I am a boat builder. I trained in New Zealand in 1975 as an apprentice. My wage was $22 per week.
After a couple of yrs of my apprenticeship and earning a whopping $44 per week, I was able to purchase a block of land south of Auckland. I was 18 years old and paid $11,000 for a beautiful 1000 square str block. (Kiwis call that a section.)
Interest rates during the time I owned this land ranged from 10% to 17%.
After finishing my apprenticeship I came over to Australia. I travelled around in a camper van for 2 years working in several different towns, fell in love with the country and decided to stay. I met my wife-to-be, Jenny, and we finished the the last half of the trip together, working in as many varied types of jobs as we possibly could. We worked in a Cattle station, various cabinet workshops, boatyards, bar work - whatever it took.
We were married after our return to Sydney. I remember having just $14 to buy easter eggs for the family and no honeymoon after our wedding.
Luckily, I still had my block of land in NZ.
With no money but a lot of energy, I started up a small business fitting out and building small boats, then bigger boats for wealthier clients as time went by. We purchased our own home, had 4 beautiful girls and made a life for ourselves in Australia.
As time went by we had the usual ups and downs in business, and I quickly learnt that in the boating industry was always the first to cop it during times of financial recessions and downturns. But it would always recover.
I had to learn how to get through the lows.
We would try to have small projects on hand for when the workload slowed down. We fit out a small camper van for holidays with the kids, and I carried out small renovations on old boats that we sold to recoup lost wages.
Exhibiting at boat shows over the years was a very good way of advertising for work. Always learning from my wealthy clients good and so good things. Also visitors to my boat show stand, would just casually make statements as they would pass through.
On one occasion an elderly gentleman came through. He looked at our work in great detail, scrutinising every photo we had on offer.
He came over to me and put his hand on my shoulder and said something that changed my future for me for ever.
"That is very nice work you do, but whatever happens, when you get to the end of you career don't just end up with a whole heap of worn out power tools to show for it."
Then just walked out. Did not say another thing - he just left.
What a moment in time that statement was!
In the quiet times during the show this statement went over and over in my mind. I took it to mean have an income of some type or some money behind me at retirement.
Continuing with my passion of boat building (which I really loved doing), I worked out a way of making sure that I would end up with some form of passive income (income that I did not have to work for once my life as a boat builder ended).
So, slowly over the next 35 yrs or so, every now and then I bought a property.
I purchased properties for convenience. I hoped that over time they would be worth more than what I paid - and that I would have paid off most of them at retirement.
I learnt an awful lot.
As I purchased these properties I did a couple of small developments, learnt as much as I could about adding value, and learnt more about self-managed super funds. I learnt about the benefits of owning rather than renting work premises, and I also learnt a lot about not selling the properties; I kept them as income instead.
Now at the age of 62, I have an extensive portfolio of property that gives me a very substantial passive income. This enables me now to do the things in life that I now feel are important. Maybe at this point in life more important than that, that has been my passion throughout my entire life.
So what do I do now??
I enjoy myself by doing just what I want.
I have spent the last six months putting together a presentation room and workshop. I want to encourage those who are interested to make a plan for passive income; one that will sustain them well beyond their working years, for the rest of their life.
I want to inspire and give confidence to those who do not have the knowledge or the get-up-and-go to try a little bit of conservative property investing, so they can help themselves create their own future.
If you spend some time with me now I can get you to a point where you can make a lifetime plan of purchasing one or 2 properties (or many more) so that when it comes time for you to retire, you are not only comfortable, but able to give back the knowledge and skills that you have gained over your lifetime.
- Dennis Gordge