Property editor of the NZ Herald

How ex-gaming addict turned $200k into $10m

"The best game in life is life itself," landlord Gary Lin says
Gary Lin, an Auckland landlord in front of one of his many properties. He wants others to learn from his experiences.
Gary Lin, an Auckland landlord in front of one of his many properties. He wants others to learn from his experiences.

Chinese migrant, Auckland landlord and ex-video game addict Gary Lin started out with a $200,000 wedding gift from his father in late 2009.

Eight years later, he turned that into an $10 million fortune, having bought 14 Auckland properties.

But he had to break a severe gaming habit to do so and says others can succeed too - but not while addicted to computer games.

Big-time landlords like Lin draw critics who say their property-buying habits stop first home buyers from getting into the market. The Reserve Bank has also long warned about New Zealand's property-buying habits and the risk of that to the economy.

But Lin said he wanted his story to be published in the hope others would follow his lead.

"I remember coming to New Zealand as a shy boy at age 13 and going through Avondale College.

"I wasn't that outgoing at the time, so by age 14 or 15, I got my first personal computer and was introduced to games by a good friend."

From then on, games were an avenue to happiness because Lin lacked other interests or hobbies.

"I played chess for Avondale A team, but that was just to kill time during school lunch breaks."

While he went through Auckland University completing Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree, all his spare time went into computer games, Lin said.

"By the time World of Warcraft came along, and I started working, I could pay the monthly game subscription myself. So since I had no life outside of work and gaming, I just sunk all my time into it."

After three to four years, the game became a grind or a rat race, similar to work, and he quit for a while.

He socialised more and realised "the best game in life is life itself", Lin said.

"The more I filled it with these real life important things, the less I am drawn to computer games. Today I could sit in front of a computer for whole day, with 20-plus computer games I could play in an instant, and I would not touch them at all. It's like cartoons, once I grew older I lost interest and found other things in life."

People can't exactly repeat my results but they can do a similar thing which is achieve financial freedom.
Gary Lin

Lin, now a property coach of Ronovationz, wed in 2010.

The 33-year-old credits a book with sparking a big change in his outlook: "I met friends who introduced me to the book Rich Dad Poor Dad and that's what got me started in property."

In 2009, he and wife Cindy bought their first home with the wedding gift in Avondale for $475,000.

They then bought a Mt Wellington investment place for $173,000 in 2010, then used the equity in that to buy further places. He has total borrowings of $5 million and receives $310,000/year in gross rental income.

"People can't exactly repeat my results but they can do a similar thing which is achieve financial freedom," he said.

As for knockers who criticise him for getting the $200,000: "All I can say is I would be stupid not to take up my dad's offer. I have friends who have received way more and I don't criticise them."

- NZ Herald

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