When Pigs Fly – How to Invest Your Self-Directed IRA in Livestock

Are you aware that you can invest in a pig with your IRA?

You might say that I’m full of it, but you would be wrong. It is entirely possible to invest in a wide variety of alternative investments with your IRA if you understand how self-directed IRAs work.

In 1974, legislation was enacted to allow people to save for their retirement in a tax deferred manner. This was the creation of the individual retirement account (IRA). In this legislation, the rules stated that investors could invest in virtually any investment withstanding a few exceptions.

The vast majority of the investing public is not aware that they are allowed to invest in alternative investments outside the stock market. Even fewer are actually investing in these alternative investments. Examples of these alternative investments are: real estate, tax liens, private mortgages, horses, livestock, private companies or franchises, oil and gas LPs, intellectual property and more.

There are only a few limitations as to what investors cannot invest in with their IRA:

  • S- Corporations
  • Life Insurance
  • Collectibles

This opens your world up to a wide range of possible investments to choose from. This will allow you to “invest in what you know“, as Peter Lynch was famous for saying. While you can invest in a lot of different asset types, you should still focus on what you know best. Diversification is important, but so is investing to your strengths.

As of 2014 only 37.6% of American Households have an Individual Retirement Account. More than 80% of those people are not aware that they can self-direct their retirement through a self-directed IRA. The biggest hurdle to investors exploring their options is knowledge. While the rules are the same for self-directed IRAs and IRAs that invest in publicly traded securities, it can be more difficult to adhere to the rules.

4 Quick Steps to set up a self-directed IRA

  1. Find a self-directed IRA custodian that supports alternative investments. Not all custodians are prepared to handle these types of transactions. If you have an IRA held at a financial services firm which invests in stocks or mutual funds, it is highly likely that they won’t be a good fit to provide custody for your rental property. Here is a list of Self-Directed IRA custodians to speed up your search.
  2. Chose your investment – Choosing the appropriate investment is one of the most important parts of investing. Chose investments that you are an expert in and do your homework before you invest.
  3. Risk Management - Before you invest in any asset, whether it is a stock, bond or a horse, make sure you fully understand what you are investing in. If you do proper due diligence, you will mitigate a lot of mistakes.
  4. Maintenance of the investment - Once you invest your capital into the asset, you will need to monitor the investment to ensure its performance. There are a number of tasks that need to be tended to periodically, so make sure you are aware of all the rules pertaining to self-directed IRAs.

Next time you are looking for investments, and the stock market has an unappealing valuation, go hog wild and find an alternative investment that suits you. Invest in what you know.

How Direct Mail Marketing Brings a Personal Touch to Your Business

It seems like every time you turn around these days someone else is standing on a street corner screaming about how important it is to bring a personal touch to your business clients. Ironic, when you consider the fact that the anonymity of corporate America has ruled the seas for years. Now, even big business is realizing how important it is to connect with their customers on a personal level using both direct sales and direct mail marketing rather than relying on mass marketing and luck to keep them afloat.How “Old School” Used to Do ItSomehow, the phrase “kicking it old school” hasn’t gone out of style. It may, however, if businesses continue trying to develop a personal connection with their neighbors the old fashioned way! See, once upon a time, if you wanted to touch base with the guy down the street and see if you had something he might want all you had to do was strap on your walking boots. Businesses have come a long way since then!How long would it take you to personally meet, wine and dine every business owner in your area? A day? Two? The better part of the next year? The bottom line is, building your network “old school” simply isn’t practical anymore. Today’s business has to be savvy enough to make use of mass marketing methods while still maintaining a targeted marketing campaign and proving to their clientele that they’re the right choice for personalized service.Enter Your Direct Mail Marketing CampaignThere are plenty of people who say that the direct mail marketing campaign is dead. People get too much junk mail, you’re lucky to get a 10% customer response rate, etc., etc. It’s true that people get plenty of direct mail marketing materials in their mailboxes every single day of the week, and those numbers include your local businesses. What they’re not telling you is that companies whose direct mail marketing materials aren’t getting read are the ones that are out there doing it wrong!If a direct mail marketing piece landing in your mailbox with a catchy cover image and a hook on the front that spoke directly to you, wouldn’t you want to read it? Of course you would. Why? Because it’s something that was created especially for you.It’s not just another piece of junk mail. It’s something that was mailed by someone with your best interests in mind.If you can use the right content in your direct mail marketing pieces to make your customers think that, you’ve already got the tools you need to build an “old school” connection with a new breed of business.

Engagement Marketing Will Boost Your Sales

Traditional marketing approaches are about targeting and educating your market about your products and services with the ultimate aim of making a sale.

Engagement marketing is a much more interactive approach. It encourages your clients and potential customers to communicate directly with you to share their thoughts, comments, reviews and recommendations.

By doing this you can better shape your products and services to meet their needs, you can improve your and content and delivery based on their feedback, you can help drive more interest in your business and ultimately generate more sales.

As it is so quick and easy for people to share their views through Facebook or Twitter or other social media sites it makes sense to directly engage with new and existing clients as potential opinion formers and advocates of your business.

So how do you make it happen? Well to some extent I am sure you do this already in your business but maybe you don’t have a planned approach.

To get you started here are three tips to help you develop your own engagement marketing strategy.

1. Take a step back and review what it is like to be a client of YOUR own business! We are often so embedded in what we do that it is easy to lose sight of what our own clients feel about the whole experience. Simple things such as the language you use in your emails, your voice messages and your response times can send a signal about how you connect and communicate with your clients.

2. When you examine each stage of your customer’s experience from the first to last point of contact you can start to work out ways in which you can enhance, develop and maintain that relationship with them. For example, offering an opt in choice of how best to stay in touch and communicate with them whether via phone, face to face, email, social media or direct mail can encourage more subscriptions to your services and ways to stay in touch, as long as you maintain this with relevant content and exclusive or special offers.

3. Make it easy for clients to start participating with you and your business by inviting them to share their views and opinions. This can range from sending out surveys, speaking to them directly, inviting comments on your blog or videos or starting a discussion topic on a forum or social media site. You can also host events such as in person taster sessions, teleclasses and webinars followed by a question and answer session so that you can better understand your clients’ needs and concerns while giving them the chance to get to know you.

The most important point of engagement marketing is that you are opening the doors to more involvement with your clients and potential clients. With this in mind it’s vital that you value and respect their opinions and that you make them feel welcomed, acknowledged and encouraged.

Oh… and don’t be afraid of negative comments because at least you get to hear about them and can take action to change and improve the situation!