Using Retirement Accounts to Invest

Qualified retirement plans offered by an employer, such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, SEP IRAs, and SIMPLE IRAs, do not allow for direct investment into private (i.e. not publicly traded) securities. Similarly, funds in traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs cannot be used to make direct private investments. However, the growing interest in local impact investing is driving a trend toward the creation of Self-Directed IRAs and Solo 401(k)s (the latter for self-employed people) that do allow the investment of tax-deferred retirement funds into local investments.

An excellent resource on creating SDIRAs and Solo 401(k)s is Put Your Money Where Your Life Is by Michael Shuman, one of the original founders of the Local Investing Resource Center. This blog post from Slow Money Northern California also provides useful insight and tips.