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Will Obama Place Saving Caps on Romney-Sized Self Directed IRA Accounts?

Video Highlights

[0:11] What is RITA?

[0:46] Convention speakers include these department leaders.

[1:07] The hot topic this year is a cap on retirement accounts.

[1:37] The cap proposed is a 3 million dollar retirement limit.

[2:03] How much money is in U.S. IRAs?

[2:37] Check out these incredible statistics!

[3:15] What is the mean amount in a 20-year-old IRA?

[3:38] Visit for more information and help for investors!

[4:13] What are we working on now?

[4:42] Send us your success stories!

[5:15] See why your voice matters!

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Will Obama Place a Cap on Retirement Accounts?

Sunwest Trust is a member of RITA, the Retirement Industry Trust Association, and Terry White, our CEO and President, is also on the Board of Directors. Terry recently attended the Spring Forum RITA Conference in Washington, D.C. for a conversation regarding what our government has in store for the retirement industry in the future.

What is RITA?

RITA’s website states they are:

“A professional trade association, comprised of regulated banks, trust companies, and industry-related professionals, committed to the continued growth and expansion of self-directed retirement plan administration. We have been preserving and promoting individual and group retirement plans through targeted legislative efforts as well as regulatory concerns. Our members administer a wide variety of retirement accounts. We specialize in the administration of alternative investments held in retirement accounts which include: non-publicly traded securities, promissory notes, real estate, precious metals, LLCs, tax liens, partnerships as well as publicly traded securities. Our members are passionate and dedicated professionals who seek high ethical standards and adhere to best practices.”

There are typically two meetings a year for RITA, but the Spring conference is always held in Washington, D.C. to incorporate government officials as speakers for the meetings.

Individual Retirement Account Cap Proposal

This year there were representatives from the Department of Labor, the Treasury Department, and lawyers from local law firms too who spoke about the general feeling toward self directed IRA’s. This year’s popular topic was the possibility of issuing a cap on the amount that can be held within your IRA. After listening to the conversation during the conference, the cap would most likely be set around $3 Million to $3.4 Million, but from the sound of things, this isn’t the most pressing matter in Washington at the moment, so the cap could just as easily slip through the cracks for another year. Only time will tell.

“…the cap could just as easily slip through the cracks for another year.”

The growth of IRAs: statistics submitted by the members of RITA from around the country:

  • The members of RITA, combined, hold close to $52,000,000,000.00
  • Total IRAs in the US amount to $6.5 trillion.
  • Alternative assets IRAs have grown two times quicker than traditional asset IRAs, which means people are beginning to see the value in investing their IRAs in investments they know about, instead of handing their money off to someone else and hoping that when they come back, it’s a larger sum.
  • 4 out of 10 homes have an IRA, ages 35-64.
  • 54% of IRA’s are held by families that make an income of $50,000- $200,000 a year.
  • 21% of IRA’s are held by families that make an income of less than $50,000 a year.
  • 50% of all IRAs include rollover funds. This means half of all the IRAs have had money moved to them or from them.
  • The mean of all IRA’s after a 20 year period was $229,000.

Be sure to look at RITA’s website at There are helpful links to educational materials, RITA member’s bios, as well as other RITA organizations and fraud protection.

Video Transcription

I just got back last week from Washington D.C. where I was participating in a conference from an organization called RITA that stands for Retirement Industry Trust Association. It is an association of companies that offer self-directed IRA’s. We have custodians, and we have third-party administrators and we have some service providers. One of the ones that you probably know about is Mat Sorenson who wrote the book Self Directed IRA Handbook; he’s usually at the meetings.

We typically have two meetings a year. The spring meeting is always in Washington, D.C. so that we can have people from Washington, D.C. […] come and speak to us. It was kind of neat. We had representatives from the Department of Labor. We had representatives from the Treasury Department. We also had some people from law firms, mostly local law firms that gave us an idea of the feeling in Washington regarding self-directed IRAs.

I think some of the biggest talk this year, like last year, was potentially capping how much you can have in an individual retirement account. If you remember back when Mitt Romney was running for President, it came out that he had $30 million or $300 million or some huge number in his IRA. They’re concerned about that. They don’t think people need that much stored. I don’t know if anything will happen with it…we kind of got the feeling that there’s a lot of things going on in Washington right now and they’re not looking at individual retirement accounts. If they were to ever do a cap, the number, we heard, was like $3 million to $3.4 million.

One of the neat things that we heard is just kind of some statistics about self directed IRAs from the members of RITA. Just the members of RITA alone have close to $52 billion in their companies with individuals, with individual retirement accounts. Total IRAs in this country amount to $6.5 trillion –that’s all IRAs, not just self directed, but all the IRAs and stocks bonds, mutual funds and then, actually a very small portion of them are in self directed accounts and what we would term as alternative assets or nontraditional assets.

The good news is that alternative asset class has grown two times as fast as the traditional IRAs –I thought that was kind of interesting. People are seeing the value and investing in things they know. Four out of ten households have IRAs between the ages of 35 and 64. Fifty-four percent of IRAs are in families that have an income of $50,000, or greater and then 21% is below $50,000.

Another thing that was interesting is that 50% of all IRA accounts have some rollover funds, so it’s a rollover from an existing, maybe from a 401k. Maybe you’re working somewhere, and you had a 401k, and then you left there and decided to roll that money over into an IRA.

The last thing that I thought was very interesting is the mean IRA funds owned after 20 years. In other words, the exact middle, half of the people who have more money than this in their IRA and half the people have less money than this in their IRA, but it was $229,000.

Those are some interesting statistics.

We’re excited about the industry. I’m excited about what RITA does. It’s a great organization. I would encourage you to go to their website at We’ll put a link to that directly below the video here. They’ve got some great information along with some great help for investors. They give you information about RITA members. We’ve had other videos. Last week’s video talked about choosing your IRA custodian or your TPA. They’ve got information about RITA members, information about other RITA organizations, educational materials including, most importantly, investor awareness and senior fraud prevention.

One of the big things we’ve talked about was anti-fraud measures and the things that each of the companies involved in RITA is doing, and the education that we’re providing and giving to help eliminate fraud, which would be great. We would love to do that. That’s a great place for you to go. The need for diversification in your IRA, it talks about all those things in detail. So visit when you get a chance, and there’s some really good information available there.

The last thing I’d like to ask you about: if there are people that have watched this video, that have done well in their IRAs, they have some kind of success story that they’d like to share with us, then we would love to receive that. It would be awesome if you would shoot a video and email it to us. But if you would just sit down and write us an email or give me a call here at Sunwest Trust, we’d love to hear your success stories and how well you’ve done in your IRA account. It might just be something that we can use here internally. If you let us, we would love to share that information with RITA and compile it with all the other companies out there and then also share that information with our other customers too. If you have something like that, then we’d certainly love to hear from you.

I’d love to see you again next week at Tuesday at Two. I look forward to it.

Will Obama Place Saving Caps on Romney-Sized Self Directed IRA Accounts? was published on:

Terry White

About Terry White

I started my business career after getting my degree in Accounting from the University of New Mexico in 1983. My first job was as a controller for a local title company, and in 1987 I started First Financial Escrow, Inc. Over the years I played a part in several startup companies including First Financial Equities, Inc., First Financial Trust, Inc., First Financial Marketing, Inc. and Asset Ventures, Inc. In 1997 First Financial Escrow, Inc. was able to purchase the escrow accounts from Sunwest Bank and changed its name to Sunwest Escrow. As the market changes, Sunwest has grown and changed along with it. Besides my wife, Sheila, we have three boys, two daughters-in-law, one grandson, another grandson on the way and a future daughter-in-law. Sunwest is my passion, and I enjoy coming to work every day to see what will happen next. I enjoy fly fishing, spending time in Colorado, biking and watching my boys play soccer.