Property Investory
Andrew David Courtney - Playing The Game of Life: Do it Right With Property
May 5, 2024
On this episode of Property Investory we speak with Andrew David Courtney, founder of Plenitude Wealth. Coming from a place of poverty, Courtney knew he wanted a different life for his family. After studying a Masters of Commerce, he discovered that even his peers had a huge missing piece in their financial knowledge: property. Filling this gap as a mortgage broker, buyers agent and licenced financial advisor, all in one, Courtney now is equipped to help everyone get finance fit ! But his story isn’t quite that simple. His journey spans countries and takes us from the basketball court to the boadroom, from tents to terminals. All in the name of financial freedom.
On this episode of Property Investory we’re back with Andrew David Courtney, founder of Plenitude Wealth. Pulled-in by the powerful attraction of financial freedom, Courtney left his former plans behind to focus on property. Changing his world one investment at a time, Courtney couldn’t help but tell others about the life-changing discoveries he’d made. On a mission to convince others of their best reality, Courtney has become a messenger of the best kind of change: one that provides security. Beating obstacles of fear, self-doubt and even hunger so we don’t have to, he’s learnt the lessons of life well.  All so we can understand a better way of living.

Timestamps:
1:07 | This Guy Does it All
4:18 | Solo is a No Go
5:31 | Running it Back
10:55 | The Lucky Country ?
13:52 | What Could’ve Been
16:57 | The Science of Finance
21:27 | The School of Reality
24:54 | The Missing Piece of Property

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1:08 | Been There Done That
2:52 | Follow My Lead
6:07 | Couch Clarity
8:15 | Striking Property Gold
15:39 | A Way Out Through Education
17:04 | Basketball and Business
22:54 | In Another Life

Resources and Links:

Transcript:

Andrew David Courtney 
[7:12] I had friends who were living under tarpaulins right? With a dirt floor. I had lunch with their family and essentially, it was very basic living over there. [7:30] We weren't well to do either. So, I know how bad it can get essentially. 

**INTRO MUSIC**

Tyrone Shum:
This is Property Investory where we talk to successful property investors to find out more about their stories, mindset and strategies.

I’m Tyrone Shum and in this episode we’re speaking with Andrew David Courtney, founder of Plenitude Wealth. We’ll hear about his family’s  journey from the Phillipines to the sunny shores of the Gold Coast. Plus, how just one property investment allowed him to change careers, and his future, forever.  

**END INTRO MUSIC**
 
**START BACKGROUND MUSIC**

This Guy Does it All

Tyrone Shum 
Since 2018, Courtney has smashed goal after goal in business. As a licenced financial advisor, buyers agent, mortgage broker and speaker with a healthy multi-million dollar property portfolio, maybe this should come as no surprise. Yet, he says unless other people achieve their goals of financial freedom, it won’t matter. As the founder of full-service advisory company Plenitude, Courtney’s plan is to educate over 1 million Australians by 2028. The question is… why? 

Andrew David Courtney 
[0:54] It's a very, very niche market that we serve. All in all mate, since Australians love property, I think we're in a pretty good position to A) first and foremost, educate and B) help them build their portfolio accordingly so that they can achieve their goals a hell of a lot faster. So, we run three businesses: a financial planning business, mortgage broking business and a property buyer's agency. And essentially, I try and overlay the portfolios that I've built myself, for my clients, and essentially show them where the pitfalls are and make sure we stay clear of them. And actually amplify the returns on investment and build their portfolio a hell of a lot faster than they otherwise would have gotten themselves. 

Tyrone Shum 
If Courtney’s job sounds like a lot, it's because it is. He packs his days to the brim, but not necessarily with the priorities you might think. 

Andrew David Courtney 
[2:40] Right now day to day, it looks a little bit like this. So, wake up at 530 and ideally, go for a walk and listen to an audio book. I’m a big, big believer of that particular habit. Listen to two and a half, three and a half times [speed] depending on how fast the audiobook goes, or the reader goes. And I’m  always asking a specific question, right? ‘How do I make myself better ? ’ Or, ‘How do I make one part of the business or my life better?’ And this is how I pretty much operate across the board. And then from that, I get home and start with the business essentially. Typically I’ll run a morning meeting with my team and work out what are the fires that we're fighting this morning? What are the challenges and essentially see what action items we need to take to ensure that we know the timelines for all of our clients who are acquiring property. And understand  the plans that we're building out and make sure that we do a lot of QA  QC (Quality Assurance Quality Control). 

[3:36] So, right now for me I'm transitioning from being the main operator to ideally, more QAQC on the business side, because there's so many moving parts. So, we're looking for a great operator at the moment to help me and transition into more of an educator, trainer, sales and marketing kind of a person in the business. So, lots and lots of moving parts when it comes to the three businesses but ultimately it's about making sure we have a smooth run at the process that we've built out. We're quite systematic in our approach coming from a science background, which I'm sure you'll you'll hear about soon. We have to be systemized and we make sure that we've got certain milestones in place so that we can keep moving forward with precision and in confidence. 

Solo is a No Go

Tyrone Shum 
Courtney is really running three businesses in one. He loves what he does, but he knows there’s only one way to do it, and that’s not alone. 

Andrew David Courtney 
[1:51] I run them through having staff, you’ve got to have staff, you’ve got to have a solid team. You’ve got to have obviously a fantastic culture in the team and essentially a great training program to ensure that all the clients are engaged first and foremost, but more importantly, the staff and employees are engaged too, so that they understand what their roles are and how they help our clients moving forward and how they can keep their businesses sustainable and profitable as well. So, a lot of things, a lot of projects on the run, that's for sure. But I wouldn't have it any any other way.

 [4:41] We're currently running a quasi work from home kind of arrangement. So, we've got five Aussies and about 12 VA's who are overseas basically. So, majority in the Philippines. So, that's pretty much how we operate. So, half of the week in the office and half of the week at home. Typically two to three days per week in the office and then two days at home for sure. 

Running it Back

Tyrone Shum 
Courtney’s connection to the Phillipines is much deeper than through his staff. It actually starts on the basketball court. 

Andrew David Courtney 
[5:24] So born in the Philippines. So, my mom's Filipina and my dad's Aussie. Bit of a mixture, he's Danish, English and grew up down in Melbourne. So, born in the Philippines and I grew up there until age 10 and then moved over to Oz and fell in love, I fell in love with basketball. In the Philippines, basketball was the number one sport right? So everyone played it. And I was okay, I was probably average at best in the Philippines. When I came to Aus and hardly anyone played that sport I was like suddenly the top player in the school I'm like, ‘wow, this is amazing.’ So, I started playing and essentially in the 90s, obviously Jordan was the big dog at the time, and I was looking at him thinking, ‘Wow, I’d like to be like Mike too.’ So I thought, ‘You know what, I'm gonna go for it.’ So, the whole time basically, since 11 to 20 I devoted myself to basketball, because I was thinking maybe I can make the NBA one day. So that's me growing up mate. I grew up in the Gold Coast essentially and in 2009 moved over to Brisbane. And here we are.

Tyrone Shum 
Growing up overseas has left a lasting impression on Courtney, of course leaving a love for a childhood sport, but also transforming his perspective. 

Andrew David Courtney
[7:00] Because it’s practically a developing nation at the moment. I would argue that it was a third world country back in the day when I was there, so it seemed.  I had friends who were living under tarpaulins, right? With a dirt floor. I had lunch with their family and essentially, it was very basic living over there. I was lucky enough to have enough means within my family at the time, but we weren't well to do either. So, I know how bad it can get, essentially. So, I'm very grateful for the move and I tell my parents all the time, that was the genius move to move over here. Because I don't know where we'd be as a family without that move to Australia. So, really, it's a massive contrast and it provides me with with, I guess a great baseline to work off of. Because of that particular experience, I know for a fact that I can go back down there and be comfortable, basically. So, it gives me the impetus to learn more and take a little bit more risk than the average person would because I know the baseline is actually reasonably comfortable, because of where it came from. So, it's interesting.

Tyrone Shum 
As Courtney reflects on his time in the Phillipines, there is a greater realisation of the complex thoughts behind his parents decision. A decision he says he is forever grateful for.  

Andrew David Courtney
[9:09] Since my dad grew up here and my mom's Filipina, we figured—I think they were they were of the mindset of we can get help in the Philippines much easier. Like someone to housekeep, someone to cook and clean for us basically, because my mom and dad were both working full time at the time. And half of their work had to go overseas, basically. So essentially, they needed to make sure that we’d have the support network. As I grew up—I'm also one of four siblings— so essentially, they needed to make sure that we had that support network to ensure that we would have a good upbringing. And my mum was a little bit hesitant I believe to come to Australia sooner rather than later, purely because she knew that we couldn't afford nannies here and that kind of thing because, it's expensive to hire local talent to help out.

[10:06] So, essentially, that was the big arbitrage for mum and dad. Really the straw that broke the camel's back, what the final straw was I should say was the business opportunities for them really dried up in the Philippines. They got burned a fair few times. And essentially, what they decided was, as soon as I hit 10 and my siblings at the time were nearing adulthood, they decided, ‘Okay, it's time to move to Australia. Let's sell up and start from zero in Australia and build a life.’ So they did that and sold everything they had— just enough for the plane tickets. We made the move in 1995. And I'm going to be forever grateful for that move because I tell you what, with the health issues that we've had in the family, half of us wouldv’e been gone by now if we were living in the Philippines. Australia's a fantastic country.

Tyrone Shum 
Courtney says even his position in the family has shaped him into the person he is today. 

Andrew David Courtney 
[11:26] I'm the I'm the youngest mate. The eldest is 10 years older than me and that's my brother, oldest brother. And then a sister who is eight years and another brother, who's seven years. So I'm the typical runt of the family who's running around trying to play with everyone. No one wanted to play with me, because they were all a hell of a lot older. So yeah, right now I'm one of those guys that is always looking to involve myself in games and that kind of stuff, because I didn't really scratch that itch when I was younger. So, I'm a game player of life now. So I see everything as a game and make sure we optimize for the wins, actually. 

The Lucky Country ?

Tyrone Shum 
Once Courtney’s family finally reached Australia, there was no quick fix for their financial troubles. 

Andrew David Courtney 
[12:31] Like we got help from St. Vincent DePaul. So, my mum would go around and then try and pick up some food for us, because I think we only had like 1000 bucks amongst — there was six of us, right? So, that got us through for the first three weeks. And then during that time my mum and dad were basically just scrounging around looking for work, making sure that they got enough food for the next week. So, it was a really tough gig until such a time where—so my mom's a professional pianist and singer. She got her first gig at one of the hotels in the Gold Coast. So, that was great and then my dad picked up a managerial role in, it was a timezone actually. So I really enjoyed that, cut my teeth on a few video games. That was really good. But prior to that, it was hard going, but they didn't really show us what the issue was worth. So they did a fantastic job of of hiding the stress that they would have felt. All in all, it was a stellar job that they've done.

[14:26] They sent me to a local primary school. I mean, we lived really close to the beach. So I learnt how to —I was a nipper. I learnt the Aussie way basically and went to the local public primary and went through that and was sent to a Catholic High School. So, my parents managed to get me through there and all was well really. They managed to do a good job actually throughout that time.

Tyrone Shum 
Don’t forget, Courtney was only one child in a family of six. While he was enjoying school in the Gold Coast, his siblings were forging their own unique path. 

Andrew David Courtney 
[15:09] Straight out into the workforce, all three of them actually. They didn't want to pursue it, because I think the other two needed to do one more year of high school. The oldest, he unfortunately couldn't get credit for his—I believe he did one or two years worth of university in the Philippines but it wasn't quite enough to get credit for uni here. So, he had to sort of go back and they didn't feel the need to do that. I'll tell you what, the Aussie dollar relative to the Filipino peso is very tempting for young adults. So, off they went and worked at McDonald's and nightclubs and pretty much did the partying thing as 18 and 20, 21 year olds do, basically. So they experienced that for the first few years basically and started making their own money. So, unfortunately for them they didn't keep studying. I think that's probably a big regret for them because they didn't have that solid foundation for themselves as we moved over here into Aus. 

What Could’ve Been

Tyrone Shum 
Currently, financial adviser extrordinaire could've been yesterday’s basketball star. 

Andrew David Courtney 
[16:47] I was chasing after a scholarship to go to the US because being in high school— I was still 17 at the time— I still had that dream of becoming the next Michael Jordan. So basically, I started my first year of uni as an exercise scientist hoping to get into physiotherapy, as I was working towards the NBA. So, I managed to get a scholarship actually to go play in British Columbia, to revert back to high school for one more year of high school and hopefully get into college over there. Unfortunately, this is when one of the many realisations really hit me that we weren't financially well off. I had the money—I was working at Woolworths at the time— basically to travel over there, but I didn't have enough buffer. So at the 11th hour and 59th minute, they sent me an email asking me if I had $10,000 in a bank account for emergency purposes. I asked my parents that and they didn't have it,  my brother and my siblings didn't have it either. So, I had to give up on that particular dream. And then right then and there I knew I needed to get out of exercise science and the next dream was medicine. 

The Science of Finance

Tyrone Shum 
Courtney’s first property investment was just one part of a much bigger balancing act, juggling study, work and relationships. 

Andrew David Courtney 
[18:05] I started a biomedical science degree. Tried it as a pre-med trying to get into med and I got into a few interviews. Unfortunately, we got pipped to the post essentially. I started working as a scientist and during that time I met my girlfriend at the time, now my wife, and we wanted to move out of home. So this is now 23 right? Basically I started working on us and started my honours degree, started working full time at the same time and was fortunate enough to find that. With that, we invested in our first one bedroom apartment in Budds Beach in Surfer's paradise. 5% down basically, first home owners grant when it was available with the existing property at the time. So, put hardly any money in and [18:54] got it for 200 grand and basically moved out. And then nine months later it was valued at 250. What we did was we basically pulled some equity out and acquired the next one along, with a few other bits and bobs that we did at the time, to ensure that we leapfrogged across into our next property. 

Tyrone Shum 
So how does a biomedical scientist become a financial advisor? 

Andrew David Courtney 
[19:14] Circling back to the question, yeah, that was a university degree. We went with biomed and did honors and during that time I started a Ph. D hoping to get into med. So, six months into the PhD I realized it wasn't quite right for me. And during that time, I've read Kiyosaki's books and all of those kinds of finance books that got me thinking, ‘Wow, this is it, this is for me.’ So I moved from the PhD and started working as a research assistant and came across Tim Ferriss' Four Hour Workweek. ‘Oh damn, there's no way I could do the four hour workweek as an employee, as a scientist, right?' So, I was trying to get out of science and I realised there's no way I could start a business as a scientist at that time. I had different and obviously limiting beliefs in my head at the time and I thought, 'Okay, let me just keep reading, let me work out what the next steps are. And basically, I found a couple of mentors from my network at the time who were doing financial planning. 

 [20:11] So I thought, ‘You know what ?’ I caught myself talking to all the scientists about their finances and how to optimize them for a better outcome. By this stage, we'd built up a three property portfolio basically, one with development potential and the other one with multiple renovations that we've done. So, we've built up enough equity to build momentum. I was talking to people about their portfolio and I said, ‘You know what, I'm gonna try and get into finance, because this is what I'm passionate about. I can't stop thinking about it.” Medicine is great, but I realise it's not really about the money, it's about freedom and flexibility. You can get your money elsewhere in life. I was very kind of hyper focused on medicine, because it was my auntie at the time down in Melbourne, who's the well-to-do one in the family, and she was a medico. So, then I realised, well, it's not really about your job. It's about, what else you do outside of your job? Yes, if you start investing you can start building massive momentum for yourself and thereby taking a little bit more risk. And you can potentially build your own business. So I knew that I wanted to go down that path. And basically found mentors and transitioned from science into finance to learn the ropes on how to be a financial advisor and run a small business. That was back in 2013. 

Tyrone Shum 
Now Courtney was set on his new future, all that was left was to make it a reality.

Andrew David Courtney 
[21:35] I did melanoma research to begin with and then breast cancer for my PhD. That I didn't finish, I did that for about a year. And then I did about four years worth of developmental biology basically. So, learning the different pathways of development, essentially. And from there that's where I was very grateful for my my boss at the time. I was working at UQ as a researcher and she allowed me to work full time while studying full time because I started a master of commerce, majoring in Applied Finance. So, that was a year and a half where I was working full time and studying full time. So, it was perfect, because all hell, right? And that's when I transitioned post those studies. So, a good solid six years worth of experience in the medical research field.

The School of Reality

Tyrone Shum 
While Courtney is thankful for all his scientific study, to forge his new life of financial freedom, some science had to be left at the university.

Andrew David Courtney 
[22:54] The transition was as far as I was concerned, it was really easy in the theory space. The hardest part was the soft skills. The hardest part was talking to people about their finances, because I was very logical. It was a, ‘You do this, this and this, and suddenly it just makes perfect sense.’ But people don't think the way scientists do. So, I had to really take a step back and sort of peel the onion as best as I can for people so that they can actually take action to put themselves in a better position. So, I had to relearn the way I communicate because I was very direct and I was very logical, because you had to be in science.  

[23:33] So, I had to relearn that communication skill and really kind of work out, well, ‘How do you best communicate the strategies for people so that you can increase the likelihood of them moving forward? Getting things done for them, their lives and putting themselves in a better position?’ So, that was one of the big ones. And then the next big one was the running a small business, right? I had no clue how to run a small business. I knew how to build portfolios, but I didn't know how to run a small business. So, that's when I transitioned from the old role in A&P into an independent, boutique firm, where my mentors were. So, they mentored me throughout that transition and then I started my own business within their business. So, I learned what not to do and what to do within the small business context. In 2016, I decided to to start my own, and that's Plenitude. 

Tyrone Shum 
Courtney has worked with various investment tools, but in his own life property has had real impact, beyond just the balance sheet. 

Andrew David Courtney 
[24:27] Three properties allowed us to do the career change. As you're well aware, you know that property is a fantastic asset to leverage against, right? Because obviously, there's no margin calls. You wouldn't want to leverage at 80, 90 or 95% on shares, right? You can lose it in a heartbeat. In property, you can do that. So, that's pretty much what we did. We leveraged up, we pulled out a bunch of equity and we moved into the space where I knew there was— I'm an investor at heart, right?  Then during that time, as I transition, I realised, ‘Wow, this new asset class right here, the business is actually the highest leverage form of asset class that you can get into.’ If you do it right and if you learn and obviously there are so many lessons in running a small business. And getting it to a medium size or a bigger business there are so many lessons that you need to go through. I thought to myself, 'You know what, I'm going to tackle this challenge, right?' 

[25:24] So, essentially I knew there was going to be a bit of a lull. You know what they say about learning, right? There's this uninformed optimism and as you go down and you learn, you get to the valley of despair, you learn informed pessimism. And post the valley of despair as you go up, you get to informed optimism and then mastery. So, I was the uninformed optimist basically, going down and through the valley of despair when learning about business. Then now over the past couple of years we've really kind of picked up and mastery has arrived and the business is doing well. Now we're getting back into the property space again because we've reinvested into the business, into the skill sets that we needed. And then now we're building our own property portfolio alongside all of our clients as well.  


The Missing Piece of Property 

Tyrone Shum 
Courtney says that for such an impactful tool that genuinely changes lives, property can often be overlooked or misunderstood by investors. 

Andrew David Courtney 
[26:24] Being a property investor first and foremost I went through a master of commerce, asking my professors, [26:32] ‘What happened to property? What happened to property as an asset class?’  They started talking about [unsure] and I'm like, 'Yeah, that's nice.’ It's good, don't get me wrong, I don't mind diversifying across different asset classes. Man, where's the residential property piece? Where's the personal finance? So, I was going through this master of commerce—supposedly one of the top things that you can do in the finance field and there's nothing to do with personal finance. So I thought, ‘Well okay, this is very, very different.’ So I went into financial planning and no one talked about property. So I'm like, 'Holy crap, this is a massive opportunity.' As I was building up my client base and talking to people about their portfolios, obviously, property conversation came up. The majority of financial planners did not know anything about property. Whereas I had already built my property portfolio—built up enough momentum to make a career change and build massive confidence in my IP at the time, so I was comfortable talking about property. 

[27:30] During that time, I realised, 'Oh, I need to work with a strategic mortgage broker. So basically built out that network and started talking to my clients, ‘This is what we're going to get up to, this is what you need to do.’ And then refer to the mortgage broker. Some of them did their job and others didn't. Then I realised, 'Man, the clients aren't really being serviced as well as they could be.’ So that's when we decided, let's make it happen. So my wife and I basically became became mortgage brokers. 

[28:03] My wife was a scientist too. She transitioned over a few years later after I'd built proof of concept within the financial planning. She moved, transitioned over and became a mortgage broker with me and basically led that team. And we built out the mortgage broking so that we can service our clients better. Then the natural progression is obviously, the buyer's agency piece, right? Our clients were spending 200, 300 hours worth of research and we’d provide them with all the information, but they can't pull the plug. 

Tyrone Shum 
Courtney’s business is all about making the hard parts of property easier. So when he got to see firsthand just how much we get it wrong, Plenitude was born. 

Andrew David Courtney 
[28:32] They don't know how to negotiate. They don't really know how to spend the right hours to actually put a deal together. And what happens is, they'd spent six to eight months looking for a property with no success, right? So I'm thinking to myself, 'Well, I'm going to need to build out this particular service because the other buyer's agents didn't quite fit the bill when it comes to the analytics.’ So, we would always provide reports: ‘This is why we do X Y and Z, this is the kind of trajectory we're looking at.’ Just making sure that we're holding our clients hands the whole way through. So really, to answer your question mate, it's about service. It's about clients wanting more and the market didn't deliver as I was referring. So I realised, well, this is a gap. So let's make it happen. So, essentially, that's how we built the businesses out.

Been There Done That

Tyrone Shum 
Despite being an advisor by trade, Courtney puts his money where his mouth is. He’s experienced the ups and downs of investing for himself, so clients don’t have too. 

Andrew David Courtney 
[0:27] The first investment that we made, it was a good short term investment, but long term it didn't appreciate and value that much. So essentially, because it was a one bed, it was a 56 square metre— lucky I didn't buy under 50 square metres, right?— One bedroom apartment in a 96 apartment block, basically. So very, very low land content. That was a big lesson for me because I would have kept it by now. I sold it off a few years ago, because it just wasn't performing and we needed my borrowing capacity to ensure that we keep we keep moving forward with confidence. So, in terms of worst investments, that was it. But I don't really see it as a worse investment because the lessons that we got out of that, it allowed us to propel into the next chapter, to acquire our next home, basically. So, essentially, that's pretty much it. I think that's the big lesson.

Tyrone Shum 
Looking back on his first property purchase, Courtney can even pinpoint the reasoning behind it. 

Andrew David Courtney
[1:42] Affordability for sure. So we went to the bank, what can we borrow? This is how much you can borrow? Off we go. So affordability, we got in and and essentially as soon as my wife saw my wife's rent—we had a long distance relationship for a little while there— she moved over here, found her first job and we combined forces and bought our first home, first house, I should say. And then from there, didn't really look back. So, worst house in a good street. Great suburb, we renovated it, pulled out equity, acquired another property and off we went basically from there.

Follow My Lead

Tyrone Shum 
Courtney’s current property portfolio uses all the investment techniques he’s picked up along the way.

Andrew David Courtney 
[2:22] Well, currently, we only have two. So this financial year is the first financial year where we're quite profitable when it comes to the business. So, for next financial year, we're looking to—so that that third property that we picked up has got development potential. So we picked that up in 2011, so it's appreciated, it's more than doubled in value. We're just about to pull some equity out, reinvest back into the development and then build out two more properties behind it. That will be cashflow positive, plenty of equity and go again, essentially. 

[3:02] So it's a Marsden property. We picked it up back in 2011 and we knew at that time—we did a few renovations at the time, we did a reno for our current home. And we did one reno at the time and we added about 170k worth of upside. We put in about 50k worth of reno and we had 170k worth of upside, we pulled out about I think it was about 70k. And then from that 70k we plowed that into this other one and we knew we wanted to renovate it. So as far as I'm concerned, there are four key strategies in residential properties. Buying hold. Buy, renovate and hold. Buy, develop and hold. Buy, renovate, develop and hold. So essentially, we wanted a renovate, develop and hold deal. So we picked this one up for for 300k back in 2011. In Marsden it had a 1500 meter block. And essentially we looked at the council, the zoning and all that kind of jazz and made sure that we could develop. And it was a bit of a crapper to be honest, it needed it, it needed a good renovation. So, what we did was we negotiated access prior to settlement. 

[3:36] This is one of the common strategies that we do for our clients. Access prior to settlement to renovate and make better, because there were a few holes in the wall, obviously a bad tenant previously and the owner just wanted to get rid of it. So, we picked it up. We had access for three weeks prior to settlement and we renovated the whole thing, settled, put a tenant in there. So we increased the rent by about 50 bucks per week, so we automatically got our cash back. We plowed in 15k on the reno and it valued 30k above. This is day one right? Of acquiring it. So, we knew we had a good one and we knew we had the option or the lever to pull the development in the near future. And during that time, we knew that it was only a matter of time until we develop it. So really, that's when I was transitioning from science into finance and basically working out what the story was. So, we didn't develop sooner purely because the idea was a career change. The idea was to chase after freedom. And to do that it was to go down the path of building a business, and a successful one at that. And then build enough enterprise growth, right value, so that we can go ahead and keep acquiring properties, along with building businesses as well.

Couch Clarity

Tyrone Shum 
For all investors, especially in property, there are moments where everything becomes clearer. Clarity can appear from out of the blue. For Courtney, it took one lazy night on the couch for everything to click.  

Andrew David Courtney 
[6:44] The biggest one was the the fact that you can leverage up. That was the biggest one back in 2008, when I first realized this. So we bought that first property, right? One bedroom, one bath. I was thinking, let's plow in as much money into the offset account and save myself two bucks for every $1,000. Two bucks per week, for every $1,000 that I put in. I'm gonna save so much money to save on interest, right? So at that time, I was thinking, 'This is the strategy.’ And then I came across a particular DVD and that DVD showed the power of leverage. And I can't remember the exact name of the person there. But at the end of the day, he talked about putting in as little as 5% deposit and gaining control, rather than ownership. So during that time I was like, 'Okay, this is different. Okay, let me run the numbers.' 

[7:42] So obviously, I'm very analytical, right? So I ran the numbers and I thought, 'Wow, okay, you're putting in maybe 10% max, to control the upside of the property.' And if that property grows by 5% per year and you're putting 10% in, guess what? On growth, you're getting 50% ROI cash on cash. So I was like, 'Is this for real?' So what I did was I projected and I thought, okay, in 12 years time, I'm going to be a billionaire. I was projecting at a 10- 15% growth per year at that juncture right? So, very excited at that time. So that was the aha moment. I was like, 'Okay, well how do I leverage up? How do I ensure that I buy the right propert first and foremos? And make sure that it's research backed? And make sure that you're buying well, because a lot of people fall for that trap obviously, thinking that every property is the same. The aha moment is the leverage play and amplifying the return on investment with good debt. That was the aha moment. 

Striking Property Gold

Tyrone Shum 
If you have truly good news, there is an overwhelming need to share it. For Courtney, this means exclusively sharing with listeners real, life-changing stories.

Andrew David Courtney 
[9:25] Quick case study. You've got a client who didn't know how to get into property. So  I talked to them. Okay, they've got plenty of plenty of savings, this is back in 2019. I thought, 'Okay, this is what you can do, 20% deposit, we've got more than enough for that. You don't need to do much more than that. These guys had 900 grand in the bank— professionals— they were really just struggling to take the next step. So, they had 900 grand in the bank, they had 900 grand in gold believe it or not and then they had about 200 grand in the bank. I was telling them, 'You know what, what you can do is you can actually acquire a property with debt, right? And it's not really going to cost you that much.' So what's your rent? They told me they were paying about 600 per week. And I said, 'Well, if you look at it from a perspective of principal and interest payments, you're capable of borrowing $800,000, equivalent to $600 per week.' And they're like, 'Whoa, really?' Yeah, that's how it works. And then I talked them through and I said, ‘You don't have to put in a 50% deposit suys, it's fine.’ You’ve got enough cash, just put in 20%, and see what happens. So what we did was we helped them negotiate a particular property and we bought this property under market by at least 200 grand for them. And believe it or not, it was on our street. 

[10:43] So, they acquired this property for 900.  One year later, guess what the valuation came back at.

[10:54] $1.3 mil right? And they still had 900 grand in gold. So, I started talking to them. ‘Well, why don't we look at a different property? Why don't we acquire a different one?’ Because we can make your money work for you. So, we started diversifying their portfolio across different asset classes as well, because you obviously don't want to put all your eggs in one basket. And then the next property that we looked at acquiring is a property in Toowoomba. So, we acquired this property and this one we bought it for 395. The valuation came back at 440. So, the key is to buy under median, it's really as simple as that, under median. Now, we bought it at three-nine because it was a bit of a crapper unfortunately. So there was a family there, old person living there for quite some time that needed to go to retirement. Lived there for 30 years, vinyl flooring, ugly paint, walls, all of that kind of stuff.  So, we facilitated the renovation and it's costing them 12 grand to rip up the floor, new painting, new kitchen, right? And we've got this four bedroom house right now. I would say if we were to sell it in the market, we'd get 460, 470 for it easy. So, now they've pooled out, they've acquired a property and it's grown. So, the first property has grown by 400 grand, the second property has grown by 70 grand upon settlement, 60 grand upon two months or one month after settlement. And they're thinking to themselves, well of course, we're gonna go again, right? It doesn't make sense not to, as they divest out of gold its also getting them a diversified return on investment around that 14% mark. 

Tyrone Shum 
One thing that separates Courtney from others is he doesn’t stop there. He believes the growth process should be used on more than just money.

Andrew David Courtney 
[12:25] They're doing really well for themselves and they start to see 'Holy crap, we're not actually stuck here, we're in a really powerful position.' We're working with their cash flows, we make sure we automate a few things. So suddenly, we are dollar-cost averaging in a diversified portfolio, we're building up the equities in their property portfolio, we're helping them with their debt strategy, we're doing some debt wash. So we're just about to do a debt wash with their current principal place of residence. Then the question is, well, how much risk are you willing to take? Because at the end of the day, they're in a really powerful position. So they can go hard and pull out a bunch of equity and go up to an 80% loan to value ratio and the principal place of residence as an investment loan, and go again, maybe acquire two or three more properties. Or just do it one step at a time, acquire one property every one or two years. And they're going down that path, because they just want to see more results, build momentum, build confidence and see more results. Now we're talking about acquiring a discretionary trust. Because it makes sense, the children are starting to get older, but as they get older, you can start distributing income towards the children. And potentially, when they sell, with different rules with the taxes, we need to make sure that that's right to distribute capital gains towards children. So as you can probably tell, the next venture they will be looking to start in terms of the business is definitely going to be accounting.

[13:54] Because it's all about providing our clients the most seamless experience as possible. So, let's not forget, there's the superannuation piece, you’ve gotta get that right. So, we build a portfolio that's outperforming by 2% against all the majority of industry super funds—well, over the long term. So that's obviously going to be a big, big, big difference So, we look at the different strategies within the financial planning context, we look at the different strategies within the finance strategy context, right? And then we look at the buyers agency piece and build out their property portfolio as strategically as possible to get as high cash-on-cash return on the equity that they've got. Control the upside and basically minimize the downside risk. And hey, presto, you've got a really solid optimized portfolio, optimized for growth. And then it becomes unstoppable mate. 

A Way Out Through Education

Tyrone Shum 
So why does Courtney use his knowledge to help others? He could very easily keep the tools to himself. The reason is, it hits close to home. 

Andrew David Courtney 
[17:03] Well, look, as I was sharing earlier, I wasn't well-to-do, my family is not well-to-do financially. So I knew I needed to get out to get my freedom and flexibility, which is what life is all about for me. So, my biggest way is helping as many people to do that, right? And how we do that is through educating people. So we're pumping out a bunch of content. And the idea and one of the big missions in the company, in Plenitude, is to educate 1 million people before we get to 10 years in business. So we're now almost six years. We're at about 70,000 and so we need some help. So, as far as I'm concerned, my goal is to build out our team doing the same stuff. Doing more podcasts like this, making sure that we spread the word, making sure that people understand that there is financial education out there, it's time to get financially literate and understand your real options, rather than what the government's telling you. Because I can tell you right now, $60,000 in retirement is nowhere near enough. And the government's telling people that's enough. I mean, what is this? This is just, it's complete bull crap really. So what we need to do is we want to get that right and the biggest way is increasing financial literacy across the board. 


Basketball and Business

Tyrone Shum 
Remember at the start of this episode? When I spoke about basketball and business? Don’t take my word for it, take Courtney’s. 

Andrew David Courtney
[19:26] Look, one of the things I'd love for the audience to have a look at is, type in Kobe Bryant valuetainment. Type that in and get your mind blown about the mentality that you need to achieve success or greatness in your endeavors. One of the biggest things that really struck me with that one, [19:49] one of the biggest lessons that I got from that one was from Kobe Bryant, obviously one of the best basketball players ever. He said he treats the world as his library to solve every problem that he's currently facing. So, that was the biggest thing and as soon as I heard that I was like, ‘That's exactly what I've been doing for the past 10 years in my life, right?’ This is the way to do it. You've got so many people who have written a ton of books, you've got people like yourselves making a ton of content to actually lift people up. So, all you need to do is work out what problem you're trying to solve. There are a bunch of books out there so you may as well stand on the shoulders of giants. It doesn't make sense to reinvent the wheel.

[20:32] So, there's this particular psychological concept called the zone of proximal development. There's only so much you can achieve as a person, right? So this is what you can achieve as a person. But if your goal is out here, it's gonna be very difficult for you to do that because you need to stretch out what you can achieve. Now, there's only so much stretching you can do. So what you need to do to get to these kinds of targets, is you need to get the right people in your team. You need to get the right coaches, consultants, the right team members to allow you to expand the output that you are capable of doing. So, as soon as I learned that I was like, ‘Wow, yes, that's exactly what I need to do.’ And ultimately, we've gotten to where we are because we've gotten the right consultants, the right teachers, the right mentors at the exact time that we needed it. So, what I suggest your audience do is have a think about well, who are the players in my team. And who's the next one that we need in there to get us to the next level? Because there are levels to this game. If you get the right people behind you, it's amazing what you can achieve within one to two years, let alone 15. 

Tyrone Shum 
Just like Kobe, Courtney doesn’t leave anything to chance. If it needs doing, it will get done. 

Andrew David Courtney
[32:29] I think it's definitely not luck, I can guarantee that much. It's definitely hard work. It's an obsession. I boil it down to what Kobe said, right? If you can solve a problem, solve your problems one problem at a time. And use the world as your resource and as your library, right? It's amazing how many problems you can solve and how much momentum you can build. So that curiosity piece is important, coming from place of abundance is important. And really throwing yourself in the deep end and understanding it from first principles is crucial. Far too many people jump in and take step five, when they haven't even taken step one, two and three yet. So, you make sure you surround yourself with the right people and build up towards the goals that you're heading towards. Far too many people aim for luck, you don't want to be hoping for anything. You want to plan things out and pivot if it doesn't work out.

Tyrone Shum 
Courtney’s own library of life has provided some powerful lessons. 

Andrew David Courtney 
[22:25] The fear factor is really one of those things that you decide. You decide what you fear the most, right? I mean, back to my original story of coming from the Philippines. I've come from nothing, I will easily go back to nothing, easily. And I will build up a hell of a lot faster because of the lessons along the way. So, if you've got that kind of growth mentality and a mentality of abundance, I think that's the key. If you're grateful for what you have and you understand how you got to where you are, you learned your lessons along the way and you come from an abundance mentality rather than a scarcity mentality. You know you can get it back. Therefore, what's the worst case scenario? You're living in Australia. 

[23:17] Worst case scenario, you live in Australia, you move to a low-socio economic environment and you rebuild in a three to five year period. That's the worst case scenario for me. That's nothing, that's comfortable. You know what I'm saying? And that's the thing people need to toughen up their mind. We need to build calluses in our minds. And one of the key things that I do to help build those calluses is put myself in really uncomfortable situations and one of the key things that I've learned over the past few years is you can fast. I fasted for 26 days straight, no food, just water. Just water. And I put myself in a position where I was in agony and I know what the depths of hell feels like. So all of this stuff is nothing. It's nothing really. All of the fears, it's nothing. You'll be fine, it'll be fine, just push through. It's all good, who's done it before?

 [25:08] Fear is in between your ears, you don't have to fear things, just understand what's the worst case scenario? And really define it, because far too many people talk about it broadly without really defining it. As soon as you define it, then you can start risk mitigating against every single line item that you come up with. People make a big monster out of it when the fact of the matter is that they're only little thoughts. So, what I suggest people do is, if any fear comes up what you need to do is to find exactly what the worst case scenarios are. And all of the little bits and pieces, because far too many people blow it up to be something huge, but its not.

In Another Life

Tyrone Shum 
The Courtney of today wouldn't be the man he is without countless past mistakes. But looking back, there are a few things he wish he knew.  

Andrew David Courtney 
[26:18] I was just transitioning from science into finance. [26:24] I would give him some some stock tips. I would definitely share the story of Amazon and talk about Elon and Tesla for sure. Yes, I would definitely drop the crypto gem on that person. I'd be telling them to go all in mate, let's make it. Just get a cash-out loan, load up, load up  and wait and see what happens. That's on the finance side. Keep doing what you're doing, get help sooner, stop being a hero. Stop doing everything yourself, because there's only so much you can do, one person could do. So, if you get the right team behind you, you can move a hell of a lot faster. And always, always, always stay curious. I'm a very curious individual. So, make sure I keep that going and then make sure you take care of your health. 

More Than Money

Tyrone Shum 
Property investing can unlock so much more then extra profits. In Courtney’s own life it’s even allowed him to protecting those he loves. 

Andrew David Courtney 
[27:52] I guess the most recent thing that we've done is we've taken on my parents and my wife's mum to help take care of them basically. So, they live in our house and we've got three kids as well—I'm hoping for a fourth. So, back to the abundance mentality thing. I’ve got three girls and I'm hoping for a boy, fingers crossed for a boy mate, we'll see how we go. I'll take four girls though, don't get me wrong. Four is enough, it was enough for me because I grew up in a four kid household. So back to the question, mate. Yeah, helping my parents currently. They were living in an area in the Gold Coast that's not the best area. They were literally 50 meters away from a major highway, a major freeway. And we just realised in the past few months that my mom was having lung issues and she couldn't get over this cough that she's had. She said she's had a infection in her lungs and she couldn't get over it. And we never understood how she got to that stage. until such a time where we moved her over here and where we live. 

[29:00] We live on an island. We live on an island called Coochiemudlo Island here in Brisbane. We took her on and suddenly she started to stop coughing. And then we realize 'Damn, it must have been the pollution.' So, I put two and two together and I said, 'Well, you're surrounded by cars, you're right next to the bloody freeway.’ So, it makes sense that you're not healing properly. So we brought them on and essentially now they've lost a ton of weight, they're looking really healthy and they're spending a bunch of time with their grandchildren, which is awesome. And all and all mate it's a massive change to their lifestyle. So, that's one of the big things and ultimately I want to pay it back. I want to make sure that that decision that they made from the front end, back in 1995 when they decided to sell everything in the Philippines, will be paid back.

Tyrone Shum 
So what’s next for him? 

Andrew David Courtney
[30:43] Look, apart from growing my family and getting that boy or girl. I'll take whatever comes. It's building the team, creating a training program for future advisors in the future, touching as many people's lives as possible and making a big difference. Now, one of the things that I didn't share earlier is, I'm also a treasurer for a not-for-profit called Alive, which is a youth suicide prevention program. So what I always share with my clients is my goal is to get you to your financial goals fast, and during that journey we plant the seed of philanthropy. Because without St. Vincent DePaul, we wouldn't be where we are today. My mum, my family, would have starved. So, I want to make sure we pass that on, we want to create that kind of philanthropic drive. So, what am I excited about really making a mark? Creating that education, building a better financial education system for people, creating a philanthropic drive in the community so that we can help more people who are in need. And really helping build my team and help them to achieve their version of financial freedom. Because it's not all about me, it's about what kind of impact you can make in other people's lives. So that's what drives me moving forward.

Tyrone Shum:
Thank you to Andrew David Courtney, our guest on this episode of Property Investory.

**END OUTRO**