"I wanted to get my foot on the property ladder as early as possible" - Ironfish

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“I wanted to get my foot on the property ladder as early as possible”


Dickson Wong

Electrical Engineer

“Some people are surprised I choose to live with my parents, but I don’t mind because I like spending time with them. It’s also about how do I want to spend the limited amount of money that I have? Do I want to spend it on rent? Or do I want to invest it so that I can buy my own home when I’m ready?”


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  • 25-year-old beginner investor
  • Purchased 2 properties with Ironfish
  • Purchased investment before first home
  • Planning to build a portfolio of 4 properties in 10 years


Beyond university: setting life goals

Dickson Wong graduated from uni in 2014 and has been working as an electrical engineer for a major consultancy firm based in Brisbane for about 4 years. He had built up some savings over this period by living at home and being very careful with his spending. He knew he wanted to invest his savings and that it was important to start as soon as possible.

“At uni, without even realising it, you’re meeting goals and expectations that have been set for you each semester. After you leave, there’s no one setting goals for you anymore, it’s your own responsibility. So, I set myself a plan of what I could expect for myself over a period of time – and that’s why I decided to invest straight away.

I started exploring my options; I attended seminars, I talked to as many different people as possible, and what I found was that property kept coming up as a wealth building path. But it definitely takes time, so I wanted to start as early as possible.”

My options were based on my limitations

Dickson first encountered Ironfish at Property Expo, where he attended a presentation by our CEO Joseph Chou. He was invited to attend a follow up workshop at our Ironfish Brisbane office, after which he was keen to schedule a strategy meeting straight away.

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Dickson had a series of meetings with our Brisbane-based strategist Jade Cattanach, who spent some time helping him to clarify an investment strategy that could help him achieve his personal goals. Since Dickson had a limited amount of savings, it narrowed down the fie

ld for what Dickson could afford to buy. It also meant that every dollar counted, so if he could avoid any extra service fees and charges then that would help a lot.

“My options on which property to invest in were based on my limitations – how much I had saved up! The fact that Ironfish is providing a lot of extra services at no direct cost to me makes me feel a lot safer as a customer as well. I knew exactly what I was getting into and I wasn’t potentially losing any extra service fees on top of the property cost.

“I’ve been in touch with other companies, some of which charged a one-off fee per property as well as an additional fee for managing the construction phase of the property. There are other companies that do a similar service, but the level of service they provide is quite different – the approach, the level of detail, the attention they can provide you as well as the type and quality of properties they could offer. With new properties it’s hard to gauge the end product. But from what I could see from Ironfish print materials, descriptions as well as the time my strategist Jade spent talking me through all the many details and coaching me in terms of mindset – all this gave me a solid idea of what I could expect, and the confidence to go ahead.”

Portfolio foundations

With affordability at front of mind, Dickson’s first purchase was a house and land package in Ipswich, priced under $400,000.

“House and land seemed like a good starting option from my point of view. The location of this house is what appealed; the growth potential of the area seems conducive to growth of the property – and I didn’t realise before that it was possible to still buy a house under $400,000!

It’s not a remote purchase either; it’s local-ish to my place, so I could very conveniently visit the site area and understand for myself what was happening and how this is talked about in the research materials I was reading. It was a great to get involved as a new investor and learn more about the process. This property is now fully constructed, a tenant was found faster than I had expected, and Ironfish Property Management co-ordinated the whole process well, with good communication and correspondence.”

Fast-tracking my goals

Dickson’s second purchase came quicker than he’d initially expected, but as a result of Jade’s regular updates and ongoing portfolio review service, it helped him understand how it would be possible to build his assets in a shorter than expected time-frame. Ironfish’s relationship with multiple-award-winning developer Aria Property Group also provided Dickson a unique opportunity to invest in a stand-out development.

“My second purchase was a 2-bedroom apartment in The Standard, an apartment development by Aria Property Group in South Brisbane. My sister and I invested in this one together. I wasn’t expecting to make this purchase, but when Jade let me know about the opportunity, it was a very attractive option given the timing and completion, and the growth potential of the area.

“I work in the same area, so I can see for myself this area is growing and changing quite a lot. I was also able to see Aria’s other buildings in the same area; the quality of their previous developments was very impressive and gave me a lot of confidence to invest right now, off-the-plan. The completion timing also means that we have time to save up the remaining deposit.”

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Brisbane’s iconic Fish Lane street-art – Dickson’s apartment in ‘The Standard’ enjoys a Fish Lane address.

10-year property investment plan

Although his first 2 purchases were able to come fairly close together, Dickson now plans to slow down a little, but his goals are still clearly mapped out.

“My short-term goal is to pay down my existing mortgage and build up some equity. I also want to make sure I’ve got enough saved to act as a buffer for my investment properties; for any unexpected costs that may occur along the way, such as repairs, or vacancy.

“I’ve now got what I believe are 2 ‘bluechip’ properties and I plan to accumulate a portfolio of 4 of these types of properties in the next 10 years. Subject to market conditions, over 10 years may seem conservative to some investors, but I want to give myself a realistic goal. I’m still young and just starting out in my career – I’ve got my investment foundation laid down but then I still want to have the freedom to do things outside of work and investment, such as travel. I don’t want to miss out on any of those experiences.”

Dickson’s property investment tips:

  1. Investment requires 2 main things: money and the mindset. Your mindset drives the decisions. To make the decision you need the capital. These are the only 2 things you can really control! Ironfish has helped me a lot in terms of developing the right mindset as well.
  2. Actively go learn stuff from anyone who offers that knowledge and expertise. This may be reading or going to seminars or talking to people. If I knew Ironfish earlier it would have been even better, to be honest. Ironfish helped fill my knowledge gaps and give me confidence to invest.
  3. I usually allocate a third of my salary to normal expenses and save the remaining two-thirds, which I manually transfer into a higher interest savings account. I try not to touch my savings but I don’t automate it either, because it keeps me thinking about what I’m saving for.
  4. What I do automate, I track via an app called ‘Pocketbook’. This links to all my bank accounts and helps me understand what I’m spending my money on. There are lots of apps that have this kind of functionality.
  5. Consider investing before buying your own home. Based on my own current situation, buying an investment property has more attractive tax benefits. This may change in future, and I’ll reassess it then. Plus, this way I still have the freedom to move around, to travel, without being tied down to a home or a big home mortgage.

Need some help getting your foot on the property ladder?

Book a free appointment with one of our experienced property investment strategists to see how you can get started.

  • Draw on our collective pool of experience as investors and first-home-buyers – have all your property questions answered and any jargon explained
  • Visualise different cash flow scenarios for a property
  • Consult a comprehensive and up-to-date list of available government incentives and benefits on offer for first home buyers
  • Create a strategy that’s right for you, targeting affordable properties in great locations