A lot of people think that self-directed IRAs can only be used to invest in a limited selection of stocks and mutual funds. But there are literally countless ways you can build wealth with your retirement fund. Kaaren Hall helps people do that. Kaaren is the Founder of the Orange County Real Estate Investors Association, but she’s most known for being the Founder, CEO, and President of uDirect IRA. Leveraging her 20+ years of experience in mortgage banking, real estate, and property management helps people navigate the ins and outs of the untapped space of diversified self-directed IRA investing. Tune in and learn how Kaaren does it and how it can work for you!
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Kaaren Hall On How To Go Beyond The Stock Market Using Self Directed IRAs
I interview badass and amazing women that are crushing it in the real estate sphere. Our guest is a real estate investor. She’s the Founder of the Orange County Real Estate Investors Association. She’s most known for being the Founder, CEO, and President of uDirect IRA. Despite being in the midst of a recession and mortgage market collapsed, Kaaren Hall founded and made a resounding success of uDirect IRA services, and it’s doing better than ever.
She discovered a strategic way to put her twenty-plus years in mortgage banking, real estate, and property management to use. The solution was an untapped market for both her skills and investors’ self-directed IRAs, which allows a lot of people to think that if you have a retirement account, you are limited to the small menu of stocks and mutual funds that you might be given. Still, there’s a different way of investing.
There are these self-directed retirement accounts and Kaaren helps people do that. She has guided tens of thousands of Americans through the process of diversifying their investments and using self-directed IRAs with over $1 billion under management. You can learn more about her and her company at uDirectIRA.com, and I am so excited to have her.
Good to see you. It’s been a long time.
It has been since I have had you on the show. I’m super excited to have you back because you are one of the Featured Goddesses in the Invest Like A Goddess Book: Advice From The Most Successful Women In Real Estate. We are going to be talking about advice, but before we get into that, I shared your bio and I’d love it if you would share something that very few people know about you.
I had something that’s not in my bio, probably that I used to be a radio announcer before I made the logical transition into real estate. Like most people would do something else, and then we get into real estate. I used to be at Smooth Jazz 107.5. The Oasis. That was seventeen years when I was a kid.
What got you into real estate investing? How did you make that transition?
In the radio, it was great, and I had a lot of fun, but then you have to make some money. It’s funny I got into property management. I became a realtor and a traveling spouse, and we moved, so I got into mortgage loan servicing. A lot of origination because there was money in that at that time, and there always can be. I did the mortgage world for a long time and then moved from that into a transition from the mortgage world into the IRA world during the recession.
You’ve touched so many different parts of real estate. Because of all of the different ways in which you’ve been able to support real estate investors and as an investor yourself, you have a lot of great advice. I’m going to ask you generally, what’s the best life advice you’ve ever been given and received?
I have received a lot of advice from a lot of awesome people, but when it comes to succeeding advice, it’s to always be willing to go the extra mile. Think and Grow Rich is such a good book. A short little book, but so packed with good stuff. People are willing to go the extra mile in everything you do because then you are going to have a full and enjoyable life. That willingness is what it takes to move forward.
That makes such a big difference. It’s like, “How can I do a little extra and go a little bit more?”
Always be willing to go the extra mile. Click To Tweet
Think about if I do this, and then this would happen, and then what would I need? Think through the process of what you are doing and how I can make this better. If this was perfect, what would it look like constantly thinking about the next step?
What’s the best financial advice you’ve ever gotten?
To invest in real estate and look for multiple streams of income, not just rely on one stream of income. That’s extremely important, but also residual income. Not eat what you kill but have streams of income so that you can take a vacation, for example. Not that I do. We have got to keep our ears open all the time.
Get into real estate and then create multiple streams of income with residual passive income. What’s the worst advice you could give someone?
Do nothing. Just sit there. It will come to you. If you go in your house, shut the door, put on your comfy jammies, and sit on the couch, everything will happen for you. That would be horrible. You have to get out there, meet people, learn, and network. That’s what’s so great. What I love about our industry and what we do is we have got these great opportunities, for example, all the freebies for investors, investor meetings, meetups, and groups like OCREIA where you can network with other investors.
I had a networking mixer in Newport Beach. It was great. We all got together and talked, “What are you doing? How’s that working for you?” Every day the market is different. It just changes, so how are we adapting to the change? Listen, learn, and meet people because it’s all about who you know, don’t you think?
I have heard people talking about like hopium. Don’t go hoping that things will come. If you sit there hoping for opportunities to smack you in the face is not a great strategy.
One of the things that I did that got me catapulted is after learning all these things, I was learning about real estate in general, but this is like journaling. You are into journaling, and I’m so happy and grateful now that I would write all the things that I wanted in my life, financially, personally, with my family, and my kids. I’m so happy and grateful now that this exists, so I go back and read those journals. If they are not true, it’s not just it would, but it tunes your mind and gives you selective attention. When you see something that meets your goal, and you are like, “That’s what I want,” and you go after it. It’s super powerful.
Write down these affirmations affirming what you are creating in the present tense. I love too that what you are modeling here is adding the emotion. I’m so happy and grateful now that I have our millions in the bank, I have this much passive income coming in every month, and own these many doors.
You meet people and you learn. Our industry makes it so easy to do that. They have got HGTV. You’ve got so many different ways, like podcasts and Zoom calls. All you have to do is desire the knowledge and it’s right there for you.
That’s great advice affirming it. It’s a good reminder, and the worst advice is to do nothing.
No one ever said that to me. You have to take action. Tony Robbins is the massive action guy. Everything you can think of. Keep going and do it. Things will happen.
Who do you turn to for advice?
My attorney. I ask for advice. I joined a group. I used to be a long to Vistage and I liked it. It is a great group of CEOs, and I had a coach there. I have left Vistage and joined a group called Convene, which is a Christian-based group and I liked that. Our group leader is a wise guy. He’s been very successful in business. If I have business ideas, I will go to him or the CEO of the mastermind group.
One of the things I did early on when I very first got into self-directed IRA is I created a mastermind and we met once a month. It was great. It was all during the recession, and everyone was trying to brainstorm how do we get to the next level. This is this crazy time. How do we get out of it? The mastermind is always a great place to go when you need other opinions. People have a lot of experience and they want to share it.
Masterminds are so crucial and it’s huge. What’s the best advice you have for a woman investing in real estate?
I have talked about joining things, but it’s to find a community that supports you, and there’s a lot of it. If you look, you’ll find a lot of community. You may think, “Where do I find it?” You Google it. That’s how easy the world is right now. You’ve got the Real Estate Goddesses, Rent Chicks, Real Estate Investors, and all the wonderful and powerful women. You can find that in the community because you can’t invest in real estate by yourself.
You need a whole team, not just a general contractor and all the subs. You need a good tax person, access to capital, lenders, and self-directed IRA providers that can help you tap into a $40 trillion pool of capital. You also need lawyers, insurance, and a whole tree of investors. I pictured this tree with all these leaves on it, and they are all these leads or this team.
You just Google it and you'll find it. And that's how easy the world is right now. Click To Tweet
You need a team and build the team. The team is also an inspiration from other women that are doing it. The Goddesses and a lot of our mutual friends have been a great inspiration to me. Deborah Rosa says, “What are you investing in?” “My company?” “No. What real estate are you investing in?” I bought some real estate. She was right. It’s the thing to do, and you can always find a deal. Don’t think you can’t. There’s always a deal to have.
Not necessarily in the same way in the same places, but there’s always opportunity.
One of the gurus says, “Why don’t you sell a beautiful house like this?” He’s asking that question and then hearing their answer. Finding and solving the problem is some of the wisdom that I have obtained over the years. I love that one.
What advice do you have for women and the community? How did you learn this advice?
In mortgage, you learn a lot of things. That’s where I got started. Property management is where I learned about what it’s really like. For example, owning a multifamily building. I wouldn’t know what it would it’s like to be a property manager. You see how people live. You learn some of the systems of how you run a building. Now I know how to run a building. What are some of the other cashflows on a building? It could be things like vending machines, clean laundry, and other opportunities to cashflow off of multifamily besides the rent.
Tenants and evictions. I got to do an eviction, but I did it. I was experienced and in my twenties, going on to real estate and learning about it. There are so many aspects of real estate. I have a real estate license in three states, Washington, Texas, and California. I have earned licenses in those states. I don’t sell in those states and have offices. That taught me a lot about appraisals, great stories, and everything in humanity. You’ll find it in real estate.
It’s like my appraiser. I have this property in Texas and he put his foot on the wooden stair in it. His foot went through the stair. It turns out the house was infested with snakes. You know to expect the unexpected if you are in real estate, but at least you know what’s possible. I learned it from other people’s stories and experiences and then my own. Understanding the financial aspects is so powerful. When I realized refinancing and where you could do a cash-out refinance, credit card debt, put it in your mortgage, and make a tax-deductible. It’s the super power of using money and leverage for your own personal financial gain to put yourself in a better position.
There are many reasons why I love real estate. Thank you for that amazing advice. We are going to conclude like we do every episode with our famed end-of-show trinity, which is a brag, gratitude, and desire. What is one thing you are celebrating right now? What is your brag?
I got two. One is I became a grandma, and the other one, business-wise, is that we are under $1 billion in assets under management. That is a huge achievement. One blonde in a laptop can do a lot.
Congratulations. What’s one thing you are grateful for?
I can’t even stop having things I’m grateful for. I’m grateful for the staff that uDirect IRA services. We’ve got such a great team. It’s so great to come to work. People that have been with me for years are dedicated people. As a business owner, it’s been so gratifying to not just help our account holders and customers but to work with the staff. People have issues, seeing the personal growth and development of our staff, and how they have gone on to have better lives. That’s super powerful.
Last but not the least, what is your one desire?
World peace. Let’s get this economy in check right now. Guns, gold, and gasoline, I’m not ready for the wild.
Anyone can afford them.
It’s not my billion dollars. My one wish for the world is to get our economy in shape. We’ll never go back to what it was. Everything will always be new to have a better future. That’s why a better economic future for everyone.
It looks like we are heading into an economic winter.
I have to say just a little plug. What’s great about self-directed IRAs is you are investing outside the stock into non-market correlated assets that are slower. It’s a big shift, slower to turn. That’s why a lot of our account holders are not losing that right now.
That’s the beautiful thing about diversification and real estate. Especially in winter, there are great opportunities for those who are prepared. If you have a lot of people who don’t realize that they can use their retirement accounts, they invest in real estate, but if you can go and connect with Kaaren and uDirect, she’ll show you how you can do it.
A lot of people have left their jobs. It’s the great walkout. People left for 401(k) money on the table and before it’s gone, take it if you want to invest in notes by performing a nonperforming debt. Be the bank and lend your money to others who are building their business or maybe doing real estate projects or something like that. You invest outside of Wall Street. There’s a lot to be done at a grassroots level with that retirement money and have it tax-free or tax-deferred.
Thank you so much, Kaaren, for being here again. Thank you for your genius advice and for your friendship. I’m grateful to know you. Thanks to you all. Please subscribe and join us next time for another interview.
- Orange County Real Estate Investors Association
- uDirect IRA
- Invest Like a Goddess Book: Advice From The Most Successful Women In Real Estate
- Think and Grow Rich
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