Home' API Magazine : February 2014 Contents 29
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It sounds like every backpacker’s dream
day out – floating down the Nam Song
river in a tyre tube while the music’s
pumping and being reeled in by rope-
throwing locals to enjoy free whisky shots
and dollar beers at the bars on either side
of the river.
“When you’re young and backpacking,
it’s a lot of fun,” Vanessa Petch says.
But the fun didn’t last for her and new
husband Richard at the party town of
Vang Vieng in Laos.
“We were heading to the last bar of the
day,” Vanessa recalls.
“I got chatting with an American couple
and they found out it was our honeymoon
and said ‘great, we’ll buy you some shots
when we get to the next place’. We were
tipsy but we weren’t drunk by this stage.
“We had one shot there and then we
got back into the water. They also did the
shots but Richard and I have never done
drugs so it hit us really hard. We don’t
think they intended to spike our drinks,
it’s just that we couldn’t handle it.
“We got back into the water, there was a
group of 20 of us, and suddenly it got very,
very dark, very, very quickly. I’ve looked
at Richard and said ‘where are we?’ and
he said ‘I don’t know’, so we must have
blanked out a bit. After that I lost control
of my arms and legs and I slipped through
the tyre tube into the water and was just
in the water going ‘I can’t swim, I can’t
move my arms and legs’ and thought ‘this
is it, this is where I’ll die’.
“He was then able to fish me out and
hold onto me and some locals were on the
side of the bank and they threw us ropes
and fished us out. Two men had to carry
me up to the top because I couldn’t walk
at all. Richard also couldn’t walk, he had
to crawl. We had the same amount but
I was 43 kilos and he was 90 so it really
wiped me out.”
That was seven years ago and an
event Richard describes as his most life
changing moment – “almost becoming a
widower on my honeymoon”. That, plus
Vanessa being diagnosed with genetic
arthritis in their first year of marriage,
has taught the couple to “slow down,
stop stressing over the little things and
prioritise what’s important”. It’s also made
them get serious abut mapping out a
future where they can provide financial
security for their two-year-old daughter
Charli and hopefully retire before hitting
the big five-o .
Richard, 36, is a paramedic and
Vanessa, 33, works part-time from
home as a business manager for an
“Our goal is to work hard now with
property so that we can reap the rewards
later,” Vanessa says.
The pair owns four properties, all of
them in Brisbane.
The first building block in their portfolio
was Richard’s former house at Stafford
Heights. He paid $147,500 for it in 2001
and it’s now worth about $380,000.
Bringing in a weekly rent of $360, this
house is positively geared but because its
capital growth appears to have peaked,
it’s the first property they’ve put on the
for-sale chopping block.
Rounding out their portfolio are another
house at Stafford Heights, a house at
Keperra and their latest addition at
Grange – a former doctor’s surgery that
they’re converting into a four-bedroom,
two-bathroom house through a $40,000
renovation while they live in it.
They’re itching to buy property number
five but don’t know whether to stick
with Brisbane, a city they know well, or
be brave and invest interstate to avoid
attracting land tax.
“We’re definitely looking at the
moment,” Vanessa says.
“We’re not very clear what our next
step is and because of that we’re kind of
to-ing and fro-ing and not making quick
decisions at this point.
“Whether we buy another one exactly
like we’ve just done and do the renovation
while we live in it, or whether we buy
something else that’s already done, rent
it out and then we could move back
Whatever their next move is, it has to
stay within their comfort zone, and that’s
middle of the road, bread and butter stuff.
“We like moderate rental yield combined
with moderate capital growth,” Vanessa
explains. “We don’t go for high on
either side of those. We don’t want to
sacrifice our short-term lifestyle choices
by going to something that would have
high capital growth but low rental yield
and would mean we’d have to put more
money in. And then we don’t want to fall
Names: Vanessa and Richard Petch
Ages: Vanessa – 33, Richard – 36
Combined household income: $155,000
SUMMARY OF GOALS
> Purchase another property – either
a house with renovation potential or
maybe move into subdivision.
> Would like to retire by age 45 to 50
on an annual property income of
$70,000, a portfolio worth
$5 million and equity of $3 million.
> About $15,000 in blue-chip shares.
> No personal debt.
> About $25,000 in an offset account
and another $30,000-plus against
the Keperra loan, $9000 of which
will be used for the new kitchen at
the Grange property.
> About $200,000 in superannuation.
> No set budget. Credit card is used
for all purchases and monitored
closely, with income going into
offset account. “We’ve managed to
pay the credit card off in full, pay
for overseas holidays in cash and
still save money every year so we’re
happy we’ve got the right balance.”
> Maintaining an 80 per cent loan-
to-value ratio with external income
used to finance renovations.
THE NUMBERS | VANESSA AND RICHARD PETCH
Stafford Heights, Qld
Plan to sell
Was PPOR*, however PPOR status
moved to Grange to minimise CGT#
Stafford Heights, Qld
Expected value on
*PPOR = principal place of residence.
CGT = capital gains tax. All calculations include Grange.
VANESSA AND RICHARD PETCH \\ ROADMAP TO WEALTH
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