- Occupations: Creative Director
- Age: 45
- Family: One Teenage Son
- Began investing in residential property (year): 2004
- Property portfolio value (including principal place of residence): Approx $2.85 million
- Number of houses you own (including principal place of residence): 6
Jacqui Thomas owns her own home in a beachside suburb of Melbourne, five investment properties and a share portfolio. She recently sold her business and after a short ‘temporary retirement’, she has embarked on an exciting new business venture.
In 1988, Jacqui Thomas set up her own graphic design and branding business. She was a sole trader until 1994 when she employed her first staff member. At the time, Jacqui was six months pregnant with her son and she says, “I had no idea how I would keep the business running being a new mum.”
In 1996, after Jacqui separated from her husband, she realised it was either life as a full time mum on a sole parent pension or build up her business to create a future for herself and her son. “It was an easy choice really!” laughs Jacqui.
By 2000, Jacqui bought her current home, employed four staff, and had several blue chip Australian companies as clients. She started investing in shares. At first she invested in the companies she was working for and took part in a couple of share floats. She also sought advice from other people who were investing in shares as well. As her interest in shares and her portfolio grew, Jacqui decided it would become a way of saving for her son’s private secondary school education.
Jacqui continued to build her business, employing nine staff and expanding the range of services she offered clients and increased her client base. Around this time, her accountant advised her to invest in property as a way to be more productive with the tax she was paying, make her money work harder, and provide a second future income stream.
MY BEST INVESTMENT DECISION WAS TO STOP OVERANALYSING AND START INVESTING – AND EMPLOYING A SENSATIONAL ACCOUNTANT WHO ENCOURAGES ME AND UNDERSTANDS WHAT I’M DOING.
At first, Jacqui went to a lot of property seminars but she came across some questionable people and wealth building attitudes. Then a friend of Jacqui’s bought a property through Custodian.
Jacqui did her research but sat on it for ten months. In the end, she decided she would give investing in property with Custodian a go. Her understanding of shares and the stock market is limited and she wanted to diversify her investment portfolio.
In 2004, Jacqui bought her first two investment properties – in Pimpama and Bracken Ridge in Brisbane. She used cash savings to fund the deposits for both properties and she has a line of credit against her own home.
“The experience was very easy and that surprised me. I used Investloan and they were very good at answering my questions. I’m financially very conservative and I don’t like debt but I started to understand the difference between serviceable and unserviceable debt,” explains Jacqui.
THE EXPERIENCE WAS VERY EASY AND THAT SURPRISED ME.
In 2006 Jacqui bought her third and fourth properties, again in Queensland. She had a similar positive experience although it took a while to secure tenants for one of the properties. In 2007, Jacqui bought her fifth property in Deer Park, Melbourne.
Jacqui likes property as an asset class because, “It’s provided me with an alternative channel of investment to complement my business and other investments. It appears to be easier to understand than shares and it’s not something that needs to be watched on a daily basis.”
She regards the best moments in her wealth building journey as building a successful business and when she paid off the mortgage on her home five years ago. Her worse times have been dealing with bad tenants, property damage, and a poorly performing real estate agent for her Deer Park property. She also received a $2500 water bill as a result of a broken water pipe. However, she accepts that it is part of investing in property and she had insurance as well as a line of credit to help her through those times.
Jacqui says, “My best investment decision was to stop overanalysing and start investing – and employing a sensational accountant who encourages me and understands what I’m doing.”
Jacqui’s financial goals have been to provide a secure foundation for her retirement as well as to fund her son’s education and provide him with financial security if anything happens to her. While Jacqui is going through a period of re-evaluation since selling her business, she says, “If nothing goes horribly wrong, it appears I will have a comfortable self-funded retirement.”
Personally, she would like to indulge in some luxury travel and have the freedom to make choices. Jacqui also plans to undertake a big renovation of her home and not work full time. She aims to strike the right balance between work, fitness, and socialising.
MANAGING CASH FLOW
Jacqui has a line of credit against her home that she uses as an operating account for rents, loan repayments, and property costs. She advises new investors to be aware that the loan interest paid during a house construction is not immediately tax deductible. It can only be claimed when the house is sold in the future.
“Make sure you have the cash flow to cover it during the 28 week construction period,” she says.
When it comes to investment advice, Jacqui says, “Do lots of research until you’re your decision then act as soon as you can. Expect a few surprises along the way. Even though you don’t have to monitor things closely, it does pay to do it, especially when you have multiple properties. For example, making sure you’re getting the best interest rate across all your loans. Every three months I check with my bank manager to keep up to date.”
“You can’t help learning along the way because from the moment you start to build wealth, you have a vested interest, you talk with others, you watch, you learn and naturally want to learn more,” says Jacqui.
Her motivation for reaching her goals and maintain the right mind set is her love of leading a well balanced life. She says it is important to go through dynamic periods complemented by periods of rest, reflection and forward planning.
The combination of Jacqui’s successful business and her wealth building has meant that at the moment, she doesn’t need to work. She can take a break and reassess her options.
However, after losing her passion for the design industry and its processes as well as the demands of running her own business for 21 years, it didn’t take long for Jacqui to embark on a new venture. With her ex creative director as a business partner, Jacqui has become a hunter and gatherer of Australian contemporary designers and design. Her new online venture, sooperdesign.com.au, is an online store offering design inspiration and products of excellence and innovation from Australian designers.
I’m financially very conservative and I don’t like debt but I started to understand the difference between serviceable and unserviceable debt.
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