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IRA Financial Blog

Animal Sanctuaries and Your Retirement

Key Points
  • Sanctuaries can hold many kinds of animals
  • Animals need to retire, too
  • Retirement funds can be used to help your dreams!

Once you’ve been adopted by a rescue animal, it can be hard to stop thinking about the sheer number of animals awaiting placement in shelters across the country. And, you may be one of many, many animal lovers who would love to start an animal sanctuary, shelter or retirement community. How difficult is it to do that?

What You Need

The first thing you need to consider is how you will fund a sanctuary, and that means taking stock of your finances. If this is a dream for your retirement, you should start preparing for this as soon as possible. One little known solution is to use retirement funds to invest in an animal sanctuary. The key is to build up your account(s) by contributing early and often. Let the tax advantages of the plan grow your funds.

Nonprofit or No?

You’ll need to determine if you want to run your site as a nonprofit, set up totally for the care of the animals, or if you will be combining with a commercial enterprise. If you’ll be a nonprofit, you’ll still need ways to get the word out. And you’ll need to be sure that you have funding for the lifetime of the animals, and perhaps beyond if you want to establish a site that continues beyond the length of just your lifetime.

Closing the Barn Door

Figure out what location you’d like, including state where you want to live, what sort of structures you will need, storage requirements for feeding and watering multiple species of animals, and perhaps any livestock you have on-site to help things run more smoothly. Are you looking to have a farmhouse with some feral cats roaming the barn? Are you looking to have acres and acres of land so you can run dogs and horses? Really focus on what your needs will be so that you don’t invest in a property that won’t suit you.

Learning More

Consider visiting animal sanctuaries that already exist so that you can compare them to your ideal. Is what you’d really like to have happen even feasible? Are you so enamored with the idea of adopting all the dogs in a shelter that you haven’t planned out more than the love? Do some research on what is happening in the area you’re interested in, both location and shelter idea. Are you looking for cats and dogs? Or something more along the lines of an alligator home? Elephants and hippos? Animal sanctuaries can come in many forms.

Using Your Retirement Funds to Invest

A Self-Directed IRA can help you save enough money to retire someplace large enough for you and all your furry, scaly, feathered, striped and spotted friends. There are essentially three ways you can use an IRA to help an animal sanctuary – investing in the business, lending money and the ROBS solution.

Investing in an Animal Sanctuary

You can use your Self-Directed IRA funds to invest in a sanctuary, as well as in other alternative forms of real estate. When your financial group sets up an SDIRA for you, you will be assigned to a specialist who will set up the structure, open the plan bank account and complete all necessary documentation so you never have to set foot in a bank. Depending on the state your property is in it can take 7 – 21 days to establish this. Once you are set up, you can use your IRA to invest in local sanctuaries.

Hard Money Loan

You can use IRA funds to loan money to a sanctuary. It’s better than a bank loan because you set the terms of the loan and determine the payback requirements, interest rates, etc. You can help out the animals, while making money from the interest received from the loan. And while you can’t directly be involved in the business, your money is still helping you to do well by doing good.

ROBS Solution

ROBS is the only way to use retirement funds and personally be involved with the business. So if you want to run the sanctuary yourself, ROBS is the only way to do it. The ROBS solution allows you to use your existing IRA funds to invest in your new business venture. You can then invest in the business and also earn a salary. If you are an animal lover that’s looking to earn a living, petting zoos, aquariums and animal spas are just a few of the businesses you can start with ROBS.

Spending Your Retirement at an Animal Sanctuary

Once you reach age 59 1/2, investments can be distributed from the IRA. For example, if you had a rental house on the beach, you can’t use it while it’s owned by the IRA, but when you reach age 59 1/2, you can essentially “buy” the house from your IRA, so that you personally own it. Therefore, if the dream is to retire and live at an animal sanctuary, you must reach that age and distribute it from the IRA. Keep in mind that the tax benefits of the IRA will cease. Be sure you are financially prepared to take personal ownership of the property.

Animal sanctuaries can help dogs, cats, sheep, goats, horses, chickens, elephants and so many more. Plan ahead, max out your retirement savings, and you could help make some animals very happy. Living out your golden year helping out out furry friends is a great way to retire, for you and the animals!


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