Article by Mandy St John Davey
Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun. I can truly say I am happy and enjoying my fab life at 50… something.
Having left school with albeit a handful of 0’levels I forged a way ahead working up the corporate ladder pretty much learning on the job. Looking back it was tough, exciting, eventful and hugely enjoyable. A successful career built up in H.R., Training and I.T. within blue chipcompanies, law firms and local government.
Having achieved so much only to be scuppered by a diagnosis in my 30s, of the hugely debilitating illness know as M.E. or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Recovering briefly, only to be struck down again with the same thing again in my 40s !
Forced into refocusing both my career and life-style, a change of direction came at the start of the Millennium, when I started investing in property. I am now a professional property developer with my own portfolio both here in the UK and abroad.
However, back then worrying how I was going to pay my own mortgage and bills was really frightening. I had just moved house! The house I lived in, I had bought by part-exchanging my previous home. I then discovered the new owners had bought it only to rent out.
Why hadn’t I thought about doing that? (my investor voice today would be screaming out – DON’T SELL, DON’T SELL DON’T SELL!).
In my mind “Why didn’t I do that” was followed by the even more important “How could I do that?”. With my mind focused firmly on Investing to replace my income, some savings and ill health monies, I started out on my property-buying journey.
Building a property empire
So, how did I do it?
The opportunity came along of buying new houses off plan, getting in on 1st phases of a development and buying 4 or 5 properties. I secured plots with small deposits of £500, exchanging contracts with 15% of the purchase price 28 days later, and then completing at a future date set by the builders.
By the time the properties were almost complete I had already sold several on. I had already put deposits down on another 4 or 5 more houses on a different development.
I re-mortgaged the ones from the first site, pulling all the deposit monies out of the deal plus a profit. I repeated this strategy on further developments and built my business quickly in the first two years. Buying and selling around 40 houses and replacing my income three fold.
Having gained confidence and a nice pot of money, my next my challenge was to take on refurbishment projects, buying properties to renovate or ‘do up’. Once they had been renovated and brought up to my standard, I would rent them out. This then became an income stream.
The good thing about property is its inclusiveness.
It really doesn’t matter who you are, what education you have or what job you do. You can make property your business or an investment, and it can be a great vehicle for a pension. However, it does require a different way of thinking acting and living, and often it will require pulling yourself right out of your comfort zone, but obviously in a sensible way.
There are many ways you can build up capital if you don’t have the monies to start, and I am now grateful I’m able to give my professional help and guidance to those ladies who want to get going on their own property journey.
I have had so much fun on the way, met some great people and now I am fortunate to have the financial freedom to enjoy my life, work if and when I want, or just sit on a beach and relax doing whatever takes my fancy.
Do I still invest at 50 ? Of course I do, I still enjoy it and get the buzz.
Property is no longer a man’s domain, women are becoming more active as investors and taking control of their financial futures. It is never too late to start planning, setting your goals and taking the right steps towards achieving financial independence and security. So come on you fab ladies over 50, let’s do it!
Mandy St John Davey is a successful property investor based in South Wales with a portfolio worth around £3m. She’s also a business mentor and coach in how to become a successful entrepreneur. Further details are available here – http://www.mandystjohndavey.com