What I Wish Someone had Taught Me from a Young Age

Important information for all women – What I wish someone had taught me from a young age.

Since recently entering my 50’s I have found myself surrounded with friends and clients considering options for their retirement, I put pen to paper to reflect on the wisdom I have gained as a property investor and what I can pass on to younger women entering the workforce.

I married young, certainly not for everyone, but thankfully it has worked for me.

As a young married woman at 19, I was very focused on saving for the future, freeholding our first home and working hard toward common goals.

I had no mentors but chose the path of working hard for money and being disciplined with savings. It was what my mum had taught me.

It served in part, although created more out of fear than wisdom.

As the years went by I started investing in property, attending boot camps with Robert Kyosaki, Rick Otten, Roger Hamilton, Scott Harris,  Michael Johnson and many others.

I read books on investing, mindset and self-development.

I made mistakes, took chances on Commercial Property when interest rates were high and we had the “recession we had to have”.

I got burnt, took a hiding and kept going.

I then went on to buy my first residential property in a seaside suburb in Adelaide and several more at an outer Northern area {Great positive cash flow, not ideal tenants} in Adelaide.

My focus was finding properties with great cash flow.

That then led me to New Zealand, Invercargill. Freezing part of the world, where I bought 6 more properties over time.

Low entry cost, no stamp duty and high rental yields where the attraction. With the knowledge that I have gained through years of property investing, I have come to learn that this way of thinking doesn’t generally serve you well in regards to wealth creation.

The downside is that as we owned these in a company name, we required auditing annually as we were foreign investors. The accounting financial year finished at the end of March in NZ, which meant Accounting and Auditing fees in NZ, then again in Australia as income.

After several years the cash flow was literally eaten up by compliance fees – I chose to renovate and turn the properties over. Through photos and assistance by local Adelaide Interior designer- I coordinated the many and varied trades to renovate the houses. We successfully sold for a great profit, so a worthwhile exercise in the end.

It was not an easy feat, there was a lot of hard work and effort but worthwhile.

We certainly enjoyed our annual holidays to NZ to check on the properties.

So if I could renovate 6 properties in NZ while still in Adelaide, then what else could be possible right here in my own home town?

This led me on a journey of “flipping houses”

My husband would always say “you come alive” whenever I had another project to coordinate.

My goal was purely selfish. I wanted a new kitchen in our own home.

I found with property “flipping” I could create lump sums that could be used to pay cash for our own renovations on our home.

My first flip, was a run down 3 bedroom, filthy home. It took a lot of elbow grease, painting inside and out, polished floor boards, mini renovated kitchen and brand new bathroom. We spent 2 full days ourselves – and hired trades for the rest.

6 weeks it was back on the market, sold within 2 days for a nice $40K profit.

Now, that worked – what was next?

How could I create lump sum cash whilst building long term wealth?

I wanted to look for a 2 part strategy.

I found the next one, a property in the Adelaide Hills. It had a large block, but most prospective purchasers walked in and straight out again because it was so hideous. The ceilings were black and the drapes were dark purple.

I looked past that and thought, paint and new curtains/blinds will fix this – I saw the bigger picture and knew that I could create a block to the side.

I budgeted $2,000 for the painting and redecorating to get it ready for a tenant, we did a quick tidy up of the yard and maintenance, pulled down the shed and started the subdivision process.

I put the new subdivided block on the market and sold it.

Great job I thought, what I wasn’t aware of is that we would need to pay GST on the newly created title – this is something I learnt after the transaction had completed.

I retained the older home for several years, however the ongoing maintenance due to the age of the home became tiresome.

I did one last makeover on the home, staged the property for sale and sold it within 3 days.

Great result – but what did I learn and how could I do it better? In hindsight I should have sold the old home and kept the block.

So I was on the hunt again. This time I nailed it.

Found another property, again in the Adelaide Hills.

This was an old home with the potential of a block on the side. This time I renovated the old home, sold it and kept the block.

I created a $100K equity straight up and built a new home and retained it.

As I built on the new title and retained the property – No GST was applicable at that time.

I still have that home in my portfolio today.

I started to enjoy the experience of new homes in my portfolio – lower maintenance, good quality tenants, higher depreciation and good capital growth.

Now this was getting exciting, unlike having an immediate short term cash injection, I was building long term wealth.

I then went on to sell all older properties in my portfolio and only have new homes for all of the benefits listed above and for lifestyle choice.

Each property stands alone, there is no cross security and I choose a “set and forget” strategy these days.

Which brings me to “Why” I am writing this article.

One of the statistics that is concerning me now for younger women – is that at retirement women are retiring on so much less than men for some of these reasons outlined below:

  • 43% of women work part time (often after children are born)
  • Women live 5 years longer than men.
  • The average career break is estimated at 5 years
  • Women working full time earn 17.5% less than men
  • The medium super women are retiring on is $30,000

Women choosing to start a family, generally results in time off work and often part time hours as they re-enter the workforce. This is a great option to create a balanced family lifestyle – but how does this impact their future in retirement?

In the later years 70% of women are the prime care givers for their aging parents, again reducing their employer super contributions.

So with these statistics and the knowledge I have gained through property investing – how could I make a difference and change the lives of young women – to allow them the freedom of a great lifestyle in retirement.

As soon as you commence work, start the savings strategy of 10% of your gross income to an investment account, I’m talking from your very first job.

Be disciplined, never, never touch those funds- they are for investment only.

Once you have a good deposit, consider the option of building your first home and claiming the current First Home Owners Grant {$15,000 in South Australia}. You must comply with the grant terms and conditions which include living in the home for a minimum period of time. Then look at moving back with your parents or into shared accommodation to reduce overheads and rent your existing home out.

Now you are off to a great start as an investor.

Next is to keep the home.

It is very tempting to see the equity grow over the coming years and when you get into a serious relationship – cashing the home in (selling it) to use for your own home.

Yes this is an option for sure and certainly a great head start, but if I could ONLY offer you one major piece of advice in this article – it is NEVER, NEVER SELL.

Protect yourself with a prenuptial agreement (prepared by a solicitor) and retain this property for YOUR future.

Generally history will show over time, that a residential property will double every 7 – 10 years.

So let’s be conservative and say every 10 years.

If at the age of 25 years, you built your first home for say $400,000 and you chose to retire at age 65 years – that is 40 years.

So at 35 years your home would be $800,000

At 45 years your home would be $1,600,000

At 55 years your home would be $3,200,000

And at 65 years your home would be $6,400,000

Now of course that doesn’t seem real at all, but it does and will happen

30 years ago my first home was $45,000 – today it is valued at $500,000 if I still lived there – after 30 years this would equate to $360,000 (using the formula above) so it has exceeded the average formula.

People often wonder, what is the best location?

My advice is choose an area where families wish to live, build new, and


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