Creating And Controlling Your Financial Future with Kevin Whelan

In this dialogue at the Deal Finder’s Corner, hosted by Guillaume Black, CEO of Property Filter, we delve into the insights of Kevin Whelan. A distinguished economist, author, and the visionary founder of Wealth Builders, Kevin is a leading authority on Self-Administered Pension Schemes (SAS). With a mission to transform the wealth of 50,000 families, Kevin’s expertise extends beyond financial strategies, delving into financial literacy for future generations.

Meet Kevin Whelan

His journey began with a degree in economics from Leeds University, leading to roles including director positions at Kingswood Law Partnerships since 1988 and Kingswood Law Independent Financial Advisor from 2006. Following Guillaume’s introduction and highlights of Kevin’s biography, Kevin remarked on feeling somewhat exhausted, jesting, “anyone would think I was old”! The banter between the two revealed that Kevin began as director of Kingswood Law Partnerships in 1988, a couple of months before Guillaume made his entrance into the world!”

Today, Kevin shares his wisdom on new funding sources, the importance of diversification, and the potential of Small Self-Administered Schemes.

The Genesis of a Wealth Builder

The turning point in Kevin’s life came in 1989 with the loss of his father, a moment that reshaped his approach to wealth and work. Determined to secure his family’s financial future and spurred by the realisation that conventional employment would not suffice, Kevin embarked on a path of financial independence. This commitment to never trade time for money again has guided him to become an influential educator and advocate for strategic asset generation, “I haven’t done a day’s work in the traditional sense since.”

Championing Financial Literacy

Kevin Whelan’s ground-breaking initiative for financial literacy among the youth marks a significant stride towards shaping the future of financial education. His program, designed for parents and grandparents, aspires to mould them into exemplary financial role models. This visionary commitment has already illuminated the path of financial enlightenment for a hundred families, with an ambitious goal to reach an additional 50,000.

Kevin’s approach goes beyond mere wealth transfer; it focuses on embedding deep financial understanding within the next generation. He highlights the criticality of this mission with a thought-provoking insight, “The average life expectancy of children born today is moving towards 100 years.” This statistic brings to the forefront the urgent need for robust financial planning to avoid a future tethered to incessant labour. “It’s not just what you leave the next generation; it’s what you leave within them that counts,” Kevin emphasises, underlining the essence of his program to instil lasting financial wisdom rather than just accumulating assets. Through this pioneering effort, Kevin aims to ensure that the youth are well-equipped to navigate a century-long life financially, steering clear of the burdens of an unprepared financial strategy.

Unveiling the Pillars of Wealth

Kevin Whelan, in discussing the essence of wealth building, showcases the foundational principles of his Wealth Builders framework, symbolised by the Wealth Builders logo with a foundation, seven pillars, and a roof—each representing stages and areas for cultivating enduring wealth. He shines a light on the fourth pillar, Property, underscoring that property investment offers a diversity of strategies, each demonstrating that a one-size-fits-all approach is inadequate. Kevin’s method encourages innovative thinking and creative exploration of property as a means for wealth creation.

He acknowledges a universal challenge for property investors: the inevitable encounter with financial limits. “Whoever you are, wherever you live in the UK or beyond, you’re going to run out of money before you run out of ambition,” Kevin points out, emphasising the critical need for not just discovering but also funding investments. He advocates for sustainable financing solutions, especially in fluctuating markets, and shares insights on navigating the financial landscape to discover avenues for funds that may be risk-free, tax-free, and interest-free. This approach signifies a departure from traditional financing methods like mortgage brokers and bridging companies, advocating for more inventive, economical strategies to support property investment endeavours.

Funding, Pensions, and SSAS: Revolutionising Property Investment

Kevin Whelan highlights the advantages of Self-Administered Pension Schemes (SSAS) over traditional funding methods. He criticises the inefficiencies of conventional pensions, where high fees significantly diminish returns. His journey to SSAS was fuelled by the desire for more control and efficiency in pension management, leading to his pivotal decision: “never let anybody tell me what to do with my pension ever again.”

Unveiling the Power of SSAS

Kevin’s investments with SSAS began in 2009, a venture ignited by the aforementioned frustration and a quest for autonomy over his investments. “The revelation came when I discovered the small, self-administered scheme, or SSAS, in 2009. Though it has been around since 1973, its potential seemed largely untapped,” Kevin recalls. The essence of SSAS lies in its capacity to empower individuals, allowing them to manage and invest their pension funds directly, bypassing the need for third-party management.

“Instead of relegating control to insurance companies or advisory firms, SSAS enables you to commandeer your destiny, akin to managing a limited company or a property business.” (Graphic Source:Dall-E)

Transforming Pensions into Property Portfolios

“SSAS isn’t just about owning your pension; it’s about strategically deploying that pension in avenues traditionally considered beyond reach,” he stated. “This scheme opens the floodgates to investing in commercial properties, undertaking residential conversions, and even engaging in more nuanced property ventures—all funded through one’s pension.” Kevin continued, “The beauty of SSAS is its flexibility. You’re not just limited to buying assets; you can lend, borrow, and even pool funds with up to 11 members, amplifying your investment power.”  This collaborative approach not only democratises property investment but also amplifies the potential returns by leveraging collective financial muscle.

The Strategy Behind SSAS

Kevin’s advocacy for SSAS is not without strategic foundation. “By utilising your pension to fund property investments, you’re not merely awaiting a distant future where you can access these funds. Instead, you’re actively harnessing them to generate immediate income and asset growth,” he asserted. This forward-thinking approach redefines the traditional pension paradigm, transforming passive savings into active investment vehicles.

Unleashing the Potential of Buy, Bridge, and Borrow

Central to Kevin’s property investment strategy are the concepts of Buy, Bridge, and Borrow—three actions that SSAS facilitates remarkably well. Kevin outlines the SSAS’s capacity to radically change how one can fund property investments. “You can use the money in your pension to buy an asset,” he explains, delineating the diverse possibilities from commercial properties to residential conversions, and even service accommodations. The SSAS not only enables the purchase of assets but also the ability to borrow additional funds, amplifying one’s buying power. The notion of pooling and combining money under a SSAS scheme is particularly revolutionary. Kevin elaborates, “You can have husband and wife join together, business directors join together, siblings together, members of communities can work together,” which magnifies the investment potential exponentially. This communal approach to pension investment redefines the boundaries of financial collaboration, offering a “bigger bang for their buck.”

Becoming the “Bank of Kev”

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Kevin’s strategy is the ‘Bridge’ component, where SSAS holders can effectively become their own banks. “The bridge strategy means you become a bank—Bank of Kev, in my case,” Kevin jests, underscoring the power of lending one’s pension funds. This facet of SSAS empowers individuals to lend to whom they choose, ensuring their money works diligently, often yielding higher returns with lesser risk compared to traditional stock market investments. Moreover, the ‘Borrow’ strategy further cements SSAS’s utility, permitting the lending of half the pension funds to oneself, thus fostering immediate wealth building rather than waiting for retirement.

In summary, pensions are potent investment tools, and the property market is a playground of possibilities for the informed property investor. Through SSAS, Kevin has not only unlocked a new dimension of funding but has also championed a movement towards empowered, enlightened, and equitable wealth building.

Dive deeper into finance and property investing by reading our blog articles: Deal Finder’s Corner Episode 17 featuring Sarah Rapley and Episode 23 of DFC starring Josh Keegan.