A self-directed IRA isn't a different type of IRA. Rather, the term refers to any individual retirement account (traditional or Roth) that allows you to direct the investment of your IRA assets into nontraditional investments. For example, in addition to the usual IRA mainstays (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and CDs), a self-directed IRA might invest in real estate, limited partnership interests, a small business, or anything else the law (and your IRA trustee/custodian) allows. In fact, the only investment you can't have in an IRA is life insurance. Collectibles (artwork, stamps, wine, and antiques) aren't strictly prohibited, but if your IRA purchases these items, you could suffer adverse tax consequences.