Is there a retirement crisis looming? Many experts think so, given that “about 45% — or 38 million working-age households — have not started a retirement fund of any kind,” according to a May 6 article in the Huffington Post. This disaster-in-the-making can be easily remedied, with some definitive and smart saving. Other than not saving at all, what is the next biggest mistake?

Many Americans fail to diversify their future retirement income. A lack of diversification can be a critical and even devastating misstep. It is important to have a retirement account (typically a 401K), stocks and bonds, and some non-traditional types of collateral, such as a self-directed IRA. Here are some pointers on how to secure loans and future investments from a non-recourse lender:

Educate Yourself

Don’t sell yourself short. Do your research, and know about all of the investment options available to you. Self-directed IRAs, also called IRA non recourse loans, account for $94 billion of IRA retirement income — and with good reason. The investments are flexible and relatively simple to obtain as well. Borrowers can use self-directed IRAs to invest in private mortgages, real estate, precious gems and metals, private company stock, and more. Typically, setting up a self-directed or non-recourse IRA entails contacting a broker and filling out two forms: one for the lender and one for the IRA’s custodian.

What Next?

An important part of the process is deciding how exactly to use your self-directed IRA. IRA real estate loans, for instance, are a popular choice. The self-directed accounts, currently making up 2% of the $4.2 trillion IRA market but growing rapidly, benefit Americans by relieving tax burdens. “For example, if someone puts $2,000 into an IRA account and is in the 25% tax bracket, their tax liability decreases by $500,” explains.

You must do two things for a bright future: 1. Make certain that you have retirement savings, and 2. Do whatever you can to make sure retirement income comes from several different sources. Don’t be afraid to look into new, non-traditional avenues, such as IRA real estate loans, that are rapidly gaining ground.