Self-Directed Retirement Accounts – Or How You Can Use Your Retirement Funds to Invest in Real Estate

Do you ever think “I’d love to invest in real estate, but I just don’t have the money?”  Well, what if I told you that you might be sitting on tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars available for investing and you don’t even know it?!

That’s how I was, and I was pretty blown away when I found this out.

In January 2016 my husband and I went to a real estate conference – the Real Estate Guys’ Secrets of Successful Syndication seminar.  There we learned that we had way more access to cash for investment than we thought about – via our retirement accounts.

Most people have IRAs or 401k’s in plans offered through their employers or through one of the bigger financial institutions – Fidelity, Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, etc.  In these accounts there is a set of options of what you can invest in – generally a pretty limited menu of mutual funds and bonds.

I remember being very annoyed at one point because I wanted to put the bulk of my money in a low-fee S&P 500 Index fund (hey, if it’s good enough for Warren Buffett…), and that option wasn’t even available.

There’s a different way of using your retirement funds though – one that gives you a LOT more freedom.  It’s called a self-directed IRA (SD-IRA) or self-directed 401K (SD-401K), and barring a small list of prohibited transactions (basically you can’t invest in collectibles, life insurance, or things that personally benefit you and your family), you can invest in anything else – especially real estate.

Many of the investors in our New Mexico apartment deals have invested via their SD-IRAs.

My husband converted much, though not all, of his retirement funds into a self-directed 401k and has since used those funds to invest in a syndication of a 496 unit complex in Atlanta.  I’m about to convert one of my IRAs to a SD-IRA (I figure if I’m going to do it, during a record high is a great time to sell), so I have that available for investing.

Self-directed retirement accounts are a wonderful option that opens you up to a whole new world of investing.

If you want to find out more about using self-directed retirement accounts – the possibilities and the potential pitfalls, you should check out our latest podcast.

I interviewed Carole Ellis, co-founder of the Self-Directed Investor (SDI) Society and news editor for the SDI News, the top news publication in America for self-directed investors. She offered up a wealth of information about self-directed investments, and we had a really fun chat.

Check it out and let me know what you think about self-directed investing and what questions you may have.  Also, let us know what’s the next step you’re going to take towards your real estate investing. Post in the comments below.

Happy Investing!

P.S. I co-hosting a very special, transformational creative 1-day woman’s retreat called Step Into Your Magical Self Retreat on May 27, 2017.  Tickets are now available! Early bird pricing is still in effect, and tickets are limited, so grab your tickets and plan to be there.  Also, plan to bring your sister, mom, cousin, or bestie – there’s a substantial discount if you buy two tickets.  This event is all about sisterhood!


 Monick Halm is the co-founder of Real Estate Investor Goddesses.  She is a real estate investor with over 11 years of investing experience in single family, multi-family, mobile home parks, flipping, and syndication. She is also a certified interior designer, Feng Shui expert, author, speaker, certified NLP and money coach, and attorney.  Monick is passionate about real estate, design, and helping women to thrive.


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