ABOUT MOIRA MCLEAN
- Occupation: Owner of a TV commercial production business and TV presenter
- Age: 50ish
- Family: Liam, 19
- Began investing in residential property (year): 2005
- Property portfolio value (including principal place of residence): Approx $1.8 million
- Number of houses you own (including principal place of residence): 3
Moira McLean owns her own home in Sydney’s Northern Beaches and two investment properties, both in Queensland. While she is a cautious investor, she is committed to providing for her financial future and helping her son.
Moira’s father has always had in an interest in the stock market and built up a portfolio of shares. When Moira was starting out, she decided to have a go at investing in shares but she soon realised that it didn’t interest her and she didn’t make any money.
At 22-years-old, she bought a small one bedroom flat in Sydney’s Meadowbank, 15 kilometres west of the CBD. The value of that flat doubled in just five years. In 1989, she sold it to buy a house with her then partner in Lane Cove. In 1994, after again experiencing excellent capital growth, they sold that house to buy one close to the beach.
Moira’s first experience in residential property investment was in 2000, when she and her partner invested in a townhouse in the upmarket Melbourne suburb of Brighton, which they bought off the plan. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a positive experience. Being in Brighton, it cost a lot of money to buy, there were long delays in the building, and then it took a long time to find the right tenants who could afford to pay the rent. It became too much of a financial strain and they sold it two years later.
In that same year, Moira and her partner sold their home and went their separate ways. Moira says, “Being on my own again was a wakeup call. I realised I had to do my bit to look after my son and myself now that I was one, not part of two.” Fortunately, their home had doubled in value in just six years so she was able to buy a family home for Liam and herself in a nearby suburb.
Around this time, Moira was working with Michael Quinn on Bert Newton’s ‘Good Morning Australia’ TV program where she met John Fitzgerald.
After GMA ended Moira ramped up her business and started working on John’s infomercials. Listening to John’s wealth building principles, Michael had his own wakeup call and Moira watched as Michael went from owning his small flat and a motorbike to buying a million dollar
IF I’D KNOWN HOW EASY IT COULD BE I WOULD HAVE DONE IT MUCH SOONER.
home on the North Shore and rapidly building a property portfolio. He even left his lucrative TV job to work for Custodian. Moira reflected that she was managing her finances well on her own and, “If Quinny can do it, so can I.” In 2005, Moira used the equity in her home to buy her first investment property in Ormeau, south of Brisbane. “It was daunting at the beginning but once the property was built and tenanted, the rent started coming in and it was very manageable. If I’d known how easy it could be I would have done it much sooner, I really didn’t notice any impact on my cash flow. “ “Quinny and John were encouraging me to duplicate, but I’m a cautious investor and I wasn’t ready. By the time I was, John challenged me to stretch myself a bit further so I did.
I bought my second investment property in 2009 in Pacific Pines on the Gold Coast. When I bought it I borrowed the maximum amount to take full advantage of the tax benefits. It was also at a time when the economy was still feeling the effects of the GFC and I certainly had some worrying moments with my cash flow. My production business is dependent on people advertising and that’s the first thing to be cut back in an economic downturn. Fortunately for the last 12 months clients are becoming more positive about their advertising plans and now the work is really picking up,” explains Moira.
Moira considers her best moment as buying her first investment property. Even though she knew she wasn’t supposed to get ‘emotionally attached’ to the house, she enjoyed inspecting it and felt proud that she had taken a positive first step toward rebuilding her wealth and securing her financial future.
Her worse moment was in 2009.
There were a couple of weeks where she didn’t have tenants in either property, she was concerned about the GFC, and her business was in a slump. However, determined to stay in control of her finances, she stepped back and worked out her options if things became too tight.
Moira aims to be financially secure, to help out her son, and to afford a fun and adventurous lifestyle. On a more personal note, she strives to be a good person, daughter, sister, mother, and friend. She is also planning to downsize and buy a house closer to the beach. “I’ve reached a new chapter in my life with my son finishing school and going to university. When he was young, I felt it was important to provide a family style home for him – with room to play, a garden and a pool.
But now that he’s older, I’ll change to something smaller, better located, and lower maintenance. He’ll always have a bedroom but it’s time to focus on what I want –and I’m sure he’ll enjoy it too,” she explains.
MANAGING CASH FLOW
Moira laughs at the idea of offering advice on managing cash flow. “I’m no expert but I have drawn up a chart of all my incomings and outgoings each month. What I’ve learnt is to expect the unexpected. There’s always some small maintenance thing that needs to be paid for. It might only be $300–400 but that comes out of the rent and all of a sudden you have a short fall. I don’t have extra borrowings I can draw on but I have put aside about $2,000 in an offset account for each property which I can draw on if I need to.”
“If you’re planning for the future, investing in residential property is the ideal way to go,” advises Moira.
“I’ve seen so many friends and family lose a lot of money through the stock market. Property is nice and steady and reliable.” Moira also makes the point that it takes a long time to save $100,000 – a lot longer than it does than through investing in property, which is something she experienced firsthand.
“It’s a solid, consistent way to make a decent amount of money in a relatively short amount of time,” she enthuses.
“I like investing in property because it has a track record as a stable and consistent performer. You can look back over the records and see that property doubles in value every 10 years. There’s also not much that can go wrong – if you buy the right type of course,” she adds.
Moira has interviewed Custodian clients for the past eight years as infomercials which has put her in a unique position. “I’ve interviewed hundreds of Custodians and listened to their stories. I’ve been to their homes – and even to their new dream homes. I know their stories are real and their wealth building is working,” she explains. “I’ve also worked my way through John’s program Untold Wealth: Success from Scratch and I often refer back to it. My wealth building journey has made me more mature and I am a stronger person. I’m better able to deal with personal difficulties and I’ve taken control of my finances. When things get shaky, I talk to family and friends or to Quinny and John. I’m not afraid to ask for help, advice, or moral support.” She has also learnt to say ‘no’ when she gets invitations to costly entertainment or holidays if they don’t fit into her budget. “I just say, no, I’m not going to spend $200 to go to that concert with you or no, I’m not going to Bali with you for the holidays. I’m going camping on the New South Wales coast instead.” She explains, “I’m a wealth builder.” Moira has been educating her son about property. While still a teenager, he is aware of what Moira is doing and he’s intrigued, “When Liam sees a picture of a new property, he says: ‘Cool, we own that.’ And I let him know how the values are going, so he gets a feel of what property can do”.
Moira is also committed to her charity work. She makes regular donations to the Variety Club that supports children in need and every year she hosts Variety Club’s Christmas party for up to 5000 special needs children at Sydney’s Darling Harbour.
I like investing in property because it has a track record as a stable and consistent performer.
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