Alto IRA Review 2022 - Alternative-Investing in an IRA
AltoIRA is without a doubt our #1 pick for IRA investing, they provide low-cost IRAs that can do everything regular IRAs can, while also allowing easy, low-cost, investing in cryptocurrencies and digital assets as well as other alternative assets — such as eREITs, artwork, whisky and wine, startups, and basically anything else that’s investable — the only asset you can’t really invest in through AltoIRA is a small business you own and operate, but that’s about it.
|💰 Fees & Pricing
|Lowest-Cost Alternative Asset IRA
|💻 Ease of Use
|Mostly Easy & Straightforward
|🛠 Customer Service
|Acceptable, but not exceptional
|🥇 Best Feature
|100+ Alternative Investments Available
With that being said I won’t bury the lead — if you are interested in investing in alternative assets in your retirement account(s) then AltoIRA is the best choice hands-down above all other platforms.
However if you are not too interested in alternative asset investing in general then AltoIRA doesn’t have many other benefits — and if you are just interested in investing in Crypto/Gold in your IRA then there are other publicly traded options available with almost any IRA provider, as well as crypto/gold specific IRA providers like iTrustCapital that are good for those purposes.
AltoIRA just does more if you want it to — they allow alternative assets and don’t restrict what you invest in, and have plenty of partnerships to help you invest in alternative assets as we’ll cover below.
Table of Contents
AltoIRA Unique Features:
AltoIRA is one of the only platforms like it — however it’s not the ONLY one like it, there’s also iTrustCapital which we’d say is worth considering — these two are the best services for investing in alternative assets and crypto in tax-advantaged IRA-style accounts.
Below you’ll find some unique features to AltoIRA, as well as some noteable ones that both of the platforms have which we think are important and unique that make them stand out as the #1 and #2 platforms in the industry.
Very Low & Reasonable Fees
While nobody likes fees they’re unfortunately quite necessary, as without fees you aren’t the customer but rather the product — which means that if you aren’t paying a fee for a service you are probably the product and your data is being sold or you’re being pushed to do things that aren’t in your best interest.
With AltoIRA they have very low fees for what they offer — there are 0-commission IRAs provided by major brokerage firms, or very low-cost ones that are cheaper, but they do not support investing in alternative assets nor do they allow you to invest in cryptocurrency directly likely AltoIRA does. With that being said AltoIRA’s fees are low for what they offer and are lower than every other platform/service we’ve found — or comparable — in terms of price/fees they charge.
Unmatched Alternative Asset Partnerships
AltoIRA is the only public platform that offers so many easy partnerships/integrations into their IRAs; after signing up and setting up your AltoIRA account you can easily open linked accounts to over 100 different investment platforms that allow you to invest in various alternative assets, from Securitized Collectibles to Crowdfunding opportunites, Crypto Funds, Farmland, Music Royalties, Private Credit/debt investments, Private Equity, Real Estate funds and eREITs, Startup-investing platforms, and a few Venture Capital funds.
It’s a bit overwhelming having so many platforms/partnerships to sift through, which is a bit downside to AltoIRA — however as we’ve been using AltoIRA and many of these platforms we have some recommendations on platforms to check out that they’ve partnered to and can be invested in through AltoIRA accounts. We’ve been using the below platforms generally for a couple years and they all make a good addition to most portfolios in our opinion.
Masterworks is an artwork investing platform that allows you to invest in and trade various high-valued art pieces by popular/well-respected artists. They’re securitized and fractionalized into shares and then sold and tradable on the Mastworks platform — it’s our personal choice for investing in art and the best and easiest way to do so in our opinion — you can read our full review and experience using masterworks here.
While not officially listed on the AltoIRA website we’ve got confirmation from both AltoIRA and Streitwise that they are compatible — Streitwise is a commercial/office real estate investment trust that’s not publicly traded, an eREIT, which is our #1 pick for investing in non-residential real estate and our personal choice for such investments — you can read our full review of Streitwise here.
Vint is a wine investing platform that offers, well, securitized wine offerings. It may sound ridiculous at first, to invest in wine, but it’s a niche collectable investment that’s returned far more than the S&P 500 over the long-term, historically, albeit with far less liquidity — well wine is liquid, but it’s harder to sell it than the S&P 500, so like most alternative investments it’s best to invest long-term if investing in wine — you can read our review of Vint and our experience using them by clicking here.
There’s plenty of other platforms AltoIRA is partnered with, as mentioned before over 100 others, however we aren’t as experienced with most of the other platforms they support investing through, and many of them are only good for certain folks (many require accreditor investor certification), but the above 3 are ones we’d recommend everyone check out if you do sign up to AltoIRA.
You can view all the other platforms AltoIRA is partnered with by clicking here.
Best-in-Class Cryptocurrency Support
While it’s not exclusive to AltoIRA, and there’s a few other crypto-specific IRAs such as BitcoinIRA and iTrustCapital, AltoIRA is the only one that offers access to so many other alternative assets as well, and is the only one that offers access to hundreds of cryptocurrencies rather than just the top few coins.
AltoIRA offers actual ownership of the crypto, meaning it’s not an IOU or anything like that — and they charge the lowest fees (along with iTrustCapital) at only 1% for buys/sells you make in the account, with absolutely no monthly, yearly, or other maintence fees.
The Only All-In-One IRA
While we’ve already mentioned the partnerships AltoIRA has with alternative asset firms/companies/platforms, we’ve not really covered just quite how comprehensive it is or how unique it is — AltoIRA is the ONLY company/platform that offers this on a mass-scale. They allow you to invest in nearly anything, almost any investment platform, any stock/public-equities, any private equities or assets, and there’s no real restrictions.
AltoIRA is the only platform that seems to do this — otherwise you’ll need a cryptospecific IRA, a traditional IRA, a real-estate specific IRA, etc, if you want to invest in various assets in your IRA account(s). If you don’t want to just focus on one investment class then AltoIRA is unmatched.
AltoIRA Biggest Pros & Cons:
While we’ve mentioned some features and benefits (pros) of AltoIRA we didn’t cover them all — nor have we touched on the cons, so we’ll go over them briefly now starting with the Pros of AltoIRA:
- Highly Regulated & Transparent
- Best-in-Class Alternative Asset IRA
- Lowest Fees for Alternative-Investing & Crypto IRAs
- Allows Non-Accredited Investors (anybody)
- Allows SEP IRAs and ROTH IRAs as well as traditional IRAs
- Can Easily Roll IRAs from other provides to AltoIRA
However there are some cons compared to other platforms, such as AltoIRA:
- Interface (in-platform) isn’t as good as other crypto-compatible IRAs
- Doesn’t Support 401ks, only for IRAs
- Self-Directed Stock/Public-Equity Support is Lacking
AltoIRA Costs & Fees for Average Users:
AltoIRA’s pricing is a bit complicated compared to other IRA providers as they have two account styles and fees can vary depending on how you use them — so below we’ll cover the types seperately and give a good estimate on what fees you can expect to be paying with them.
AltoIRA doesn’t seem to charge any ‘hidden fees’ from what we’ve experienced or researched, so what you see below is what you get — however be aware there is an account closure fee of $50 and outbound transfer fee of $25 for all accounts with them, and if you are rolling an IRA hosted elsewhere into AltoIRA the other IRA company will likely charge a small fee for transferring to AltoIRA and that fee can vary — most other companies will charge between $50 and $100 for this.
AltoIRA Crypto-IRA Fees & Costs
As for Crypto-Only IRAs AltoIRA charges the lowest in the industry alongside iTrustCapital — just a 1% trading fee for any supported cryptocurrency (both buy and sell side is charged), and that’s it — other than the previously mentioned account closure and wire transfer fees if you close the account or withdraw funds from it.
There’s no activity or monthly fees otherwise, so that’s it — just a 1% trading fee is all you realistically will be paying to use AltoIRA’s Crypto-IRA.
For reference the only other Crypto-IRA that charges so little is iTrustCapital, which is good if you just want a crypto IRA (interface is a bit better), as they also charge just 1% in trading fees. Other providers, such as BitcoinIRA, while having the best interface and customer support, are more expensive and charge 2% per trade as well as generally have a few other fees — such as an initial deposit fee of 6% or so.
AltoIRA Full-Service Alternative Investing IRA
With this account you can invest in anything, including crypto — however it has some maintenance fees as shown above. They charge $100~/year for this account + the 1% crypto trading fees and around $10 to $50 when you invest via a partnered platform or add an alternative investment of sorts to the IRA with their help.
The only exception, that can make the price go higher (Pro Plan) is if you are investing in private companies or equities that are NOT part of one of the startup partnership platforms they have part of the platform. This is because it takes extra filing (that they handle) when you add unique private equity deals to your IRA.
There’s no other IRA account that’s this comprehensive for Alternative investing, nor a cheaper one, so it’s the best all-in-one option. If you want to just invest in one alternative investment in an IRA, such as eREITs/real estate there can be some alternatives, but generally AltoIRA is the best option.
AltoIRA vs Competitors:
There’s only one real competitor to AltoIRA in our view — and that’s iTrustCapital, which doesn’t offer a wide range of alternative assets, but does offer low-cost cryptocurrency and gold/commodity investing in an IRA. There’s a few other crypto-IRAs like BitcoinIRA, but they have higher fees with no real benefit vs iTrustCapital, which is why really the decision in our mind is between AltoIRA and iTrustCapital.
To be blunt there’s no real reason to go with any of the competitors, as AltoIRA provides more services/options at the same cost — however if you want a more polished platform for investing in crypto via an IRA then iTrustCapital has a better interface and is more user-friendly to that, with the same fees, so they’re worth considering if you are not interested in investing in art, wine, real estate, or other alternative assets other than Cryptocurrencies and Gold.
Our Experience with AltoIRA & Conclusion:
Our experience with AltoIRA only brought up one complaint — one real downside that was a bother — and that was that when trying to pair with the platforms they were partnered with it wasn’t completely and always ‘automatic,’ meaning you don’t just click a button or two and be able to invest in the partnered platforms immediately — instead you have to sign up and link them manually and this can take a couple weeks to complete depending on the platform and how long it takes to complete their sign-up process.
Thankfully AltoIRA provides guides on how to link the accounts and how the process will work, how long it’ll take, etc, when you begin the process, but I wish it was a little more clear and transparent about how the process works in their marketing.
Beyond that we had no issues with AltoIRA and they’re out #1 pick and recommendation for most people in terms of retirement accounts (IRAs in particular), especially because they even allow Roth IRAs and SEP IRAs, which have additional tax benefits over traditional IRA accounts, particularly when investing in potentially high-upside alternative investments like you’d likely primarily be doing with AltoIRA.
AltoIRA Review FAQ's:
Down here will be all the questions y’all sent and asked us about AltoIRA or we asked ourselves about them before we checked them out or as we checked them out over the last couple years — if you have a question not mentioned below or simply aren’t sure if they’re right for you feel free to contact us and we’ll try our best to answer your question or point you to someone who can.
Is AltoIRA Insured?
While there's many types of Insurance you may be wondering about AltoIRA has just about all of them -- they have insurance against employee/management misconduct, they have protection against hacking, they keep cash deposits in government-backed (FDIC) insured accounts, and like most IRAs your investments are also protected in case they (AltoIRA) goes bankrupt somehow.The only risk with AltoIRA is making bad investments -- alternative investments can be great, but some are terrible just like all investments. There's no protection or insurance against bad decisions, so invest wisely.
Is AltoIRA Trustworthy?
There's no history of fraud or untrustworthy behavior with AltoIRA or it's management, and being a well-known IRA company with around 150 employees we'd argue they're trustworthy, especially considering how many partnerships they have with large firms/companies and the fact they've remained good actors despite having 1billion+ in assets held with them.Like all IRAs AltoIRA is also hyper-regulated and restricted, so it's more or less impossible for them to behave in an untrustworthy predatory fashion.
How Does Alto IRA Make Money?
AltoIRA has multiple revenue streams, but the two biggest ones from our analysis is AltoIRA charges fees for using the platform and they may get small commissions or kickbacks from the partnered platforms when you invest in them -- that's speculative as they haven't admitted to such as far as we're aware of, but most partnerships of this type have some sort of financial exchange back and forth.In other words, AltoIRA makes money by charging fees for using the platform, as well as most likely getting a small commission (likely $20-50) anytime someone signs up to a partnered platform with the purpose of investing via their AltoIRA.
How are taxes handled with AltoIRA?
AltoIRA being an IRA provider is responsible for all the tax filing nonsense hassle -- they handle the paperwork and all you'll need to do is submit a form they give you and/or mark your contributions on your tax paperwork -- a few minute process -- no burdensome paperwork is added just because you use an Alternative Investing IRA vs traditional IRA account.
Our overall AltoIRA rating
AltoIRA is our #1 pick for tax-advantaged Alternative Investing Accounts due to them offering tons of different alternative investment options at relatively low costs.
AltoIRA’s Crypto IRA is also good — coming in at the lowest cost alongside iTrustCapital. The only downside to it is they do not currently allow staking of digital assets like iTrustCapital does, however if that doesn’t bother you then AltoIRA is a great choice for crypto-focused IRAs as well.