Tips to Surviving the Pandemic

G’day all

As I write this, Australia appears to be tip-toeing into total lock-down, changing the rules state by state, hour by hour…  Meanwhile, in the US, Trump appears to be dead set on reopening everything by Easter come hell or high water… interesting times I see.

While I certainly cannot predict what is going to happen in the next few weeks, or even few months for that matter, I can tell you that we will certainly get through this.

I can also say, that what we do now, in the next few weeks, will make a difference as to how well we come out the other end…

It’s what we do in the next few weeks that will define us as a nation and as people.  Are you going to be proud of what you achieved, what you were able to do over this period, or embarrassed by your choices?  It’s up to you…

We have all seen over the past 3-4 weeks that the J O B is no longer as secure as we thought it might be… hundreds of thousands are now immediately out of work in Oz with the number only to grow…

And a number of people will unfortunately not be able to go back to work once everything gets back to ‘normal’ either… Because there will be a NEW normal.

Impacts from a crisis to the magnitude of this, can be forever; things will change, the way business will be done in months/years to come, will change.  Our society will change.  We saw it after the Spanish Flu of 1918, the Great Depression of 1929, the stock market crash in 1987 (Black Monday), the dot com bust in the early 2000’s, GFC in 2007 – after each of these events, the world was not the same.

Just taking the GFC most recently, changes to the banking sector and how money lending occurs changed forever.

We will see our economies, business etc will change, and never be the same again.  And this is not necessarily bad…just different.

Business will be forced over this period to become more lean, more agile, trade will be different, countries will start to become more self-sufficient again (finally!) and less reliant on overseas trade…it will be – different.

So here are a couple of tips to make sure that we all come out of this better:

  1. Follow our Leaders’ Instructions – first and foremost, this is critical.  During the bushfires over Christmas, all of a sudden everyone is an environmental expert and now all these brilliant people are now Virologists… please…  We have leaders of the country who DO have the experts advising them, so the best thing we can do right now is do what the Coach is telling us… full stop…
  2. Keep Moving – although we cannot go to the gym and probably shortly not the ‘outdoor boot camp’ group either, but we can still keep exercising.  Find an online app, YouTube videos, DVD’s, whatever works for you.  There are even PT’s now offering online sessions.  Fitness is critical to not only to your immune system, but your mental state.
  3. Eat Healthy and get into good habits – Drink plenty of water & eat healthily while you can.  It can be easy to fall into bad habits during periods of isolation.  Thinking it ‘won’t matter if…’ will only make you feel worse about yourself and feel unhealthy. Nothing wrong with the odd glass of wine, but now is the best time to get into healthy eating habits, get lots of sleep, get up early, get yourself into good patterns.
  4. Be kind and patient with people – again, I cannot stress this enough.  People are genuinely scared and worried, as none of us have been through this before, or know how to react.  Now is the best time to be kind and patient, especially with loved ones.  People are stressed – it isn’t about you…
  5. Read and/or listen to podcasts/videos to improve yourself – personal development is a great option right now.  While I am not saying don’t watch Netflix, relaxation is also a good habit, but spending 30 minutes per day on personal development is putting deposits into your future wealth account!  With all the media and news out there so doom & gloom, we need some positivity to offset this and keep us moving forward – plant those positive seeds and watch goodness grow.
  6. Learn something – here’s a real bonus to having some time on our hands right now – Self Education!  Take this time to learn something that will benefit you moving forward.  Income creation techniques, study investing, learn a new skill.  Anything you have a passion for.  Spend time mastering this and you will be in a perfect position to launch at new opportunities when the shutters go back up!

You got this!

Happy Investing all and have a great weekend!!

The Feather, the Slap & the Brick

G’day all

While things are certainly crazy right now, and I feel we (Australians) are still in for some tighter controls over the next couple of weeks, and the US is also starting to groan under the strain of the outbreak, there is only so long that we will see impacts on global markets.

While we are probably also going to see zero, or negative growth for the first quarter of 2020 both in Australia and the US (most other countries as well mind you – but I haven’t been studying those markets as closely), we are also likely to see negative growth for the second quarter coming…recession…

There will certainly be more job losses both here and in the US and we are in for some tight times…

But that’s enough doom and gloom from me!  I certainly want to be that ‘metronome’ vs the media at the moment.

The hype and spin they are putting on this is incredible – front page headlines by the Herald Sun here in Melbourne TELLING people to buy 2 weeks’ worth of everything is insanity, even our Prime Minister agreed!

Sentiment and reaction will certainly be clouded by the media, and while it’s great to stay up to date with what is happening, I urge people to be cautious of the amount of media we absorb right now – do we really need the 5th one-hour special on the Coronavirus today??

What I am seeing is some changes, that while have been prompted by the pandemic, could actually be for the better, and hopefully become the ‘new norm’.

Firstly, people are starting to become more acutely aware if they are feeling unwell, to stay away from others and ‘self-isolate’.  While we had not really used that term until a few weeks ago, I remember back from my corporate days (yes a while ago thankfully, but I still remember!) coming into work and finding the person next to me in the cubicle coughing and spluttering all over the place, just didn’t want to ‘use up all their sick leave’ and wouldn’t go home!  Next thing, we were all sick and productivity plummets – not to mention if anyone one of us infected our grandparents with the flu, it is and was, critically dangerous for them!

If this means that from now on, if you are unwell, you stay home and recover, and we see a drop in influenza deaths throughout the world, that’s a great step forward.

Secondly, bars, restaurants and eateries are spreading out tables here in Australia, to give everyone the required distance from others to still be able to dine (in Australia, it is a maximum of 100 people inside right now, with 1.5 metres between, classified as safe distance).  Finally, not sitting on the lap of the next table when you dine, giving us some space, to enjoy our meals and conversation with loved ones and friends without feeling uncomfortable.  If it means that restaurants now realise that as many seats as physically possibly in a venue is no longer acceptable, that again, is a great step forward.

Now, while I am absolutely not trying to make light of this situation, I would like to point out that often it can take a great event or action, to promote positive change or reactions.

What about change in our lives, what changes do you need to make?

I feel that often the universe does things in threes, and in the case for change, we find there are generally 3 hints that we need to (change):

The first hint is what I call a feather.  The universe tickles us, to realise there is something that needs to be scratched.  Maybe it is our neighbour losing his business or our colleague getting retrenched.  Now while this does not directly impact us, it does make you think, “wow, that can happen”.  Mostly though, we feel “it won’t happen to me” and we carry on with life. Rarely here, does someone look to actually make changes to protect against it.

Now though, the universe realises that the feather didn’t work, we just scratched and moved on.  So next is the slap…

Now it’s your partner getting sick and needing an (albeit not life threatening) operation; or the car breaking down and needing significant repair, realising you don’t really have the funds; the landlord saying you need to move, and all new rentals are significantly more expensive…  This is where now, it hurts, right…  That sting which, while it goes away, really brings tears to the eyes for the moment, and starts you thinking “I really need to change something here so this isn’t a problem again”.

But, you fix the car and move on; get a credit card or loan for the operation – but then go back to the ‘rut’ and nothing really changes.

Hmm…Universe is thinking if that didn’t work, now what?

Lastly it’s the brick… that ‘brick to the head moment’

Now I have always said that I hope people would never get to this stage, but I feel as a society we may have just had our ‘brick’

This is where there may be a life changing event in your family which FORCES you to make changes and decisions.  A death, life threatening illness, permanent disability; loss of job or business – some event which is catastrophic enough to cause us to HAVE to make changes.  Again, hoping the feather or the slap is enough, but if we do not change, we get a brick.

I was lucky enough (aware enough maybe?) to react on the feather, but we don’t all do this.

So, what changes do you NEED to make?  Are you comfortable right now if your company has to close in the next 2-3 weeks due to the pandemic and you are off work?  Can you survive?  What if your loved one gets sick, can you afford the medical bills?  Do you need to change things NOW, so that we can learn from this brick and build a better, stronger life?

I pray that none of this will happen, but I urge you to think about what you see around you and at least ask yourself the question… Do I need to change?

Happy Investing all and have a great weekend!!

Markets slide as panic hits fever pitch

G’day all!

Well, this has been a great example of what can happen within a week…

Suddenly now, with the AUD/USD on a slide, Billions being wiped of share markets and Superfunds (unless you have a Self-managed and invest in Real Estate!), countries in lockdown, and even sporting events being cancelled or playing at empty stadiums, I guess we all are asking, what’s next?

I certainly am not trying to play down the Virus outbreak, and the effect this will have on thousands possibly tens of thousands of lives, but I also would like to play the role of common sense a little here…

Our biggest threat is actually our response to what is happening.  If panic sets in, then we can begin to see the fabric of our societies start to unravel, even a little (fights in supermarkets over toilet paper…seriously?!)

Just looking at a couple of issues that directly affect us as investors, particularly US investors, we are watching closely the response the economic leaders are making to try and help insure our global economies do not collapse – China and the US particularly as two of the world’s largest economies.

And this is a real fear – universities and schools are closing; tourism (equates for almost 10% of global GDP) is at a standstill; factories (particularly in China) are closed, therefore no products to sell; ships and planes are almost empty; and soon, business will need to begin laying off staff or closing as well, forcing unemployment up. 

There is no point trying to sugar coat this, the impact of this will be felt globally for some time.

The question really is, what can governments and central banks actually do to reduce the impact of this?  I don’t know the answers here, but I do believe, that rate cuts are useless (nobody cares if rates are 2.5%, 1% or 0%) and stimulus packages are not going to have the same effect as they did during the GFC.

In GFC times, borders were not being close, tourism was not stopping, and trade was still occurring around the world, albeit at a slower level…

The slide in the AUD this past week, I feel has been coming for some time, certainly not this quickly mind you.  I was predicting back last year that we would hit the 0.60c range again and feel to be honest, that is about where the Aussie dollar needs to be in the global economy.  We have had it too strong for too long.

What is the impact then, on investing in US property?

Great question…

If you are already invested, then there are certainly a couple of pieces of good news here. 

One, your profits are getting better, every drop of 1% in the AUD/USD rate is an equivalent increase in profits.

Two, with the slowdown in the economy, I have already been able to pick up some great deals I probably would not have been able to get 2 months ago, properties for tens of thousands less than list prices.

On the other hand, if you are still looking to get into the market, then you certainly haven’t ‘missed the boat’ as it were…

Although it is 4-5% more expensive to purchase properties, I personally have been able to negotiate more that this off the list prices at the moment, with sellers starting to worry they will not be able to sell.

Furthermore, it means that profits then made in the US, when brought back into Oz to buy you that new Merc, are equivalently higher based on the exchange rate.

I guess the moral of the story here, is certainly don’t panic, and as for when is the best time to invest in real estate, even in the US… I would always say – NOW!

Don’t forget, we have great FX partners if you wish to discuss the dollar level or looking to send funds, best to talk to the experts, again, it is in times of volatility that there can be great opportunity

You got this!

Happy Investing all and have a great weekend!!

Rate Cuts and Viruses

G’day all

What a week it has been!  From finding it impossible to buy hand sanitiser & toilet paper in Australia (toilet paper?…of all things!) to massive rate cuts by the Federal Reserve in the US & cuts in AU as well, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride.

We held our latest workshop last night in Melbourne and I was asked, and do get asked all the time at the moment, what impact we may see on the property market, particularly US property, will the Coronavirus outbreak have?

This is a difficult one to answer in isolation, but there are certainly impacts being felt throughout the global economy right now, manifested particularly by the Federal Reserve in the US particularly, and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) as well this week.

With the RBA announcing at their monthly meeting that rates have been cut a further 0.25%, bringing our interest rates down to a record low in the country of 0.5%, my feeling is that they are trying to get out ahead and avoid a slump in economic growth that will inevitably be felt from symptoms such as reduced tourism, university numbers down and the slowdown Chinese manufacturing, given we are very depending on China for many of our needs – mobile phones for one!

Never to be outdone, the US Federal Reserve has then announced, out of session in an emergency meeting, that they have reduced interest rates in the US by half a percent, bringing their range to 1-1.25%.  The Fed chairman, Jerome Powell, said in a statement, that while fundamental economic indicators in the US were strong (jobs, wages & unemployment) they were experiencing a new threat from the Coronavirus.

So what does all this mean for us, particularly as US property investors?

Well firstly, market sentiment right now is at a significant low.  We can see this reflected in the share markets, with millions (even billions) being wiped off company stocks, and out of many people’s Super funds…

Further, in the past week or more we have seen a slide in the Aussie Dollar, as traders pull back for the safe haven currencies of the US dollar (although, now a significant correction again as traders start to back in further Federal rate cuts)

More importantly though, with share markets on roller coasters and currency markets volatile, this can bode well for property, as it has always been seen as one of the safer, stable investments.  Investors do, though, also understand that property is certainly not as liquid as shares or FX, and just how long is this Coronavirus outbreak going to affect markets?  I believe this is the key question…

With people and markets unsure, generally there is a period of quiet.  Investors may sell shares and or currency, but will then generally just wait, keeping their hands in the pockets for the time being to “see what happens”. 

I was reading an article by one of my property mentors today, Jon Giaan, and he lost a bet last week, saying that auction clearance rates in Australia would be down with buyers looking to hold off and see what happens over the next few weeks, but in Sydney last week, they hit 77%! Crazy!

I do agree though, that I think we will see a slowdown temporarily but I cannot see any long term effects directly, other than those caused by rate cuts etc, which will keep our markets bouncing along nicely.

There has never been a better time to get some equity out of your current investments and look for some high cashflow properties in the US with our interest rates at almost zero!  With some investors hesitant, it gives us a chance to swoop in and grab some incredible deals, like I have been able to this week in the US.

So, wash your hands, don’t horde toilet paper and keep your eyes peeled for those great deals…

You got this!

Happy Investing all and have a great weekend!!

Looking for a Unicorn?

G’day all

Its Friday here again (Happy Friday!) and another dice roll for a summers day in Melbourne.  Certainly not the perfect summer this year, but we certainly can’t wait for a ‘perfect’ summer to enjoy ourselves, right?!

Same as if we are driving to the beach (summer reference there again!) we cannot wait for all green traffic lights before we start the trip.  We just need to head out and be flexible with our journey – stop when we need to stop; turn when we need to turn; and go when we can…

Investing is the same.

I was talking to an investor the other day, and she was asking me how many perfect deals had I done – the ones that have massive payouts, mind blowing absolutely cannot lose deals? 

My answer was…none…

Now I am not saying I have not had good deals, I have had a ton of them, but if I had been waiting for that one of a kind unicorn payout, I would still be waiting…

I have certainly seen investors find them from time to time, and these are the deals that get most of the spotlight, but in the meantime, for every 10 investors that’s spent years looking for the ‘perfect’ deal to start, there is one who is quietly going about their business, finding good solid investments, over and over again, and retiring…

I was reading a piece by one of my real estate mentors this week, and she was comparing investing to writing… More specifically was referring to the 19th Century novelist Anthony Trollope.

Now in an age where most writers were sitting under trees, waiting for that perfect ‘inspiration’ to strike, starving, Trollope was churning out 750+ words per hour.  He quickly became the target of many critics, frowning at the volume of his output, particularly after he admitted he wrote for money.  After starting his writing career at 30, he went on to publish 47 novels and many other short stories and non-fiction pieces.  Trollope had a very solid career, despite the critics and was, in his own words, “extremely comfortable”.

Trollope did not wait for inspiration to strike, to try to write a number 1 best seller to catapult him to stardom and glory… he just kept writing, book after book, some good, some average, some probably even ordinary.

Generating wealth through property investing, is essentially the same…  It is made by the daily hustle.  Finding a strategy that resonates with you, delivers consistent profits and then just churning out as many deals as you can.

You don’t have to find that ‘Unicorn’, it’s not glory or stardom, there’s no magic bullet, it’s just rolling up your sleeves and doing the work.  Slow and steady.  And wealth will come quicker than you think.

You got this!

Happy Investing all and have a great weekend!!

Are you REALLY in control of your own Destiny?

G’day all

I want to chat today about an announcement in the news this week which I believe highlights two issues, one in Australia’s economic and political landscape, and another, much closer to home –our own security.

The announcement this week of the closure of Holden and the brand in Australia/NZ has certainly sent shockwaves through what is left of our Automotive industry in this country.

To lay my cards on the table, this is a subject that is near and dear to me, having been a Holden fan all my life, and worked for the ‘Lion” for almost 16 years.

It certainly was a sad day Monday to hear about the demise of a company I had a lot of fondness and loyalty for, worked hard for and bled for…but I cannot say the announcement shocked me.

For those who understand the automotive industry and kept an eye on GM’s worldwide activities, and Holden’s sales, particularly over the past few years, this certainly wouldn’t have been a surprise

GM had exited all other right-hand drive markets over the past few years and had no RHD vehicles in the pipeline. Holden sales had plummeted to all-time lows, and January’s results indicated an even worse year to come.

Great Wall put its hand up to buy GM’s Thailand plants where Colorado’s are built (one of the few remaining successful nameplates left of Holden, so the final nail in the coffin was driven home.

Anyway, back to my points…

Firstly, the government’s response, and a ‘surprised’ Prime Ministers indignant claim that GM and Holden had somehow ‘played’ the Australia taxpayer out of millions in funding and grants over the years.  Once again, it seems that Scott Morrison seems to have missed the target and focusing on the completely wrong areas here…

Instead of whining and complaining about the cost of industry assistance, he has completely ignored the return on investment Australia received from the car industry.

Australia got plenty from GM Holden and the other carmakers in return for the billions in assistance over the years, including capital investments that tally many times that amount.

And more valuable again were the benefits in terms of employment, both in-house and in the parts industry, continuing technological development on the production lines and in many other aspects of the wider industry.

I was speaking just earlier this week with business owner who started his career with Air International, a very well-known supplier to the Automotive industry in Australia, and he said he owned his current success (now owns an 8 figure software development company based right here in Melbourne) to what he learnt during his time in Automotive.  How many more are like this?  I know I am one…

To imply that Australia got nothing out of its support for the car industry is just plain incorrect. It demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the importance of manufacturing and of the concept of Return On Investment, where a manufacturer can take a $2 piece of steel and make a $20 component.

Critics continually harp on about the taxpayer subsidies, conveniently ignoring those larger but less-visible subsidies given to the mining and banking sectors.

The last Automotive plan was $300 million per year available to car makers and parts suppliers who employed over 50,000 people, who if earning only an average wage, would have been contributing around $1.3 Billion a year to income tax alone…never mind what they spent on housing, living expenses, entertainment etc.

No, Australia’s Return on Investment for its Automotive industry was excellent.  Maybe time for some new advisors Mr Morrison…

The second lesson learnt here though, is one much closer to our own hearts, and that is one of security.  Even when things are marching along smoothly, we all can find that we are not really in control of our own destinies

Do we really make the decisions in our life, or do we all have that ‘big brother’ who can pull the pin on us at any time?  Even though in the case of Holden, the writing may have been on the wall, Australia, and all the employees are completely at the mercy of another who is really pulling the strings – evidenced by the ‘shell shocked’ Holden MD – Kristian Aquilina’s interview on ABC this week.

Even when things seem to be going along nicely, and we appear to be kicking goals, all it takes is that ‘puppeteer’ to decide they have had enough of this game and shut it down.  All the work you have done, everything you have achieve can suddenly be gone in minute.

I was one on the lucky ones, able to build my own business and be at a point where I am completely in charge of my own destiny now.  I was able to leave my role at Holden (as much as I enjoyed it) and forge my own path, BEFORE someone was able to shut me down.  Around 800 or so employees there right now, are not that lucky…

I just want to stress… don’t wait for that decision to come and completely knock you down before you do something…

They say the universe always sends three signals; a feather, a slap and a brick…

Holden’s closure this week is the Brick.  Don’t wait for the brick before you make a decision to control your own destiny, your own life and not be at the behest of someone else, pulling the strings…

Happy Investing all! And have a great weekend!!

Love or…Passion for life?

G’day all

As I sit here on another summers day in Melbourne (muggy though I must add, we are not used to this humidity!), on the eve of Valentine’s day here in Australia.

Now, I will admit to being a bit of a Grinch when it comes to days like ‘Valentine’s Day’, ‘Mother’s Day’, ‘Father’s Day’ and so forth…kind of feeling that they were simply invented by the retail sector to sell more flowers/cards/cakes/<insert your product here> 

I also understand it can be a good opportunity to cherish that loved one, Mother, Father in your life at this time, but also makes it difficult for those of us without our Fathers, Mothers, loved ones around.

Further I question, are you buying flowers for your loved one on Valentine’s day because you love them, or because it is expected from our society and you will be in the ‘dog house’ if you do not; get those looks from your colleagues…” What, you didn’t get her flowers last night??!”

Wouldn’t it be much nicer to come home one night next week with an arm full of flowers, unexpectedly, not because your sorry for something you did, or because society told you to buy flowers, but just because you love them, and wanted them to know?

Wouldn’t your Mum love a call today, tomorrow, next weekend – not just on Mother’s Day to see how she is going, or take her to lunch simply to say “Mum, I love you.” Not because society says Mother’s Day is the day to do it…

I believe we should be spontaneous, live life to the fullest all the time, not just on dedicated days.  Do what you love, love those in your life and TELL them, show your kids you love them. Spread the love, all the time!

And that brings me to the next point…do you love YOUR life?  Do you have passion for what you do, who you are?  No?  If you are not loving you, loving your life, how do you have love to give to others?

I am certainly no relationship councillor here, but it seems to me that you cannot give something which you have not…

If you are not loving you, living your life with passion, how can you provide this energy to others around you?

What’s holding you back from doing what you love?  Society?  Fear?

Life is too short to spend it doing something we have no passion for.  Without passion, you will also lack motivation, drive, dedication, and it is these levels of commitment that will allow you to thrive in what you do…which will in turn gives you more drive and passion to do more… which gives you more results and it turn… well you get my meaning

This becomes an upward spiral in which you can bring those around you with you on your incredible journey through this wondrous life we have been given!

What’s your other option?  Back to the grind stone, the rut?  Remember a rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out… That mouse wheel a lot of us find ourselves on is certainly powering somebodies dreams…why not use that energy to power yours?

So go on, get off that wheel, grab that rocket and set yourself for that wild ride. You will have ups and downs, but man, is it exciting, exhilarating! You will see your passion rise exponentially! 

So start by making sure you tell your valentine that you love them today…but do it again on Saturday with another (hidden) bunch of flowers and see how that goes J

Happy Investing all! And have a great weekend!!

The Right time is… NOW!

G’day all

We have all heard the term ‘time flies’ and it’s amazing how quickly it can.  The old saying ‘time and tide wait for no man’ is so true, and it does not matter what we do, we cannot slow the progress of time.

It’s funny how in fact it does seem to speed up as we get older… As a teenager we cannot wait until we are an adult so we can…vote (read drink…) but then once we have been in the workforce for a few years, we remember how simple our adolescence was and sometimes wish we had it back…

It was Einstein who knew that time was relative… 1 second with your hand on a hot stove seems like an hour; whilst a 3-hour dinner date with our loved one, seems like minutes…

But the ONE thing that is a constant, is that we all have 24 hours in a day. It’s how we use this time that differs from person to person.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good Netflix binge like the next guy, but I suppose the difference between success and mediocrity is the ability to prioritise time properly, and the understanding that we ONLY have 24 hours a day and need to use them wisely.

Nothing wrong with a good Netflix session, but this can be used as a reward, for achieving ‘the thing’ you were needing to do/finish/start. 

The other thing that lulls us into a false sense of security is that the feeling there will always be another 24 hours’ tomorrow…  Now for most of us that is true, but again, the issue here is that this is not a given either… 

No one would have guessed that Kobe Bryant would die at 41…nor the actor Kirk Douglas would make it to 103.  Understanding these are two well-known celebrities, but my point is, we certainly are not guaranteed tomorrow…

Yet we are quick to put off achieving the thing until ‘tomorrow’…

Or we say, I will do that when… <insert reasonable excuse here>.  But again, this is just a way of us justifying why we are not taking action now.  We feel better about ourselves if we have a reason we cannot do the thing today.

“Let’s wait until things are better; all lights are green; we have more money; we have more time…”

But the thing is… there will always be excuses… the time will never be ‘right’, it is just now…

There is no tomorrow, yesterday, later, there is always just now…

The past few weeks shows us that the universe will throw many obstacles in our way – bushfires, virus outbreaks, trade wars, and I am certain you will have had your own personal challenges as well (man, have we had ours!)

But the point I want to drive home here is this… there is no tomorrow/later/right time… there is only now.  We only ever always have this moment, right now…

It’s the decisions that we make in this moment that will affect the rest of our lives, however long that is blessed to be.

Happy Investing all! And have a great weekend!!

Laser focus & Determination

G’day all

Friday rolls around again, and we are already saying goodbye to January and helloooo February!

Wow… Feeling fatigue already from the new year’s resolutions, and trying to live up to them?  It can be tough.

All throughout the media at the moment is the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, along with 7 other people in a helicopter crash in California this week.  Certainly a tragedy for all on board and their families, but of course, we all knew of Kobe Bryant, and while very few of us knew him personally, he lived a life of meaning and was a beacon to what is possibly for us all.

I want to focus briefly though on one of Kobe’s mechanisms of success – his Black Mamba Mantra…

He apparently learnt about the black mamba snake in the film, Kill Bill, then decided to take the name on as his alter ego.  From that point on, when he was on the court, he became ‘The Black Mamba’.

But this wasn’t about puffing himself up or trying to big note himself… This was about survival. He said:

“I had to separate myself. It felt like there were so many things coming at once. It was just becoming very, very confusing. I had to organize things. So I created the ‘Black Mamba.’”

How awesome is this!  We all have that feeling of overwhelm with so many things coming at us at once…from all directions. The mind will find a million things to worry about, even if you’re as successful as Bryant was.  Even just trying to live up to our new year’s resolutions, how much is the universe throwing at you?!

The Black Mamba allowed him to leave everything behind as soon as he stepped onto the court. He didn’t have to worry about the bills, or how the kids were going at school, or any of the million things we all have to worry about. He was focused, determined, lethal on the court.  The Black Mamba was a work of mental discipline. It was an incredible act of focus and determination.

And I think a lot of what Bryant achieved in his incredible career can be put down to this superhero-level focus, and the mantra that made it possible. 

Now maybe we don’t need to develop this level of focus, but what this teaches us is that with superhero focus, anything is possible…so go on…don that cape and see what you can achieve!

Thank you Kobe, for the inspiration.  His legacy is huge… but he also has now taught us the sobering fact, that no matter what you have, it can all be taken away in a heartbeat…

Happy Investing all! And have a great weekend!!

What is Freedom?

G’day all

Happy Friday y’all!  How’s that for a Texas drawl?  No?  Ok, ok I’ll stick to the Aussie language J

I was talking to a number of our coaching clients this week and discussing what our reasons are for investing in property.  And, as the sun rises here, on another beautiful morning over Melbourne, the one word that comes to mind is Freedom.  We are blessed to live in this lucky country, and to quote John Williamson in one of my favourite songs of his “Australia is another word for free”

One of the definitions of freedom (apart from the one that says “not being imprisoned” LOL) is the ability or right to act, think or speak as we want.  Now, all quips around political correct-ness aside, we are lucky to have this freedom, and there are certainly many places in the world even in this advanced 21st century, where this is not a given.

To me though, Freedom really means Choices.  The ability to choose what we what to do, where we want to go.  Real freedom is having the option to choose.  People talk about freedom being “not having a job” or use the term “financial freedom” as this holistic, airy fairy term that apparently we are all striving for…but in reality what is the definition of “financial freedom”?  Until we cement this down, we will never achieve it.

If freedom in your life is having the ability to choose; choose if and where you want to work; choose how long you want to work for; choose where you want to go, what you want to do, then is not financial freedom, the ability to choose what you do with your money?

I feel financial freedom really is this – the ability to choose where you spend or what you do with your money; because at the end of the day, really, that is all money is good for – to exchange for goods or services or to gift to others.  It is not some magic pill that makes everything better; not some new age cure for all that ails us; simply the ability to exchange for goods or services we want or use it to help others do the same…

So then financial freedom would, simply put, be the ability to choose the goods and services we want, when we want or to gift to others to do the same…right?  So, what choices do you want to be able to make? What freedoms do you want?  Travel, healthcare, ability to spend time with the family?  Give to charities or create your own? 

My wife and I booked a farm stay on Airbnb in the Blue Mountains and got the grandkids and family all together for Christmas in a large 5-bedroom home.  The cost in excess of $5000 for 4 nights, but this is the choices we want to be able to make, the reason we work hard and ensure our investments are working hard for us – what’s your reasons, your choices?

Anyway, have a great Friday everyone, I’m going back to choosing to film the gorgeous sunrise here in Melbourne this morning J

Happy Investing all! And have a great weekend!!