A Self-Directed IRA empowers investors to expand their choice of assets. In a standard IRA, the account holder is typically limited to stocks or other market products, but with a Self-Directed IRA, the investor is able to profit from almost any asset. What assets can be held in a Self-Directed IRA? Currently, real estate and private placements are two of the most popular self-directed assets, but promissory notes are also gaining popularity as investors begin to realize their value. You can also invest in precious metals like gold, as long as you follow the IRS rules for investing in these commodities.