The challenge of investing in properties as a couple

Bonnie Cresswell has recently started her property investment journey with her husband Colin and, while the couple has successfully built a three-property portfolio in less than a year, it didn’t come without any trials and tribulations.

tough boxing gloves

After their first two property purchases, the third one isn’t set until the middle of next year but the couple got the asset a little bit sooner. While it must sound like a good change of plan, Bonnie admitted that it has been stressful since she and her husband have both made important career decisions in the midst of buying investment properties.

Bonnie changed jobs twice in the last five months while Colin decided to quit his job in order to start a new business.

She shared: “We didn't have too much problem [with the lenders] … No one even actually asked [about it and] we're with the major banks … but it was always a bit of a worry, I guess, in case they did sort of question it.”

“Colin quit his job without having anything secure to go to. I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’


“I'm like, ‘You can't do that when we're trying to buy a property’. He's like ... his business partner was going to put $150,000 in the bank and that was going to cover the cost for a year.

“I [said] … ‘But the bank's going to go, ‘What about year two, and three, and four, and five, and six?' They're not going to care that you're going to be paid for a year.’ ” the property investor added.

After a bit of “to-ing and fro-ing”, Bonnie and Colin eventually sorted out the conflict through a simple compromise and they’re now on their way to adding another investment property in their portfolio. Their goal is to have $150,000 worth of passive income coming in annually by the time they decide to retire. 

The value of planning

One of the key things that got Bonnie and Colin through the challenges of investing together is meticulous planning with the help of reliable property professionals.

“The planning was really good. I loved it because I'm a nerd … You get 40 years of cash flow projection … The guidance [is what I liked most about the process],” Bonnie said.

The couple makes sure to establish a clear dynamics of their relationship as property investors. Whoever has more time gets more involved in the processes necessary for the purchase of properties while the other happily supports and takes the backseat. While they’re both active and helpful in growing their portfolio, the most important part of their partnership is their shared desire to succeed.

According to Bonnie: “One of the things [Empower Wealth] asks when you're in these meetings … [is] ‘Are you here willingly? Do you want to be part of this?’ ”

“[The roles do] revolve. Sometimes, someone will take a front position, take a back position, front position … [and so on] … [It’s] just the dynamics of how people reflect, and analyse, and recharge,” Phil added.

Finance is often one of the major reasons behind conflicts in relationships but Bonnie and Colin have realised that open and honest conversations, as well as guidance from reliable property professionals, could get them through most hurdles they face as property investors. Both people must be comfortable enough to discuss everything, from debts to their goals, and agree to a single plan for their portfolio.

Phil told Bonnie: “The fact that you guys have put together a plan and said, 'Yes, this is what we're working towards. Let's go and do it’ is a really good idea.”

“I think a lot of people could learn from you in that regard, rather than just sort of hope and pray … [that] the wind’s behind you,” he concluded.


Tune in to Bonnie Cresswell’s episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about how she used to believe “debt is bad”, how education and her choices allowed her to become an investor with three investments and a principal place of residence in her early 40’s, and how the restructuring of her finances and cash flow helped with her first investment.

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