Real Estate Nerds 42: Bad Beats

Building Wealth and Investing in Real Estate with Self-Directed IRAs

Rebecca Walser

Tax Attorney and Wealth Strategist

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On today’s episode of The Real Estate Nerds Podcast, fellow attorney-investor Rebecca Walser sits down with our host and attorney Scott Smith. If you’ve ever wondered what happens when a couple of lawyers sit down to talk real estate shop, Rebecca and Scott are here to help you find out. Tune in for some free insider knowledge as well as a good-old-fashioned Bat Beats episode.

Rebecca Walser on Building Wealth

Scott Smith welcomes Rebecca Walser, who shares about her background, business philosophy and wealth building strategies.

[0:45] Scott is particularly enthusiastic about talking about a bad deal with a fellow attorney, and asks Rebecca to share some more about her background and practice. Rebecca is a Certified Financial Planner who worked in finance for over a decade before attending law school at the University of Florida, then proceeding with her LLM in Federal Taxation at NYU.

[4:00] Rebecca’s law practice centered around tax minimization for high net worth individuals. She describes a revelation she had during a meeting with a client where she decided to strike out on her own, “marrying” her love of both law and finance.

[6:00] In Rebecca’s practice, Walser Wealth Management, she regards market volatility as the first of two major threats to wealth building and maintenance. Tax issues present the other major issue to keeping wealth.

[8:00] Rebecca shares how her background informs the way she serves her clients: “Our practice is unique not only because we help build wealth financially, but because we also make sure the wealth is built in the right tax bucket.” She believes approaching tax and traditional wealth building holistically is essential. Using a self-directed IRA to hold real estate investments is a common and effective strategy among Rebecca’s clients.

Self-Directed IRAs and Real Estate: Managing Expectations

Rebecca shares how self-directed IRA deals can sometimes go sideways, and the best management solutions for when they do.

[10:00] Rebecca describes pairing with a group to establish manage self-directed IRA accounts, including finding deals. She experienced some difficulties in terms of on-the-ground property management. Poor property management can get expensive fairly quickly. Many of Rebecca’s clients like real estate’s “hands off” investment approach when property management is active and professional.

[12:20] Scott discusses Rebecca’s vetting process for the nationally-recognized company that managed her clients’ properties. He wonders if contractual solutions could have improved her situation, or whether to simply take a different approach moving forward.

[14:26] Rebecca points to the nature of expectations in this type of asset (real estate in a self-directed IRA) and its unique problems as learning moments in her own story. Scott suggests real estate investors may have, or at least desire, a heightened sense of control over their asset than a typical investor would feel over a stock or a bond.

[18:00] The two investors agree one one critical point: “Real estate should be looked at like any other investment: whether it’s working or whether it’s not.”

[19:30] Scott brings up client management. He finds “high transparency and frequent touchpoints” useful for problem-solving with clients. Rebecca agrees both are important in professions where you’re managing other people’s money, as she and Scott are. Rebecca shares some communication strategies for clarifying her company’s role and boundaries regarding clients and their investments.

The Takeaway: Understand Your Asset and Have Reasonable Expectations

Rebecca and Scott conclude the show with their “lessons learned” from Rebecca’s story.

[23:57] For Scott, clarifying expectations upfront is a huge lesson to be learned from Rebecca’s experience, particularly surrounding responsibilities to other people.

[25:05] For Rebecca, cautioning clients about the distinctions between real estate and stocks/bonds has proven essential. She points out failure to do this creates a situation the company has to manage later anyway. Rebecca succinctly sums up: “Real estate, as great as it is, we do ourselves a disservice to describe it as turn-key easy.”

Connect with Rebecca Walser

Connect with Rebecca Walser via her website, You can also check out her book Wealth Unbroken at

Listener Resources

Thank you for joining us on today’s episode of the Real Estate Nerds Podcast.

For even more free educational resources on real estate investing and the law, check out the Royal Legal Solutions blog. You can also reach our host Scott Smith directly, connect with him on LinkedIn, subscribe to the Royal Legal Solutions YouTube channel, or join our investor community on Facebook.

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Hosted by Scott Smith, Lead Attorney and Founder of Royal Legal Solutions. Schedule your personal consultation now. If you have questions about our content or suggestions for future episodes or guests, reach our podcast team at [email protected].

About Rebecca Walser

Rebecca is an attorney, Certified Financial Planner, and author who describes herself as “completely disgusted with conventional financial wisdom.” She advocates for tax strategies that come with matches. Learn more about Rebecca’s philosophies from or from her books.

Leveraging her background as a tax attorney, a Certified Financial Planner® and wealth strategist, Rebecca is uniquely qualified to assess, structure and implement the best income maximization, wealth maximization, tax mitigation/ minimization and optimal legacy strategies for her clients. Rebecca earned her bachelor s degree, summa cum laude, in finance, her Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from the University of Florida, and her advanced law degree in taxation from New York University. Prior to law, she worked for years in finance with Pricewaterhousecoopers LLP and the global networking division of IBM, acquired by AT&T. She continues to practice law in the areas of federal taxation, wealth preservation, trusts and legacy planning, business succession and estate planning, and asset management and protection. Rebecca spearheads a national practice with clients across the country and enjoys working with high income professionals, business owners, retirees and pre-retirees and high net worth families to implement advanced financial planning and wealth management strategies that maximize income and legacy distribution while minimizing taxes and managing risk. With over 15 years of financial experience, Rebecca maximizes her distinctive skillset and years of knowledge to the best advantage of her clients. Rebecca can be heard nationwide on iHeart radio weekly and she has also been featured in US News & World Report, New York Post, New York Daily News, Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg Business, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, FOX News, CW, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, LA Daily News, International Business Times, Investing Daily, Street Insider, and numerous other media outlets.