From growing up being debt-averse to developing an open mindset: How this investor did it

Like many property investors, Michael Xia was inspired to enter the business of creating wealth through property by his parents, but as he went along his journey, he realised that there are better ways to navigate his way through than the “traditional methods” he learned from older generations.

michael xia

Michael has learned about the many opportunities in property investment early on in his life through his parents, who have instilled in him the value of financial stability. However, his parents also worked under the impression that debt is something that they needed to avoid at all costs.

“Coming from a Chinese background, we’re taught that loan is bad, pay it down as soon as you can. That’s what my parents essentially did—they bought their place and they spent their lifetime paying it off,” the property investor shared.

“I was told by my parents to invest in property, but the methods with which they did it was a little bit different. So, always in the back of my mind, there was this idea that, ‘Okay, if you have savings, go and invest it.’ But then… after I really got into property investing, [I realised] that [there are other] methods [I could use].”

After more than a decade in his own property investment journey, Michael has successfully built a 14-property portfolio worth $4 million, with $3.3 million in debt against it—an amount that would have made him drop the venture at once had he maintained the debt-averse mindset he got from his parents.


According to him, like his parents, most of his friends also fail to understand the open mindset he has come to develop as he went along his journey, but it has definitely helped him stay on track towards achieving his long-term financial goals.

“Most of my friends… they’re like. ‘What the hell are you doing? That’s just absurd.’ I would say that if you had spoken to me three years ago and said, ‘Three years later, you’ll have all that debt against your name,’ I’ll be like, ‘Go away. That’s crazy stuff,’” he shared.

Michael explained further: “But I think that … as your portfolio matures and you see the cash flow coming in, then it’s a little bit easier to stomach. Even after all the expenses, I still net between $30,000 to $40,000 in terms of rental income. If my loan accounts are going up and they’re not going down… that makes it a little bit easier to stomach.”

While debt certainly poses a certain risk to one’s property portfolio, for Michael it has only inspired him to be more discerning about the decisions he makes. His advice to budding property investors: No matter where you are on your property investment journey, continue seeking good education and the best guidance from field experts and professionals.

“[It] could be really dangerous—not everyone wins in it… It all depends on your level of confidence and your experience,” he concluded.

Tune in to Michael Xia’s episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about how he recovered from his problematic property choices to build a 14-property portfolio and how he plans to get his passive property income up from $40,000 per annum to over $1 million. 


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