Self-Awareness Your Greatest Investment Asset
An investor for nearly two decades, Niro Thambipillay says finding a strategy to suit your situation and personality can guard against the pitfalls of property.
Buying investments matched to his personality type and situation have been by far the most profitable for Niro Thambipillay, simply by implementing his skills at identifying growth markets throughout Australia. It was only in the early years of investing - when he stepped outside these parameters - that he struggled to succeed, ringing home the importance of remaining true to yourself throughout the property journey. And where some of that insight could be put down to experience, there’s a lot to be said for Niro’s assertion that self-awareness is one of your biggest assets in the world of investing. Regardless, he’s now found his niche and enjoys the rewards with his family - the reason he started down this track in the first place.
Niro wasn’t far out of university when he starting working, but the gloss of a full-time wage didn’t take long to fade. Weighing it against the needs of a single person the scales were fairly evenly balanced, but when a family and mortgage came into the equation it didn’t take long to see things would become skewed.
“I couldn’t see how working 9-5 would get me ahead,” Niro says.
He dived headfirst into finding out as much as possible as he could about how other people achieved financial freedom, discovering that the vast majority created or stored their wealth in property. Further research backed real estate as a solid investment vehicle, with Niro’s next move to work out how he could get involved. With hometown Sydney reaching the end of their boom in 2002, he ended up buying in Western Australia for its promising capital growth potential, but not everyone was convinced.
“Those very same people that thought I was mad were surprised to see I’d doubled my money within 18 months,” he says.
In those early years, however, it wasn’t always that easy for Niro to ignore other people’s opinions and strategies. At one point, he jumped on the property flipping bandwagon as the trend grew in popularity but lacked the core skills to make it a success.
“I don’t have a practical bone in my body… I was clueless,” Niro says.
“I had to find a strategy that suited me personally.”
Another time, he bought a property as a project to knock down and develop, with his lack of experience coming back to bite. He didn’t surround himself with the right team and it was one of the worst investment situations he’d ever experienced.
“I was a complete fish out of water,” Niro says.
Assessing his major successes to date, he knew he had to play to his strengths of identifying growth markets throughout Australia. Over the years, Niro has used that knowledge to build a portfolio between Sydney and Brisbane - markets that are completely out of sync with each other so when one market is rising, the other is generally flat and vice versa. He uses a buy and hold strategy, looking for properties in either rising markets or markets he expects to rise shortly to get him a quick equity uplift.
Niro sticks completely to residential property, which he generally finds to be lower risk than commercial. Having found a strategy that works for him, he now plans to keep recycling and growing his portfolio at a pace matched to his situation.
Currently aiming to buy his dream home, Niro is focused on providing a comfortable home base for his family - and wants to do so with as low a mortgage as possible.
As for tips for other investors, Niro says to be clear on your goals, then find the right strategy for your situation and personality. “And get help,” he adds.
“Property investing is a team sport and having the right team around you will help you make better decisions.”