal circumstances.
  • Beware of trading limitations and tax issues on certain investments. Some investments may be difficult to trade; for example, individual bonds may not be readily marketable for investors and can be onerous for anyone who is ready to begin taking distributions from their accounts. If you have questions on investments, the onus is largely on you in terms of which investments you add to your account. Certain types of investments can trigger tax implications within an IRA with unrelated business taxable income, or UBTI. Consider working with a tax advisor to ensure you stay in compliance.


Is managing your own IRA right for you?

Self-directed investing, whether it’s a general investing account or self-managed IRA, could be appropriate if you’re interested in doing your own research when investing, feel confident in your investing or investment knowledge and can withstand the ups and downs of the market.

Is a self-managed IRA right for you? Take this quiz, offered by U.S. Bancorp Investments, for actionable insights into what type of investing suits your financial goals and preferences.

Related articles

Types of IRA accounts

An individual retirement account (IRA) is a tax-advantaged investment account designed to help you save for retirement. Review which type or types of IRA accounts meet your needs.

Roth IRA benefits: Roth IRA vs. traditional IRA accounts

Unlike a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA allows you to contribute after-tax dollars now and withdraw contributions tax-free in retirement. Get details on Roth IRA contribution limits, Roth IRA income limits and Roth conversions.


Start of disclosure content

Investment and insurance products and services including annuities are:
Not a deposit • Not FDIC insured • May lose value • Not bank guaranteed • Not insured by any federal government agency.

U.S. Wealth Management – U.S. Bank | U.S. Bancorp Investments is the marketing logo for U.S. Bank and its affiliate U.S. Bancorp Investments.

Start of disclosure content

U.S. Bank, U.S. Bancorp Investments and their representatives do not provide tax or legal advice. Each individual's tax and financial situation is unique. You should consult your tax and/or legal advisor for advice and information concerning your particular situation.

This information represents the opinion of U.S. Bank and U.S. Bancorp Investments and is designed to be educational and informative. The views are subject to change at any time based on market or other conditions and are current as of the date indicated on the materials. This is not intended to be a forecast of future events or guarantee of future results. It is not intended to provide recommendations and/or specific advice concerning retirement accounts or investment planning. It is not intended to be construed as an offering of securities or recommendation to invest. Not for use as a primary basis of investment decisions. Not to be construed to meet the needs of any particular investor. Not a representation or solicitation or an offer to sell/buy any security. Investors should consult with their investment professional for advice concerning their particular situation.

Start of disclosure content

For U.S. Bank:

Equal Housing Lender. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC. Mortgage, Home Equity and Credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rates and program terms are subject to change without notice.

U.S. Bank is not responsible for and does not guarantee the products, services or performance of U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc.

U.S. Bank does not offer insurance products. Insurance products are available through our affiliate U.S. Bancorp Investments.

Start of disclosure content

For U.S. Bancorp Investments:

Investment and insurance products and services including annuities are available through U.S. Bancorp Investments, the marketing name for U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC, an investment adviser and a brokerage subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp and affiliate of U.S. Bank.

U.S. Bancorp Investments is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as both a broker-dealer and an investment adviser. To understand how brokerage and investment advisory services and fees differ, the Client Relationship Summary and Regulation Best Interest Disclosure are available for you to review.

Insurance products are available through various affiliated non-bank insurance agencies, which are U.S. Bancorp subsidiaries. Products may not be available in all states. CA Insurance License #0E24641.

Pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, U.S. Bancorp Investments must provide clients with certain financial information. The U.S. Bancorp Investments Statement of Financial Condition is available for you to review, print and download.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rule 2267 provides for BrokerCheck to allow investors to learn about the professional background, business practices, and conduct of FINRA member firms or their brokers. To request such information, contact FINRA toll-free at 1-800‐289‐9999 or via An investor brochure describing BrokerCheck is also available through FINRA.

U.S. Bancorp Investments Order Processing Information.

Municipal Securities Education and Protection– U.S. Bancorp Investments is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB). An investor brochure that describes the protections that may be provided to you by the MSRB rules and how to file a complaint with an appropriate regulatory authority is available to you on the MSRB website at