This Friday we celebrate International Women's Day and the theme this year is BALANCE FOR BETTER.
What a great theme. Us ladies are the queens of balance. We are always in some kind of balancing act. Family, careers, investments, house work (I’m finding a better balance here), financial planning, sporting commitments, staying healthy and making sure everyone around us is ok.
As women today, we are responsible for our own financial freedom but also we are role models to our children, teaching them the concept of being entrepreneurial and to invest early. Unfortunately, this is still not taught very well in school.
I wish I'd learnt to be an entrepreneur at school and wished I'd started on my property investment journey earlier than I did. I now clearly understand that time in the market is such a valuable thing. Property investing is not a short term investment, although you can make some relatively quick gains by using development strategies to add value, by holding you avoid the exit costs. If you hold property for the longer term - ten years plus, you really see the results.
The start of my investment property journey coincides with the birth of my first son. He's turning eightteen this year so it's easy to remember when I started to invest. My then husband and I had purchased the family home a good time before this and reaped the rewards of capital growth that a beach side suburb bought.
But it was my will to make it all happen that started our investment portfolio. I wanted to plan for the future now we had a child on the way and I didn't want to depend on a pension in retirement like my parents had to.
When I was pregnant and after reading the famous book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kyosaki, I embarked on an intense property investment course because I wanted to become financially and property literate. I wanted to learn as much as I could so that I could make wise investment decisions rather than trust others with our money. I did this on my weekends and at night whilst I worked full time.
Just before my first son was born after much due diligence, I took a risk and purchased an off the plan property. Not long afterwards, it was completed and made me over $150,000 in less than a year and so my property investment journey began on a high note. I went on to buy, hold and add value to five more properties before my son turned five.
Whilst investing and being a mum, I found a way not to return to the grueling corporate world by establishing my property development project management business; Property Bloom. Now that was a balancing act.
Over the years we've developed hundreds of properties for our clients.
By the time my second son arrived, my business was established and I was doing what I loved. I made my own balance. Initially, property developing was the domain of mostly men, but it’s more balanced now. I have lots of colleagues and know of many women making a great career in development.
Working in my own business gave me the flexibility to be with my kids when I needed and wanted to and to attend the school assemblies, special presentations and coach their soccer teams. It bought balance to our family.
For me BALANCE FOR BETTER means that I am in a great place doing what I love for wonderful people that appreciate the guidance we can give through the property development process. It also means having choices.
in 2019, we can all continue to play a critical role in helping forge a more gender-balanced world as we work towards a #BalanceforBetter.
One thing that drove me on my journey and to keep working whilst raising my kids was the thought of taking time off work which would leave me financially dependent on my husband not only during that period but also into my retirement. There would be no contributions made during this time to my superannuation and how could I keep investing in property if I had no income?
Did you know that there is still a big imbalance in women’s superannuation? Women currently retire with nearly half (47%) less super than men (source: Industry Super Funds)
For the average Australian woman's super fund, that is roughly $85,000 less.
This means that women (particularly single women) are at a much higher risk of poverty, housing stress and homelessness in retirement.
We are also still seeing an imbalance in the gender pay gap, according to the Australian Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency:
- Full time average weekly earnings for women are 14.1% less than men’s
- The gap is highest in WA at 23.1% and lowest in Victoria at 9.3%
We all have a lot of work to do to build up our super but women in particular are on the back foot because of the pay gap and because women tend to be the primary caregivers for their children. We also tend to care for our aged parents which may limit our earning capacity at that time as well.
So what can we do? Start with asking your boss for a raise, whilst that may not get you that much more super now, it may give you more serviceability to borrow. By leverage our incomes we can buy more property to hold and use to help support our retirements. Don't forget to look for property that you can add value to by using smart development strategies.
Finally, BALANCE FOR BETTER is all about building a gender balanced world, one step at a time and we can all play a part in this. Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.