Starting Over


By Cam McLellan

My business partner Al Lewison and myself have been investing for a while now and one of the questions we get asked regularly is, if we had to start again knowing what we know now, what would we do differently?

The obvious answer to this is raise ten million dollars! But I want this to be a blog about building a portfolio the standard way, so will look at how we would start again, if we just had the standard income of a normal household.

So let’s assume I’ve gone back to 20 years old and am staring down the barrel of 45 years in the workforce. Scary. What am I going to do? How do I start? For me this is answered quite simply, as soon as I could I would buy an investment property.

Firstly, I’d look at the markets using the MAP process. I would find the right property to buy, focusing on where I thought I was a good chance for growth in the short to medium term (one – two years) with a view that every eight to 10 years property doubles in value.

In the long term (five years) I’m going to get some growth from this property. This growth will help me to buy my second property around the two year mark. Two years after that I’d purchase two more properties and then a couple of years after that three more and then by year ten, guess what guys? I’m living the high life.

Building my portfolio in this basic way, means I’d be wealthy in ten years by taking little baby steps, not taking big risks. By picking the right growth properties in the right areas and making sure they appeal to tenants. It’s not exciting, it’s like watching grass grow but it’s a proven strategy.

A lot of people get caught up about becoming wealthy quickly, but this strategy is the exact one that I use myself, which I used when I started. People can get so excited once they make a little bit of money that they will go off on different tangents, doing different things. This strategy is boring, it’s as exciting as watching the grass grow but as Michael Beresford who heads up our investment consulting team says, it’s like Grandma’s spaghetti sauce – you don’t mess with the recipe, just follow and repeat.

So I guess what I’m really saying is, apart from buying my first property earlier, I wouldn’t do anything differently!


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