Dinner time economics: Jo Chivers

Dinner time economics: Jo Chivers
Dinner time economics: Jo Chivers

As I sat eating dinner with my two sons, the perfect opportunity arose to explain why investing early is so important.

The telly was on and the news story was about uni students degree costs increasing with some changes that the government was proposing to introduce. There was all types of hysteria being reported about degrees costing around $120,000.

I turned to my thirteen year old son and said..."and that's why you need to get into property investing early". 

"Yes I'd love for you to have a uni degree but if you can get started on your property investing early then this will build your wealth faster than your first job can fresh out of uni."

I went on to give him a quick overview on how property investing works. It went something like this...

"When you turn eighteen and have some kind of job, you can buy a little apartment somewhere, we'll use the term deposit money we've been saving for the deposit because that's been growing using compound interest." 

"What's that?" he said.

"It's earning interest from the bank on what you've saved. Then you add the interest each month to your savings and earn interest on the total amount. This keeps on growing, like magic!" I said "You don't have to do anything but keep putting a bit more money in the account".

"Ok, let's get back to that small apartment you'll be buying. Someone will want to live in that little place of yours and they'll pay YOU rent.  You'll be a landlord!  Whilst the rent may not quite cover all your costs, the government might give you a little bit to help as well".

"wow" he said..."that's cool of them".

Then I thought I'd better explain that he will be paying tax on some of the money he earns. "What's tax?" he asked. 

I could see my dinner quickly turning into an economics lesson.  But keeping it really simple I just said "Tax is the money we have to pay to the government when we earn money. They use it to provide stuff for the community like schools and hospitals".

After this very simple overview, I could see him starting to understand.

I said "when you sell this little unit ten or twenty years later, it could be worth double or triple what you paid for it".  And, if you renovate it - add value - you will get more for it.

He was already aware of the concept of adding value thanks to the chats in the car on the way to my development sites.

As he got up to clear the table, I think my message got through when he turned and said, "you know when the value of the house goes up that's like the compound interest magic too isn't it?"

"Yes my darling it is!" I said, ..."but the magic only works if you hold onto the property for a long time."

"OK then", he said. "How much will you give me if I do the dishes tonight mum?". 

I laughed and said, that's your job anyway but I have other jobs you can do to earn some extra cash.

My hope is that these little chats all start to gel over time and the concept of starting to invest in property early is put into action in a few years time. We'll see.

Jo Chivers is chief executive officer of property development project managers Property Bloom.

Jo Chivers

Jo Chivers

Jo Chivers is director of Property Bloom, which manages property development.

Investment Property Development

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