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Money Journey: Juanita Duke

Oct 27, 2021 | Money Journey | 0 comments

This episode of The Money Compass podcast was published on 27th October 2021. You can listen again by heading to our Episodes page, or on your favourite podcast player.

In this Money Journey episode, Julie is joined by wealth expert Juanita Duke. 

A little bit about Juanita

Juanita Duke is a wealth expert, mentor, and founder of Infinity Wealth Creation who shares her personal and professional experiences of investing. Juanita teaches, guides and supports her clients to create their financial wealth vision, and to confidently be inspired to achieve their desired lifestyle.

Juanita positively empowers people to create a secure limitless future, by supporting them to claim an abundance of prosperity and future security, by taking control and responsibility for their wealth creation, which is totally life changing.

You can find Juanita on Facebook and LinkedIn. Her website is Infinitywealthcreation.com and also the same on Instagram and I there is a Facebook group called Money Mastery. Let’s talk money.


What is your earliest Money Memory?

My earliest money memory is actually of a millionaire giving me a 10 shilling note. I can remember exactly where I was, standing inside a little room in a bed and breakfast on the west coast of Ireland – I think I was probably about eight years old and we didn’t come from a wealthy family. You know, we were kind of just very average people.

I think I was probably on about three-pence or six-pence for pocket money a week at that age and to be given a 10 shilling note in one go for something from a complete stranger was just amazing to me and that kind of sparked my interest even at that very young age.


Juanita’s Top Tips

1.Rather than thinking about where you can save money, think about how you can generate additional income

2. Achieve your wealth goals faster by investing rather than saving

3. Compound at every opportunity.


Juanita’s Money Journey

Julie Hunt
Hello and welcome to today’s money journey. I’m joined by Juanita Duke who is going to be sharing with us her story about her money journey. So to start off today I’m going to ask you what is your earliest money memory?


Juanita Duke
My earliest money memory is actually of a millionaire giving me a 10 shilling note. I can remember exactly where I was, standing inside a little room in a bed and breakfast on the west coast of Ireland – I think I was probably about eight years old and we didn’t come from a wealthy family. You know, we were kind of just very average people.

I thinkI was probably on about three-pence or six-pence for pocket money a week at that age and to be given a 10 shilling note in one go for something from a complete stranger was just amazing to me and that kind of sparked my interest even at that very young age.

How did somebody become a millionaire, you know? How could one person be so wealthy when everybody else just had you know, three-pence for pocket money? But that definitely stuck in my mind all of my life that few minutes in that room.


Julie Hunt
Oh wow. That’s such a fantastic experience. So why did you get the ten shilling note? What was the reason behind the visit?


Juanita Duke
We were on holidays, he owned a castle on the west coast of Ireland, we always took our holiday on the west coast of Ireland, and he was a family friend. So it was just pocket money, he was just giving it to us to spend on enjoying our holiday but it was massive to us. It was a fortune.


Julie Hunt
You could buy a lot of ice creams for that.


Juanita Duke
I think we brought a Swingball or something like that.


Julie Hunt
That’s a really, really great money memory! Do you want to tell us your money journey in your own words?


Juanita Duke
Yeah, certainly. What I will say is it’s been a real roller coaster of highs and lows along the way. I left school when I was 16, this was in the mid 70s. And the expectation then was that you would leave school, I didn’t go to university. I left school and I just got a regular job.

The intention was that I would meet a nice man, I would get married, I would have a family and I’d be a stay at home mum and my husband would  be the breadwinner. And that was as much as my expectations were of life and of money and jobs. But actually when I met my first husband, we were about 16 and when I was 17, I started working in his family business. That gave me a real understanding of what hard work and being in a family business is, so the hours that have to be put into it. It gave me a real good work ethic and discipline.

We worked 80 hour weeks for £30  each week. That was what we got for our salary. So it was pretty low paid even by the standards of those days. But we lived with his family and we saved absolutely every penny of what we earned. By the time we were 23 we bought a piece of land to build on. We had saved up and paid for the foundations, we had saved our money and paid for the walls and we had saved her money and paid for the roof. There we were, 23 years old with our first child and completely mortgage free and that’s one of the highest points.


Julie Hunt
It’s a great place to be at 23.


Juanita Duke
Yeah, absolutely to be 23 years old and have no mortgage, no debt, no car debt, absolutely nothing. No credit cards. I don’t even know if there were credit cards in those days but we certainly didn’t need them or we didn’t have them.

I don’t think we realised, or I certainly didn’t personally realise, just what a fortunate position we were in. What we could have built and what our lives could have been if we did actually acknowledge just how massive that was.

But then when my children were about, I think three and five something like that – I’m from Northern Ireland – there was massive bomb in Enniskillen. It’s called the Poppy Day bomb or the Remembrance Day bomb. A lot of people died in that explosion and it made me think, did I really want to bring my children up in a country that was so unstable and just felt so unstable? You know, when you’re a new mum, you just want to protect your little babies so we decided that we would emigrate and we decided to go to Canada.

The cost of emigrating was massive. Not just the international flights but the moving of what we had, our possessions. We also found ourselves in a country where property was more expensive. We were going to have to have a mortgage for the first time in our lives. We were going to have to borrow money to buy a car.

I went from being very comfortably off. We always lived within our means, we didn’t have luxuries or anything like that, but we just lived comfortably. So we moved to somewhere where money was very very tight and every single penny was accounted for and it was accounted for in a row of jam jars that sat on my windowsill. One had some money in for food and one was fuel for the car and some would go in one for the electric bill. So it was a very different life then.

Roll forward a few years and we got terribly homesick because in those days there were there were no cheap flights. There was no internet to communicate with people, there were only very expensive international phone calls. So you communicated with your parents your siblings, whatever, by letter basically, and we got homesick.

We decided to move back to Northern Ireland and that had another massive hit financially because, again, we’ve had to pay for another international move and international flights. We had the cost of selling the house that we had bought in Canada and we were starting all over again back in Northern Ireland with a tiny little home. Not a massive mortgage, but it was a tiny little home and it was a huge step down, financially, from where we were. So that was another pretty low part of my rollercoaster.

By that stage my kids were back in secondary education and they didn’t need me quite so much. I was happy to go out to work and I ended up going into the corporate world for the very first time. I got an extremely highly paid job for somebody who had only their own personal experience and experience in a family business and no corporate experience.

By the mid 90s, I was earning a salary of around £30,000 plus a year in the retail world. And I mean that was absolutely massive even in 95′ to be earning in excess of £30,000 per year. It was just more money than we had ever had coming into the house.

There’d been cracks in the marriage that we had sat with for years. They’d actually been there earlier on in our marriage, but I wasn’t in a financial position to have the choice to get up and leave. That was probably one of the first times in my life when I realised that, actually, money gives you choices and I didn’t have the choice to leave when I wanted to leave.

But finally I got to the stage where I did have my own income and I had the power to make choices for myself. So I decided that it was time to leave a marriage that wasn’t working. But, yet again, here was another financial hit – divorce.

Moving home again, all of that so you know I’d gone from being mortgage free to moves that took all of our money, to getting back and having a good salary coming in to going back. So there I was, I was on my own. I had a reasonable salary at this stage. I had left the job that I was in. I ended up being made redundant. I bought a new home and I was made redundant and there I was back again having to use credit cards. By this time I did know what a credit card was.

I was using a credit card to pay my mortgage because I was made redundant, I went to Social Security and was told there was no benefits for me. I don’t know why I didn’t get any but there you go, I was at rock bottom again.

I got another job but was made redundant again, got another job, made redundant again. So three times I had to pick myself up after being made redundant and start right back to the beginning again. That took a massive toll on a couple of decades. My life was just up and down and up and down.

On the third time of being made redundant, I said “that is it, I am done. I have to take control of my income generation myself.” I cannot in my 50s, I guess I was already 50. You know, the chances of me going out there and getting a highly paid job to fund the type of life I want is very small.

So I decided I’m going to have to go down the entrepreneurial route, which was something I’ve always loved anyway, so that’s when I decided to just start my own business. By that time, I got remarried again, we got remarried in 2006. All was looking good, I was starting my own business blah blah blah. The housing boom was just starting, it was all looking good.

We thought right we better buy another property between us because my husband’s living accommodation came with the job that he was in at the time so we were living there. We decided we would buy a plot of land and we would buy a house.

So we bought this land, we got our mortgage approved and we started to build. Two years into the build in 2010, the builder walked off the job and he just disappeared, never to be seen again. All the house was was foundations and a roof on walls. There were no windows, no doors, nothing inside just blocks basically. Blocks with some slits on the roof. And we did not have the money to finish that house. What was left on the mortgage draw-down would not have finished the house.

We just had nothing so we borrowed some money from family to at least put windows and doors in and do a little bit of the work inside but it was a shell, there was no internal doors. We had a curtain for the bathroom. That was the only room that had a door and it was a curtain. There were mice running in and out of the house because it wasn’t finished on the outside. It was pretty dire.

We then spent 10 years taking that builder through the court system to reclaim what we had lost and we were finally in 2020 awarded £90,000 compensation from the builder, which was extremely bittersweet and more bitter than sweet because just a few weeks before we were awarded that, the builder was made bankrupt by another claim. So we got absolutely nothing, not one penny.

So we were still in a house that we couldn’t sell because it had no building certificates and it wasn’t finished. It was worth less than the mortgage that we had on the property. So we were in a negative equity situation. So there we were.

We thought we were starting businesses and we were on the way up and then all of a sudden we were hit with no home that we could sell. We had nothing, luckily we had bought another house a couple of years earlier that was an investment property. So we had started to learn about investing and actually listened, a few years earlier, to a podcast. It was a lady from from America and she was talking about investing and how powerful it was. And I was just soaking all this information up. I was just thinking this is it. This is the key because as good as my businesses were, money was coming into the businesses and money was going back out again. It was coming in, it was going, it was coming in it and was going out and I just never seemed to be able to get ahead financially.

This lady talking about investing really sparked an interest in me so I set about learning absolutely everything that I could learn about investing. As I say we already had our property but then I started investing in stocks and shares and other things. And that really got me to where I am now, in a much better position. In fact at the minute, if my husband and I were to stop work tomorrow, our assets would fund our lifestyle and that is a very lucky place to be in.

So I’ve gone full circle from that 23 year old with a mortgage free home all the way through to being financially free in terms of having assets that can fund a lifestyle. That’s my journey in a nutshell and it’s a bit of a roller coaster.


Julie Hunt
You got there in the end. It is fantastic that the end result is that you have got financial freedom. I think that’s one of the things that certainly we try to get people to work towards and actually to put that into place. You’re actually at that point where you now could stop tomorrow and know that you’ll be comfortable for the rest of your life. And I know it’s certainly a lovely feeling to have. So that’s fantastic.

So obviously, as with all Money Compass podcast episodes, we also like to talk about travel, as travel is something that is very important to me. From your journey, you’ve travelled from Northern Ireland to Canada, then back to Northern Ireland again. Have you been back to Canada since?


Juanita Duke
I don’t think so. My favourite destination in the world is the French Alps. I love the Alps. I’ve been to France many, many, many times, in different areas. And in fact, a couple of years ago we actually went through the winter and got a chalet there and just spent the whole winter there.

I had a different business then, I had a business in Northern Ireland that was location dependent, but I was able to manage it from afar and just have staff operate it for me. But then I decided I wanted to teach other people about how to get started in investing. I wanted an online business so that I could be completely location independent.

So now we’ve started to plan this winter because obviously last winter was a bit of a let down with everything. But we are back to the French Alps again for this winter. And we’re staying in a little village. Our first stop is a lovely little ski resort that we’re staying in, then we’re going to head down to the south of France and then we’re going to head up to Austria to do a bit more skiing up before the ski season ends.

It’s a pretty nice lifestyle, from where I was to where I am now and being able to make these choices. And as I say, because my business is teaching other people about investing, it means I’m able to do it from wherever I am in the world.


Julie Hunt
That’s fantastic. Do you want to just tell anyone where they can find you online?


Juanita Duke
You can find me on Facebook, I am Juanita Duke on both Facebook and LinkedIn. Infinitywealthcreation.com is my web address and also the same on Instagram and I have a Facebook group called Money Mastery. Let’s talk money.


Julie Hunt
That is lovely. Well, thank you so much for joining us today and I look forward to speaking to you again soon.


Juanita Duke
Brilliant. Thank you so much for inviting me, Julie.