Melbourne real estate: 6-year-old buys house in Clyde

Ruby McLellan is just six but she’s already broken into the property market and has made $70,000.

Cam McLellan, 47, from Melbourne, shares how he encouraged all his kids to start investing in property.

At 20 years old, I’d just bought my first property. This was no mean feat considering how tight money had been for me growing up.

There were times when I’d heard my parents ask whether they should buy the milk or bread because there wasn’t enough money for both.

Living with financial vulnerability motivated me to make sure that, no matter what happened, I’d never let myself end up in that situation as an adult.

At 14 years and nine months, I got my first job at a newsagency. I left home at 16 to live in the city, where I worked four jobs to earn as much as I could.

My savings were a great safety net, but the turning point was when a friend’s dad took us aside one day.

“I’ll teach you how to buy and invest in property,” he told us.

I followed his advice closely and, before I’d even turned 21, had a place to call my own.

Later, when I married my wife, Felicity, we had four children: Hannah, Gus, Lucy and Ruby.

By then, my wife and I owned multiple properties, but there was something else that concerned me.

“If I die, I want my knowledge passed on to the kids,” I told Felicity.

I realized the best way to do this was to write a book, My Four-Year-Old the Property Investor, to ensure they learned early on how to prepare for their financial future. Incredibly, it became a bestseller.

When demand for the book grew, I told the publishers I had a better idea for getting it distributed.

“My kids can do the packing,” I said.

From a young age, they’d all started doing chores around the house and earning pocket money.

They were also packing up to 100 books a day and earning money for their labour.

Last year, when they were old enough, I spoke to Hannah, 14, Gus, 12, Lucy, 11, and Ruby, six, about an idea I’d had.

“How’d you like to buy a house together?” I asked. Their eyes widened excitedly.

The plan was that I’d set up a family trust and they’d all sign a written agreement that, after purchasing a property, we’d sell it in 10 years when its value

had increased.

They were all for it and we spent months researching the best state to buy in. We settled on Victoria.

Felicity and I explained that once each child had saved $2000, we’d pay the rest of the deposit on the $671,000 property in Clyde.

Ruby was especially excited. “Can my friends sleep over in our new place?” she asked.

I laughed. “No, we’re not going to live there,” I explained, adding that it would be rented out.

They saved hard for six months before they reached the $8000 target we’d set.

We went and inspected a home, which is still being built and should be complete by mid 2022.

The kids were all excited. I instructed them to grab a handful of dirt.

“This is yours now,” I said to them, proud of what they’d achieved.

Since making the deposit, it’s already gone up in value by $70,000 and I estimate that 10 years from now when we sell it, the house will go for at least $1,342,000.

Not a bad result for all the chores they had to do!

I hope the experience of buying this house has taught my children the importance of saving and investing wisely.

As I say to them, the younger you start saving, the better off you’ll be later in life.

This story originally appeared in Take 5 magazine and has been reproduced here with permission.

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