Another Year Over and What Have You Done?

One of my favourite singer/songwriters is John Lennon. In his song “Happy Christmas”, in the opening verse he sings thus:- “And so this is Christmas, and what have we done, another year over, a new one just begun”

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It is a timely reminder that from time to time we need to take stock of our results in life. Christmas time is as good as any. Though for me, it all happens together, with my birthday, Christmas and New Year all landing within a fortnight, this time of year is particularly reflective for me. It’ also a time of looking forward to the year ahead.

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Can You Keep Your Eyes On The Tide?

It is very easy to be swayed by the white noise we are bombarded with every single moment of every single day. Turn on the radio, glance at the TV news, read the newspaper, even online – deaths, natural disasters, murders, tsunamis, epidemics, catastrophic economic data, interest rates up or down, property bubbles to burst – even the looming financial Armageddon.

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How can we look beyond the “bad news sells” criteria under which our media seems to thrive? How can we decide what to accept as truth and what to filter out as sensationalism? One simple response would be to avoid the news feeds of all types – the ostrich “head-in-the-sand” method. That may work for a while, but frankly, it is wise to know and understand what is happening in the world. I believe the answer is far simpler even than that. It’s about focus. It is very easy to find the type of news you are looking for, depending on your focus.

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Sometimes, You Need To Look Through The Corner

Anyone who knows me, understand my love for all things fast. Fast life, fast lane, fast cars. Formula One racing.

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My passion for F1 began while I was living in London, because I could sit in my lounge and enjoy watching the race on a Sunday afternoon, rather than at one in the morning in Australia. I just loved everything about it – the incredible speeds, the tactics, the team element, the amazing technology – and massive amount of good fortune that went in to winning even a single race.

At the speeds the drivers can reach, lightning reflexes, stamina and strength are required to get through a gruelling two hour race. Studies have shown that some of the drivers can lose up to 4kg during a race. That’s a lot of effort and hard stress on the body to win.

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Where People Go Wrong On The Wealth Journey

The journey to wealth is the path less traveled. Too few make the trek. The road is neither smooth nor bumpy, it’s just a road.

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It requires vision, planning, effort, patience, knowledge, courage and persistence. It requires a different kind of thought process – one that means those who choose the path, by definition, must needs do and think what the majority will not or cannot.

You will need to do what others won’t. You need to be the black sheep in the flock and stand out from the others – or you will simply end up like all the other sheep. The white sheep will work long and hard and retire to a mediocre standard of living in their living years. You, the black sheep, will be able to live exactly as you desire. It takes courage to step outside of what the crowd is doing and that’s a great reason to get around crowds of others like you on the same journey to freedom & choice.

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Do You Want To Live to 150?

There are companies now who are working on technological breakthroughs that could allow you a healthy full life well over the age of 100 and they say even up to 150 years old. But even without specialized “longevity” companies working on these miracles, our overall health is increasing, from better healthcare and medical research to increased access to education and the reduction of violence.

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As you might guess, due to all of the above factors and more, we’re also seeing worldwide life expectancy grow. In 1820, the average lifespan was just 26 years. Today, the global average life expectancy is 67 years – a dramatic improvement from since the year 1900, when it was 31 years.

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7 Simple Steps To Success

Success can mean many things to many people. I think in a room of 100 people – if you randomly and secretly surveyed each one on their definition, you would get at least 60 different meanings.

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The conventional definition of success, for many of us, would revolve around our finances. We assume that if we have that going awesomely, then everything else will fall in to place. Sometimes it does, but not always.

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Will You Be Working Until You Are 70?

Maybe you heard about it, maybe you didn’t. But our Treasurer announced on Budget night 13th of May, that the pension age would increase from 67 to 70 by 2035. That means that anyone born after 1965, will have to work until age 70 before being able to qualify for the aged pittance – sorry – pension.

Does this affect you?

Part of the Government’s rationale was that increases in pension spending were way beyond the ability of the country to afford to keep paying, with the amount being paid out increasing by 6% each year and already surpassing the total of the defence budget. Future projections show that the pension wold be the biggest single item of national expenditure in the future – even more than defence, education and health combined. The previous Labor Government also saw the writing on the wall and had already legislated an increase in the pension age to 67 by 2023.

So many people work 40 or 50 years of their lives looking forward to the mystical place and utopian life that is retirement. The reality is that life in retirement is something that is changing quickly – people are living now for 20, 30, or even 40 years after they stop working. People have better health and are living lives that are more active – an active retirement may cost a lot more than the cost of a working life, since you have so much more time to spend your money!

Pensions were introduced only recently, with Germany the first country to introduce them in 1889, and quickly followed by many advanced Western nations. At that time, the age of retirement was set at 65 and the average life expectancy was 67. So the taxpayer did not have to support retirees for a long period of time. The idea that the Government owes us a pension after providing it a lifetime of taxes is now very much ingrained in to our thinking. We think it’s a right rather than a privilege.

That situation is very different now. And Governments all over the world are now spending a huge proportion of their tax revenue of social welfare and its increasing as more people live longer and join the retirement bandwagon. This can’t continue – we are mortgaging our children’s future and saddling them with tens, even hundreds of billions of dollars of national debt that they will have great difficulty in repaying in the future generations. As our population ages there will be fewer and fewer people of working age to support those on a retirement pension. Our children and our grand-children will pay the price of this continued largesse in the form of reduced living standards, higher taxes and a lower level of government services.

So what will you do about it? Will you grit your teeth and prepare to work for five more years before you can retire and live handsomely off the aged pittance – sorry, pension?

Or will you make a decision, right now, that you want more that, you deserve more than that and you will do something about it – immediately?

Your lifestyle will be determined by your choices and your decisions. If you want more than the pittance, you need to begin investing for your future right now. Taking charge of your life could mean you can send a message to your Government in your living years after you choose to finish work.

 

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Are you doing what you have to do, or what you want to do?

I posed this question to the people who attended our Cashflow | REDEFINED event last Wednesday night in Perth. The response from most was predictable and completely understandable.

Most were doing what they had to do and wishing they could do what they wanted to do.

So what was stopping them from doing what they wanted to do? The answer is likely to be the same for them as it is for you. You still need to exchange your time for money.

By that I mean you still need to work every day, either for an employer or in your own business to earn money to pay your bills and meet any financial commitments you have. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with working, not at all. Working in a job you love is an honourable and worthy thing to do.

But for how long? Have you given any thought to how long you want to continue working? How many more years? And what will happen to your income after you stop? Could you afford to live in the same way you do now?

Consider what would happen to your finances if you lost your job or perhaps were injured and could not work. How long would you be able to last before you ran out of money? Research shows for most of us that time is less than 90 days.

To have income that still comes in, enough to pay for the lifestyle you want, whether or not you are working, is the ultimate financial goal. This is where you have the freedom and choice to do what you want to do rather than what you have to do.

Income comes from assets. And the best type of asset to produce a steady income, month in and month out, is real estate. Though not just any type of real estate. The average yield for residential property is somewhere between 4% and 5% and that is before any costs. Net yields could be as low as 3%. And if you have any borrowings, then you may not be able to collect any income at all. That means you would need to rely on capital growth to eke out a return from your investment. The last few years since the GFC have shown us that growth in values is no certainty.

The last few years since the GFC have shown us that growth in values is no certainty.

If you want to use property to create income to replace your work income, you need to find property that has a rental return in excess of 8%, ideally 10% or higher. If you can achieve this, and then reinvest your cash profits while you are still working, so you can own more positive cashflow real estate, could mean that pretty soon you will be able to do what it is you want to do, rather than what you have to do.

For a really good example of positive cashflow real estate, check this out –www.daylesfordplace.com.au – this is a project of mine that I am incredibly proud to tell you about. It is the single best development project I have ever created.

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Top ten things successful people do

Have you ever asked yourself, how can I experience success?

This is not an easy question and I am not sure there is an actual definitive correct answer.

This is because everyone’s definition of what constitutes success will be unique to themselves alone.

For one, “Success Mountain” might be having a net worth of a million dollars.

Perhaps it could be dreaming up and acting on a business idea that not only earned significant profits for you and your family, but provided society with something useful and valuable.

For another it could be, being a parent to a happy, healthy well-adjusted child, the result of a committed, long-term loving relationship.

Someone else may consider that learning to read and write as an adult after a lifetime of illiteracy the pinnacle of achievement.

Yet another may think that just getting through to the end of the week and their next pay-cheque and having all the bills paid and food on the table as significant success.

“Success is doing approximately the right thing at exactly the right time” – Richard Pratt

The truth around “Success” is that it means different things to different people.

The mistake most people make is that they try to compare someone else’s “success” with their own.….That’s a recipe for unhappiness.

If you examine your life, I bet you can find at least one thing, and likely a whole lot more things that you have been or continue to be successful at.

Take a moment and think of one.

Go on…!

The late great Jim Rohn used to say “Success is easy – just find out what failures do, and then don’t do that”.

So here are my observations of the Top Ten things that successful people do….

  1. Marry the right person – this one decision will likely determine 90% of your happiness or misery.
  2. Only work at something you enjoy – nothing more soul destroying than wasting your “one half of one second of life” doing something that you hate each day.
  3. Be grateful – every day I think of at least five things that I am grateful for, no matter what kind of day I am having. And guess what – after that exercise, I am usually having a great day.
  4. Be generous – ever heard of karma? And what goes around, comes around? It is part of the circle of life. Your giving can change the world.
  5. Take responsibility – if you spend any time blaming others for your ills, then nothing can change, because “it’s someone else fault”. You are in charge of your decisions.
  6. Persistence, persistence – so often we hear stories of those who gave up just before “success” happened. Be persistent.
  7. Commit to continuous improvement – every day I endeavour to learn at least one new thing. In the last 2 years I have done two x 12 month courses – on corporate finance & becoming a key person of influence – both things I felt would contribute to my “success”.
  8. Be Honest – do what you say you will. People will come to know whether you are a person of your word or not.
  9. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know – positivity and enthusiasm are infectious. Make sure you surround yourself with these types of people.
  10. Have a success plan – that is, written goals and desires. Know what you want in life financially, personally, physically and in your relationships. From this plan, stems your action.

It’s not so hard really.

Dream Large.

Craig Turnbull

CEO Hillsfar

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What Would You Do With Your Life If You Had a Year To Live?

It’s an interesting question. Most of us haven’t considered it because we don’t really know how much time we have left, and those that do have usually received the news from medical professionals. What makes the question really interesting is that one day, the question will be true – except you may not even know it. So what would you do?

You might remember Crazy John Ilhan, who at age 43, with a reported net worth of $300 million, dropped dead while walking on the beach early one morning. He had recently stopped smoking and taken up exercise. His wife and family were not even aware that John had a health issue until the police showed up at the family home bearing the news. Life is short.

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