Review: Financial freedom through property by Laurens Boel

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Financial freedom through property
Laurens Boel
Publisher: Penguin 
ISBN: 9781776095049

The press release accompanying my copy of this brand new publication states that "Financial freedom through property is an inspirational book for those who want to create a better financial future for themselves. You don’t need to be a property mogul to make money on the property market – all you need is the willingness and the time to learn how to do it." The book is also described as a "step-by-step, practical guide on how to purchase your first investment property, written in easy-to-understand, conversational language that explains complex concepts simply”. This piqued my interest as a property virgin – not that I have the guts to venture into property deals, but I love to learn and keep an open mind, for I believe opportunity knocks when you least expect it.

Jason Lee, a well-known legal and corporate advisor as well as property investor and developer, has written several books on the subject of property investment and creating wealth through property. What he had to say in the foreword resonated with me and tempted me to pick up Boel’s Financial freedom through property. Lee wrote: "I was delighted to find that this book was filled, cover to cover, with real deals, real examples, real numbers, and, most importantly, real opportunities." He noted that Boel "is born and bred in South Africa, and the examples are all to be found within South Africa’s borders".

An investment book that promises not to be vague but actually to give practical, follow-worthy advice? I decided to read the book for myself, and could only hope it was more than just fluff and cleverly repurposed, same old same-olds. Could I actually learn valuable advice that could genuinely make me a buck should I care to follow said guidance from yet another young start-up investment guru? To my delight, I found Boel a patient and eloquent coach, and his writing clear, to the point and interlaced with examples I could understand and relate to. What he wrote made perfect sense to me. And, yes, Lee was right to comment on how much Boel’s work is suited for the unique challenges that plague the South African property market.

Boel’s hope is "to show you how a modest and average person like me can break free from his finances and, by doing so, inspire you to do the same" (3). And, believe you me, he has the gift of the gab and knows just how to talk you into buying into the dream: "I hope one day to enjoy a drink with you on a sailboat in Turkey: we’ll reminisce about those times we slaved away for a tiny pay cheque and toast each other on the freedom we’ve achieved" (3). That said, he cautions that you "can’t expect financial freedom to happen quickly" (8), and stresses that it’s "a journey, not a race, because anywhere worth going requires time and effort" (10). I cannot fault his reasoning – especially his advice not to spend more than you earn "so that you have money left over to invest" (16).

Boel touches on the basic principles of financial freedom, and then goes on to "unpack the building blocks of property investing: strategy, area, property and financing" (37) (SAPF) in layman’s terms. He also painstakingly explains the more serious stuff, like financing, financial metrics (yield and return), the art of negotiation, wealth protection, etc. And, yes, he does warn the reader of possible pitfalls and risks – property investing is definitely not for the faint of heart! He writes: "There is a science and an art to investing. The science is in the numbers and data, and the art is in the timing and speculation.” He then gives "some key tools for accessing market-related data, and a tool to help you analyse deals with advanced confidence" (97). Lee also comments in the foreword how Boel "dedicated an entire chapter to the various online tools available for doing research and deal analysis".

Boel is adamant that by "[u]sing other people’s money (OPM), anyone, from any background, can get involved with investing. If you have the right education and tools, you can analyse good deals, generate professional investor proposals and access OPM” (140). According to him: "It’s not a lack of money that’s stopping you. It’s a lack of motivation to work through the failures, rejections and tough times. Money is all around us; we just need the knowledge and patience to access it" (141).

He throws in a lot of motivational pep talk, such as: "If you want to be financially free, you need to think of 100 reasons why you want to be free. ... It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you wake up thinking about it and go to bed dreaming about it. Life is too short not to do what you love” (148). However, he does caution that his journey to financial security has not been easy – "but it has been worth every second" (149). "I’m not a special person – not by any means. I’ve just used some key principles and laws of investing, and they’ve given me the opportunity to live the life that I could have only dreamt of before" (149).

I found Financial freedom through property an interesting and informative read.

About the author

Laurens Boel holds an honours degree in computer science. After being retrenched from his job in IT, he joined bestselling author Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad programme to learn the principles of property investing. He is now a full-time property investor, with portfolios in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Boel, a serial entrepreneur, has founded several businesses and written five books, including Financial freedom through property. He is passionate about teaching people his principles of financial freedom.

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