45: How To Crack The Property Market with Nicole Haddow

Can you have smashed avocado and buy a property too?  Well, apparently you can if you make it at home and live with your parents for a little while.  Nicole Haddow, journalist and author of Smashed Avocado joins us today to let us in on how she cracked the property market.

Listen to the episode above or read the transcript below to learn how she cracked the property market and you can too.


Meaghan Smith  00:21
Hello beautiful people and welcome to another episode of the Money Mindful Podcast. I am your host Meaghan Jean Smith. I am a money mindset and life coach for women. A couple of months back in June, I released a series of episodes all about investing in the share market. And it proved to be really popular with you so I'm doing it again. But this time this month is all about investing in property. I have some great interviews lined up for you so stay tuned for that over the course of this month. If you get my newsletter or follow me on social media you will already know this month in Book Club we are reading Smashed Avocado: How I cracked the property market and you can too by Nicole Haddow, by the way, if you're not getting my weekly email or following me on social media, what is happening? You can get on board by going to the money mindful website. So today on the show, I'm delighted to have Nicole joining us to discuss her book Smashed Avocado and her journey to buying her first property. Nicole, It's so lovely to have you here. Welcome.

Nicole Haddow  01:32
Thanks so much, Meaghan. It's it's great to join you.

Meaghan Smith  01:36
Yeah, well, I got your book about a month ago and I just ploughed through it and thought this is the perfect book for this month. Because Nicole it's it's actually a book about how to invest in property that doesn't have someone on the front in a business suit. So it's very relatable to the average person, is that what you had intended?

Nicole Haddow  02:03
Absolutely. I realised when I went through the process of buying a home that it's so much more than just a financial transaction. It impacted so many aspects of my life, my friendships, my work, my mental health. And I wanted to make sure that people understood that it's not just as simple as saving a deposit and buying a house and then everything's great. There are lots of challenges. There are lots of funny and not so funny stories that that came out of the experience and I wanted to make it really human and relatable for people.

Meaghan Smith  02:33
Yeah, well, it absolutely is. And I think it's a fantastic book and look without giving the whole book away. Can you talk us through a little bit about what was your property journey? What What happened?

Nicole Haddow  02:48
So essentially, I was pretty reckless with my money in my 20s. I had a lot of unstable income as a freelance writer. I did a lot of travelling I bought clothes. I really lived my life to the full. But I arrived at 30 with $11,000 worth of credit card debt and not much in the bank. And so I made the decision to move home with my parents, which I appreciate not everyone could do. But that was an opportunity that I had. And I took it with the aim of buying an entry level investment in a reasonable amount of time.

Meaghan Smith  03:21
Yeah, and you you talk about that in the book. So let's talk about some of those challenges that you face. Like in terms of emotional challenges. What do you mean by that? I mean, I, I sort of feel like silly saying that because I've bought property myself and I totally understand the emotion behind it. But if you, for someone listening who hasn't bought their first property, let's, let's give them a little bit of a taste of what you mean by that.

Nicole Haddow  03:47
Sure. So I mean, there was the emotion attached to that realisation that I'd been really stupid with my money and and having to kind of come to terms with the fact that I was starting from scratch and it also seemed so overwhelming. So there was definitely a lot of emotion in that first stage of saving my deposit and resetting the way that I was managing my money. And then when I eventually bought, there was the reality of paying a mortgage for the first time I was in my early 30s. And I've moved about 25 kilometres away from my work and my family. And that's not that far. But when you're living alone for the first time, and managing all of those responsibilities, it can be really overwhelming. You know, I put that goal on a pedestal but the first couple of days living in that appartment I thought oh my what have I done? It's really it's a really huge undertaking. And so I wanted people to be aware that the emotional toll that it can take if you're either not financially ready, or you're making a move, that means you're going to have a huge lifestyle shift, that there are going to be emotional elements attached to that.

Meaghan Smith  04:57
Yeah, that's absolutely right. And I love the fact that You documented that you did move back in with your parents and that you did actually do that. And that's so fantastic. Because I think too, for some people in their 30s there's a bit of stigma around that, you know, moving back in with your parents, and we get to the stage where we're adults now, and we're living our own life. And then actually, no, I still need you mum and dad.

Nicole Haddow  05:26
Well, that's exactly it. And, you know, a lot of people will say, you know, you get a free ride, if you're moving home with your mum and dad, it was really important to me to pay board. So I wasn't freeloading. But also, you know, I really had to respect it. And it certainly didn't happen straight away. I really had to respect the way they wanted to run their household. I was essentially an adult guest in my parents home. So you know, sometimes mum would say to me, I'm putting on a load of whites, bring your whites down, and I'd say I can bring, I can do my own washing mum. But, you know, she was like, No, I'm not having machine on unnecessarily. You know, they'd asked me to tell them if I wasn't going to be home for dinner. And at first I thought that was ridiculous. I could make my own dinner. But it was really just respecting the way that they wanted to live. And knowing that they'd given me an incredible opportunity and to make that as easy for them as possible because they probably didn't want their adult daughter hanging around whinging about a financial situation.

Meaghan Smith  06:28
Yeah, I can imagine so. But let's talk about that a little bit more. Because Personally, I think that is fantastic that you were able to move back in with your family and yeah, if anybody does have that opportunity, I would say do it because what an amazing what's the word opportunity to be able to not be paying the high rents that you pay in inner city, Melbourne or Sydney or wherever you are listening to the show. I mean, I think that's great that you, you know, wanted to pay your parents money and so forth. I mean, that's kind of a natural thing that many of us feel we want to pay our own way, but to have that family support and that opportunity is, is great. But do you think that you still would have been able to get into the property market? If you hadn't have done that?

Nicole Haddow  07:22
Look, I'd like to think that I would have it certainly wouldn't have happened as fast. I was living in a lot of different share houses in my 20s. And putting away money when you're paying, you know, reasonably high levels of rent makes it much harder. It takes a lot longer. I discussed in the book, that average person can take eight or nine years to save a deposit for a house. I didn't want to wait that long. And again, I know that I was really fortunate to be able to move home and put that money away fast, but had I not been in that position I would have had to look at you know, do I move further out and get much cheaper rent? Or do I look into house sitting or what other things can I do to boost my income? So I can put money away faster? Because being in the rent cycle is really hard to break.

Meaghan Smith  08:16
Yeah let's talk about that more that lifestyle of being in your 20s because I feel like my 20s I think are a little bit further away than yours, Nicole, but in my 20s I was very much focused on my friends and my social life. I clearly remember a stage in my mid 20s I'd moved back from overseas. I just finished my university degree and I lived in a share house in Balaclava. It was so fun. We were walking down to St. Kilda all the time and going out to bars. That was the time that I met my partner that I'm still with today. 15,16 years later. It was just all about having a good time. And I remember back then actually there was, I think it was around that time when the government brought out that initiative where they would match super contributions. And I think if I had put $1,000 in my super, I would have also received $1,000 from the government, because of my income back then. And I thought to myself at that time, Oh, that's so good. I should really do that. But the idea of actually putting $1,000 aside felt really unachievable. And at the same time though, when I think back to that time, I was going out every weekend, and sometimes during the week because I a good, really good friend of mine worked in a bar. I used to go to the bar in St Kilda after work and I'd have a steak and have a beer or whatever. And now, I think Could I really not afford it? Or was I just putting my money into things that weren't saving? And I'd love to hear your perspective on this.


Nicole Haddow  10:08
I think when you're in your 20s you're exactly right. Your focus is having a great time. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that at all. A lot of my 20s I would absolutely do again, you know, I, I moved overseas and I was an au pair for a family on the border of France and Switzerland, which I loved, but I did it on credit, which was stupid. Don't do that. You know, I moved to Sydney to work for magazines because that was what I was, you know, trying to do to get my career off the ground and that was a really expensive decision to make. I was like you going out with my friends, you know, Tuesday night at the pub Thursday night at the pub or weekend out. I think the mistake that I made was not just putting small amounts. away. So when you on, say an entry level income, which I was for most of my 20s, the idea of saving a huge amount seems impossible. But had I put away $20 a week or $30 a week, I would have been in a better financial position. So for me, in hindsight, it would have been about giving myself achievable amounts to save, because that idea of $1,000 lump sum is overwhelming when you're not making a lot of money.

Meaghan Smith  11:30
Yes, absolutely. And I'm gonna reiterate what you just said them because I think you've absolutely hit the nail on the head because a lot of what I hear discussed frequently in the media and and I've talked about it myself in the past, before I owned properties, it just seemed like this really huge barrier that the deposit that you have to have and coming up with that money to get in. It's just it's too much, you know, we don't just have 30,000 50,000 $80,000 sitting around and to save that kind of money when your income is say $65,000 seems just outrageous, like there's no way that I would ever be able to do that I can really relate to that thinking, however, what you just said about putting the small amounts of money away and I feel a bit Nana-ish talking, but it's but you know for for anyone who's listening who is in their 20s right now, this is such good advice because in actual fact, it is possible to put away $20 a week or $30 a week and yes, in the beginning it doesn't seem like much And yes, it might take you 20 I mean, sorry, not 20,10 years to buy a house but if you're currently 25 and you're just putting away 20 bucks every week. By the time you'll 35, 40 There you go, you ready to roll. But I think that's a really hard concept to get your head around when you're out having a great time with your friends. And that's something that's really important when you are in your 20s

Nicole Haddow  13:19
That's the thing. I think it's just, you know, for me, I realised a lot of that putting money away could have occurred a lot easier. Had I been moving in circles with people who were interested in doing the same thing. I was spending a lot of time with people who like to live quite lavishly. And, you know, we could have done things where you know, a friend came over for a bottle of wine and a pizza, rather than going to the pub and blowing you know, $100 on a meal and far too many drinks. I think you need to look at, you know, where you can still enjoy yourself without, you know, getting down to the wire on whatever's in your bank, every week And like you say, had I done that at 25? Had I put away 20, 30 $40 a week at 25 I would have been in a far better position when I turned 30 I wouldn't have been starting from scratch.

Meaghan Smith  14:14
Yeah, well, what would you tell yourself now, Nicole, if you if you could go back to when you're in your 20s

Nicole Haddow  14:21
I tell myself I don't have to go to everything that I'm invited to. You know, you can say no, you can have a quiet night in. I probably would have encouraged my friends to socialise a little bit differently. Like I say, just just come over for you know, a drink and we'll play some cards and you know, we'll still have a great time.  It doesn't have to be going out all the time.  You know, I probably wouldn't have spent so much money on clothes. I think I just would have thought a little bit more carefully about every time that I was going out. And putting money into something that just wasn't necessary.

Meaghan Smith  15:04
Okay. So for those people who are reading the book or have read the book, it's it's no secret Nicole does buy a house. It happens in the book plot. Sorry, guys, I've just given to given it away.

Nicole Haddow  15:18
Sorry to give that away.

Meaghan Smith  15:22
Where are you at with that now? So do you still you still have that because this was a few years ago when when this happened? What's your what's your situation now?

Nicole Haddow  15:32
So I bought my two bedroom apartment, which was always meant to be an investment property six and a half years ago. So I needed to live in that for the first 12 months to get some first home buyer benefits at the time, which for me was a reduction in stamp duty. I actually sold that property in June. So and I wasn't I wasn't planning it. But when when COVID-19 hits my my tenant moved out, and I had trouble finding another tenant and I thought, I am going to sell it now. While there's not a lot of stock on the market so you know, doing the opposite of what everyone else was doing, and hopefully achieve my my goal price before and if there are any market drops, I've been really lucky i'd achieved my goal of buying in an area that that had some really solid capital growth. And that means I have now got a reasonable amount of equity to buy my next property and I'm hoping to buy something that I can live in because currently, I'm on renting and I had that investment property with a tenant in it. But I'd really like to buy something hopefully that I can that I can live in now.

Meaghan Smith  16:53
In inner city, Melbourne?

Nicole Haddow  16:57
I don't know if prices are going to drop enough for me to buy in inner city Melbourne, we will, we will see what happens. I'm looking at regional locations. You know, after having had an apartment, I'd really love the idea of buying a freestanding home. My plan at the moment is simply to watch the market and see what happens as a result of the pandemic. So I'm probably not looking to buy again until the first half of next year. Just just to see how things play out. I think the economy is still sort of okay with all the subsidies that have been available. So that the short answer is I'm waiting and watching. But the great thing is that I was able to get that capital growth and get a large deposit for something else.

Meaghan Smith  17:45
And you've been through the process now. So you've got that experience in your back pocket. You're also a little bit older. And I think that it's really interesting when we do step out of our comfort zone. So you already know Know what it's like to live away from all your friends, you know what it's like to go through the discomfort of stretching yourself and doing things that you might not have wanted to do but to get a result that you wanted. And now, what was I going to say? Then? I just lost my train of thought. Oh, yeah. Because that's what we did. I we ended up buying our first property in regional Victoria. That's how we got into the property market. And I think it's that's a really interesting point. And you touched on that in the book where you gave some stories, because in the book, Nicole talks about other people's journeys to buying their first property as well, which is really interesting to hear those stories and hear that it there's not one way to do it. But that whole idea of stepping outside the box and seeing that, yes, it is possible to buy property, but I think you really do have to think differently. You have to be willing to do things that perhaps aren't inside your normal comfort bubble. Because, you know, if you're in your 30s now in your 20s, now, it's probably not going to be possible that you can buy an $800,000 house in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, probably not going to happen. I mean, unless you're in a high income bracket already and you know, but thinking about buying a property in a regional town or moving outside of Melbourne. I think that because Nicole's from Melbourne, I think these are the things that make it possible. You know, that opened the door that this is actually something you can do. But you just have to do it differently than I think you might have thought that that was how you're going to do it.

Nicole Haddow  19:49
That was the key takeaway for me. And it was really important to share the stories of other people because not everyone will take my path. So I wanted to talk to people from a whole heap of different backgrounds who took a different approach. And I think you really hit the nail on the on the head there. It's really important to understand that this is not necessarily going to be easy. If you want to continue your lifestyle of living in a city, regardless of which city that is, and you want to keep going out for dinner four times a week and you want to have cars under finance, you're going to find it a lot more difficult to enter the market. So most people that I spoke to, although they all had different paths to homeownership, really put themselves out of their comfort zone, whether that meant moving regionally, when they were from the city, or taking on an extra job to say that deposit faster. Or, you know, building a tiny home or, you know, there was a couple that I spoke to who, who bought a barn and renovated that and put it on Airbnb. All of the people that I spoke to were really creative in their pursuit for homeownership and no one bought an $800,000 house straight up.

Meaghan Smith  21:01
Yeah, absolutely. And I think the minute you take that step where you do do something different, then all these other possibilities open up to you. And I'm not ashamed to say that you I can be a bit snobbish on occasion like where I've lived and we, we ended up moving to regional Victoria because of my partner's job. And I won't go into too much details. I have touched on this on the podcast before but when we were living in regional Victoria, we were looking at house prices and realised suddenly that wow, houses are actually affordable. In regional Victoria. We actually just was so myopic in our views of where we were living in inner city Melbourne, that I didn't realise you could buy a free standing house in a regional town in Victoria for under $400,000. I mean, at the time we got our property for I think it was $325,000 you know and you look at those prices in Melbourne and Nicole is shaking her head at me at the moment because it's astonishing isn't it when you when you say it like we had a property that had a front yard, a backyard a small backyard but beautiful white picket fence, very the cut the perfect little cottage looking house. And when we bought that house, we couldn't believe our luck. I mean, this the house we lived in, it wasn't a dive. It was actually really beautiful. And we could get it for that price. Now, we were lucky in the sense that we just ended up in regional Victoria for work and we didn't know we were going to be there. And then we just took advantage of that opportunity. And we thought, this is our chance. This is our chance to get into the market. And so we did.

Nicole Haddow  22:59
I think I think I think what I would say to that is, you know, you're absolutely right when you can be really blinded by the prices in, in capital cities and, and be overwhelmed and say, well, it's just not possible for me, I'm going to be a renter for the rest of my life. But if you are able to secure you know, properties in that sub 500 range, the deposit is not going to be nearly as terrifying as a deposit on you know, a bigger home. And you know, also you need to factor in your borrowing power. So, you know, even if you do save that deposit, this is the bank going to give you a loan for a mortgage, that's three or $4,000 a month, maybe not. But if you're buying something for a couple of hundred thousand dollars, the other thing you need to think about is that mortgage amount so if you buy a property that's only three or 400,000, or even $500,000, your your mortgage might be on par with the rent that you're paying now. You don't want your mortgage to be so high that you are really crippled by it.

Meaghan Smith  24:04
That's right. And the other thing is that as part of this is that, yes, there are definitely incentives in Australia at where we are because I have, I have international listeners, Nicole, there are people who tune in from all around the world, which is really exciting. And sorry, guys, when we talk about these kind of things, because I don't know what the incentives are in other countries or if if they do exist, but if you buy an investment property, you don't get those government incentives. You don't get the stamp duty. I think it's totally waive now in some states. I haven't kept up to date with it because I'm not a first time homebuyer anymore. But maybe it's worth it just to get into the property market. You know, if you can buy something that's further out, that can be a rental, you know, that's an option to you as well and what I was coming back to saying before about how we ended up living in in regional Victoria when we came back to Melbourne. What that did for us was it allowed us to expand our thinking because we had family in inner city, Melbourne, and we lived in an area where the rents were extremely high. And we started looking around because we had the idea that we might see if we could buy something in the in the western suburbs of Melbourne. And so we started looking a bit further afield. But what happened from doing that is that we found other suburbs and I kid you not Nicole suburbs that were 15 minutes away from where we live that we had never heard of. I'm almost embarrassed to say this right? That we then discovered the rents in those areas. And what we ended up doing is we bought another property but another investment property and just decided to keep renting because we were still moving around a lot. And we didn't we didn't know what was happening. We moved 15 minutes away from where we were living and ended up being able to get a rental that was a couple of hundred dollars less a week than what we would pay in the area where we were living. And it was 15 minutes away. You know, I mean, I think this is the thing that many of us, obviously, including myself, get caught up in this idea of what we're doing right now is that's the way that's the way to live, and that they're the parameters that you have to work between but if you can just step outside of yourself just for a moment and just look to the horizon. There are so many other opportunities and ways to to achieve what you want to achieve.

Nicole Haddow  26:52
I think that was a thing when I started looking. I thought that I was going to buy inner city because I wanted I was used to my lifestyle and I want to stay close to work and I didn't want to inconvenience myself. But if you're going to make a really strong strategic investment decision, it's important to understand that there are markets within markets. So there's the Sydney market or the Melbourne market. And then, for me where I bought in the outer Bayside suburbs of Melbourne, that market was totally different to the inner city market. It was flying under the radar, the prices at the time of I bought were still really reasonable. And it made sense to me to step outside my comfort zone to make that decision for the long term result that I that I hoped to achieve.

Meaghan Smith  27:36
Yeah, absolutely. Now it has come to my mind, Nicole, that we must cover this in this conversation. Can you please tell us the backstory? Why the title is called Smashed Avocado. What does that mean? And I actually met I mentioned smashed avocado in a conversation with an American friend of mine just last week in a conversation about I said something like that You know, and I just want to have my smashed avocado and eat it too. And she looked at me like I was a nutcase. She had no idea what I was talking about. But this is a bit of an Australian reference. Put, let us tell tell us, for those who don't know, Nicole,

Nicole Haddow  28:14
So a couple of years ago, demographer Bernard salts, wrote an article in which he basically said, I can afford to go out for smashed avocado because I own my home and I've raised my children, but how can young people afford to do this? And that article went viral. Young people were really angry because you know that the perception is, well, you bought a home, pre boom. And I actually interview Mr. Salt in the book. And, you know, I happen to know that he has a lovely home in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and he bought that in the 90s. And it has gone up in value significantly, as you can imagine. You know, it's very, very different for for people now, you know, I'm in my mid to late 30s and so many of my friends are still renting. I don't think that was happening. Agenda generation before most people, even on a conservative income could secure a home, a humble home in suburbs. Even a freestanding home in the suburbs of Melbourne is not feasible for a lot of people. So yeah, people got angry. It's not about smashed avocado $22 a week for brunch. You know, giving that up is not going to help me buy a house. But the point that I do make in the book is that although it was a bit ridiculous of him to say, you know, young people should just give up smashed avocado. I do now in hindsight, take his point because we do also live a lifestyle where we're buying or I'm buying, you know, $5 almond milk lattes, and you know my lifestyle is expensive and so during that time when I was saving, I did give up a lot of those things and I could go out for brunch but I couldn't keep going out for big nights out on Friday followed by brunch followed by another night out on Saturday night followed by drinks on Sunday afternoon it's it's not about the the the brunch in isolation it's about the entire lifestyle.

Meaghan Smith  30:26
Yes, and I agree with you because yes, we can go out to brunch and I think that we still have to live our lives and money is actually there to be spent. I mean, we can save it but it's also a tool that we use to trade for things and but I think that he did make such a an important point and I'm saying it again but I do feel like a bit of a Nana sometimes when I look at people in my family who are young and they earn plenty of money. They don't have a house. And they have said that said things to me before. Like it's impossible. House prices are so expensive now yada yada, yada. But actually, if you didn't spend $300, every weekend, and maybe you just spent $150 on the weekend, instead, you probably find that you would be able to buy a house in the future it personally, I think it is totally possible. And I think home ownership for millennials the whole idea that it's not possible. I definitely think it's harder. I do agree on that and my property journey I saved for years to get our first place. However, I really don't think that it's not possible. You know, if you It's, it's, it might be impossible if you want to do it next year. But you know, if you're willing to just keep plugging away 5, 10 years down the track. I think it is totally something that people can afford. But maybe we're so used to wanting everything. Now, we want it now. I still want everything now. I don't want to wait five or 10 years for it. I can understand that. But But, but we can have it. Maybe just not in a timeframe.

Nicole Haddow  32:24
We can have it. I think the thing that I learned when I had that mentality, it's not possible even when I moved to home to save, I was certain that it wasn't possible. It wasn't until I sat down with my dad who has an accounting background. And we worked out how much I could save in a 12 month timeframe. And what that figure would would end up being and we sort of estimated that could conservatively be between 25 and $30,000. Once I knew the deposit amount that I could save, I understood the ballpark figure that I could work towards in terms of purchasing a home. And when you're working, you know, I wasn't working towards $400,000, I was working towards $25,000. And when you look at it like that, suddenly say, okay, all I've got to do is get to that point. And then I can look at my options.

Meaghan Smith  33:20
Yes, and that's a really important point. And one of the reasons that I would encourage you the listener to read Nicole's book is that she outlines everything that she did in the process of getting the property emotionally and her journey but also, what I really like Nicole is you you touch on all the professionals that you encounter when you're buying a property, and people that you might need to utilise like a mortgage broker, conveyances, building inspecting people, all those those professionals that you need to engage with to buy a house. And if you start finding out about that stuff early up earlier on before you ready to buy a house, I think that puts you in a really good position as well.

Nicole Haddow  34:12
Absolutely, it's, I kind of liken it to, if you're going shopping, and you don't know what you're shopping for, it's much harder to find that thing because you don't know what you're looking for. But if you know, I want to purchase a black dress, it's much easier to find that black dress in the same way. If you know, I'm looking to buy a property for X amount of money in these particular suburbs, all of a sudden, you know, your search and your goal becomes much more realistic. The other thing that I would say in terms of talking to those experts is a lot of them will just give you information. Without it costing you too much. You might have an initial consultation with a mortgage broker just to get a sense of what you might be able to borrow. You know, you might talk to a buyer's advocate who might give you a one off consultation and give you a few hints and tips in terms of what to look for. The more conversations you have, the better off you're going to be in terms of your knowledge because it is a huge investment and you need to be as well versed in you know, what's happening in that suburb what's happening in those streets as possible. So that you know that when it does come time to buy, you're experienced in in what's happening in that market.

Meaghan Smith  35:30
Yeah, you said on in the blurb at the back of the book, one of the quotes that says buying a property isn't easy. It's not meant to be it's one of the biggest financial decisions you'll make in your life, but it's worth it. You've sold your house now though, so tell us about it. Tell us about what how was it worth it for you?

Nicole Haddow  35:51
It was worth it for me for for several reasons. As I said to you, the property I purchased was never going to be my forever home. It was my leg up to work towards my forever home. And so I needed to take the emotion out of it as much as I could and and buy in a suburb where I was going to achieve growth had I bought in Richmond, which is where I'm renting now, I probably wouldn't have seen the growth that I saw in my chosen suburb of Mordialloc. Because Mordialloc was still flying under the radar at that time, and there was room for growth. So my objective was to hold it for a number of years and hope that that property would go up in value. So not only was I paying down my mortgage, my property was rising in value. So once you are in a position to sell it for more than you've paid, you're you're able to take that next step. So it's worth it for me in the respect that putting myself outside my comfort zone going through all of those challenges I'm now in a position to hopefully buy something that I really love.

Meaghan Smith  37:07
Yeah, and what do you think's the most important point when it comes to buying a property?

Nicole Haddow  37:13
There are so many important points to consider and so many things that I learned along the way. In hindsight, I certainly probably realistically didn't have enough money to manage that first year. I had to take on a second job because I'd underestimated all the costs that were going to come with that. So for me having bought an apartment, I hadn't properly factored in the cost of the owners Corporation fees, which are quarterly rates, all of the bills covering the mortgage by myself, living you know, heaven forbid I wanted to go out and enjoy myself. You don't have to rush as much as people say that you do. You will probably be in a much better position if you are able to to buy that property and know that you're going to be able to pay that mortgage and all of the associated costs comfortably. You really need to do do your numbers and make sure that you can handle that. You also need to be prepared for it to be something that you have for a long time in order to get you know, the growth and the value out of it had I bought my property and decided I hated it and wanted to sell a year later. And that would not have been a good financial decision. So it's really important to make sure that you have done your research you are comfortable with the decision that you've made, and that you're certain that it is a wise investment. And you know, within now you don't know what the property markets going to do. So it's really important to be prepared as much as you possibly can.

Meaghan Smith  38:48
And I'm curious Nicole, if there were other strategic byproducts. I've heard somebody use this term before when it's you you go you're going for a goal and you're in it. achieve that goal, but there's actually all these other things that happen because of going for that goal. Like I'm making an assumption here that you decided to write this book. So all these things came out of that whole process. Do you have anything to share about that some things that happen for you personally in the process of being somebody who can now buy property?

Nicole Haddow  39:25
Well, absolutely. So in terms of it being worth it, it's certainly not just the financial outcome on a personal level, I grew so much during that time, you know, I was really challenged and kind of timid and terrified when I when I first had my investment property and, and now I've learned so much and a lot of that has come from, you know, some of the mistakes that I made along the way. Obviously, I was able to write this book, which has been a really amazing opportunity for me, you know, I've got friends selling house, at the moment and they rang me to ask me for my advice and I thought, Well, I'm not, I'm not a financial advisor, I can't give you my advice, but I certainly have learned so much. And, and that's been really value valuable for me and it's, it's put me in a position of, of, you know, being able to make smarter decisions having learned from from that process so it's been a real opportunity for growth for me And particularly, as a woman. I've realised how important it is to get my finances in order. You know, a lot of people will say, I'm happy to rent I don't I don't mind. But for me the the empowerment that comes with getting my finances in order and having that sense of control somewhat, you never know what's going to happen. Certainly puts me in a better place day to day.

Meaghan Smith  40:52
Did it change your financial habits? Do you find now that you're better with managing your money than before you bought the house?

Nicole Haddow  41:00
So it's funny when I spoke to a mortgage broker, he said to me that some people will often let their belt out so to speak once once they achieve their goal. I once I moved out of my investment property and into a  share house, I went back to enjoying my life for a little little while and not not being quite so strict with myself because the the stress of being that ruthless in terms of how much you're spending does have a bit of an emotional toll attached to it. So I've certainly in the last couple of years, enjoyed my my life a little bit while maintaining a much better approach to managing my money. You know, as I say, I'm now looking at purchasing my next property and not only will I take the deposit for my sale, I'm also continuing to put additional funds away prior to that, so I guess it's a bit of a roller coaster in terms of you know, the way you're living there perhaps might be times where, you know, you have to be really, really tight. And then there are times that you allow yourself to splurge. For me, it's a long term vision. And am I in the position that I hope to be in terms of where I'd like to be at 40 at this stage? Yes. So it's more about that big picture for me than obsessively saying I'm going to put away X amount of money every single week, because I'm a freelancer. So for me, it's, you know, it's the big picture for other people. It might be that putting away little bits every single week and that continuing to work for them. I'm looking at it with more of a holistic approach.

Meaghan Smith  42:42
Ah, so good Nicole, and so inspiring. I love it. I love everything about it. I love it that you. You bought a property as a single woman. Fuck Yeah. All right. That is so good. And also you wrote a book about it. I love as well. And we're going to see a sequel and we're going to look for the second property purchase?

Nicole Haddow  43:08
I'm working on something. It's taking me a little while and obviously COVID-19 has put a few spanners in the work works, but I'm certainly working on something else. Yes.

Meaghan Smith  43:21
Oh, that's exciting. I don't know if that's a scoop guys, but I'm just gonna say it is you heard it first here. on the Money Mindful Podcast.

Nicole Haddow  43:29
Don't expect it anytime soon. It's it's in its infancy and it's going to take a little while but, you know, I would be silly to stop now because it's been funny. I've had so many people say to me what happens after the book is so yeah, it's, it's it's very interesting that people want to know what happens next.

Meaghan Smith  43:52
Yeah, we you're gonna have to buy multiple properties. Now, Nicole, you've started something here.

Nicole Haddow  43:58
yet? No pressure.

Meaghan Smith  44:01
No pressure at all. Come on.

Nicole Haddow  44:03
I think I think the one thing that I've that I would say that that, you know, you're right about is, you know, personally, I am really proud that I managed to save a deposit and buy property on my own. A lot of women will say, Well, I can't do it by myself. And that was my mentality. I didn't think I was going to buy until I met someone and thank God, I didn't wait. I would I would still be waiting. But you know, it is achievable for professional young women. And I really want women to believe that they can do it.

Meaghan Smith  44:32
Yes, absolutely. It absolutely is. And I'm so glad that we have you, as somebody to show the way like be an example of what is possible. I think it's fantastic. All right. So wrapping up, Nicole, I always ask my guests, do you have any particular habit or ritual around money or just something that you do to manage it that would benefit My listeners to learn something about money.

Nicole Haddow  45:05
It's funny that you asked that question because like I say, I don't, I don't have the ritual of, you know, putting away 50 or $100 a week. For me, it's actually about looking at what I want my life to look like. And thinking about what I need to do to to achieve those goals. But the other thing that I would say is that since I've bought my property, I've continued to be far more sensible with the way that I live my life. I am not going out for big nights out, you know, spending hundreds of dollars at a time I look at how I can enjoy my life without blowing my bank account balance. Do I need those new shoes Probably not. Just being you know, like you say mindful. It really is. It really is a mindful approach to to living my life and saving money. I'm trying to make that as positive as possible because you don't want it to take such a toll that you are not enjoying your life. So you need to look at your own circumstances and work out where you can find joy while saving money, because that's what's going to help you keep up that habit.

Meaghan Smith  46:20
Yeah, that's right and it clothes and shoes and nights out. Then not actually what bring us happiness. I'm getting a bit Zen here but we actually create happiness from how we think about ourselves in our lives. But I I think a lot of people, myself included, sometimes think that we will get happiness by by going and buying that new dress or that new pair of shoes but yeah, it feels good when you first try it on in the store but after a few months, it's just like the rest of the stuff in your wardrobe.

Nicole Haddow  46:55
I think about how much money I wasted in my 20s on clothes that are either still sitting in the back of my wardrobe or have, you know, gone to Vinnies or, you know, I, those material possessions may have bought me a fleeting joy. But for me, it's really important to be spending money on things that are going to bring me long term joy, I don't want to be buying a dress, if it's going to cause me anxiety because I shouldn't have spent the money on it. I want to be spending money on things that are going to help me live, you know, a comfortable life down the track. I don't want to be struggling in my retirement. And that's why I look at things with a really long term vision.

Meaghan Smith  47:40
Yes so glad that you've, it's so sorry. It's so good that you've got that awareness. Because that's that's the key like you realise that now. And so you can make those changes and create what you actually want. And I really like that you talking about that. It's about the vision and what you want to create in the future. I think that's really important. Alright, Nicole. So wrapping up, where can we find you?

Nicole Haddow  48:04
You can find me on Instagram. I'm probably most active on Instagram, Nicole Hadow. You can find me on on most of the socials, to be honest with you. You can also find me I SmashedAvocado has a blog smashed avocado dot net. And if you're looking for the book, it's in all good bookstores and please support bookstores right now because they're having a difficult time. And it's also available on digital bookstores such as booktopia. And my publisher website,Black Ink Books dot com dot au.

Meaghan Smith  48:39
Fantastic. Yeah, it's a great book. And all of us should be reading it, especially those first time buyers and especially those single females of us who you know, just want to get out there and make it happen for ourselves. I think this book is really inspiring. So, Nicole, thank you so much for spending your time here today on the show. It's been really lovely having you.

Nicole Haddow  49:05
Really appreciate it. I've really enjoyed chatting to you. And now I hope the listeners get something out of it.

Meaghan Smith  49:11
They will. Well they have it Nicole is really inspiring and I'm so glad that you have had a chance to hear her today. I'll just recap a few things for you. This month. We are reading SmashedAvocado in Book Club, we meet on the last Tuesday of every month, and this month, that will be the 29th of September. And we get together on the Money Mindful Facebook page. It's at 8:30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time. All you have to do is show up on the page and my face will pop up at 830 and we just talk about the book and what we've learned what we want to apply. I think this is a really good book to draw information from in terms of what is actually possible also coming up this month on the show I have a buyer's agent popping into talk to us all things about what a buyer's agent is and why you might need one and I also have a mortgage broker joining us to teach us everything we need to know about getting a home loan. Okay, until next time, have a beautiful week.

If you would like help working on the life that you want to live on purpose you can schedule a complimentary consultation with me.

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