Money, Age And Freedom of Divorce Gives The Green Light To Investment

Dear Tom,

Investment equals property, which equals money but first...

Thank you for the opportunity to tell my story.

Although I started buying property later in life, I am still delighted with the outcome because in the end it converts to money and that is what gives us the ability to live to our chosen lifestyle.

As you will read, I encountered a few distractions along the way and could have had a better outcome had I stuck to my original goals.

Anyway, I hope my story will encourage readers to get involved in property – start as early as possible – and don’t let anyone try to discourage you because they think you are “top heavy” in property and therefore suggest you put your money else where.

I have been interested in property for as long as I can remember, and I always enjoyed interior decorating.

In my younger days my husband and I would buy property, live in it for a few years whilst renovating, sell for a profit and move on with a little bit more money than we started with. But of course, all the money went into the next property and we never seemed to be any better off.

I was always keen to buy property to rent out, but I was not able to take this step until after my divorce.

I attended educational workshops and eventually bought my first Investment Property in my early fifties.

This was a two bedroom, ensuited unit in Holland Park, about 9 klms from Brisbane. I had many sleepless nights prior to settlement, but I had good tenants who always paid their rent on time and I became very relaxed and soon started thinking about a second property.

Because of my interest in interior decorating, I decided to purchase vacant land and call tenders to build this new property. I found a great small block of land (16 perches) in Mitchelton (about 7 klms from Brisbane) and soon building was under way. No sooner had the building completed and settled than I had my first tenant who moved in to this lovely new home.

Today (six years later)the money that this property is renting at is $250.00 per week and whilst most tenants stay reasonably long term, there is never any problem finding new tenants when necessary.

Twelve months later I decided it was time to build again. I found another nice level small block of land in Geebung, about 12 klms from Brisbane and again construction got under way.

A few months later and property number three is ready for it’s first tenant. Today this property rents for $245.00 per week, with great tenants who treat it like their own.

After completion of this Investment Property I started to think about getting some financial advice to make sure I was on the right track. This, as it turned out, was to be my first big mistake. The financial advisor suggested I should put money into Superannuation – Diversify – I was top heavy in property. So I took her advice and put some money into Superannuation.

I could have bought another two properties using this money along with equity in my other properties for a deposit, but instead watched my money disappear over the ensuing years.

Firstly the tax man hit me hard and took 15% “High Income Earner” taxation, on top of the 15% tax they took when the money went into Superannuation.

This financial advisor left the organization and from that day on no-one contacted me to assist with ensuring my money was working for me (which it wasn’t) in fact, when I contacted them for help, they generally could not find my file or didn’t get back to me as they promised.

In between all the problems with Superannuation, I was introduced to a group of people who promoted “legal off shore” investments.

I decided to attend a Seminar in Japan to learn about this “exciting opportunity”. Whilst in Japan I was fortunate enough to meet Dolf de Roos an experienced and professional advocate of property as a means to accumulating wealth. To this day I still admire Dolf as a genuine, knowledgeable expert in his field.

But to my eventual horror, I was also introduced to a group of people who purported to be developing a “Retirement Village” in Caloundra, about an hour’s drive out of Brisbane. To me this was an attractive investment as it involved property and there were also considerable tax benefits to be had, or at least so I was told.

After talking to many people both in Japan and again when I returned to Australia, I decided to put some money into this retirement village.

Some time after my tax return had been lodged; I started receiving letters from the Taxation DDepartment asking many questions about my investment. I became suspicious and was eventually contacted by the fraud squad – and yes, my taxation deductions were rejected and the promoters were nowhere to be found. This was a devastating time for me and it cost me dearly.

Somewhere in between all of this hassle with superannuation and the retirement village, I bought a fourth investment property in Melbourne.

The home belonged to family members and I knew the house, so I decided to take the plunge and buy inter-state – my first “older” property.

Whilst my superannuation continued to go backwards, property values all kept rising, and I was delighted when Brisbane became one of the fastest growing areas in Australia.

So in hindsight, I believe that had I continued with my plan to purchase property as my “superannuation” for my retirement instead of putting money into a managed super fund, I would, today, be hundreds of thousands of dollars ahead.

But not all bad news though.

The properties I own have all gone through the roof and I have found a financial advisor who has put a stop to the losses in my super fund. This lady believes in putting the funds into areas that are doing well and being “top heavy” in property is not a good reason to avoid that area and things are moving forward at a satisfactory rate.

The properties I built in Mitchelton and Geebung have both doubled in value and my Melbourne property is doing very nicely as well.

So although I made some mistakes along the way, my property investments have continued to stand me in good stead.

In hindsight, if I had it all to do again, I’d forget the “diversifying”; I’d forget the “off shore” seminars and I would buy as many properties as I could get my hands on and not be afraid of the debt.

This debt is paid for by the tenants and the more properties go up in value, the easier it is to manage the portfolio and the more properties you can buy.

Thank you for the opportunity of telling my story Tom.

I hope my experiences may help someone decide to use property as a means of creating wealth. As I said I was in my fifties when I bought my first investment property.

Imagine what you could achieve by starting younger and sticking to your goals.

Wendy Clark Melbourne Victoria.

Toms comment:

I think that Wendy is proof and inspiration for many other investors. She has addressed and actually lived through many

of the excuses that too many people are quick to use.

To restate a few: my partner won’t let me, I tried investment once and it didn’t work for me, superannuation is the way to

go and my favourite, I am too old to start investing now. The question begs of how old is too old, if Wendy didn’t start

investing until her 50’s and can now take comfort in knowing that she has prepared comfortably for her own retirement.

While Wendy left her run later than what she would have liked, realise that time is very valuable to any investor because

that is the compounder of property values, meaning there is very good reason to start investing early in your life. I

encourage you to find a way, to make the sacrifice needed and give yourself more opportunity.

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