Matthew Lloyd: From AFL superstar to property investment champion


Bomber great Matthew Lloyd shared his property investing journey with OpenCorp’s Michael Beresford for one of our educational webinars. Here is his story.


When someone can play 270 games of AFL during their professional footy career and still find time to build a successful property investment portfolio, then it’s clear there is something very special about them.

That’s the way it is with Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd.

During his lengthy time at the club, he won a premiership, served as Essendon’s captain for three years, and was a regular contender for the Brownlow Medal to boot. After his retirement in 2009, he was also inducted as a member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame and as a Legend in the Essendon Football Club Hall of Fame.

But in the background, from his early days at the club, Matthew was also busy changing his financial future for life after football. You see, not long after being drafted by Essendon when he was just 16, he found himself at a club golf day.

Kevin Sheedy soon pulled him aside for a chat, but the wisdom that the legendary Essendon coach was about to impart to the nervous newbie had nothing to do with footy as it turned out.

“He actually sat me down and said, ‘You know what? I want to tell you something. I want this to remain with you for the rest of your life. I want you to own a property out of this football career that you get,” Matthew recalls.

“Don’t blow your money with gambling or whatever else you’re going to do with it. I want you to own a property. And once you’ve done your first, I want you to own your second. Once you’ve owned your second, I want you to own your third.’

“So, actually, he taught me so many things, but that stuck with me forever about being smart with your money.”


So, Matthew made a decision early on that he needed to learn everything he could about creating wealth from investing in real estate.

But, just like his football career, he also understood that there were no quick results in property investment either.

“I was 78 kilos when I walked into the footy club and I finished at 94 kilos,” he says.

“It took me 15 years to put on those 16 kilos, and like the property that Sheeds spoke to me about, which was pretty much go to the worst house in the best street.

“I was 16 years of age, but I went, ‘Oh, what does he mean by that?’ but I’m also thinking, ‘OK, let’s just get in a great area (because) if I can get it in a great area, I’m earning.’”

By 19, Matthew was probably earning more than his parents but thanks to that fateful advice from his coach a few years before, he bought two properties in one year.

Those assets became the backbone of his portfolio, which he continued to grow in a sustainable way over his career, thanks in part to his manager having a property background as well.

Clearly, Matthew had fortuitously surrounded himself with mentors who had his best financial interests at heart, but he was also energised by property investment as a wealth creation vehicle as well.

“Property excites me. I can pick up the paper every Sunday and go, ‘Oh, what did this go for?’” he says.

“I live in the bayside area, so, I love seeing what things around there are going for. I often think about some houses that I’ve sold, ‘What would they be worth now? Should I have held on to them?’

“So, I’m always thinking about property. If I didn’t play footy, the fitness industry and the property industry are probably two loves that I have outside of football.”

Before too long, Matthew’s portfolio had started to increase in value as well as rental returns.

He was on the property ladder much sooner than his mates, but he also never wanted to waste the opportunity to leverage his footy career into a better financial life in the future.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do after football,” he says.

“So, I used to think to myself, ‘I’ve got to make the most of this while I can. How can I make the most of it while I’m earning this money?’

“The better I go on the footy field, the more opportunities it’s going to create for me in the property market as well.”

Every few years, he would add to his portfolio, which now had equity that he could reuse to add to his holdings.

“I always loved to have the one I was living in, plus some rentals as well,” he says.

“It’s really helped me to get to where I am today in regards to the house, the dream home, that I’m living in now, from those small stepping stones from that first couple at 19, making that growth on them.

“I’ve done the long-term, sit on it for a while, let time take place, and get that natural growth and return for the investment.”


It was during his footy career, that Matthew decided to focus on the long-term results of his portfolio, which was a mindset that he adopted on the field as well.

“I always tried to be level with footy, and across the course of the season, there’s going to be four or five bad ones, but my bad ones aren’t that bad,” he says.

“I just feel like it’s been a (property) model that, just make the right decisions at the right times with a clear head, because I’m not looking to chase that quick fix, or anything like that, that things ride themselves out.

“That’s how I view the parallels, because I’m not some irrational person and try to be pretty clear and know that if you’ve done the work, you’ve done the research, and you’re speaking to people like (OpenCorp) who know more than you do, and you’re not trying to make crazy decisions yourself, I think you’ll always be OK.”

The parallels between footy and property investment success don’t finish there either.

Matthew says that regularly playing in front tens of thousands of emotionally charged fans was not as difficult as it sounds.

He says the key was to always keep a clear mind – just like in property investment, too.

“When you’re on, you actually don’t know the 90,000 people are there, to be honest,” he says.

“You could only see your teammates and you hear the calls. I think it’s the same with property – the emotional decisions can often get you in trouble.

“It’s just those ones that you’ve made with a clear head and clear mind that will hold you in good stead,” Matthew says.

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