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Courtney’s Story

Growing up, my dad was the breadwinner; my mum was a homemaker, and I saw her having to budget out things like, “Can I drive the kids to school today? Do I have enough petrol?”

I just used to think, “That must be so exhausting.”

As I got older, I got my first job and I got my first super contribution. Even as a 16 year old, I was calculating, “Hang on, if you retire at this age and you live to this age, there’s a bit of a gap there. What’s going to happen when your money runs out?”

I looked at my parents and I just thought, “What can I do differently? What can I do to put myself in a better situation where I’m not relying on the pension?”

So I was just wanting a better quality of life, peace of mind and being able to do the things I want without having to worry about money. So that’s what prompted me to go out, educate myself and find out, “Hey, how can I replace my income.”

Property was something that I understood and so I just began obsessively listening to podcasts and reading books and that’s what I was doing when everyone else was out at parties, drinking and what not.

I undertook the task of convincing Aaron that we had to do this, and he was a bit reluctant at first, like, “Hey, we’re young. We’ve got plenty of time.”

I said, “No. If we do it now, we’ll be cruising later on.”

When we first started, Aaron was an apprentice earning about $7.50 an hour, and I was at university. So what I had to do was automate our savings. So I basically said, “Aaron, we’re buying house.”

He said, “Okay.”

And I said, “But I have to confiscate your money!”

So I set up a direct transfer from the bank, and that’s how we were able to build up a deposit for our first house. Because we didn’t see it. It just happened in the background.

And then I said, “Hey, cool, let’s start saving for the second one.”

But the Melbourne property market was just going up and up in price. I was just a bit frustrated — we’re saving as fast as we could and I just did not have the time to research.

So Aaron’s like, “Okay cool, let’s get our next property.”

I just said, “I don’t think I can do this by myself.”

Basically, I was in the bookstore, and I’d read every property book on the shelf, and I went in one day and there was this new book — how good something fresh! So I picked it up and I read The Armchair Guide to Property Investing. From that I just thought, Wow this makes sense! And their philosophy and the rules and the foundational stuff really resonated with me, especially about buying quality assets —a mixture of sort of growth assets. Once I read that I jumped on and listened to every podcast from The Property Couch on my way to and from work. I had an hour commute each way, so I caught up pretty quickly! Just from listening to them and hearing how their business operates, you can tell that what they’re trying to do is in your best interest and you’re not being spruiked —and I genuinely felt that.

At the end of the day, I’m making decision for myself and for Aaron — and if I didn’t genuinely feel that they had my back, or that what they were recommending me didn’t make sense or it wasn’t right for me, I couldn’t sacrifice Aaron’s future as well as my own.

 

Aaron was on board with property.

I said, “I think I’d like to get a Plan. Our first property is great, and it’s doing what it’s meant to do, but I think we can do better on the second one. I think these people can help us.”

At first— because he’s always the one that’s a little bit more reserved — he’s like, “Ah, I don’t understand why we would be paying for advice when you can just go to a mortgage broker or you can go to someone like that.”

I just remember their words from the podcast in the back of my mind. I’m thinking — You end up paying one way or another.

Either you pay upfront and you get the best advice possible, or you pay by making a bad choice.

So I said that to him.

He goes, “Okay. We’ll just go for a meeting. Ask all your questions and, at the very least, we’ll just get a Property Portfolio Plan done and they can look at our finances and then, if we want, we can do the rest ourselves.”

So we kind of committed to getting a Plan, but he still had the right to opt out if he wasn’t comfortable. But, yeah, he went in here and he addressed all his concerns, and they were able to address them in a way that he could understand. So we walked out of it and Aaron was like, “Cool, let’s do the plan.”

It gave us a bull’s-eye that we had to hit. To know that if we if go for it, that bulls-eye will be our outcome. There are people who go and suggest you buy a property at, you know, $900,000, but they’re like, “Guys, you can’t afford that. If you do that, you’re going to affect something over here.”

That’s the sort of knowledge that I didn’t have — I was looking one step ahead, but they were looking two, three, four steps ahead for me. Not a lot of people would do that. So, basically the Plan shows us our existing purchase that we made ourselves, like the purchase price and the projected growth; but then it also it tells us what we have to do for the next property, even if we don’t use their buyer’s agent services. We can have a look at it and we say, “Okay, in 2025 we need to find a property at this price range, this projected growth and this projected yield.”

And they’re really easy — I’m like you can Google how to work those things out and we could do that ourselves if we wanted to. We would know that we would be on track to hit our goal or hit our retirement number and age. I think for anyone who’s contemplating it — I just really don’t think there’s much risk.

What’s the risk in having someone who does this all day, every day be on your team and show you stuff that you may not have realised about your finances before? If that’s scary, imagine not being able to turn the heating on as a as a pensioner. I think that’s scarier then showing someone my bank statement.

You’re sharing what’s perceived as personal information, but because we’ve popped our Plan in place and we know what we’re doing, we can kind of relax a little bit. I mean, I was always too afraid to go on holidays — and I know that sounds ridiculous — but I always thought that I was wasting my time and money by going on holidays. But now that I know that everything is looked after, I can actually relax and say, “Hey, you deserve a holiday. Go on a holiday.”

I wish I’d started younger, and if you have the opportunity to go for it, don’t procrastinate. Don’t. Just get in there, have ––a consultation and ask your questions and then just jump in.

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