‘How a 13th birthday present helped me build a massive portfolio’

Jeremy Iannuzzelli has a nine-property portfolio worth around $2.5 million and he’s not even 30 yet. But what made a 21-year-old decide that investing in property was worth sacrificing fast cars, overseas holidays and nights on the town enjoyed by so many of his peers?

“From when I was young I loved saving money. My first job was in a pizza shop, earning $7 an hour, and I’d earn money refereeing soccer games on the weekend as well. But it was what I learnt at home that really instilled the importance of investing.

I think it’s important that I share with other people what my father taught me so that they can teach their kids the same.

Getting towards that age of 17, 18, I started really looking up to my father, who was an accountant, which is what I do now. He really reinforced to us that we needed to invest, save our money and put it into a property. We’d have discussions around the dinner table, basically coming home each night and understanding that a dollar today is two dollars tomorrow, understanding the power of the compounding interest and increasing values.

It wasn’t exactly a revelation, more an awakening or realisation on my behalf. In reality, my dad had been trying to teach us this lesson for years. For my 13th birthday, while other kids got PlayStations and pushbikes, my dad bought me 1,000 Telstra shares. When you’re 13 you think ‘What a waste of money this piece of paper is’. But it was a fantastic present looking back.

When I was 21, when I was finally able to sell them at a good price, it really came home to me what an important lesson that birthday present instilled.

By the age of 21, I’d really come around to the idea of investing in property.  I thought, ‘I’ve got to make a good go of it and give myself every opportunity I can’. So, remembering my dad’s words, I sacrificed the things like backpacking holidays overseas and loans on fast cars, and focused on getting my accounting degree done and saving money for a deposit.

I’d drag my dad and girlfriend to property inspections and auctions every weekend, lapping up all the knowledge that I could.

It started off with me wanting to retire young, basically, I wanted to get rich. But since building my portfolio, and starting to work with investors through my accounting job, I’ve realised I love doing what I do, love investing, love talking about it, now I want to use it to complement what I do. I love working and it’s probably something I want to do until the brain stops working.

That motivation, that desire to work as hard as I can, it can all be traced back to those dinner time discussions, the hours spent in the pizza shop, and those 1,000 Telstra shares!”

‘How a 13th birthday present helped me build a massive portfolio’
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