By Claire Yew
My early retirement plan led me to be financially independent at the age of 40, but at the age of 30, retirement planning was not even on my mind! My career was going well, and I was enjoying my life.
One day, my friend told me about his plan to work very hard to retire at age of 45. That really struck a chord, as that prompted me to ask myself “What is my retirement plan”?
As I delved into it, I found that the amount that I would get from the mandatory government pension retirement scheme was pittance. I wanted to be able to retire with a comfortable life and to be able to travel as well. My worse fear of retirement is to have to depend on my family or my future children to support me in my old age. So, I started looking at various ways and schemes to achieve my retirement goals.
One of the schemes sounded quite attractive – until I figured out how it worked. In this scheme, if you saved £1000 a month, for 10 years, on the 13th year onwards you will get £1000 a month for the rest of your life. It sounded very good to me, but I was curious how worked. Then, I figured out that if you saved £1000 a month x 12 months, that meant a savings of £12,000 a year. And if you do that for 10 years, that would mean a grand sum of £120,000. Now, at this stage if you invest and get a 10% returns a year, this would mean £12,000/ year which would work out to £1000 a month!
The catch with this scheme is that you do not get any interest for the first 13 years of your savings, plus, you cannot miss any instalments. Also, £1000 was a large portion of my salary, which means I would have to live on a very tight budget for the next 10 years of my life, but in 20 or 30 years time, with inflation, £1000 a month will not even be worth the £1000 today. Hence, I kept looking at other ways that I can best achieve my retirement goals.
Finally, I figured out if I buy a property with a repayment mortgage for 25 years, and rent it out to pay the mortgage when my mortgage would be paid off by 25 years of rental income, the property could easily be worth 50% higher. When that happens, that would mean my £40,000 investment has is now worth £300,000 – 750% returns on my investment. Not only that, but my rental income would also rise steadily in line with inflation. I will have a property that is fully paid for that I can live in rent free. And if I manage to buy a few more of these, the rent from these properties will be enough to cover my living and travel expenses.
One of the main benefits of property investment is not only the ability to leverage with a mortgage, but also very importantly, safeguarding against inflation. For instance, I can leverage with a mortgage to buy a £200,000 property with only a 20% deposit (£40,000). This is something that you cannot do with other forms of investment like shares, funds or even gold. Because if you want to buy £50k worth of shares, you need to have £50k in cash.
With that in mind, and with the savings I had, I bought a few properties at 10% deposit. The property market was stagnant at that time. I did my research to find out which type of properties would meet my rental requirement, which is for the rent to cover the monthly mortgage.
Life is a box of chocolates; you never know what you are going to get! Shortly after buying all the properties that I can with my savings, I relocated to the UK to start a family. Before I could manage to find a job, I got pregnant, and decided to be a full-time mum. While at home, I looked into property investing in UK, learned about it. Coincidentally, the prices of the properties which I bought in Malaysia earlier had risen considerably, and I sold each one of them. Because of the unique power of leveraging with a mortgage, I had a 500% returns on my investment, which enabled me to purchase a property in London for every property that I sold in Malaysia.
“I am so passionate about encouraging people, especially women, to start planning and investing wisely from as early as possible”.
In the UK, there are interest-only mortgages, so every month, I get a net profit (after paying off my interest only mortgage & other expenses), so that would make my income while enjoying the privilege of being a stay-at-home mum. Once again, when I bought it, I just calculated based on rental income, but again the property prices started rising in the UK, hence I was able to re-mortgage the properties to pull out additional funds which I used as a deposit for more properties. Currently, my net profit from my property investment business would easily match what I would be paid for if I had a full-time job.
I’m ever so grateful to my friend who gave me the idea to start planning my retirement early, because none of this would be possible if I didn’t start to plan my retirement at the age of 30. Which is why I am so passionate about encouraging people, especially women to start planning and investing wisely from as early as possible. Even if you have a small budget, if you start early enough, and save up for a deposit for even one small investment property every 2 years, in 10 years you would have 5 and 20 years 10!
What is your retirement plan?
Claire Yew is a Malaysian born, 44 year old property investor with a degree in Veterinary Medicine, and a Masters in Business Administration.
After relocating to London in 2010 after the she got married and welcomed her 2 children, she decided to be a full-time mum, and started investing in properties to let.
As the founder of the Golden Property Group and a growing portfolio, and success, Claire extended her business ventures into property development. She is on a mission to help professionals, especially women, to grow and develop their source of passive income to achieve financial independence by connecting them to exclusive off-market passive investment opportunities.