1 minute read

3 properties in less than 12 months, here’s how she did it

3 properties in less than 12 months, here’s how she did it

by Demii Kalavritinos | December 15, 2017 | 1 minute read

Bonnie Cresswell started out with the “must pay off my mortgage before investing in anything” mentality, but after doing a bit of research on her own, she realised it isn’t actually necessary to do so.

Bonnie Cresswell, investor
December 15, 2017

Growing up on welfare, having a secure shelter was always a propriety when Bonnie was growing up. She reveals 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,  as well as how the Smart Property Investment Show provided her with the insights to invest with a quick turn over of properties.

The Tasmanian born investor reveals her plans for her future, how her “complete 180 degree flip” in her mind set came about and how the restructuring of her finances and cashflow helped with her first investment.

You will also find out how property in different states grows differently, how buyers agents can assist a purchase and why she uses a line of credit. 












SA4 areas largely seeing growth over the last five years

How brain surgery turned this investor's passion for property into a career

A guide for buying in NSW, Victoria and Queensland from making an offer to settlement

Finding the best buyer’s agent: ‘Investing must be his core business’


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

If you liked 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!

Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Property Investment Show, with your host Phil Tarrant.

Phil:    Good day everyone. It's Phil Tarrant here, host of the Smart Property Investment Show. Thanks for joining us today. We've got an investor in the studio who I think is going to be good fun. I got to say she wears her heart on her sleeve. I'm making these bold statements straight off the bat, but I'm pretty sure that we're gonna get a good story here, and someone who's going to be very happy to share how they've gone down the path of investing in property, and potentially made some mistakes, but it sounds like they're doing pretty well right now. Bonnie Crisswell, with a double S. Bonnie, how are you going?

Bonnie: Yeah, good. Thanks, Phil. Glad to be here.

Phil:    Thanks for writing in. No, it's great to have you here. Your testament that you write into us, and we get in touch with you, and get you on the show. Bonnie wrote a pretty detailed, but relaxed email, which we like. I'll paraphrase it for you, but firstly, I love your work. Your Podcast now top of my most listened list. Thank you. This is cool. Novice investor. Can I say how old you are?

Bonnie: Yeah. Why not.

Phil: Early 40s. Spent some time in London. Come back to Australia. Felt like you probably didn't start moving as quickly as you probably should've, investing in property. Decided to take action. Went to some seminars, who potentially, "We're going to sell you some expensive education," which you've dodged, then managed to find some really good books. Margaret Lomas' stuff, excellent. Jan Somers, one of the classics. You found the Property Couch Podcast. Ben and Bryce, good guys. Know their onions. Tune into it if you're not listening to it. There's only two Podcasts you need to listen. It's this one and theirs. Then you found us, which is good, and then you saw the light. A complete 180 degree flip of my mindset, and within six months of the seminar that you went to, you've now got three investment properties, plus a principle place of residence. Good summary? Is that okay?

Bonnie: Yeah. That's a pretty good summary.

Phil:    I think there's a couple ways we could take this Podcast. I think we'll just have a bit of a chat, but I want to pin it towards, I guess, the decision that you made to say, "Yeah, I got to start thinking about later on in life, and creating some wealth through property," and the decision you made, or how you found this particular seminar. I won't say who this seminar is. There is a number of people in the Australian market that provide these types of educational courses. I'm not going to give them a hard time about it, but so you went to one of these things and you went, "Hang on a second. Something's just not right here." Is that fair?

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    What happened?

Bonnie: At the seminar?

Phil:    Yeah.

Bonnie: Yeah. At the actual seminar, I had dragged my husband along because it was probably, I don't know, a couple of weeks beforehand that I started thinking about investing in property. We'll go into that later. Yeah, found this seminar. It was free. Registered. Dragged him along because I thought if we were going to invest in property, it was going to be quite a serious thing, and needed him to come along for the ride. I'm really glad I took him because it was a whole day thing. We turn up, it was in a flashy hotel, and heaps of people there.

Phil:    What are heaps like? How many is heaps?

Bonnie: Oh, probably like-

Phil:    Hundreds?

Bonnie: 250, 300.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: Which I think is heaps.

Phil:    That's heaps.

Bonnie: For a Sunday.

Phil:    That's a lot of people. Yeah.

Bonnie: I got so excited. It was probably a couple of hours in, and I was like, "Oh my God. I could do this." They made it sound like you could quit your job and sit there all day for the first little while doing all this, and then you wouldn't need to do anything, and you'd have all this money coming in.

Phil:    The dream.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    Yeah.

Bonnie: I was really excited. We went off to lunch just outside the hotel, and I was sitting there and I was saying to Colin, "I think I might sign up. I think I might sign up." It was going to be like, $10,000, or something.

Phil:    Mm-hmm.

Bonnie: He was supportive. He was like, "If you think this is what you want to do," because he said, "I can actually see you sitting there doing that." I'm a technical person. I implement software, and he could see that I was quite interested in the research side of it, and all that sort of thing. I was like, "Oh my God. You could just sit there and look all this stuff up every day." He started doing a bit of a Google search, and found a few things. Just people saying, "Watch out. What you're paying for, all that money, you can get for free on various websites, or you can do educational courses that are a lot cheaper." He just sort of said, "Yeah, chill your boots a bit." Anyway, we went into the raffle and I won an iPad Mini, which has got the name of the seminar engraved on the back. They said, "Yeah, we think that you might use this iPad to do this course on," and I was like, "Hmm, yeah maybe. Thank you very much." Walked off the stage, and I still got that. We watch Netflix on it.

Phil:    Cool.

Bonnie: I didn't sign up, and I'm really glad that I didn't. That was so early on. I had not read any of the books. I had not listened to any Podcasts. This was literally the first sort of exposure that I'd had really, other than just thinking, "I've got to do something."

Phil:    "I want to do something."

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    Did you learn anything though, from the seminar, do you think? Was there any sort of bits of information you went, "Oh yeah, that's pretty cool."

Bonnie: I guess one of the things that I do remember them saying, they flashed up some photos like, "Would you buy this?" Some people were like, "Oh no." They're like, "Well, this is one that I own," and it was a pretty ugly house. It was sort of like, "Just remember you're not going to live there." This is an investment. You've just got to look at the investment.

Phil:    Fair enough.

Bonnie: Yeah, that I guess, was a good takeaway.

Phil:    Yeah. Cool. Went to a seminar, decided not to spend multiple thousands of dollars in an education programme. We're very big within the Smart Property Investment Show, you got to invest in your education. You invest time into it, you're going to invest money into it. You can try and shortcut it, and let someone else do the education for you and just download it, or you can choose to educate yourself by Podcasts, and books, and all this sort of stuff.

            What did you do? You walked out of the seminar, didn't sign up.

Bonnie: Didn't sign up.

Phil:    What happened after that to get started investing in property?

Bonnie: The reason I found that seminar was my friend had liked it on Facebook.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: He had started investing in property. I think at that stage he'd bought one. I'd actually said to him, "Oh, have you been to one of these seminars?" He said no. I went along, came back and I said to him, "Oh, this is what it was like." He said, "Oh no. Just read some books. Like, read Margaret Lomas." I was like, "Oh, okay." I went and spent what, $30, or $20, or whatever a book is, and read that. She had a-

Phil:    Which book of Margaret's did you read? She's got some really good ones. She's got about seven, I think, but-

Bonnie: Yeah, it was one of her later ones where she's actually re-edited two earlier ones, and put new stuff in. It's sort of a three-in-one. I can't remember the actual name of it, but it's one of the more recent ones.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: Yeah, that was great. That was really good from just a sort of theoretical point of view.

Phil:    Yeah.

Bonnie: I read Jan Somers, because again, my friend said, "Oh, try this one as well."

Phil:    I would recommend it. You can't go wrong with Jan Somers stuff.

Bonnie: Yeah. It's funny. The theory in her book, I think is really good. I don't know how practical it is for this day and age.

Phil:    Yeah. Fair.

Bonnie: Yeah. I haven't gone down that route of having all positive cashflow properties, and just get lots of them.

Phil:    Just get heaps of them.

Bonnie: Yeah. I mean I got the thing. It's like, why would you buy something that costs you money?

Phil:    Hmm.

Bonnie: Why not buy something that makes you money, and then you can keep going, and keep going, and keep going? We've gone a different path than that.

Phil:    You've got three investment properties now, plus your principle place of residence. Did you have that before you started investing in property?

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    Okay. That's cool.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    Let's put that aside. You had a principle house of residence where you live. You said, "Okay, let's start investing in property." You read some books, start listening to Podcasts. When did you first buy your first investment property?

Bonnie: I went to auction in December last year and settled in February this year.

Phil:    Okay, so it's only really a year you've been doing this now.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    You read the books and you did all this stuff. How did you take action to start doing this stuff? How did you end up at auction bidding for a place?

Bonnie: Even before getting to there, it was a complete change of mind. I'm from Tasmania.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: Grew up in Tassie, and my mum-

Phil:    Is that supposed to be, "Insert Tasmanian joke here?" Which I didn't do, but ... I like Tasmanians.

Bonnie: You all talk out of both mouths.

Phil:    Yeah. I wasn't going to do it, but ...

Bonnie: Yeah, I grew up in Tassie, and mum always worked in welfare and housing.

Phil:    Yeah.

Bonnie: We didn't have much. She didn't get paid much working in welfare. What that gave me was a real sense of how important shelter is. It's like, whatever you do, just make sure you've got somewhere to live. She worked with God, people that were in awful situations, and you're like, you don't want to be like that if you can possibly avoid it. I grew up with this mantra, "Just make sure you've got your own shelter. Make sure you've got your own shelter." When I was in London, I had enough money to borrow to buy something. From that point, until last year, it was always just gunning to pay that off, and be debt-free.

Phil:    Hmm.

Bonnie: My whole thing was like, "Debt is bad. I want to be debt-free." We were really trying to pay that off. Yeah, but coming back to your question of how did I actually make action, so-

Phil:    That mindset shift from being debt-averse to debt's okay if it's good debt. Was it a light bulb moment? Was it like an epiphany? Was it just a slow process of just going, "Oh, hang on a second-

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    "Maybe there's something else."

Bonnie: It took a few months. It took a lot of reading a lot of stuff, and listening to a lot of the Property Couch. I started it, the first one, and I listened, and listened, and listened, and I was walking every day, basically listening to that. It was like, "Okay," and I started to understand. Yeah, I don't know if it was so much an epiphany. To me, it seems like really short period of time to change my mind because it was sort of from June, to then engaging a buyer's agent in about September.

Phil:    Okay. You chose to use a buyer's agent first. Why did you make that decision rather than doing it yourself?

Bonnie: I wasn't going to buy in Sydney.

Phil:    Okay. Fair enough.

Bonnie: Yeah. There was no way that I could've done all the research, gone and inspected the properties. Probably wasn't confident enough in my own ability to research either. I'm still not. I mean I know the theory and stuff like that, but I don't know if I'd have the confidence to sort of yeah, just pick an area based off my own knowledge.

Phil:    That's why you pay the experts to do it.

Bonnie: Yeah. That's right.

Phil:    That's why I do it.

Bonnie: Yeah, yeah.

Phil:    What did you buy? Where was your first-

Bonnie: Melbourne. In Brunswick.

Phil:    Okay. What did you buy?

Bonnie: It's a little two-bedroom weatherboard house. Yeah, so two bedrooms. It's an interesting house, actually, because it's in ... Brunswick is sort of a mix of old and new, and it's in an area that's got a heritage layer. The house isn't heritage listed, but the area is heritage. When they built it, whoever built it, subdivided their block. It was built in '99, but it had to be built in the style of the houses around it. It's a little weatherboard house, but it looks like it's-

Phil:    Part of the fabric of-

Bonnie: 150 years old, but yeah, it's 20 years old, or something.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: A bit less. Yeah.

Phil:    How much did you pay for the first property?

Bonnie: 880.

Phil:    880.

Bonnie: Yes.

Phil:    Okay. That's pretty expensive. First cap of the rank.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    What sort of yield are you getting, or what sort of rents are you getting on it?

Bonnie: 3.25% yield.

Phil:    Okay. Are you happy with how it's tracking? Is it going up in value? That's your idea of property-

Bonnie: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, Brunswick is yeah, it's been great. Haven't had that revalued obviously, because it's only been since February, but looking at what sold recently, it'd have to be at least 950, if not more. There's not much selling for under a million, unless it's a really crappy house.

Phil:    Yeah, well it's good blue chip belt, Brunswick.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    Has that been your strategy in building a portfolio? Are they the sort of assets that you're trying to identify?

Bonnie: We've got a plan.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    Did someone help you make the plan?

Bonnie: Yeah. Yeah.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: We went to a property investment advisor.

Phil:    Okay. Who did you use?

Bonnie: Empower Wealth.

Phil:    Okay, so you used Ben and Bryce, did you?

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    You're not going to go wrong with those guys. They know what they're doing.

Bonnie: Well I sort of feel like I was a bit brainwashed, actually. I listened to the Podcast from, as I said, from day one, for about two months. I was like, "Oh." I just really trusted their philosophy.

Phil:    Yeah. I thought it might've been. The asset that you bought, and where you bought it, it sounded like those guys. That's why I was thinking, "Oh. I'll ask the questions." That's cool.

Bonnie: Yeah. I actually had a plan done through them, and it set out four properties to buy. The first one is targeting high capital growth, lower yield, and that sort of high price point.

Phil:    I imagine you got a bit of fat in your serviceability to carry the debt, right?

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    You said you're in software.

Bonnie: Yeah, and my husband's in IT.

Phil:    Okay, so you get paid reasonably well, I imagine, as professionals.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    You've obviously got negative gearing stuff that you can look after when you do your tax return, and that. That was the plan, was it? To get a higher growth asset, which is not going to be negative, but you can carry that serviceability because you have the income to do it.

Bonnie: Yeah, so because of our age, we're sort of like-

Phil:    A lot of people get into property investment a lot older than you, so I wouldn't-

Bonnie: Yeah, but I don't want to work past sort of, 59.

Phil:    Okay. That's part of the strategy as well.

Bonnie: Yeah. It was all planned out for us both to give up work if we want to, around 59, 60.

Phil:    Okay. When Empower Wealth worked with you to construct this plan, was that one of the key things? Do you want to stop working at a point in time? When do you want that to be? How much money do you want when you stop working?

Bonnie: Yeah. They work backwards, basically

Phil:    Yeah, from there.

Bonnie: They say, "What do you want, and when do you want it?" They said that I was a really good client because I'd done all my reading and everything, and so they didn't really have to dig in too much.

Phil:    Yeah.

Bonnie: Yeah, so what do you want and when do you want it, and then working backwards. How can we get there? Yeah, we've got four properties in our plan.

Phil:    Okay. You've already got three.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    Alright. What happens? Okay, so Brunswick, 800 and something grand. Three point something percent yield. It's costing you a few bucks to hold. What did you do after that?

Bonnie: Adelaide in Ovingham.

Phil:    Okay. A bit cheaper.

Bonnie: Yeah. 590.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: Two-bedroom sandstone sort of house.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    Cool. Another house. Not a unit.

Bonnie: Another house.

Phil:    Yeah. Okay.

Bonnie: That's a semi, though. Brunswick's freestanding, and that second one's a semi.

Phil:    It's pretty much the same sort of asset, but in a different capital city. Sort of like-

Bonnie: Yeah. Yeah.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: Close to the city, because again, that one needs to get a bit more growth than the next two.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: The yield is still pretty low. It's like, 3.75%, or something.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: Again, we're just hoping for the growth there.

Phil:    Oh yeah. Fingers crossed. If you use a good buyer's agent you should be able to find your growth properties.

Bonnie: Yeah, well that was with a different buyer's agent.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: Yeah, so I used one buyer's agent for Melbourne, and different one for Adelaide.

Phil:    Yeah. The third property?

Bonnie: Brisbane.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: Strathpine.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: We just settled two days ago. Tuesday.

Phil:    Okay, cool.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    That's three in your portfolio.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    Collective value now of your portfolio, not counting your principle place of residence? We'll just put it to the side.

Bonnie: Just under two million.

Phil:    Okay. How much debt are you carrying on, on those three properties?

Bonnie: We pulled-

Phil:    Did you use equity in your principle place?

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: Yeah. We pulled equity out, so we've got a line of credit for the deposit and costs.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: 80% on each of the investment properties, but we've got, yeah. We're using-

Phil:    A line of credit that you're going to use to buy number four. Is that the idea? Is that to buy number three you used the line of credit to pay for the deposit of that?

Bonnie: Yeah, so the line of credit was used to pay for the deposit for each of the first three, and the costs. That's like, drawn at the moment. Oh, the bank just stuffed up, actually.

Phil:    A bank stuffing up? No.

Bonnie: Actually, no. I found out it was the broker that stuffed up. Anyway-

Phil:    Oh, okay. Brokers stuffing up? No.

Bonnie: We should be drawn about 420 on that. We haven't put any cash in.

Phil:    Yeah.

Bonnie: We didn't put any cash in at all.

Phil:    You're being obviously-

Bonnie: Oh, apart from so supporting, now that we own them, obviously-

Phil:    Supporting the negative cashflow on it.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    You use your principle place of residence, so the concept we're talking about here is using the equity in your principle place of residence to leverage you into buying investment properties. What is the debt on your principle place of residence now? Is it percentages? Have you financed up to 80%, or is it still-

Bonnie: No, no. Overall, with all of the values of principle place of residence investment properties and all the debt, we're at 57%.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    I think you mentioned that you're in a city in Sydney.

Bonnie: Yeah, Alexandria.

Phil:    Okay. How long have you been in Alexandria for?

Bonnie: Five years.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: We bought in 2012.

Phil:    Okay, so you've had pretty good growth?

Bonnie: Massive.

Phil:    That's helped you.

Bonnie: Yeah. Massive.

Phil:    You're one of these Sydney property people who've benefited from ... I'm one of them. I'll put my hand up. Benefited from this rapid growth in-

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    Okay. You're drawing on equity on that. You buy investment properties. You've now got three investment properties, principle place of residence in Alexandria. Good place. Your overall collective LVR is 50-something percent.

Bonnie: Seven. Yeah.

Phil:    Some people would say highly conservative. Some people would say, "Wow, that should be 30%," but it's your own risk appetite. Number three. Are you going to go to number four pretty quickly? Is that the idea? Are you going to sort of take a breath and see what happens?

Bonnie: Yeah. In the plan, it's not in the plan until 2019.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: Actually, the third one wasn't in the plan until middle of next year, but-

Phil:    You're speeding through it.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    The plan's still the plan, no?

Bonnie: The plan is still the plan.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: Yeah. We've just brought the third one sooner.

Phil:    Mm-hmm.

Bonnie: This one's been really stressful, actually, because both Colin and I have changed jobs.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: I've changed jobs twice in the last five months.

Phil:    Okay, so the lenders are sort of a bit nervous, are they, in terms of-

Bonnie: We didn't have too much problem. Actually, no one questioned that. No one even actually asked. We're with the major banks. That was fine, 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?"

Phil:    Yeah. I won't touch that. It sounds like something for you guys to look after.

Bonnie: Yeah. Anyway, it's all good.

Phil:    He probably just wants to-

Bonnie: Well he wanted to start his own business, and I'm like, "You can't do that when we're trying to buy a property." He's like, "Oh yeah, but you know," his business partner was going to put 150 grand in the bank, and that was going to cover the cost for a year. I'm like, "Yeah, 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."

Phil:    Mm-hmm.

Bonnie: Anyway, so-

Phil:    Is it all sorted out?

Bonnie: Yeah, a bit of to-ing and fro-ing. That's all sorted out.

Phil:    Alright. Everyone happy?

Bonnie: Everyone's happy.

Phil:    That's all that matters. The plan is one more, but do you think it's going to be just one more? Do you think it's going to be multiple one mores?

Bonnie: I think it's probably just going to be one more.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    If you buy number four, and then you work for another 20-ish years, are you going to realise what the goal is, and that is to ... Did you have a number? You and your husband to say, "When we retire at 59 or 60, that we want to be generating this much income a year."

Bonnie: Yeah. We targeted 150.

Phil:    Okay. Collectively?

Bonnie: Yes.

Phil:    Okay. That's income coming in for you guys not doing anything.

Bonnie: Yeah. That was our target. Yeah, so that's what's sort of been planned out. I mean, you know it's all based on assumptions of inflation and whatever happens. Like rents going up, and whatever. Yeah, the planning was really good. I loved it, because I'm a nerd, but you get 40 years of cashflow projection.

Phil:    You said you were a nerd, did you? Alright.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    Okay, that's cool. Let's stay with that for a second. What was it about the planning process that you liked? Was it the process itself, going through it? Was it the fact that it gives you some guidance, or a bit of a beacon for…

Bonnie: Yeah, that's what it is. The guidance.

Phil:    Yeah.

Bonnie: We're just constantly trying to beat it now, because-

Phil:    You're competitive against yourselves?

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    To beat the plan.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    The plan is a plan, you know? It should be the plan.

Bonnie: Yeah, yeah.

Phil:    That's cool.

Bonnie: Well also, because the plan assumes higher interest rates, and all that sort of stuff. We actually need to be beating it now, otherwise we're spending more than what we were planning. You see what I mean?

Phil:    Yeah. How do you and Colin, your husband, reflect on whether or not you're doing a good job, or keeping to the plan, or that you're enjoying the process? Is it a process, or do you guys sort of sit back and have a glass of wine and go, "Hey it's pretty cool."

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    What's the dynamic there?

Bonnie: Colin just sort of goes along with it.

Phil:    Oh, so you're the sort of-

Bonnie: Yeah, yeah.

Phil:    You should've brought Colin in because I don't want to talk behind his back, but is he more than a passenger, or is he just like, "I'm all for this. I think it's great, but go for it."

Bonnie: Especially on this last one, because I've changed jobs twice, and he's just finishing up one, he had a bit more time to do stuff, so he's really been-

Phil:    That's cool.

Bonnie: Yeah, really active and helpful. The first two, a little bit less so, but I think that was because I had a bit more time, and-

Phil:    Things ebb and flow, don't they?

Bonnie: Yeah, yeah. No, he's been great. Like he's just a bit more passive. He's like, "I trust you." He's definitely along for the ride, and that's the other thing that Empower do. One of the things they ask when you're in these meetings and stuff, because they knew I was driving it, and every time we met with them just on Skype, or whatever, they would ask Colin, "Are you here willingly? Do you want to be part of this?"

Phil:    He's not coerced into it. I find it really interesting. I know you listen to the Smart Property Investment Show a bit, but the dynamics of couples that invest together, or people that invest together, whether it's husband and wife, or mates, or whatever it is, right? Just how it all sort of works. It does revolve. Sometimes someone will take a front position, take a back position, front position. Just the dynamics of how people reflect, and analyse, and recharge. The psychology of it is really ... Someone should do a PhD on it.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    I don't know if that's happened, but just because when you look at a relationship, often one of the major areas of stress is financial, right? It can be something which can trickle down or infect other parts of a relationship, and cause damage where lot of conflict is. Having really open and honest conversations around debt, and goals, and 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.

Bonnie: Yeah, yeah.

Phil:    Hope the wind's behind you.

Bonnie: Oh, I don't think I would've been able to do it if I didn't know ... Like so every month we've got an offset account against our principle place of residence. Every month I plug the balance of that at the end of the month in the spreadsheet, and that's how we're tracking whether we're meeting the plan or not.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie:           Yeah.

Phil:    How do you run your finances? Are you credit card people, and you pay your credit card off? Are you-

Bonnie:           Yeah, we haven't got any-

Phil:    Money in envelopes sort of thing?

Bonnie: Colin used to call himself the cashless man. He doesn't deal in cash. He's just always been cards.

Phil:    Fair enough.

Bonnie: Only out of his own money. We've got credit cards, but yeah, we pay the balance every month. We've always lived like within our means.

Phil:    Yeah. Would you say you've got pretty good financial diligence, budget diligence?

Bonnie: Yeah, I mean we're fortunate that our incomes are good as well, so we can still-

Phil:    It helps.

Bonnie: Yeah. It hasn't always been like that. When I was in London, I went to London when I was 18, with $100, or something.

Phil:    What did you do in London? What sort of stuff?

Bonnie: When I first went there I worked at a wine bar. That was just part-time, and so I used to go in. I made good friends with the chef, so I'd eat at work.

Phil:    Get free food. Yeah… any other way.

Bonnie: Sometimes take the toilet paper home and the garbage bags, because they're the expensive shared house items.

Phil:    Yeah.

Bonnie: Sorry David, my boss. He probably didn't know that.

Phil:    I'm coming for you now.

Bonnie: Yeah, yeah. It was back in '92. I worked there for about a year, and then realised I was going to stay in London because it wasn't a plan. It was ...

Phil:    One of those things.

Bonnie: Yeah. My grandfather actually bought me a ticket because he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: He said to my mom, "Look, got a few thousand pounds. Rather than popping off and leaving it to you in the will, I will have you and the girls come over and see me."

Phil:    That's cool.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    Yeah.

Bonnie: I'd just finished HSE, and hadn't decided what to do at uni, so I thought I'd go to London, see grandpa, come back and do uni.

Phil:    Yeah.

Bonnie: Yeah-

Phil:    Stayed.

Bonnie: Never came back.

Phil:    It happens a lot. I know a lot of people who have done that. I managed to escape, but I know a lot of people that stayed a long time.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    That's cool. Do you think living in London helped shape your attitude towards money at all?

Bonnie: Not really.

Phil:    Sort of quite self-sufficient from a young age, right?

Bonnie: Yeah, yeah. I started work at 14, illegally. I was working for McDonald's. Their minimum age at that time was 15 and nine months.

Phil:    14? Did you lie on your application form?

Bonnie: No, I didn't. They just said, "If you smile like that, we'll take you on."

Phil:    There you go.

Bonnie: Yeah. I was still at high school, obviously. Mum made us pay board from that age, because they changed our study rules.

Phil:    Yeah.

Bonnie: It used to go to the parents, and then it went to the kids, and we had to just give it back to mum, so I worked as well so I'd have some money. Yeah, I've just always worked, and not particularly getting a lot of money when I was first in London. As I say, I ate at work and tips for smokes.

Phil:    I got paid like, I worked at a bar in late '90s, sort of mid, late '90s. I remember seeing about like, three pounds 50 an hour.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    A pint of beer was like, two pound 80. I always had nothing.

Bonnie: Yeah. Oh, you were buying your beer at the wrong pub. You want to go to the Wetherspoons. It's like a pound.

Phil:    I wasn’t buying my beer.

Bonnie: Oh, okay. Yeah. Yeah, but it was 3.25 or something, I was on. I was only part-time. I was getting 75 pounds a week.

Phil:    Okay.

Bonnie: I was paying 35 pounds a week for my room.

Phil:    Mm-hmm.

Bonnie: The travel card was, I don't know. 16 pounds, or something. It wasn't a lot. I had 10 pounds on a Friday night for a few beers and a packet of cigarettes.

Phil:    That was enough. That's all you need. Now you're three properties in, plus principle place of residence, doing well. Got a plan. On a trajectory. Got a goal for retirement, which is some way away, but it's good to be thinking about it. Would you do anything differently if you had your time again, other than starting earlier?

Bonnie: Yeah. I don't know. I've actually found it quite exciting doing it this way. I think what I'd really like is to not be embarrassed about it.

Phil:    Why are you embarrassed about it?

Bonnie: Well, just how I've been brought up. You don't want to be bragging about having money, and stuff.

Phil:    That's cool.

Bonnie: Colin's attitude's so different. He wants to tell everyone.

Phil:    Mm-hmm.

Bonnie: I'm sort of like, "No, I don't want everyone to know that we're buying all these properties, and ...

Phil:    It is what it is, though. I have mates who are similar. Married couples, and stuff. Some of them are like, "Don't say anything." It's okay to be successful. The thing is though, is that what I like about people sharing their property investment story, like you're doing right now, is that if we could stop, or help people stop making some horrible mistakes that you hear all the time, I think we're doing our job really well.

Bonnie: Yeah.

Phil:    A lot of people get this wrong, and it doesn't need to be that hard, investing in property, but people over-complicate it and overthink it, or get the wrong advice, and spend their money not as wisely as what they can. I think that's why we do the Smart Property Investment Show. Just to chat about property and hopefully help people out. Sounds like it's worked for you.

Bonnie: Yeah, yeah.

Phil:    Which is cool. Yeah, I have to wind up and getting Adam is sort of getting a bit edgy here, here and nodding… That's cool, Bonnie. Thanks for that. Enjoyed the story.

Bonnie: No worries.

Phil:    Yeah. Thanks for coming on, and-

Bonnie: Thanks for having me.

Phil:    Would you recommend other people to come on this show?

Bonnie: Oh, yeah.

Phil:    It's not too hard?

Bonnie: Absolutely. I was a bit nervous, but yeah. I got through.

Phil: Yeah. No, it's good. We try and keep these things pretty relaxed. If you'd like to come on, do what Bonnie did. Just email [email protected], and the team will get back to you and arrange a time to bring you in and have a chat about your story. I think you can testify this is not scripted at all. It's just a chat. See where it goes. That's the way we like to do it. I like to learn on the job, as well. Yeah, check it out. If you are into social media, and that's the way you like to get your stuff, search for Smart Property HQ. You'll track us down. Please keep those reviews coming on iTunes. We do appreciate it. As I mentioned beforehand, it's just not me sort of chatting behind a microphone. There's a lot of people here, including Adam, who's here today doing all the production stuff around this, and getting it out to the market. Get involved, get connected, join a community. Look, if we can help you make more informed investment decisions, that makes me happy. We'll be back again next time. Until then, bye-bye.

Announcer: The information featured in this Podcast is general in nature, and does not take into consideration your financial situation or individual needs, and should not be relied upon. Before making any investment, insurance, tax, property, or financial planning decision, you should consult a licenced professional who can advise whether your decision is appropriate for you. Guests appearing on this Podcast may have a commercial relationship with the companies mentioned.


3 properties in less than 12 months, here’s how she did it
Bonnie Cresswell, investor
spi logo

Subscribe to get the latest news and updates - join a community of over 80,000 property investors.

Check this box to receive podcast updates

From the web

Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.