Ruby McLellan is only six, but she has already broken into the real estate market and made $70,000.
Cam McLellan, 47, from Melbourne, tells how he encouraged all his children to invest in real estate.
At the age of 20, I had just bought my first property. This was no small feat considering how tight money had been for me growing up.
There were times when I heard my parents ask if they should buy the milk or the bread because there wasn’t enough money for both.
Living with financial fragility motivated me to make sure that no matter what happened, I would never put myself in that situation as an adult.
At 14 years and nine months I got my first job at a news agency. I left home when I was 16 to live in the city, where I had four jobs to earn as much money as possible.
My savings were a great safety net, but the turning point was when a friend’s father took us aside one day.
“I’ll teach you how to buy real estate and invest in it,” he told us.
I followed his advice closely and had a place of my own before I was 21.
When I later married my wife Felicity, we had four children: Hannah, Gus, Lucy, and Ruby.
By this time, my wife and I owned several properties, but there was one more thing that worried me.
“When I die, I want my knowledge to be passed on to the children,” I told Felicity.
I realized that the best way to do this was to write a book, My four year old the real estate investor, to ensure they learned early on how to prepare for their financial future. Incredibly, it became a bestseller.
When demand for the book increased, I told the publishers that I had a better idea of getting it distributed.
“My kids can pack,” I said.
From an early age they had all started doing chores around the house and earning pocket money.
They also packed up to 100 books a day and made money for their work.
Last year, when they were old enough, I spoke to Hannah, 14, Gus, 12, Lucy, 11, and Ruby, six, about an idea I had.
“How would you like to buy a house together?” I asked. Their eyes got excited.
The plan was that I would set up a family trust and they would all sign a written agreement that after purchasing a property, we would sell it within 10 years when the value
They were all for it and we spent months researching the best condition to buy in. We chose Victoria.
Felicity and I explained that once each child had saved $2,000, we would pay the remainder of the down payment on the $671,000 property in Clyde.
Ruby was especially excited. “Can my friends stay overnight 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 reaching the $8,000 goal we set.
We went to inspect a house, which is still under construction and should be ready by mid-2022.
The children were all excited. I ordered them to take a handful of soil.
“This is yours now,” I told them, proud of what they had accomplished.
Since we made the down payment, it has already increased in value by $70,000 and I estimate the house will cost at least $1,342,000 in 10 years when we sell it.
Not a bad result for all the chores they had to do!
I hope the experience of buying this home has taught my children the importance of saving and investing wisely.
As I tell them, the younger you start saving, the better off you will be later in life.
This story originally appeared in Take 5 magazine and is reproduced with her permission.