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By Michael Yardney
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Michael Yardney’s net worth – The truth about building wealth through property

I know a reasonably common Google search is “what is Michael Yardney’s net worth ?”

In fact, a question I’m asked frequently  is, "Michael, what’s your net worth?" Concept of money growing from coins

And while I can understand that this may be of interest to some people, I’m sorry to disappoint you…

I don't answer this question with a definitive number, but I'm always happy to talk to people about how I achieved my financial success in the hope that they can learn some lessons they could use.

I usually explain to them that throughout my journey I've had more than my share of failures (both personal and financial and many of them self-induced) but I’ve been lucky to also have my share of successes.

Well, maybe it wasn’t luck, because the more I learned about success, in all areas of life, the more I realised that luck has very little to do with it.

So what is net worth?

Net worth is the amount by which your assets exceed your liabilities.

Fact is: all wealthy people have built a substantial asset base – it could be in property or shares or businesses.

Wealth

However, while the rich quietly and steadily build their asset base, the average Australian works hard trying to increase their cash flow.

Either they try to earn more by working harder or longer (you’ll never get rich this way) or they look for properties that will give them positive cash flow.

The problem is you can’t get rich through cash flow.

Now don’t misunderstand me, cash flow is the ultimate aim — but that’s only once you’ve built your asset base (your net worth.)

This means your investment journey will comprise four stages:

  1. The Education Stage - you really must develop a level of financial fluency before you start investing
  2. The Accumulation Stage — is when you build your asset base (net worth) through capital growth of well-located properties.

    You can speed up your wealth accumulation through leverage, compounding time, and “manufacturing” capital growth through renovations or development.
  3. Transition Stage — once you have a sufficiently large asset base, you slowly lower your Loan to Value ratios so you can move on to the …
  4. Cash Flow Stage — now you can live off your property portfolio and enjoy the longest holiday of your life.

Growing your net worth with property

Personally, I’ve used property as my wealth-creation vehicle because it provides:

  1. High capital growth (if you own the right type of property), which grows your net worth, and;
  2. Secure income, which increases over time (helping you pay the mortgage).

And while it takes a few decades to grow a sufficient size asset base to become financially independent there is a way to speed this up.

You see the wealthy have learned to use…

The power of leverage

Have you ever wondered why it’s easier for people who have money to make more of it?

I mean, why is it that the second and the third million are so much easier to earn than the first?

Do you want to know what the biggest difference is between how wealthy people build wealth and how poor and middle-income people do it?

It’s how they use leverage and I’m not just talking about borrowing money.

In my experience, there are at least four ways successful investors use leverage.

These are:

1. Money

One of the biggest differences between how wealthy people and the average Australian go about building wealth isn’t how they invest the money that they have… it’s how they leverage and use the money they don’t have that makes them wealthy.

You see, the average Australian rarely uses leverage in any focused or strategic way, partly because they are afraid of taking on debt.

On the other hand, wealthy investor has mastered the art of using money that they don’t have – other people's money – to build their wealth.

Insurance Money

They use borrowed money to magnify their investment activities and enjoy enhanced accelerated returns.

They take on more debt and borrow, gear, or leverage their assets to own even more assets.

Yet the average Australian is frightened of taking on more debt.

This is a huge difference in mindset.

When you have a more sophisticated understanding of the rules of using leverage, you are able to literally use it to take your wealth-building to the next level.

When I look at an investment, I don’t ask myself, “Can I afford this property?”

Instead, I ask myself, “How can I strategically use leverage to help pay for this investment in a way that enhances my overall return without taking on more risk?”

2. Relationships

You can also leverage your relationships or your network so successful investors build a great team around them – I know I have.

I also understand I don’t have to be an expert in every field if I develop a good network.

For investors, this network may include a good finance broker, a smart solicitor, a property-savvy accountant, and a knowledgeable property strategist.

Successful investors also have one or two mentors and they may belong to a mastermind group.

Relationship Team.jpeg

This is a group of like-minded people who encourage each other and act as “unreasonable friends” helping each other push forward towards their individual goals.

Having a great network around you enables you to leverage other people’s expertise.

I often say “if you are the smartest person in your team then you are in trouble.”

Your network of relationships is critical to growing your wealth, not just for what they themselves know, but often for the people, they know who could also help you.

3. Time

Successful investors have also learned how to leverage their time effectively.

Many first-time investors waste so much time trying to do everything themselves.

Successful investors value their time and have learned to leverage it by putting it to its highest and best use.

They do this by outsourcing minor tasks to their property manager and to other contractors.

Instead, they use their time to learn more, develop their relationships or find more deals.

4. Your mind

One of the greatest points of leverage is leveraging your “mind”, which means that successful property investors generally just think differently from the average person.

The not-so-rich have a different way of thinking – a different “reality”.

Mind

To put it simply your reality is what you think is real, in other words, your perception is your reality.

What stops many people from becoming successful investors isn’t what they know or don’t know.

They may say things like:

  • I can’t afford that
  • I can’t do that
  • I already know that
  • That’s wrong
  • I tried it once and it didn’t work
  • That’s impossible – you can’t do that.

If you want to become truly wealthy, you will need to open your mind to new ideas and develop the skills to take on possibilities greater than your current abilities.

I remember Robert Kiyosaki saying in one of his "Rich Dad Poor Dad" books that: “a cynic’s reality doesn't let anything new in, while a fool’s reality doesn't have the ability to keep foolish ideas out.”

You can also leverage your skills, your creativity, your intellectual property, your net worth, and your reputation to build wealth.

Back to how I grew my net worth…

When I first started investing I really didn’t know what I was doing and I made more than my share of mistakes.

"Luckily" around the time I bought my first property in the early 1970s, Gough Whitlam became prime minister and inflation in Australia rose from 5 per cent to more than 15 per cent.

It’s amazing how rampant inflation pushes up property values and helps cover up mistakes.

I bought my second property a few years later, using the increasing equity and rent from my first investment.

The problem is, one of the worst things that can happen to a novice property investor is to get it right the first time!

It gave me a false sense of confidence and invincibility.

Over the next few years, I bought and sold (another mistake) a few more properties until rising interest rates, a recession, and falling property values in the early 1980s taught me a few important lessons about the cyclical nature of the property.

Over the years I developed an investment strategy - I really didn’t have one when I started - and this made my investment results more predictable and reproducible.

It also took the emotion out of my investing.

This has morphed into my…

6 Stranded Strategic Approach

I use this to ensure I only buy the type of property that will outperform the averages:

  1. I buy a property below its intrinsic value – that’s why I avoid new and off-the-plan properties that come at a premium price.
  2. In an area that has a long history of strong capital growth and that will continue to outperform the averages because of the demographics in the area.
    This will be an area where more owner-occupiers want to live because of lifestyle choices and one where the locals will be prepared to and can afford to, pay a premium price to live because they have high disposable incomes.
    I buy in these more affluent areas because not only do the local residents have more money but so do the tenants.
    I recognise that my future cash flow will be dependent on my tenant's ability to keep paying their rent and keep paying higher rent.I buy the type of property that would appeal to owner-occupiers because they’re the ones that drive up property values. Demographics
  1. I buy a property with a high land-to-asset ratio - now that doesn't always mean a big block of land - it could be a valuable piece of dirt under an apartment in a great location.
  2. I look for a property with a twist – something unique, special, different, or scarce about it, and finally…
  3. I buy a property where I can “manufacture” capital growth through refurbishment, renovations, or redevelopment.

The secret to building your net worth

So there you have it, the story behind Michael Yardney's net worth.

While there’s no “secret” to achieving significant net worth, there is a strategy.

Mine was to first build my asset base through capital growth and only then, once I’d built a substantial asset base, to move to the “cash flow” stage of investing.

It also involves having a strategy and following a plan.

I recognise that property investment is a process – not an event.

In fact, it's a long-term process over multi decades.

Capital growth first, then cash flow.

A big mistake I see many investors make is chasing cash flow-positive properties and never achieving a sufficiently large asset base.

Now I know that’s not what most people teach – but if I didn’t tell you something different to most people you’d be surprised wouldn’t you?

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Tips: If you want to get a different result from most investors, you’ll have to do things differently – there’s simply no other answer!

Of course, I understand why many beginning investors want cash flow. It's because they need more cash flow - they haven't got enough cash.

The trouble is if they haven't learned financial discipline and how to manage their money, taking on the debt required to invest in property only compounds their money problems – it doesn't help them.

farm seed soil grow wealth money coin

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Note: Residential Real Estate is a high-growth, relatively low-yield investment.

Over the years the increasing value of my properties gave me the equity for my next deposit and the increasing rent (because the values of my properties increased faster than cash flow type properties) helped pay the mortgages.

In other words, while I had to save a deposit for my first property over the years the deposit and serviceability for future properties came from my existing property portfolio.

So I buy properties to enable me to buy more properties.

Then once I grew a substantial asset base, the next stage in growing my net worth was to slowly lower the loan-to-value ratio of my property portfolio and then start living off my “cash machine” of properties.

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Note: While cash flow management was important to keep me in the investment game, it was really capital growth (my increasing net worth) that got me out of the rat race!

Now that I have a very substantial asset base, I balance my higher-growth residential properties with retail, industrial and commercial properties that deliver stronger cash flow but lower capital growth.

And that my friends are my strategy for property investment success and how I achieved a net worth that provides me with the life, and the lifestyle, that I always wanted.

So you might not know Michael Yardney's net worth, but hopefully, this article has helped you realise you need to plan your own pathway to success.

You need to plan

Attaining wealth doesn’t just happen, it’s the result of a well-executed plan.

Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now!

If you’re a beginner looking for a time-tested property investment strategy or an established investor who’s stuck or maybe you just want an objective second opinion about your situation, I suggest you allow the team at Metropole to build you a personalised, customised Strategic Property Plan

When you have a Strategic Property Plan you’re more likely to achieve the financial freedom you desire because we’ll help you:

  • Define your financial goals;
  • See whether your goals are realistic, especially for your timeline;
  • Measure your progress towards your goals – whether your property portfolio is working for you, or if you’re working for it;
  • Find ways to maximise your wealth creation through property;
  • Identify risks you hadn’t thought of.

And the real benefit is you’ll be able to grow your wealth through your property portfolio faster and more safely than the average investor.

Click here now and learn more about this service and discuss your options with us.

Your Strategic Property Plan should contain the following components:

  1. An asset accumulation strategy
  2. A manufacturing capital growth strategy
  3. A rental growth strategy
  4. An asset protection and tax minimisation strategy
  5. A finance strategy including long-term debt reduction and…
  6. A living off your property portfolio strategy

Click here now and learn more about this service and discuss your options with us.

About Michael Yardney Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media.
13 comments

And how do you measure your success? For some people, to become a millionaire is a big success, for others it may be in millions or billions? So, what is your criteria to become a successful investor? In economics we say ‘wants are unlimited’!

1 reply

I have not learned anything new as it is all common sense!

1 reply

I am 67 & have 3 properties. I live in one. I have mortgage on all 1.14 million total. The property is worth 2.4 million. What should I do. I want to retire 70. Advise please

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