Custodian Millionaire Case Study: Steve & Kerry Bishop


  • Occupations:
    • Steve: Mining Equipment Operator / Trainer
    • Kerry: Mining Equipment Operator
  • Age: 52 & 55
  • Family: 3 adult daughters & 4 grandchildren
  • Began investing in residential property: 1999
  • Property portfolio value (including principal place of residence): $4.1 million
  • Number of houses you own (including principal place of residence): 7 houses plus a vacant block of land

Steve and Kerry Bishop own seven investment properties. They recently sold their family home in Maitland, NSW and are renting while their dream home is being built on the shores of Lake Macquarie.

When Steve and Kerry met in 1988, they had no assets, except for a small amount of money from the sale of Kerry’s previous home. It was difficult to re-establish themselves having only a small deposit and with interest rates at 18.5 per cent. They eventually found a house they could afford and over time they made many improvements as well as paid off their mortgage.

“Kerry and I both work in the coal industry. I worked full time and had a good income. Kerry also worked part time,” Steve explains. Kerry adds, “The mining industry offers a lot of opportunities. I was able to earn good money part time while raising the girls and keeping house. It also meant Steve could do shift work and maximise his earnings.” In 1998, after their daughters grew up and left home, they sold that home and built what they thought would be their dream retirement home and again concentrated on paying down the mortgage. heard John speak, met a consultant, decided to finish the workbook and ‘put a toe in the water’.

When Steve and Kerry were in their 40s, they realised they needed to start investing for their future, even though retirement felt a long way off. They looked around at what other people were doing and their accountant set them up with a portfolio of shares.

However, Steve says, “They were doing nothing fast. We realised shares weren’t going to help us get the capital growth we needed to change our lives.” In 2005, they used some of the equity in their home to fund the deposit for their first Custodian investment property in Brisbane. They also bought another investment property in Maitland for Steve’s parents to live in. Steve and Kerry went on to buy their second Custodian property in 2006 in Brisbane, and in 2007, their third Custodian property in Melbourne. They initially financed their properties using some of the equity in their home and then leveraged off the increased equity in their earlier investment property for their third. They also invested in Custodian’s Truganina land syndicate which matures soon.

In 1999, Steve and Kerry bought their first property investment with Defence Housing Australia which Steve describes as ‘a very safe introduction’.

In 2001, they invested in a residential property syndicate but when it came to seeing their investment returns, Kerry had to actively pursue their money. Three months after they got it, the company collapsed. The Bishops used that money to pay down their mortgage.

Around this time, Steve and Kerry saw one of John Fitzgerald’s TV infomercials for his Untold Wealth: Success from Scratch workbook and they decided to give it a try. After working half way through it, they attended one of John’s seminars. In 2008, the Australian Government changed the laws governing self managed superannuation funds so that it was possible to invest in residential property so Steve and Kerry set up their own fund. Steve says, “I think everyone should have one, even if they just use it as somewhere safe to park their money when the stock market crashes.” Steve and Kerry are committed to property investment. It has proven to be a stable asset class that has doubled in value every 7–10 years – without the wild fluctuations of the stock market.

They are always reading about property and talking to other property investors about their ideas and experiences. They try to attend as many Custodian functions as possible especially where John Fitzgerald is speaking.


View from Steve and Kerry Bishop’s soon to be completed dream home on the shores of Lake Macquarie, NSW.

The best investment decision the Bishops have made was to put their self doubt behind them, trust in their own judgement and ‘step off that cliff’ to start investing in residential property. They have been able to successfully build their portfolio by staying focused and disciplined. It is important not to get ahead of yourself and over commit. The Bishops believe in sacrificing up front. They have forgone overseas holidays, new cars etcetera in the short term to secure their financial future.

Kerry explains, “We work in an industry where people live in the moment and spend to the minute – it’s all about new cars, holidays, new houses and furniture. It’s hard to watch while we sit at home being conservative but we know we can enjoy our later years. We know of people who retire and then three months later they’re back working on contract because they don’t have the income.” The Bishops’ investment advice is simple: stop procrastinating and plan your cash flow meticulously.

“Investing in real estate has given us choices,” says Kerry. “We won’t be ‘retiring’, just changing direction.

We’re really looking forward to it.” They also have some big holiday plans.

Kerry says, “Our dream holiday is to go to Canada. We also want to go to Italy to learn the language and to cook Italian cuisine.” Steve and Kerry’s journey has also been a positive influence on their daughters. One daughter and her husband have their own home and three investment properties so far and another one is about to take up the challenge.


Custodian Reviews – Read more success stories from average individuals who rose above the average!

*extract from Custodian Millionaire Case Studies magazine printed in 2012.

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