How to Open Your Mainstar Self-Directed IRA Account


Mainstar Trust has been providing custodial services for self-directed IRA accountholders since 1978. For almost 40 years, we have been fortunate to work with many individuals who have started their retirement journey with us as their IRA custodian. Saving for your future doesn’t have to be scary and neither does opening your Mainstar account.

Step One: Make the Decision to Invest in Your Future

At Mainstar, we make it easy to start your retirement journey. While there are many decisions to make in the process, a primary benefit of self-directed IRA’s is the variety of investments eligible so account holders can invest in what they know. Waiting to save for retirement later in life means missing out on the financial benefits of growing and compounding your wealth over time. This is often one of the biggest financial mistakes people make. By deciding to invest in your future now with an IRA account, you’re getting a head start on your retirement .

Step Two:  Pick an IRA Account Option & Complete the Forms

Mainstar provides several IRA account options, review the choices and select which account is best you. There is a specific form for each of the following account types:

  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP)
  • Inherited IRA
  • Employee Benefit Plan

Once you have chosen the right IRA for you, select and complete the forms. There are two ways to do this with Mainstar: online or through the mail. For those who prefer mailing, you can find all the relevant forms here or on our website.  Our online account opening option provides a secure connection via Docusign where forms can be signed, verified, and sent directly to us for fast turnaround. The online option is only available for Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or SEP accounts.

The specific application varies based on the type of IRA you’ve chosen. The online application walks you through the various sections and makes sure you understand what information is required. To help those more comfortable with a paper application, Mainstar has created specific instructions for each type of account. Click here to view the traditional account instructions.  In addition to the application, you should review the IRA Agreement (or contract) and Disclosures. The Agreement is based on IRS Form 5305 (a model trust account agreement that has been approved by the IRS) and provides important details about your Mainstar self-directed IRA, as do the Disclosures.  

Step Three:  Fund the Account

Accounts are generally opened and ready for contributions within 24 hours after the application, Agreement and Disclosures are signed electronically online or received by Mainstar if mailed. Your new account can be funded with a cash contribution, transfer or rollover. If you are making a cash contribution to the IRA, mail your check or include it with the application if you are mailing it in. Current annual contribution limits are $5,500 or $6,500 for those 50 and over. For a transfer from another custodian in which you are making a direct movement of assets from a similar IRA to your new Mainstar IRA, complete the Transfer / Direct Rollover Request form also.  If the account is being funded by a Rollover, also complete the Transfer / Direct Rollover Request form. A rollover is moving an existing 401(k) or retirement account to the new Mainstar IRA.   The completion of a transfer or rollover can take up to two weeks or longer depending on the type of asset(s) to be moved to Mainstar as your IRA custodian.  

Additional optional forms can be found on our website as well, such as a Withdrawal Request and Beneficiary Change forms. All of these forms can be printed, filled out, and mailed, faxed, or emailed to Mainstar when needed.

As a reminder, Mainstar representatives are available via phone or email for prospective accountholders who have questions over any aspect of the application process. All it takes is 15 minutes to start saving for your retirement with a Mainstar Trust self-directed IRA.