It is a truly remarkable success story, one that is becoming more common for Graeme Holm and his clients. Megan Andrews, 32, and Jeremy Craig, 37 of Penrith, returned home after a lavish trip overseas and wedding in South Africa with a pile of bills amounting to $37,000. They had traveled to multiple countries and spent – at their own admission – very wastefully, and they couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, and especially couldn’t imagine owning their own home.
In just three years, Megan and Jeremy were to turn things around, and they now own six homes, worth more than $1.5million.
Their earlier debt problems are not unlike many young couples’. Graeme meets with many young clients who haven’t managed to save for their homes or their futures. “A lot of people struggle with that today because we live in a society of instant gratification and no one wants to put money aside.”
For Megan and Jeremy, they needed to start by paying off their debt. “We had to get rid of all our wasteful expenditure,” Jeremy said. “A lot of our money was going to things we didn’t need.”
Graeme helped them set up a strict monthly budget and savings plan, which is one of the first steps that Infinity Group does with all clients. Without this in place, money will continue to be spent, and not saved. “All it takes is old fashioned budgeting. You’ve got to go back to basics, save hard, and delay gratification a bit,” says Graeme.
Next, Megan and Jeremy decided that instead of searching for their “dream home” they would find somewhere that would work as an investment and income earner. As soon as they paid off their debts, using their savings and budget plan, Megan and Jeremy then had a bit of help from his parents, and bought a small home in Ipswich in Southeast Queensland, and another in Toowoomba soon after. Both of the homes were about $420,000, but they were dual occupancy and could house two sets of tenants. So it was the same as buying four homes for the price of two, which meant double the rental income.
They also saved on their own accommodation by building a granny flat on Jeremy’s parents property. They just recently purchased another home, with 2 residences, in Redbank that earns an additional $600 per week.
They now have six homes, earning an average of $80,000 per year in rental income.
The strategy of saving and purchasing investment properties rather than a permanent home, made the whole idea of buying in the Aussie housing market considerably easier, the couple said. “We were stuck in an old mentality. You work hard and eventually you pay off a house,” Megan said. “We’re not doing that anymore and the way we did it was so much easier than we expected.”