By Bronwen Vearncombe, Director of Property Investing Foundation.
Property investing has changed my life completely. Not only have I given up the corporate job, but I’ve got newfound freedom to put into exploring new and exciting ventures. Having been told I wouldn’t be able to take my pension until I was 67 yrs old, I knew I needed to escape and to find my true calling in life.
Being a senior executive in the finance & banking world and female was pretty unusual. I was often asked to speak at Women in Banking events and to represent the fairer sex on numerous occasions. Much of the issues were not the skills of the ladies, but the mindset of those putting themselves forward for senior roles. Quite often women would want everything to be perfect and to really know they could do the job before applying. Men on the other hand would know that they didn’t have all of the skills but would blag it and be confident they could learn them on the job.
Becoming a landlord and benefiting from monthly rental income from rental properties – whether I’m asleep, in the UK or abroad – has given me choices. As women – this can work well around both home and carer responsibilities. My aim was to have more time to spend with the family as a whole.
In the new world I was learning about, that of property investing, I found myself in a similar situation where it was mindset that held many females back. Creating a property rental business isn’t difficult, but the negative press and complexity of tax and regulations can put many people off – both men and women. That’s why I advocate learning with an expert, who is successfully working in the field.
Getting a great education with someone who is ethical and investing themselves was the best place to start and then learning about the various strategies out there to choose from. Most importantly understanding the economics and providing a solution to the rental demand helped me realise that all the press you hear about terrible landlords is completely misleading. The brilliant realisation that providing a lovely home for someone to rent and getting the profit each month, and with other people managing the property, really does provide freedom.
So why is it a good thing for women specifically?What are the 5 reasons women should get into property investing?
- Safe as Houses – bricks and mortar is one of the lower risk investments out there (as long as you get a good education to understand them). Buying the tangible asset gives you security and choices, offering both cashflow and long term capital growth. You are in control as opposed to invisible assets such as stocks and shares which are not in your control
- Financial Independence – great way for women to achieve financial independence for themselves, especially if they have not been working for a number of years to look after children, they may have a gap in terms of their pension and retirement funds. I like Kim Kiyosaki’s words ‘A man is not a financial plan’ which is the reason I invest myself. I like to know that I’m financially independent no matter what.
- Consistent income – if women are planning on having children property income can be a consistent income over that period and allows more flexibility of when to return to work. Or even to return at all. Until the late 1800s, women couldn’t own property – they were the property of their husbands! As recently as the 1970s, women were regularly refused mortgages if they did not have their husband’s permission. Crazy to imagine these days.
- The myth that you need a lot of money to invest – if you understand leverage and how you can use mortgages to support property purchases, there are many ways to create value. Especially since interest rates are so low currently and economically housing is in short supply alongside a growing population. Women do regularly say to me that debt is a bad thing – but as an ex banker myself – it’s easy for me to see the opportunity and how an asset can be great security in the long term.
- Networking to find the experts to support the property business – its so important not to create another job through investing. I find that women tend to be better than men at networking and finding people to work with and to manage their rental properties. Multi-tasking can be an asset that women can deploy in this area.
Property investing doesn’t care if you’re male or female, as long as you can find opportunities, make a connection and close a deal, you are all equal. Everyone can make money at property investing, sex, colour, religion none of it matters, it is an equal playing field and women don’t get that very often.