One hundred thousand dollars is a nice sum to have in your IRA, but let’s face it. It doesn’t go as far as it used to, and it’s likely to stretch even less by the time you’re ready to retire. Often the returns on conservative investments such as CD’s, money markets, and bonds barely outstrip the rate of inflation. Inflation provides a constant pressure on the value of your money, so it ends up being that if it’s not making a decent return, you’re actually losing money. For savvy investors, using their IRA creatively can result in huge returns. Self-Direct Your IRA Self-directed IRAs are becoming increasingly popular and for good reason. They provide IRA holders with numerous options and open up investment opportunities that traditional IRAs can’t. At the same time, they provide a unique advantage: IRAs are tax-deferred. How can you turn your IRA into a serious investment vehicle? There are a number of custodians that specialize in self-directed IRAs. It will cost more than a traditional IRA, but on the same token, it provides you with unlimited investment opportunities on which to cash in. In other words, it’s an expenditure that can show huge dividends. So the first step is rolling your current IRA over into a self-directed IRA. What Can You Do With More Control over Your IRA? One of the best options available right now is real estate. In terms of houses, most folks know that it’s a seller’s market. But rental properties are appreciating in value as well. In fact, many housing markets are currently failing to meet the demands of renters. It’s a huge opportunity for developers, but it’s also a huge opportunity for individuals that are willing to renovate dilapidated properties. This affords different kinds of investors different kinds of opportunities, and IRAs can provide the starting capital on which to make that journey. One possibility that is often overlooked: non-recourse loans. These can be used to purchase a property with somewhere between 35%-50% of the money down. This allows those without $100,000 in their IRA to invest in a decent property or those with more to invest in several. Either can use the money generated by rent to pay off the remainder of the loan. Alternatively, those that are looking for a passive way to earn can use the money to furnish real estate investors in the purchasing of property that can then be renovated and rented out. Real estate is a hot market right now because the demand is higher than supply. Fixing up properties that have fallen into neglect is an opportunity to cash in on a market that has shown great performance over the past few years.