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Guidant Corporation

'Checkbook IRAs' let you invest retirement funds in real estate

'Checkbook IRAs' let you invest retirement funds in real estate

Lil Miller-Fox's individual retirement account has three bedrooms, two baths and a two-car garage.

Better yet, the rental house in a gated community in Sebastian, Fla., not far from the Atlantic, isn't run by an advisor that charges exorbitant monthly fees. Rather, Miller-Fox makes all the decisions, and she doesn't have to pay anyone to execute them.

Her IRA is called a "checkbook IRA," an investment vehicle created nearly 20 years ago in a landmark court ruling that essentially said: It's your money, so you can run the show — as long as you follow the rules.

Let's step back a moment: Not many people even know you can invest your retirement savings in...

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