The diversified investment portfolio that Australian banker Anita Yadav has compiled with her architect husband over the years will allow them to retire some time in the next three years - before they both turn 50.

Instead of planning to retire at a certain pre-determined age, Ms Yadav, who has been living in Singapore for about three years, told herself that she would do so only when she earns about $250,000 a year on passive income on all her investments.

She made her first investment - it was in shares - when she was 25.

"My husband and I had very humble beginnings," says Ms Yadav, 41.

The mother of a seven-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl added: "We could clearly see that instead of having expectations of any inheritance, we were required to have resources in place to look after not only ourselves and our kids but also our ageing parents. We had no option but to be prudent with investment management."

Q: What is your portfolio like?

My investment portfolio includes shares, exchange-traded funds, insurance-linked unit plans, cash bonds, bond funds, term deposits, gold and property.

We own several residential, commercial and farmhouse properties across Australia, Singapore, India and Malaysia.

We are biased towards property because my husband is an architect and it does not require intense monitoring on a daily basis. With two children and demanding careers, we are normally short on time for day-to-day monitoring of the portfolio.

I like investing in direct cash bonds and bond funds over shares mainly for their running yield and low risk.

Insurance-linked unit plans provide insurance benefits and help to set aside money for the children's education and their personal expenses.

Q: What is your appetite for risk?

These days I am a medium risk taker but I was more aggressive when I was younger. Earlier, I was comfortable with "heavy risk, heavy return" investments and as a result, we lost money during the stock market crashes of 2000 and 2008. These days I am more focused on capital preservation.

Q: What is your financial goal?

It is to achieve at least 8 per cent returns on investment in order to retire on my passive income within three years. God is merciful and we seem to be on track to achieve this. However, my lifestyle needs keep changing.

Q: How far away from those goals are you?

We could retire today if we wanted to. I think our own financial planning and focus on growing the investment portfolio have helped immensely.

The fact that we both are well-educated and have decent careers certainly assisted in regular cash inflow.

I think it's better to actually make a small investment than to keep on thinking about and planning a big investment.

Q: What advice would you give to others?

Don't wait for a sizeable pool of funds to build up before starting to invest.

Money can be made in every field and every asset. Focus on an asset class that you understand.

Focus more on increasing your income than controlling your expenses.

Focus more on your money working for you than on you working for money.