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10-year retirement program

Get to know this investor’s 10-year retirement program

By Bianca Dabu

Momentum Media’s Alex Whitlock, at age 50, has laid out a plan to capitalise on his passion for property investment and ultimately achieve a comfortable retirement — but how does he intend to make this “10-year program” work?

Mr Whitlock started investing in property during his late 20s, making mistakes and learning from them along the way.

One of the lessons he had to learn the hard way is the value of understanding cash flow.

“I did without. My family had to do without,” according to him.

“Cash flow… [is] critical, because when you’re chasing capital growth but youre hemorrhaging on a monthly basis, thats a bad thing.

“You got to look to make a better future for yourself, but theres also the matter of living now and going through pain and strife... and getting lost in debt is not a positive way to go through life,” the investor added.

He refrained from investing for a while until he went on to establish a business with Smart Property Investment’s Phil Tarrant, inspired by their shared passion for property as an asset class.

Together, they have successfully built a significant portfolio through the years, guided by the expertise of professionals who “help temper our decisions, and guide our decisions, and steer our hands”, Mr Whitlock said.

Now that he’s nearing retirement, the investor decided to build a personal portfolio that will support him and his family in the future.

A 10-year program

Mr Whitlock’s personal investment journey restarted when he sold his property in Pymble to buy a principal place of residence. The Pymble property, which he bought in 2012 for $1 million, sold for about $1.75 million, while the place of residence — a 1,500-square-metre 1970s four-bedroom house — cost him around $2.6 million.

Mr Whitlock said: “Nothing fancy, but it’s on a nice big block of land in an area that is starting to get carved up. I think I can live there comfortably for quite some time... then there may be scope to develop it further on down the line.”

Using a part of his savings, he continues to build a “side investment portfolio” to pay down the loan on his principal place of residence and ultimately prepare for his retirement. With the help of property professionals, he crafted a 10-year program that involves “no surprises”. According to him, he wanted to know exactly where and what to buy.

Following the purchase of his place of residence, Mr Whitlock and his team went up to Queensland in November 2016 and bought an investment property in Mango Hill. Months later, in February, he explored Kallangur and bought his next investment there — keeping in mind his long-term goal.

The investor explained: “Obviously, thats a suburb that has potential with some of the infrastructure thats taking place there. Youre probably looking at a three- to five-year cycle there, but Ive got a goal of a 10-year view.

“Im not looking to make money in two years, three years, or even in four or five years. This is really about a 10-year view, so on that basis, that represents a good investment prospect for that time frame.”

Mr Whitlock also invested in BrightonBrighton, SA Brighton, VIC Brighton, TAS Brighton, QLD, near the growing Hobart market, nearly a year ago — a decision that has already reaped an impressive rental yield and a solid capital growth for him over a short period.

At only around a year old, his portfolio is now valued at $1.1 million and is currently yielding $100,000 in equity annually.

The strategy in detail

According to accountant Michael Johnson, aside from engaging trusted professionals, Mr Whitlock is able to have a smooth-sailing investment journey simply because he’s letting the market do its work. By maintaining a relatively conservative approach and sticking to his long-term goal, the investor is able to continue growing his portfolio regardless of market movements.

Mr Johnson explained: “What it does is it exposes your capital base to the market if you like. You let the market do its work… then [you leverage on] these properties.

“Were going to do a small refinance on them in order to get a little bit equity out so we can fund a deposit… [then purchase] another property — weve now increased our asset base to another maybe $300,000 to $400,000, depending on the purchase price of the property.

“The market may experience growth rate [of around] 5 per cent, lets say. It just really gives you more area to move as well.”

According to Mr Whitlock, it’s basically a cycle of generating a base of equity then putting it back into his portfolio by buying more properties. Once his personal portfolio has reached the $2 million mark in terms of value, he believes that it’s a good enough legacy to leave his family, on top of the $7 million portfolio he has built with Mr Tarrant.

At the end of the day, he said, the goal of his 10-year program is to ensure that his family will never have to feel the noose tightened around their necks again.

The investor highlighted: “Im quite conservative and I dont like the idea of being excessively in debt. In those early days, life [was] very tough for me and for my family, and its burned me… and it has made me not want to get myself [into the same situation].”

“Im very conscious not to get myself ever into a higher leverage position. I figure, I can build this little supplementary portfolio and let this grow and germinate, and then I can put that into my principal place of residence and retire happy,” Mr Whitlock concluded. 

 

Tune in to Alex Whitlock and Michael Johnson’s episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about the most important investment lessons that Mr Whitlock learned in the span of two decades.

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podcast

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Dominique Grubisa joins host Phil Tarrant to share her personal story which saw her hit rock bottom with excessive debt during the GFC.

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Dominique unpacks how, by relying on her background in law, she was able to overcome that debt and in doing so develop a unique investment strategy which she believes many can utilise today.

Dominique discusses distressed properties, and how she goes about finding them in order to buy property well below market value. She shares the process of identifying distressed properties as well as the controversy surrounding this buying method.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

3 big property investment myths busted open
5 steps to take on low-risk property developments
Securing finance after life-changing events: ‘Cash flow is key’

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To hear more about these services, make sure to tune into this episode of Property Showcase!

 Make sure you never miss an episode by subscribing to us now on iTunes!

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    In this episode of Property Showcase, Michael Beresford joins editor of Wealth James Mitchell to unpack why recent political changes are not reason for concern for Australian investors.<\/p>\r\n

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Many investors who would have been successfully approved for finance last year are struggling now to either begin or continue their property investment journey because of the current financial climate.

In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, broker John Manciamelli and Momentum Media director Alex Whitlock joins host Tim Neary to discuss how APRA changes and the royal commission have resulted in a tighter lending economy and what that means for Australian investors.

They discuss what traps investors should avoid if they are trying to obtain finance, the four key growth drivers in a property market and unpacking trust structures while revealing one type of trust that you should miss.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

How technology is changing the lending environment
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AREAS MENTIONED:

Hobart
Bondi
Deception Bay

 

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Getting finance approved in this tightening lending environment

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