Me and My Money: Lucia Xiao, property investment mentor

Lucia Xiao
Property investment mentor Lucia Xiao says how people treat money shows their attitude to life. Photo credit: Supplied.

"If you know what you're doing, property is a vehicle to achieve financial freedom faster.

"My husband was able to leave his day job at 41."  

Lucia Xiao, property investment mentor.

Money. It's the driving factor behind many life choices, but is it the be-all and end-all?

'Me and My Money' is a regular feature that investigates Kiwi attitudes towards money and what drives the choices they make. We also share their biggest learnings from COVID-19.

Lucia rose from humble beginnings in a state house to becoming a multi-millionaire. She puts her success down to property investment, which she says can help people become financially free.

Newshub spoke to Lucia about why money should be treated in the same way as family and friends, the importance of being committed to saving a house deposit and how investing in property meant her husband could leave his day job at 41. 

1. Why is it important to have a good relationship with money?

The relationship between you and money is similar to the relationship you have with your partner, family and friends.

If you understand it and look after it, it will look after you back. 

How you treat your money shows your attitude in life.

Respect money, learn how to budget, how to save and how to invest.

2. Has COVID-19 impacted Kiwis' confidence in buying property and if so, how? 

Heading into and out of lockdown, there was a lot of uncertainty. 

At the end of March, I started my first weekly webinar, giving people comfort and encouragement to continue to buy their own home or invest.

My message was simple: "Don't wait, go and do it". 

3. What's your advice to renters finding it difficult to save a house deposit? 

There's always a way. We help people brainstorm ideas.

Instead of telling yourself 'It's too hard', ask yourself 'How can I get a deposit?'.  

4. Is now a good time for first home buyers to get into the property market? 

According to data, the first house is never affordable. But if you're mentally and financially ready (have a deposit and the bank is willing to provide funding), it's always a good time to buy.

It's not a difficult journey, but it does require effort. 

I personally believe it's a journey everyone needs to go through by themselves. It requires people to have discipline to save and plan. 

As long as the Reserve Bank uses money printing tools to save the country's economy, property prices will continue to increase. Over time and as we ride through each cycle, property prices have continued to go up.

Therefore, it's better to get into the property market sooner rather than later.

5. Do you expect bringing back loan-to-value (LVR) restrictions next March to reduce the number of property investors?

Putting LVR restrictions back in means lenders are only able to offer 20 percent of their lending book to first home buyers with less than 20 percent deposit, and 5 percent of their lending book to investors with less than 30 percent deposit.

That won't affect property investors, as most have plenty of equity. Serviceability is the issue.  

It may affect mum and dad investors who've recently started, or those with a small investment portfolio.

6. What's your preferred form of investment and why?

Property (of course)!  In my view, it's no risk, although people have different perspectives on risk and return.

If you know what you're doing, property is a vehicle to achieve financial freedom faster.

7. Does having more money increase happiness?

Money can't buy happiness. But what it does provide is financial freedom.

It allows you to do what you love - and that will increase happiness. 

My husband was able to leave his day job at 41. He now spends a couple of days a week as a volunteer at Habitat for Humanity.

8. The best money advice someone's ever given you?

Throughout my childhood, my grandmother often said:

"As human beings, we have two legs and money has four corners. If we chase money, we'll go crazy. If money chases us, we are the king."

The saying means that making money shouldn't be your goal. If helping others is your purpose, money will come to you.