A conventional start
For a long time, Tony Ng lived what he describes as a conventional life. He studied hard at school and afterwards chose accounting at uni. because it seemed like a ‘safe’ option. Then after graduation, he went into full-time work straight away with an accounting role at Coca Cola Amatil and got stuck into climbing the corporate ladder.
“I took a very traditional path; I come from an Asian family and my mum always told me: work hard and you’ll do well in life. That’s why I was so focussed in my studies and afterwards in my career. After starting at Coca Cola, I quickly went on to get my CA (Chartered Accountant). I made solid progress in my career, changing roles every 1-2 years, initially at Coca Cola, and subsequently moving to Woolworths, where I led a small team as the Finance Manager.”
Why property investment ‘fell on my lap’
Apart from being a bit of a high-achiever, Tony also happens to be the nephew of Priscilla Cheung – one of our long-serving Strategists, and highly successful investor in her own right. By having access to Priscilla’s expertise and insights, Tony made one slight and quite crucial deviation to his otherwise conventional path.
“I bought my first property when I was 20. I still remember clearly; I was at Priscilla’s house, she hadn’t started working for Ironfish yet, but she was already an experienced property investor. Priscilla had just decided to purchase a property off-the-plan and suggested that it might be a good buy for me too. I was 20 – I had no idea about anything! But Priscilla had already had some good results to show for her investments and Mum was very supportive and happy to pay the deposit. It was an off-the-plan purchase and settlement wasn’t for another year, coinciding with me working full-time. And as a first home buyer, I was able to access some government incentives as well. But without Priscilla, it wouldn’t have been done. I wasn’t thinking about investing; my sole focus at the time was getting into my career. Priscilla’s knowledge gave mum confidence that it was the right thing to do for me long-term, even though I was just starting in my career. And given she is family, we had complete faith and trust in her guidance. It was the ideal partnership.”
What did I compromise?
Tony is quite adamant that for a young professional such as himself, property investment really doesn’t require any compromise to your lifestyle and shouldn’t be something that holds you back.
“When you take out a big mortgage it seems very daunting and I think there’s a big misconception that this has a major effect on your lifestyle. But I realised very early on that it didn’t really affect my lifestyle at all. Because I had a tenant paying off my mortgage, what was left was relatively little. And at tax time every year, I’d always be excited because I knew I’d be getting a nice return. I did live at home – which helped. But I also had a good social life and went out a lot – probably more than many of my friends.”