A classic individual retirement account (IRA) is a means of putting money aside for retirement. Contributions are tax deductible (depending upon your income) up to $5,500 each year, and the money is taxed when it is taken during retirement. A Roth IRA is comparable to a traditional IRA, with the exception that contributions are paid after taxes and withdrawals are tax-free.
Traditional IRA contributions are often invested in equities, bonds, or mutual funds. The difference between a traditional IRA and a self-directed IRA is that you have more investment options with a self-directed IRA such as putting your money in real estate private company stock, precious metals, intellectual property, private market securities, and others.
The conclusion is this: A self-directed retirement account may be perfect for you if you desire the benefits of an IRA but want more control over where your money is invested.