The hot seat

Money Magazine Australia - - CON­TENTS -

What was your first job?

I was 14 years old and it was pick­ing straw­ber­ries at the lo­cal farm. I was paid per weight. Even then I used to use it as a com­pe­ti­tion to see if I could pick the fastest and the heav­i­est.

What’s the best money ad­vice you’ve ever re­ceived?

Look af­ter the pennies and the dol­lars look af­ter them­selves. This helped me un­der­stand that you have to watch ev­ery dol­lar, not just the big ones, as the lit­tle spend­ing adds up. I al­ways self-man­aged the bud­get and still do to this day. Watch all your ex­penses and work hard at keep­ing them at a min­i­mum. Make sure that you are al­ways ne­go­ti­at­ing for the best price.

What’s the best in­vest­ment de­ci­sion you’ve ever made?

I am the hap­pi­est when I have sand be­tween my toes, so a dream of ours was to buy a beach house. We looked for over a year and we fi­nally found the per­fect house. The prob­lem was that we could not re­ally af­ford it un­less we rented it out. We re­ally extended our­selves and we rented it over Christ­mas for the first five years un­til we could af­ford not to. Now I have sand be­tween my toes as much as I want. The in­crease in value has been sig­nif­i­cant. Some­times it’s good to stretch your­self and be creative.

What is the worst in­vest­ment de­ci­sion you’ve ever made?

Trust­ing friends who said, “These ‘must-have’ shares will triple in six months if you buy them!” If it sounds too good to be true it prob­a­bly is. Keep to sim­ple busi­ness and try to avoid do­ing busi­ness with friends if you want to keep them as friends.

What is your favourite thing to splurge on?

Busi­ness/first-class travel. As a young trav­eller, I never could af­ford to fly up the front. There were many nights when I slept in air­ports to save money when I was trav­el­ling, so now I like to travel well. It is prob­a­bly the only lux­ury item that I have. (That and my Tesla.)

If you had $10,000 where would you in­vest it?

If I only had $10,000, I would be us­ing it as a de­posit on my own home, as it is the only tax-free in­vest­ment. I have found that real es­tate is a solid in­vest­ment if you are look­ing at the long term. Get into your own home as soon as you can.

What would you do if you only had $50 left in your bank ac­count?

I have ac­tu­ally been in this sit­u­a­tion. There was a time when I only had $40 to my name. I chose what I pur­chased at the su­per­mar­ket care­fully and I then did ev­ery­thing I could to get a job. Luck­ily, it was work­ing on David Bowie’s boat that saved me. I had been trav­el­ling for two years and com­pletely ran out of money. Be­cause I was on the boat, my fi­nan­cial is­sues were over as I did not have to pay for rent or food. It was an amaz­ing time, trav­el­ling up and down the Mediter­ranean coast, go­ing to the Monaco Grand Prix, the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val and also play­ing Fris­bee with Mick Jag­ger in the Caribbean. Do you in­tend to leave an in­her­i­tance? It’s not a pri­or­ity as I be­lieve my chil­dren need to make their own way in life. It is im­por­tant that they do not rely on their par­ents and will forge their own fu­ture.

What do you think needs to hap­pen to help start-ups grow in Aus­tralia?

Fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion. The amount of start-up busi­nesses that do not know their num­bers or know what the num­bers should look like is fright­en­ing. They get so caught up in the cre­ation and put the re­ally im­por­tant stuff to the side, as it is not in­ter­est­ing. But trust me, your num­bers are re­ally the only thing that is in­ter­est­ing. Get to love your num­bers as they will tell you many sto­ries.

Fin­ish this sen­tence: money makes …

... fi­nan­cial free­dom, but it does not cre­ate hap­pi­ness. That comes from you.

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