Rear view with David Shaw


David Shaw once aspired to be prime minister of Australia but these days enjoys his time as CEO of WSC Group. He talks the Beatles, boats, business television, and the challenges of owning more than 30 properties.

As a property investor who owns more than 30 properties, have you had any unusual experiences that you would like to share?

In the last three years I have had two of my properties burn down. With the second property, I got a call from the agent one Monday morning letting me know that one of my properties had burned down. My comment was: “Well, the week can only get better from here!”

Another time, when I was at one of my blocks of units, I noticed some equipment behind a rowboat. When I went to investigate, I was surrounded by four teenagers, threatening me if I didn’t let them take it. I then realised it was stolen and had to call the police. The moral of the story is be careful where you buy investment properties; some areas may not be safe.

What are your favourite indoor and outdoor activities?

Indoor ... watching the cricket, rugby league, golf or the Foxtel Business Channel – I’m an extremely boring person. Outdoor ... tennis, golf and going out on my boat.

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Paul McCartney: awesome musician and responsible for most of the songs I like. George Harrison: same as above.

If you were not involved in tax/property, what would you be doing?

I would definitely be a salesman of some kind, preferably wanting to sell products people would want to purchase. My ambition when I was young was to be prime minister of Australia. Who knows? The country may need some help at the moment, so there might be some hope for me yet.

What are some things people thinking about investing should keep in mind?

Many young people will eventually have to work till they are 80, and I have calculated that most of my staff who are about 25 to 30 would have about 2,800 Mondays left. Luckily, there are just as many Fridays.

Buy appreciation assets, not depreciating. Don’t buy expensive cars; go for property instead.

Buy a property which gives you potential to put a granny flat on the back or a dual occupancy option.

What’s one place in the world you have not been to but hope to go to some day?

Every time I hear about one of my staff’s holiday, it seems to be that Europe is the place to be. Whilst I have travelled to many locations, I have never yet been to anywhere in Europe.

It would be fantastic to go skiing in Switzerland, see the ruins in Rome, and drift through the streets in Venice or perhaps sail the Greek Islands. Rest assured, Europe is on my radar and I will soon be travelling there in the coming years, and hopefully have a lovely white Christmas in England with family.

What are two things you can’t live without?

My wife, firstly, because she is the most wonderful person in the world, but also I have never met anyone who is so patient. Many of my staff joke that she needs a medal for being my wife, and wonder how she has survived for the last 26 years.

My iPad. I know it’s a bit cheesy, but I would find life difficult if I did not have this portable handheld device that I can review jobs on, answer my emails on, and watch Foxtel Go on during my downtime.


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