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One way to retire before the age of 55

For a long time, Simon Whelan had planned on retiring by the time he was 55, but at 53 he still had no strategy for achieving this goal. He’d already taken the step to improve his work life balance by setting up his own business as a construction consultant, but needed to find a way of generating an alternative income within the next two years.

Along with wife Liz, and encouraged by his 35 years’ experience working in the construction industry, Simon began looking at buy-to-let investments as a possible vehicle to take him to early retirement.
But, after thorough research among friends and colleagues with varied property portfolios, the couple from the West Midlands came to the conclusion that investing in property wasn’t worth the time and effort – at least not for a 4% return.

Can I really make £15k per year per property?

It wasn’t until hosting a dinner party that Liz and Simon overheard one of their guests talking about a buy-to-let investment model that generated more than £15,000 gross profit per annum per property.

“We kept dipping in and out of this conversation about property investment. All I kept hearing was this £15k figure and I was intrigued,” said Simon. “We talked to David Pearce, our guest, about it later that evening and met up with him soon after to try and understand what Platinum Property Partners (PPP) was all about.”

Impressed by the ethical and professional nature of the business, training and support, Simon and Liz had joined within two months of first hearing about PPP. But, they had considered doing it on their own.

Invaluable support

Liz added: “At first, we weren’t quite sure why we had joined. Simon had a lot of experience in property already. But, when we look back over the past 20 months, we can honestly and truthfully say that we would not have been in the position we are now, with almost four properties, if it had not been for PPP. You get on the PPP train and you don’t stop at any stations. It motivates you to grow. It’s invaluable.”

Since joining in March 2014, the pair have utilised the resources available to them from PPP and are generating more profit per property than they had originally anticipated. This has resulted in their initial goal portfolio size reducing from eight to six, which they are on track to achieve within two and a half years.

Simon added: “We weren’t concerned about the construction and refurbishment element of building a portfolio, but finding the right property, planning and tenant management were skills we needed to develop.

“The mentoring process was fantastic, and we’ve had support on all planning applications from Alison at Head Office and lettings advice from Lynne on the Power Team.

“If you add up what these services would cost you each time, then it does show how much PPP really does offer value for money. And then there are all of the changes and challenges that landlords have to endure and comply with. I just wonder how I would have dealt with all of that if it was just Liz and I.”

Goal achieved

Simon has now achieved what he set out to – to retire from his construction industry business at 55. He stopped working as a construction consultant and is concentrating on building their portfolio of professionalHMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) part time.

Despite continuing to work on building the portfolio, as well as acting as the go-to expert on Construction, Design and Management (CDM) for Partners within the network, Simon is enjoying a better work life balance, while Liz is enjoying being busy.

Liz added: “I’d given up my corporate career to bring up our family, so, I’d been home for more than 21 years doing very little apart from bringing up two children and taking various part time roles within the community. Now, I’m doing more and Simon is doing less.

“We have really enjoyed ourselves and been able to do more things together. I even enjoy going to look at bathrooms! Our work life balance has 100% changed and Simon is much less stressed.”

Unexpected benefits

What started as a retirement and inheritance planning strategy has since proven to offer a new way of living for Liz and Simon.

“The social side of things is great,” added Simon. “The National Workshops are great for inspiration and motivation and the regionals are really useful to learn more about techniques in your local area and market.”

Liz added: “For me, the network and the friends I have made is the biggest benefit. I’m off tomorrow to visit some of the other ladies within the network for a shopping trip. It’s super important to have a group of close friends with similar interests. To me, that’s lovely.”

Due to the speed at which Simon and Liz have developed their portfolio and Simon’s construction knowledge, the pair are now regional coaches in the Midlands.


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