April 2024


"House price growth is outstripping the average national wage with Gold Coast locations leading the way."


‘The secret’s out’:

Suburbs where prices have more than doubled in four years!

Good morning Fellow members,

The past four years in the property market have been incredibly volatile, with prices surging, before falling sharply and then rising rapidly once again.

Despite the ups and downs, prices are higher than four years ago in almost every Australian suburb, PropTrack data shows, with the pandemic boom and the surprising run of growth over the past year largely outweighing the dent in the market caused by rising interest rates.

In most suburbs, including Coomera where your property portfolio started at a purchase price of $145,000 has exceeded all expectations.  The data shows that even the price growth over the past four years has massively exceeded that of the previous four years.

Those who hung on through the pandemic's ups and downs have largely come out well ahead.

After holding onto our property portfolio for 25 to 30 years, it's time to contemplate divesting the oldest assets and reinvesting the proceeds into enhancing our lifestyle as we transition into retirement. Several members have already invested in The FIRM International Cruise Lines, offering a 5% ROI (Return on Investment). We are living the Life, Touring the Globe in total comfort. Waking up each morning in a new destination certainly has an appeal. Feel free to reach out to me for further information. 

In the meantime, I look forward to hearing your comments.

Stay safe, Healthy Wealthy & Wise!


March 2024

The Cost of Living in Retirement

Good morning Fellow members, 

If you plan to keep enjoying your current lifestyle when you retire, it's generally suggested that, if you own your own home, you'll need to save enough to provide you with at least 70% of your current annual income.

For the majority of The FIRM's members, this was considered two decades ago, prior to retirement, allowing them to now unwind and delight in their enhanced property portfolio tailored for them.

The full Age Pension, if you're eligible, can provide you with $28,514 per year for a single income ($1,096.70 per fortnight - maximum basic rate including supplements). Read more on Services Australia's website.

However, research by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) indicates that relying solely on the Age Pension will not be enough for a comfortable retirement.

How much do you need to retire?

Most people want a comfortable retirement - whatever that looks like for them.

While this will mean different things to different people, everyone wants to be able to afford a good standard of living, with enough to spend on things like leisure activities, private health insurance and household goods.

Comfortable retirement around age 67

According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), to achieve a comfortable retirement age of around 67, you need:


$51,278.30 per year


$72,148.19 per year

On a fortnightly basis, a single person needs roughly $1,954.57, while a couple needs around $2,749.80 for a comfortable retirement.

A modest retirement, which allows for only basic activities although is better than relying only on the Age Pension, is estimated at $32,665.66 for singles per year, and $46,994.28 for couples.

Compare different lifestyles in retirement

The below table is based on ASFA research for retirees aged around 67.

It shows the expected lifestyles for a comfortable retirement, modest retirement and retirement relying on the Age Pension alone, per year.

The Age Pension annual amounts are approximate, based on maximum fortnightly rates, including supplements, as determined by Services Australia.

Compare the different lifestyles in retirement
 Comfortable retirementModest retirementAge Pension




  • Replace kitchen and bathroom over 20 years
  • Can run air conditioning
  • Fast internet connection, big data allowance and large talk and text allowance
  • No budget for home improvements. Can do repairs, but can't replace kitchen or bathroom
  • Need to watch utility costs
  • Limited talk and text, modest internet data allowance
  • No budget to fix home problems like leaky roof
  • Less heating in winter
  • Very basic phone and internet package


Health care and food

  • Top level private health insurance
  • Restaurant dining, good range and quality of food
  • Basic private health insurance, limited gap payments
  • Take out and occasional cheap restaurants
  • No private health insurance
  • Only club special meals or inexpensive takeaway

Holidays and leisure  
  • Domestic and occasional overseas holidays
  • Take part in a range of regular leisure activities
  • One holiday in Australia or a few short breaks
  • One leisure activity infrequently, some trips to the cinema or similar
  • Even shorter breaks or day trips in your own city
  • Only taking part in no cost or very low cost leisure activities. Rare trips to the cinema


  • Owning a reasonable car
  • Owning an older less reliable car
  • No car or, if you have a car it will be a struggle to afford repairs

As you get older, the budgets change

It's likely you'll need less money later in retirement.

This may be because you're no longer raising a family, paying tax on your income, making super contributions or paying off a home. Your priorities and requirements can also change as you age as you may spend more on assistance in or outside the home and medical expenses.

For people 85 and above, ASFA estimates the below amounts are required for a comfortable retirement3:


$48,074.77 per year


$66,455.12 per year

On a fortnightly basis, a single person needs roughly $1,814.90 while a couple needs around $2,513.30 for a comfortable retirement.

The annual cost for a modest standard of living at 85 years old is $30,417.12 for singles and $43,523.83 for couples.

There you have it for another month!

Stay tuned for an exciting new announcement for The FIRM International Cruise Line's next step closer. 

Kindest regards, 



February 2024

Exploring Real Estate Trends

Good morning Fellow members,

Firstly, let’s delve into the most comprehensive state-of-the-nation report on the real estate market for the calendar year ending 2023. It’s intriguing how different research houses present varied statistics based on distinct information sources. Leveraging  Andrew Bell's over 40-plus years of experience and my role as Chairman of The FIRM for 30-plus years, I prioritise credible sources. Pleasingly, there’s consensus among industry experts.

It’s unanimously agreed that price growth surged nationwide throughout 2023, albeit with some variation in reported figures. Notably, prices saw an acceleration in the final quarter of 2023.

Rents for 3-bedroom dwellings rose by 2.6% quarterly and 13.4% annually. Meanwhile, 2-bedroom dwellings witnessed a 0.4% quarterly increase and a 16.1% annual rise, reflecting a significant demand for such properties nationwide, attributed to the overarching concern of the cost of living.

February saw an 18.5% rise in new listings compared to 2022 figures, indicating continued market activity.

As expected, home loan applications have dwindled over recent months due to higher interest rates, dissuading potential buyers. Nonetheless, there’s a noteworthy trend of cash transactions, with over a quarter of properties in New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland purchased outright, reflecting a total cash outlay of $129.6 billion—a 1.5% increase from 2022.

Moreover, the share of mortgage-free home sales increased by 2.9 percentage points to 28.5%, underscoring the active participation of property owners capitalizing on real estate gains and the downsizing trend among baby boomers.

Locally, Mayor Tom Tate secured his fourth term in the Gold Coast City Council elections, offering stability for the city’s future. The robust property market continues flourishing, with impressive auction results and sustained migration inflows.

Looking ahead, we anticipate navigating a complex market landscape with conflicting factors influencing real estate trends. With nearly five decades of experience and access to extensive research, I’m committed to providing insightful analysis.

Andrew is excited to host the Ray White Business Meets Sports Networking Lunch, featuring esteemed guests Harry Triguboff and Anna Meares, offering invaluable insights and fostering community engagement while supporting vital beach safety initiatives.

Until next time stay Healthy, Wealthy & Wise.





Good morning, Fellow Members,

As the holiday season approaches, we and our team want to extend our deepest gratitude for your unwavering loyalty and support throughout the past year. Your dedication and perseverance have been commendable, and we are truly grateful for the privilege of being part of your journey.

As we bid farewell to 2023 and welcome the promise of a new year, we understand the importance of equipping oneself with the necessary tools and knowledge to navigate the cruise ship industry market effectively. 

I'm thrilled to share some exciting news with you - an Australian Government representative has approached us to provide a facility to circumnavigate Australia regularly! This collaboration marks a significant milestone for us, and we're eagerly anticipating the developments that 2024 will bring.

We want to express our heartfelt appreciation for your continued partnership and trust. We are here to support you every step of your investment journey.

We wish you a joyous holiday season filled with warmth, love, and newfound opportunities. May 2024 bring you the professional growth and success you truly deserve.

Stay tuned for more details as they become available. We're committed to keeping you updated every step of the way, and we look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Thank you for your ongoing support, and we're excited to see what the future holds.

Stay Healthy, Wealthy & Wise!!! 

Chat soon!

Kindest regards,

Annette & John 



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My parents have been members of The FIRM for over 10 years and have 4 properties. John called over to see them for dinner and both Chris and I were invited. We explained to John that it was difficult to save a deposit as we were just married and p...

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