Twenty years ago, Jan was your average high school maths teacher who left the blackboard behind to raise a young family. With her teaching career on hold, she took advantage of her time at home to pursue other interests, namely property investment. With the help of husband Ian, that interest was to become so rewarding it became a passion and Jan never did go back to teaching high school maths. Today, Jan spends her time writing books and teaching (some would say preaching to) others about the wonderful benefits of direct property investment.
Her interest in property can be traced back to 1972 when she and Ian bought their first house. Although they accumulated many investment properties over the following years, it was not something that was planned.
Constrained somewhat by the needs of three very young children, it was a time Jan used most productively to read and to learn. Introduced to a personal computer for the first time by programmer and husband Ian, she relished the opportunity to analyse investment property in depth, playing with the figures to her heart's content.
At first she had trouble believing what the computer kept telling her, but no matter which way she looked at it, the answer always came out the same: residential property, properly financed and kept long term, was a wonderful investment! Jan now had an insight into why the family had been able to achieve so much through investment in property in the past, on just average wages. As a result, Jan and Ian went on to buy many more investment properties and now have a multi-million dollar property portfolio.
Jan never did go back to teaching high-school mathematics. In 1989, with husband Ian, she established Somerset Financial Services Pty Ltd and now enjoys sharing her knowledge with others through her lectures, books, videos and computer software.
Her first two books Manual for Residential Property Investors and Building Wealth through Investment Property were both best sellers, the latter becoming one of the top selling business books for 1992, with more than 200,000 copies being sold. Her firm's Property Investment Analysis (PIA) computer programs have become industry standards, and are now used by thousands of investors, accountants, banks and real estate groups throughout Australia and New Zealand.
In 1994, Jan published yet another book Building Wealth in Changing Times. It was written partly in response to the many questions that her earlier books had stimulated and partly in response to some of the criticisms by the financial media which argued that the low inflation of the nineties era would spell the end of property as an investment. In the book, she examined in great detail the resilience of her "do-it-yourself" super scheme to the changing economic times of the 1990s and, while lower inflation certainly meant lower property growth, she found that the real returns on property investment could be as good as, or even better, than in times of high inflation. The findings were as much a surprise to the financial media as they were reassuring to her army of followers.
Jan's book Building Wealth Story by Story which was published in 1998 is a testament to her belief that investors stand to learn more about property investment from fellow investors than from any other source. The tips and advice is usually based on first hand experience and is truly independent. This book is a collection of stories based on her own experiences and that of other property investors. Some are inspirational while others describe the mistakes that some have made.
Someone recently asked her when she hoped to retire! Jan's response was that if retirement meant being able to do the things that you enjoyed most, she had retired many years ago. Her property investments have made that financially possible. But as a teacher, she enjoyed teaching motivated students and as she says, property investors are amongst the most motivated around.
Jan's latest book, More Wealth from Residential Property, is both an update and consolidation of her first two Building Wealth books. However, while this latest book incorporates many of the changes that have taken place in the investment property scene, her original recipe remains unchanged and is shown to be just as effective in the new millennium as it was a decade ago.