Foong & Paul

How Foong turned her back on the traditional wisdom of property investing and ‘good jobs’ to earn $490,000 in a single year.

Foong did all the right things. She worked hard and on her accountant’s advice, bought as many negatively geared properties as she could. But it left her $70,000 in the red each year, and she was working so hard that she couldn’t care for her infant sons. Thankfully, her introduction to the world of profitable, cash-flow positive properties has been a game-changer.

After Foong’s father passed away, her family sent her from Malaysia to Australia to seek her fortunes. Her family wanted her to become a doctor, and she effectively had two years to learn English and top the state in her HSC exams.

Although this was a practically impossible task, Foong gave it everything she had, scoring an almost miraculous 94%. However, this was still 2% short of what was required to enter medicine so, again, following her family’s wishes, Foong studied pharmacy.

“Those properties were blood-suckers. They were like leeches. And when my mum got sick, we just couldn’t do it anymore.”

As a graduate pharmacist, Foong worked long and hard hours to gather money for her family, taking on the graveyard shifts that no other pharmacist wanted. This hard work allowed her to earn more than six figures a year and, at this point, her accountant’s advice was that she should start buying negatively geared investment properties. (Because, supposedly, the point of property investing is to minimise tax, not build wealth.)

Acting on good ‘advice’

Believing that her accountant knew what he was talking about, Foong did just that: steadily amassing a large, entirely negatively geared investment portfolio.

And when she got together with her husband, Paul, she insisted that he too start buying negatively geared investment properties, because that’s just what you did and it was important that they were on the same page financially.

Over the next seven years, Foong and Paul built a portfolio of 14 investment properties, all of them negatively geared. It was a portfolio that was costing them an eye-watering $70,000 a year.

The only way to pay for this portfolio was to keep working, so Foong continued to pour herself into her career. She was working so much that she even had to send her boys, both under three, to stay with her auntie through the week, seeing them only briefly on weekends.

It starts to come apart

Things were starting to take their toll, but it reached a crisis point when Foong’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. Foong and Paul had to come up with $80,000 to cover her medical expenses, and it almost broke them – mentally and financially.

Finally, Foong was ready to start considering whether the traditional approach to property investing was the right way to do things. She found Dymphna Boholt, and even though Dymphna’s strategies went against everything she knew, she could finally see that there was a better way.

“We bought our first positively geared property, and every month I could actually see the money coming in. I was like, ‘Wow’… I had to take a Valium.”

Breaking with tradition

Foong culled the deadwood from her portfolio, jettisoning nine properties that she couldn’t do much with. She tweaked the others to improve their rental yield, and in a few years her portfolio had become positively geared to the tune of $20,000 a year – a $90,000 turnaround.

She also became an active, rather than a passive (buy-and-hope) property investor. Her strategy of choice is joint-venture renovation and development deals, mostly around South Australia. She likes joint ventures because she likes working with people, and she has a natural affinity for renovations and the creativity of interior design.

And as much as she enjoys it, this has also become a very profitable niche for Foong. In the past 12 months for instance, she has completed five renovation deals, for a combined profit of $490,000.

Even when she was throwing herself completely into her pharmacy work, she was lucky to earn $110,000 a year. Now, she earns four times that, and has a lot more fun doing so.

“I work five hours a fortnight now, and I pick and choose my jobs. I’m the boss now.”

Her own boss now

With a thumping investment income coming in, Foong has cut back to working as a pharmacist just five hours each fortnight. She wants to keep her hand in the game, but she knows that her future is in property, not pharmacy.

For her family, this has been is a challenging career move. The traditional approach says that you should get a “good job” and just work hard. But this is classic “poor dad” thinking and Foong wants more out of life.

And as Foong’s story shows us, sometimes you have to break the mould to find the life that is truly yours.

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These stories and the results in them were captured at a specific point in time. The real estate market and the investing strategies used to succeed are constantly changing. The achievements and results of these investors may have changed since these stories were recorded. Each of these investors engaged in in-depth training, coaching and mentoring to be able to achieve these results. Their results are not typical and should not be taken as a guarantee of the results you may achieve. Your personal results will be in-line with the training, education and hard work that you personally conduct.

“I work five hours a fortnight now, and I pick and choose my jobs. I’m the boss now.”



PPR Value: $950,000
Equity: $340,000

Investment Properties: 14
Value: $4,700,000
Equity: $800,000
Cash Flow -$70,000 pa (negative)



Tusmore SA
Purchase: $895,000
Development/Renovation Costs: $198,000
Net Profit: $200,000

Seaton SA
Purchase: $409,000
Development/Renovation Costs: $32,000
Net Profit: $35,000

Mile End SA
Purchase: $524,000
Development/Renovation Costs: $147,000
Net Profit: $135,000

Woodville Sth SA
Purchase: $537,000
Development/Renovation Costs:$53,000
Net Profit: $70,000

Carramar NSW (Joint Venture)
Purchase: $200,000
Development/Renovation Costs: JV Money Partner
Net Profit: $50,000 (JV)