DETROIT -

During these uncertain economic times: investing for your retirement has never been so tricky. There is a way to use the shaky housing market to your advantage. And, you don't have to be Donald Trump to make some extra money in real estate.        

Taking advantage of foreclosed property

With rental demand surging and rents rising, Terry Vander Ploeg wanted to take advantage of a great deal on a foreclosed property.

"I got tired of having my money just in the stock market, you always hear you want to diversify and do other things, so this

was another way to diversify." he said.

However, he didn't have the cash, so instead he turned to his retirement fund for the 100-thousand dollars he needed.

To avoid fees- he didn't take the money out, instead he rolled it into what's called a self directed IRA.

Companies like Pensco, Ira Resources, Sterling Trust, Guidant Financial, Entrust and Fiserv all offer these IRAs.

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What you can do 

Here's what you do:

  1. Find a property you want. it must be used as an investment, not a home for yourself or a vacation home.
  2. Run the expenses of what it will take to fix it up to rent.
  3. Roll your retirement money directly over into a self directed IRA, so you don't incur any fees or penalties.
  4. Find a property manager to maintain the property and collect rent, or you can do this yourself.
  5. Use the IRA cash to buy the property and do the repairs. 

Remember, all income from the property goes right back into the IRA. Down the line, if the housing market surges, you can always decide to sell the property. Any gains go back into the IRA boosting that nest egg for your retirement. 

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