Updated November 16, 2022

Alto IRA Review

Read more about Alto
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Alto IRA is a self-directed retirement account that allows users to invest in a range of unique assets. But is it legit? Keep reading to find out.

5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • 75+ partners for alternative assets
  • Transparent low pricing
  • 200+ cryptos
  • $10 minimum
  • Partners are not vetted
  • No solo 401k

Bottom Line

Low cost IRA provider for investing in alternative assets and cryptos

Think IRAs are only for stocks, bonds, and ETFs?

With Alto IRA, your IRA can include assets like cryptocurrency, fine art, and real estate. All with the same tax advantages.

But is Alto IRA legitimate?

Find out in this review of Alto IRA, including which services they offer, pricing and fees, investable assets, and more. By the end, you'll know whether or not Alto IRA is right for you.

What is Alto IRA?

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Alto IRA is an IRA custodian that lets you invest in a range of assets not typically supported by traditional IRAs.

With their self-directed IRAs, you can invest in unregistered securities, which many brokers don't support. Alto IRA's assets include things like fine art, land, venture capital, startups, and more.

They even let you sponsor your own deal if they don't offer the specific asset you're interested in. For more on Alto's alternative IRAs, check out the product details below.

Is Alto IRA legit?
Yes, Alto IRA is compliant with the SEC and IRS. It has 4.4 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot based on over 1,000 customer reviews.

Alto IRA Products

Alto IRA offers its users two main products: the Alto IRA and Alto CryptoIRA. Note that these are two separate accounts with their own fees and requirements.

Let's take a look at how they work.

Alto IRA

The Alto IRA lets users invest in a range of traditional and novel assets that aren't available at most custodians. This includes things like real estate, land, fine art, venture capital, startups, private companies, and more.

With an Alto IRA account, you'll get access to their list of 75+ partners, each specializing in their own unique branch of the investing world.

You can find a full list of Alto IRA's partners here, along with a brief explanation of what they do, their asset specialties, associated investment fees, and minimum investment requirements.

Some examples of Alto partners include:

  • FarmTogether, which lets you invest in farmland and agriculture
  • Republic, which specializes in startups
  • Masterworks, which lets you invest in fine art
  • Grayscale, a crypto fund that will offer exposure to the cryptocurrency market without direct investment in cryptocurrencies themselves

Investment minimums vary by partner and can be as low as $100 or as much as $250,000+. If they don't currently offer the investment you're looking for, you may be able to sponsor your own deal if you sign up for their Pro account.

You can choose between traditional, SEP, and Roth IRA accounts. Traditional and SEP IRAs incur taxes only when you take distributions from your account upon retirement. Roth IRAs invest with post-tax income, and incur no taxes on gains made through investing.[1]

There's a Pro and a Starter plan. Pro is $25 per month, while the Starter is only $10. You'll want the Pro plan if you're interested in making investments beyond the partners they currently offer.

Alto CryptoIRA

Looking to invest in crypto but want the tax benefits of an IRA? Alto's CryptoIRA may be just what you're looking for.

Alto IRA connects directly to the Coinbase platform, allowing users to invest in crypto with their retirement savings with ease.

There's a low $10 investment minimum and a growing list of over 200 cryptocurrencies to invest in, including popular choices like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Trading is available 24/7, and Alto offers a concierge service to help you figure it out if you're new to trading crypto.

Each transaction (buy or sell) through your Alto CryptoIRA only incurs a 1% trading fee, including the Coinbase fees. That's far less than you'll pay to trade on Coinbase itself.

There's only a single plan for the Alto CryptoIRA, and no account fees associated with it.

Check out our comprehensive guide to the best crypto IRAs for more ways to invest in crypto for the long haul.

Fees to Look Out for

Plenty of brokers and custodians have complicated fee structures that take a great deal of effort to understand, but Alto IRA's pricing is pretty straightforward.[2]

For the Alto IRA you'll pay:

  • Account Fee - $10 per month for the Starter plan (or $100 per year); $25 per month for Pro
  • $0 Custody Fees
  • Partner Investment Fee - Varies by partner, from $10 - $50
  • Private Investment Fee - Pro plan only, $75
  • Account Closure Fee - $50
  • Outbound Wire Transfer Fee - $25

The account fees cover account setup costs, account funding, e-statements, Roth conversion, tax reporting, and customer support. You can also set it up to pay yearly instead of monthly.

For the Alto CryptoIRA you'll pay:

  • $0 Account Fees
  • $0 Custody Fees
  • Trading Fee - 1% per transaction
  • Account Closure Fee - $50
  • Outbound Wire Transfer Fee - $25

How Do They Compare?

Now that you know a bit more about Alto IRA, you may be wondering how they stack up against the competition.

Alto IRA vs iTrustCapital
iTrustCapital is a popular self-directed IRA provider that specializes in cryptocurrency and precious metals such as gold and silver.

Their service has a lot in common with the Alto CryptoIRA account, including a 1% trading fee.

The two biggest differences between them are that Alto IRA offers significantly more variety of cryptocurrencies to trade, and that iTrustCapital has a $1,000 minimum,[3] which may be too steep for some investors.

However, if you're only interested in trading among the most popular cryptocurrencies and don't mind the minimum requirements, there really isn't anything to recommend one over the other.

If you see gold as a stable long-term investment and want to put it toward your retirement, consider a gold IRA.

Alto IRA vs Rocket Dollar
Rocket Dollar is another self-directed IRA provider with a lot of similarities to Alto IRA. There are some differences that set them apart, however. Rocket Dollar offers an individual 401(k) for self-employed people that Alto IRA doesn't.

Rocket Dollar and Alto IRA appear to offer a similar range of investment opportunities through their numerous partners. It's worth noting that these partners aren't vetted independently by either platform, however.

The more affordable platform will ultimately come down to your preferences. If you want only the basic services, you'll probably save with Alto IRA, while those interested in private investments might find Rocket Dollar cheaper.

FAQ

Is Alto IRA insured?
Your crypto assets are secured by Coinbase, which provides insurance coverage up to $320 million.[4]

Is Alto IRA free?
Alto CryptoIRA has no monthly account fees. You only pay a 1% transaction fee. The Alto IRA account for alternative assets starts at $10/mo monthly fee. This helps cover the monthly admin costs for maintaining your account.

How to withdraw money from Alto IRA?
To request a distribution, you have to fill out a transfer form. You can choose to transfer to your bank account or have a check mailed to you. Your request will processed within 1-2 business days once you sign the form.

Note that like all IRA accounts, you will incur a penalty if you withdraw before age 59-1/2.

Bottom Line

Alto IRA is a self-directed IRA provider with a wider range of investment opportunities in one place than you'll find with any of their competitors.

Keep in mind, they don't vet their partners, so it's up to the user to decide whether they're worth putting their money in.

Their pricing and fees are fairly competitive, if not the cheapest available in every situation, and for those interested in tax-advantaged cryptocurrency investing, they are certainly an option worth considering.

References

  1. ^ Internal Revenue Service. Traditional and Roth IRAs, Retrieved 4/9/2022
  2. ^ "Pricing": Alto IRA, 2022.
  3. ^ iTrust Capital, Inc. What is the minimum account balance in order to start an IRA with iTrustCapital?, Retrieved 6/15/2022
  4. ^ Alto IRA. How are assets kept "safe" at Alto and on Coinbase?, Retrieved 11/16/22
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Jeremy Harshman is a creative assistant at CreditDonkey, a crypto comparison and reviews website. Write to Jeremy Harshman at jeremy.harshman@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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