In a bold move that defied conventional wisdom, eight-year-old Ruby McLellan, along with her siblings Angus McLellan and Lucy McLellan, made headlines by purchasing this bizarre thing with their allowance.

In a world where “pocket money” typically fuels children’s sweet tooth cravings or toy store adventures — you probably can’t guess what it is.

She Did What No 8-Year-Old Had Done Before

Using $6,000 of their pocket money, Ruby, 14-year-old Angus, and 13-year-old Lucy made history by putting a down payment on a four-bedroom house on Melbourne’s southeast fringe two years ago, valued at $671,000.

Despite facing online backlash and criticism calling their behavior “exploitive,” the McLellan family stood by their decision. Ruby’s father, Cam McLellan defended his daughter’s actions as “required sacrifices” aimed at securing their financial future. He stressed the importance of teaching children the value of money and investing early, a lesson Ruby and her siblings are sure to take to heart.

As of 2024, their home has increased in value from $671,000 to an estimated $960,000.

How Did an 8-Year-Old Manage to Buy a House?

man, woman, and little girl standing in the kitchen
TODAY Show/YouTube

It’s not rocket science. This is a pretty easy equation to solve. At just eight years old, Ruby McLellan didn’t come into thousands of dollars by selling lemonade on her street corner.

“There’s no easy silver bullet, but while my kids will get enough to get started, they are not silver spoons. They have a leg up, but so can anyone in Australia.”

Cam McLellan, Daily Mail

Ruby’s father, Cam McLellan, provided the funds for the house purchase, a fact that he readily acknowledges. While some may question the ethics of such a gift — and many people did — McLellan sees it as an investment in his children’s financial education and future prosperity.

So, does that make it right?

The Public Attacked His Parenting — But He Couldn’t Care Less

dad and his little daughter
TODAY Show/ YouTube

As soon as the news got ahold of this crazy story, McLellan came under fire. Critics speculated on the legality and morality of the move, with some suggesting it was a tax evasion scheme or, worse, exploitation of young minds.

While McLellan frames the investment as an educational opportunity for his children, skeptics argue that the decision ultimately rests on his authority and influence. They worry that Ruby and her siblings might not fully understand what owning a property means.

Some think that involving kids in such big financial decisions blurs the line between helpful guidance and too much control from parents. This raises questions about how much say children should have in matters like this and whether they might be taken advantage of. It’s a reminder of how important it is to make sure kids are protected and understand what’s going on when it comes to money.

However, Mr. McLellan — who is the head of the OpenCorp property group — remained undeterred, emphasizing that the purchase was entirely legal and aimed at securing his children’s financial future.

“It’s easy for someone who doesn’t have property or hasn’t made sacrifices, to be angry about it and easy to target a young kid who has a leg-up.”

Cam McLellan

He went on to share while tenants may find it “humiliating” to pay rent to children, he doubled down that this purchase was entirely driven by pragmatism, not to prove any point.

One Father’s Divisive Advice for His Daughter’s “Haters”

Cam McLellan had some fighting words for the naysayers and he quickly put himself at the center of a brewing media storm.

McLellan was quick to say those attacking the “precocious property purchasers” — such as his prepubsecent children — would be better off devoting their energies to finding extra work, slice their discretionary spending, and saving money for their own first home.

“Young adults’ lifestyles are very flamboyant these days. I worked three jobs, I didn’t go out, I sold my car.”

Cam McLellan, Daily Mail

Mr. McLellan went on to criticize the younger generation, encouraging them to “sacrifice” and “delay gratification.” In an interview with the Daily Mail, he confidently concluded, “Eating in cafes and shopping has drained people’s money. Even owning a car, they like to change it every five years. I had the same car for ten years.”

Is It True? Is It Toxic? Or Is It Both?

Cam McLellan’s blunt advice has stirred debate, raising questions about the balance between financial prudence and the toll of excessive sacrifice. While his call for disciplined spending and hard work may resonate with some, others view it as a reflection of outdated attitudes towards wealth and success.

McLellan’s emphasis on austerity and delayed gratification may overlook the systemic barriers that hinder financial mobility for many young adults. As the conversation unfolds, it prompts reflection on the complex interplay between personal responsibility and societal structures in shaping financial outcomes.

The duality of McLellan’s advice — both true in its emphasis on frugality and hard work, yet potentially toxic in its failure to acknowledge systemic inequalities — highlights the need for a nuanced approach to financial education and empowerment. It underscores the importance of addressing both individual responsibility and broader structural issues to ensure equitable opportunities for all.

But this isn’t a conversation that concerns 8-year-old Ruby McLellan, who confirmed being a landlord at her age is “pretty cool.”