Custodian Millionaire Case Study: Dr James Walsh- Buckley


  • Occupation:  Dentist
  • Age: 84
  • Began investing in residential property (year): Approx. 1960
  • Property portfolio value (including principal place of residence): Approx $8 million
  • Number of houses you own (including principal place of residence): 10 James Walsh

Buckley was 72 years of age when he first met John Fitzgerald and started investing with Custodian. Now aged 84, this remarkable man lives and invests according to a very simple creed: In the absence of clearly defined goals, we are forced to concentrate on activity, eventually becoming enslaved by this activity. 

When talking with Dr James Walsh- Buckley, you get the impression that age is no barrier for this man. On the contrary, he appears to have more energy and drive than many people half his age, continuing to work three to five days a week in his dental surgery and training at least once a week to maintain his black belt karate status.

James preserves his youthful zest for life by having a positive attitude and continuing to create and pursue goals with unswerving resolve. He believes that having goals is the key to living well, being happy and staying vibrant.  It is also an attitude he has striven to instill in his four sons.

“There’s a quotation well worth remembering,” says James. “In the absence of clearly defined goals we are forced to concentrate on activity, eventually becoming enslaved by this activity’.

He believes that if you fail to set goals throughout life, you find yourself, “running around like a fowl with its head cut off. There’s a lot of action but you’re getting nowhere and achieving very little, so goals are most important.”

He adds, “I focus on working toward my goals. I still work at the surgery and have no intention of retiring. I’m very fit and well. I can still pistol shoot accurately. As long as I have continued health and a steady hand I’m more than happy.”

When it comes to his property investment career, James is the first to admit that he’s made some costly mistakes.

He describes his investment ventures prior to Custodian as a ‘tale of woe’, that commenced many years back when he lived in England. James says the purchase and subsequent sale of a house in the exclusive London borough of Wimbledon has been his most expensive error to date.

“Going back about 40 or 50 years, I bought that property for around £11,000, then sold it soon after for £25,000. A girl we know who works in real estate over in England came to Australia recently to look me up and told me that same property had been listed for £5 million, but £6 million would secure it!”

Upon returning to Australia, James still subscribed to the theory that to get rich from real estate, you should buy something, sell it for a profit and then take the capital gain to move on to the next venture, repeating the same process.

He tells of another lesson learnt the hard way with a property purchased in well known Victorian resort town of Lakes Entrance in East Gippsland.  Approximately 20 years ago, James paid $85,000 for a house whichboasted Lake Frontage and its own private jetty. He sold it a few years later for $135,000, thinking he had made an excellent return on his initial outlay. It’s now worth at least $1.5million, perhaps approaching the $2 million mark,” James says.

As if that wasn’t enough of a dent in James’ investment endeavours, he confesses two further lapses in judgement that saw him forego a potential windfall.

“I had several properties in Loch Sport (Gippsland coastal town), that I bought for about $3000 and then sold for perhaps $10,000. They’re now worth around $56,000 to $60,000.”

A staggering $5 million was sacrificed when James secured 25 acres of prime vacant land on the Murray River in the historic Victorian port of Echuca.

“I bought the 25 acres for $5000 and sold the lot to Elders (Real Estate) for $25,000, so $1000 an acre, making what I thought was a decent $20,000 profit. They cut it up into building blocks; approximately four per acre and sold each one for $50,000 to $60,000.”

Rather than wallowing in self pity or regret however, James maintains a sense of humour and that ever present positive mindset with regard to his inventory of property faux pas.

He laughs as he willingly imparts his story and explains, “I was creeping along on the right track, but just wasn’t doing it properly.”

James says that upon learning of the massive opportunity he sacrificed in Echuca that someone else was fated to make millions from; he had to rethink his flawed strategy.

“I thought to keep properties you had to live off the smell of an oily rag and I wasn’t prepared to do that. I had no idea how to be taught because I wasn’t getting the true value from my earning potential.

“I found it damn difficult going it on my own because I had the wrong formula; I didn’t have a clue. I was buying these properties outright, then hanging on and selling for a profit so I could buy another one outright with the capital gains I made. Quite obviously that wasn’t the way to go.  I simply didn’t know enough; I didn’t know about the taxation aspects and compound growth.”

James has always favoured property over shares as he is, “happy to see bricks and mortar,” and wanted to, “stick with” what he knew. However he didn’t just want to make money for money’s sake. More importantly, he wanted to set an example for his children; to impart the lessons he had learnt and teach them the correct approach to investing in property to build wealth.

Although all four of his sons are successful in their own right, James has always been determined to edify them in the ways of wealth creation. For him, property is, “a future lifestyle and investment for the children. It’s important to build wealth for them and for their children.”

“I want to correct my mistakes, because I want to teach my kids the right way to build wealth.”

John Fitzgerald says the Custodian investor must be positive, responsible and proactive. The fact that James, at 72 years of age, was willing to embrace Custodian’s investment formula in order to create a lasting legacy for his family illustrates that he possesses these three characteristics in spades.

James says he remembers reading about Custodian in the paper and decided to attend one of the seminars.  He says, “Listening to John, I was fascinated by the way he portrayed to the audience how he genuinely wanted them to get involved in wealth building and I thought, that fellow really means it. That’s why I delved deeper and got involved – merely because of John’s sincerity.”

A little over a decade on and James has used the Custodian blueprint to accumulate, and more importantly hand on to, ten properties, for which he initially outlaid approximately $2 million in total. He estimates that his portfolio, which includes homes in Melbourne and Brisbane, is now worth somewhere in the vicinity of $8 million.

Not content to rest on his laurels, James says he intends to continue working with Custodian to invest in further properties. “Now that I have the formula down ten properties is not enough for me. The only thing that’s slowed me up at the present time is one of my sons,” explains James.

He proudly lists each of his offspring’s achievements; a barrister, a forensic scientist, a builder who is ‘right into property investment’ and the fourth son (whom James is helping out financially as he makes his way though a law degree at Bond University) has a Masters in Business Construction and Project Management.

James is more than willing to help his sons strive for and attain their goals, particularly as they have always shown a great deal of ambition.  Obviously, as the old adage goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Walsh-Buckley family.

All of James’ boys have been inspired by their father’s journey and have inherited his keen interest in real estate.

“Two of my sons have multiple properties, the one who’s a builder has a young family and plans to get into property investment and Cameron who is studying at Bond is well and truly going to go for it; that’s his ambition and that’s why he’s doing law now,’ James asserts.

He continues, “The barrister has started investing in real estate and the forensic scientist is away too.  They’ve all gone out on their own, but they will get around to investing with Custodian, because I told them they should.”

Upon observing his recent success, James’ brother-in-law has also become a Custodian client. He currently owns eight properties and regularly attends Custodian seminars.
James says, “I’m very pleased that I’ve been able to share the Custodian formulaa with other people. I just hope my sons will continue investing in property using that formula while they’re young.”

As for his own goals, this vibrant man who lives every day with purpose and resolve declares, “Very simply I want to have 30 or 40 properties and follow in John Fitzgerald’s footsteps, because I respect and admire him. That’s the reason I got in touch with him in thefirst place; I wanted a lot of property, he’d managed to achieve that goal and I wanted to know how.” Although James has no intention of retiring from his day job as long as he remains in good health and has the ability to practice, he already has a plan of attack when it comes to crystallising the value of his portfolio one day in the future.“I’ll definitely try not to sell – that’s number one and ill seek advice from a financial planner who understands property. But really, I love my work and don’t intend to stop any time soon and ill continue to build my portfolio.”

James is a true inspiration in so many ways. He proves that age is no barrier, particularly when you focus on your goals and the road to reach them, rather than the ticking of time.

He keeps his mind in the game by continuing in his career as a respected Melbourne dentist and now as a successful Custodian property investor and his body fit by steadfastly practicing martial arts and exercising every day.

James earned his black belt in karate from a Japanese master whom he met in 1970 and trained with for 35 years.  He credits the sport with helping him to sustain the positive mindset that has allowed him to overcome the investment mistakes of the past and find success at a time when many would have well and truly settles into retirement.

Of course behind (or in James’ case- right beside) every successful man is a strong, supportive woman. James and his wife Gaye have been married for 35 years and he credits her with keeping him young.

“I met her as a dental nurse and we still work together to this day,” says James. “She’s 23 years younger than me and keeps me active! Gaye is right behind everything I do one hundred per cent and she goes to many business meetings with me.”

“Otherwise you’d get lost!” Gaye interjects in the background. James has many words of wisdom to impart and an outlook on life that anyone would benefit from adopting. If one sentiment was to sum up this remarkable man, it would be James’ own pearl of wisdom that he shares with a smile; “You are as young as your self confidence, as old as you fear, as young as your visions of hope and as old as your despair. Simple as that – so you don’t want to fear nor despair.”

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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