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Ever wondered how a teacher and nurse in Auckland with two young kids navigated the choppy waters of late 2023 to add two new properties to their rental portfolio?

With high interest rates and negative market vibes, it seemed impossible.
Yet, Nathalie and her husband, Ross did it.

Their story is not about boasting but proving that with careful planning and early investments, you can make strides, even in tough times.

Re-writing their story

Nathalie and Ross grew up in low-income households. Nathalie vividly remembers her parents having just $2,000 NZD to support their family of five in a new country. They worked tirelessly, juggling two jobs and making countless sacrifices just to make ends meet.

Witnessing their struggles firsthand, she realised how transformative financial security and freedom could be. This realization was a game-changer.

Determined to rewrite their financial story for their children’s future, Nathalie and Ross wanted to provide opportunities and security that they didn’t always have.
After a few years of owning their first home (bought in 2013), they realised they needed to diversify their investment strategy.

While aggressively paying down their mortgage and saving diligently, they knew these strategies alone wouldn’t secure long-term financial freedom or generational wealth.

Moving away from term deposits

They always knew property could be a powerful tool for building generational wealth, but after buying their first home, more properties felt out of reach. In 2015, at the age of 24, Nathalie and her partner decided to explore other investment opportunities.

In 2015, without the range of new digital on-call accounts and easily accessible cash funds, most people kept their savings in traditional bank savings accounts or term deposits.

Since they had a long-term investment horizon of 5-8 years, they realised that they had the flexibility to take on more risks and make their money work harder.

Despite earning decent returns on term deposits, rising inflation and skyrocketing house prices still eroded the value of their money and even acceptable returns seemed to fall short when it comes to keeping up with soaring costs.

Why they chose index funds

They knew that to achieve higher returns, they needed a different strategy. That's when they first discovered index funds through SuperLife. Their goal was to utilise index funds to save for a deposit on another property.

Index funds became the go-to for their broad market exposure, low fees, and diversification benefits—perfect for securing a stable future for their growing family, whilst also waiting for their property to grow in value.

For instance, the S&P 500 has a 10-year average annual return of over 10%, far outpacing term deposits, especially in times of high inflation. Knowing this, they invested aggressively, drip-feeding $500-$800 a week to index funds, plus lump sums at the end of the year.

Nathelie’s side hustle of hosting homestays from local high schools and Ross’s overtime as a nurse helped make this possible.

Setting aside a portion of each paycheck was manageable and kept them on budget along with their growing family. Over time, their index funds showed consistent growth, aligning perfectly with their long-term goal of saving for a house deposit.

This approach enabled their money to grow through the power of compound interest during that time house prices started to peak as well.

In 2019, after discovering Kernel they switched for better fees and tax advantages.

Using Index Funds to Enter the Property Market

Fast forward eight years, Their share portfolio plus some capital gains from their first home became their ticket to two Auckland properties in 2023, bought at bargain prices that seemed almost too good to be true.

They hit instant equity—properties worth more than what they paid from day one. Normally, you'd achieve this through renovations or expansions, but with full-time jobs, two kids, and three pets, time was tight.

Instead, the hefty deposit from shares enables them to snap up properties well below market value, netting them over $130,000 in estimated valuation gains by the start of 2024, despite the current market downturn.

Solid loan-to-value ratios from cash deposits sealed the deal, helping them secure approval for another investment property looking ahead.

What’s next for Nathalie & Ross?

The past couple of years have been an incredible adventure for Nathalie and her husband. They’ve learned that consistency is key to building a strong financial foundation and ensuring a well-diversified portfolio, and for them, that comes in a mix of index funds and properties.

As they look to the future, the next big step is to continue expanding their investments in both index funds and properties.

This time, though, placing a significant focus on planning for retirement, aiming to retire by their early 50s.

In the words of Nathalie herself:

“It’s not just about growing our wealth; it’s about creating a secure future for our kids. Knowing that each step we take today is helping to build a brighter tomorrow for our family. And that makes all the effort truly worth it.”


The content shared in this blog reflects the author's personal experiences and should not be taken as financial advice. Individual circumstances vary, and readers should seek professional guidance before making any investment decisions.

Christine Jensen

Christine Jensen

Marketing Manager



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Indices provided by: S&P Dow Jones Indices