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Staying On The Road To Retirement Travel

If you want to spend your golden years escaping winters in sun-soaked Greece a good asset base is vital, and there are ways of getting there, writes Stevie Waring.

By: Stevie Waring

31 January 2023

Despite a 10-year age gap, couple Steph (47) and Bayley (37) wanted to retire at the same time to travel the world, although this meant speeding up one of their retirement time lines.

Here’s how they did it.

HOW MUCH MONEY?

To create a property investment plan, you need to figure out: “How much money do you need to make your goal a reality?”

With this figured out you can decide how ambitious your plan needs to be. Bayley is a nurse and earns $70,000 a year; Steph is in HR and earns $137,000. Steph and Bayley worked out it would take a passive income of $150,000 to fund their retirement lifestyle.

To achieve this they need to build $3.75 million of debt-free assets in the next 17 years.

WHAT INVESTMENTS?

Fourteen months ago, when the couple first began their property investment journey, they were on track to hit one third of their goal. This is because they already owned a Hamilton property worth about $1 million, with only a $200,000 mortgage, and each of them had reasonable KiwiSaver accounts – $165,000 between them.

So, if they did nothing else they would have $49,000 a year, but that’s not enough.

They also planned to use Steph’s superannuation, since she’ll meet the age of eligibility when the plan starts. And they also expected to receive a sizeable inheritance of $750,000 from Steph’s mother.

Yet, even after these four factors, they still needed to build a considerable asset base if they wanted to spend the Kiwi winters in Greece.

WHERE AND WHEN?

In mid-2020 the couple planned to invest in:
• a three-bedroom new build townhouse in Auckland worth $750,000
• a two-bedroom new build townhouse in Christchurch for $550,000.

Based on these properties increasing in value by 6 per cent and 5 per cent a year respectively, these properties would take them to 80 per cent of their goal – $120,000 of passive income a year.

At the time the couple decided to purchase both properties, which have now settled and been rented out. Today, the Auckland property is worth $900,000 and the Christchurch one is worth $650,000. Together, these properties have contributed $250,000 towards the couple’s retirement plan in just 12-14 months.

CLOSING THE GAP

Several years in, the matter of inheritance bothered Steph and Bayley. Now they were in a better position the couple reviewed their plan, after all they still had a wealth gap to fill.

They both said: “Let’s buy more investments.” Two additional properties could send them soaring past their goals and 129 per cent of their passive income goal.

This is based on a couple purchasing a $700,000 property in Hamilton and a $1 million property in Auckland. These two extra properties would require a $300-a-week contribution towards the negatively geared cash flow. This is because they weren’t using a cash deposit and were borrowing all the money.

But these properties gave the couple more options without having to factor inheritance at all.

Based on the projections, Steph can retire two years earlier and still meet 100 per cent of their $150,000 a year passive income target. That’s a bit more time to spend on the beach in Greece.

INHERITANCE FACTOR

The problem with adding inheritance to a wealth plan like this is you must:

a) know the size of your inheritance (no guessing)
b) be sure you’re going to get it.

That means having the confidence that the person will pass by the time you kick-start your retirement plans (harsh, I know). Steph knows the exact amount of her inheritance, but what if Steph’s mother lives beyond the 17 years leading up to Steph’s retirement?

Achieving their passive income goal hinges (in part) on this large sum of money. That’s why, when Steph and Bayley re-ran their numbers they removed inheritance from the equation.

Now, the five properties (one already owned and four newly acquired), Steph’s superannuation, and joint KiwiSavers will take them to the $150,000 passive income they wanted – with no inheritance needed.

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