If you’ve ever dreamt of building a multimillion-dollar property portfolio, living in the penthouse of an island resort, owning a high-end car collection and never working again, meet Ian Hosking Richards, a self-made investor who has used property to create an empire worth more than $14m
Already in your thirties, you came to Australia from the UK on a working holiday, earned just $35,000 per annum and managed to turn $20,000 into $14m. Do you consider yourself living proof that anyone can become a property millionaire?
I’m a great believer that your resourcefulness is more important than your resources, and that what you want is more important than what you have. I find that successful investors tend to be future focused; they have goals that are time specific. They are committed to achieving their goals, no matter what obstacles present themselves. There is always a way forward, and they will find that way. Less successful investors tend to be more focused on their present circumstances and accept more readily what is ‘realistic’.
You chose to start your own investment company called Rocket Property Group. What made you start Rocket when you could easily retire and just relax?
When I first started investing in property many people around me were quite negative. They gave me lots of unsolicited and unhelpful advice like, ‘Don’t buy in Queensland, you won’t get any capital growth’ and so on. So I started to become a bit selective about who I spoke to about my growing portfolio. Once I had quit my job, friends and work colleagues couldn’t quite believe it at first, but eventually they started calling me up and asking for my advice because they wanted to retire too. After a few weeks of fielding calls from friends and ex-colleagues I realised I was pretty good at property investing and that if I could formalise the help I was giving, I could make a business out of it which would give me an income so I could start buying property
In addition to your portfolio, you also own a 6,000-square-foot oceanfront penthouse in Penang, along with some other pretty enviable possessions. What would you say is the best thing you’ve bought that you could never afford had you not become a property investor?
My car collection is definitely my passion. At this stage one more investment property makes no difference to my life, but another car is a very different thing. I am an absolute car nut and because I am an Anglo-Australian, my cars have to be British or at least British built. I currently own two Rolls Royce Phantoms, the only updated Series 1 sedan in Australia and a metropolitan blue Drophead.
I also own a Bentley GTC convertible. If I were to buy another one, which is inevitable I suppose, it is likely to be an Aston Martin Vanquish Volante convertible. It would make me very happy. I also collect special plates for my cars. I have ‘IAN’ on the Bentley and the Rolls Royces are HR1 and HR2. I have HR3 on retention for my next car, and I also have RPG on my BMW 750Li which is my main company car.
You’ve created a great deal of wealth through property investment. What else does that allow you to do in life?
I enjoy collecting art and have quite an eclectic collection, but my walls are now full. I tend to travel quite a bit, overseas as well as domestically, and I always travel comfortably, first or business and stay in amazing hotels. My next big cash outlay will probably be an investment in the family business back in the UK. My father is a big advocate of clean energy and has gained planning permission for a wind turbine. I can’t think of anything better than helping him to realise this project.
You mentioned the importance of staying focused. What did you focus on throughout the journey to have accomplished so much?
I believe that everyone is in charge of their own destiny, whether your life is good or bad, whether you are rich or poor – it is largely up to you. Based on that belief, why would anyone choose to be poor if they could just as easily choose to be rich? Why would anyone choose to drive a Fiat Panda if they could drive a Ferrari? I am very goal driven so once I got smart I just took the actions that would give me my intended outcome. Maybe not everyone would agree with me, but it has worked for me.
What is your best advice for someone wanting to achieve the life you’ve created through property?
Nothing is ever plain sailing, but always remember, it isn’t what happens, it is how\ you react that is important. Be prepared to see obstacles as a challenge, and find creative ways to keep on track despite these inevitable distractions.
This article was published in the June 2014 edition of Your Investment Property magazine. You can subscribe to the magazine here.