Imagine reaching your goal of becoming mortgage-free. What next? For mum of three Bradie Claydon, who paid off her mortgage before the age of 50, the answer was simple: to invest.
Bradie’s journey into becoming a debt-free investor started in January 2016. A family tragedy prompted her and her husband to take a closer look at their financial situation. They set out to clear their loans and managed to pay off $566,000 in 39 months. By giving their finances a complete overhaul and selling their car and a rental property, cutting back on expenses and working extra shifts, they reached debt-free status in April 2019.
Along the way, the Legal Executive started the Instagram account @kiwigirlonabudget to keep herself accountable and share her journey. Today, she has amassed almost 16,000 followers.
Much like Bradie’s journey into becoming debt-free when it comes to investing there’s no doing things by halves. She and her husband are investing so they can retire early in the next five years. A late starter – it was only after becoming debt-free that Bradie started investing – she’s now hooked.
“I started reading books, listening to podcasts and then took the plunge! The first book my husband and I read was ‘Total Money Makeover’ by Dave Ramsey. But my favourite book of all time is by JL Collins, ‘The Simple Path to Wealth.’ His advice is gold – investing doesn’t need to be difficult, just keep it simple.”
She also follows a number of Instagram accounts, joining what she calls the “debt-free community.”
“The account that particularly stands out for me is @PersonalFinanceClub, run by Jeremy Schneider. He shares great information and illustrations.”
Between her and her husband, they aim to invest 50% of their income and invest each month using online investing platforms including Sharesies, Kernel and Smartshares. While they take a DIY approach to investing, they are selective in where they put their money.
“We invest in what we feel comfortable with. We don’t invest in single companies - it’s index funds all the way for us to cover our risk. We are long-term investors so we realise there will be ups and downs.”
Both Bradie and her husband have KiwiSaver and her husband also has a State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme. Once they have enough to retire, they intend to be “work optional.”
“We’ll use our time to treat ourselves with domestic travel, hiking, looking after our health and spending more time with our grandchildren.”
But Bradie says she won’t ever stop investing – even when she’s retired.“Our investing motto is to live on less than you make, invest often and keep it simple.”
How does Bradie and her husband stay motivated?
“We set our goals and keep the benchmark high. I keep a tight ship on our finances and scrutinise every bill and payment. My husband has an incredible work ethic and a knack for selling things. Together we make a formidable team.”
While she’s proud to have smashed her money goals, her biggest accomplishment has been passing on some of her investing knowledge to her children. Bradie helped them set up their KiwiSaver accounts and today they all invest in KiwiSaver and Sharesies.
“I gave each of them a copy of 'Total Money Makeover' and hid a $20 bill in the middle. They found the money but I’m not sure any of them have read the book yet. Never say never though - I didn't read it until I was 45 so they have plenty of time. None of our children have any consumer debt and in this day and age that is really something to be proud of.”
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