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.


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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What Will Your Verse Be?

Last week, comic genius Robin Williams passed from this earth, as we all will someday. That he is no longer with us is a tragedy. The media tells us he took his own life, which makes it even more so, if true.


I think back about all the marvellous movies & shows I saw him in – like Mork & Mindy, his live stand-up shows, movies like “Good Will Hunting”, “Dead Poets Society”, “Mrs Doubtfire”, the very dark “One Hour Photo”, the off-beat “Fisher King” and the hilarious “The Birdcage” – to name just a few of the 80 films & 26 TV shows he appeared or starred in. He entertained me and tens, maybe even hundreds of millions of people around the world over decades. It takes a very special person to achieve that. And a very clear “why?”

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The Magic Bank Account

Imagine that you had won the following prize in a contest – a magic bank account. Each morning your generous bank would deposit $86,400 into your personal account, provided you adhere to the following competition rules:

1. Everything that you didn’t spend during each day would be taken from you.
2. You can’t transfer money into another account – you can only spend it.
3. Each day, the magic bank account is refilled with another $86,400 for spending.
4. The bank can revoke the prize and end the game without warning by simply closing the account.
5. If that happens, you can never win another prize – that’s it, game over.

What would you do?

You could buy anything and everything you wanted right? Not only for yourself, but for all the people you love and care for. Even for people you don’t know, because you couldn’t possibly spend it all on yourself….could you?

You would try to spend every dollar, and use it all, because you knew it would be replenished the next morning, right?

Confession time – no bank is ever going to play a game with you like that. But you know, you are in this game right now…..and it is real!

Each of us is already a winner of the prize. We just can’t seem to see it.

That prize….. is time.

1. Each day you receive 86,400 seconds as a life gift.
2. When you go to sleep at night, any remaining time for that day is gone.
3. What you haven’t used up that day is forever lost.
4. Yesterday is forever gone.
5. Each morning the account is refilled, but the your account can be terminated at any time, without any prior warning…..

What will you do with your 86,400 seconds?

Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars. Think about it and remember to enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think. Make every moment count. Start now, don’t wait, not even a minute.

A last thought for you – Seize the day, then relax the grip a little, and enjoy it…..


Taking Charge Of Your Finances

That is a pretty scary headline for a lot of people, particularly if your money controls you rather than you controlling your money. Last week I shared with you some simple, basic, but essential tips on how to prepare yourself to be able to borrow to invest in property. This week, I offer you a magical money management system that will put you on track to the wealth you want – its easy and you can start right now.

If you would like to learn about this simple system, then please read on. This is the single most important thing you can do in the pursuit of your financial goals. And the really cool thing about this system is that a whole lot of guilt free spending fun is built in to the program!

The idea is to break down your after tax income in to percentages and allocate those towards your spending and saving patterns. First step – work out your after tax monthly income. Let’s say its $50,000 per annum, or say $4,200 per month.

We need to break that down in to sections of your finances. We start with your Long Term Savings – this is your investment fund, never to be touched – ever – except to invest. Allocate 10% to that – so you are paying yourself first. Then you need to allow for your necessary expenses – these include rent/mortgage, food, fuel, insurances, rates & taxes – allow 50-60%. If you look at your current net income, and your necessary expenses are more than 60% of your after tax income – you have two choices – increase your income or cut your expenses, otherwise you have no chance to save to invest and your only choice will be to work to 70 years or more and exist on a pension pittance. So in this example, if you are paying more than $500 per week in rent or your mortgage, you need a cheaper house in which to live. Or a better paying job, or a second job.

Then you have Short term savings – you need to put money aside to replace a car or take a holiday. If you don’t do it regularly, your only choice to enjoy a new car or go overseas will be to borrow to do so at interest rates of 12 to 21%. That does not make much financial sense. Allow 5-10% here.

Most of us have credit card or cards – let’s dump these as they have interest rates over around 20%. Use them each month for convenience but pay them off each month. If you have existing debt, let’s kill it. Take 5-10% of your income and attack one card, paying everything you can from your 5-10% debt killer account, off that one card until you have paid it off. Then cut it up. Proceed to the next card paying off everything from that one debt killer account on the second card, until it too is paid out. Repeat until you are credit card debt free. Then you can apply that 5-10% to making larger long term savings in your investment account.

Everyone should put aside 5-10% of their income to invest in to education – it could be your children’s or it could be your own. Every year I do a new course and read new books, seeking to increase my knowledge, learn new skills and gain more confidence.

Lastly, it is beholden on each of us who are financially blessed compared to many others in the world to put aside 5-10% of our incomes to give to those who need it more than we do. Choose a charity or cause that fits with your beliefs. Giving also tells your mind that you have enough money to give some of it away to others less fortunate than you and that more is on the way. If you can’t afford 5-10%, start with 1 or 2% and build it up as you can. You will make a big difference in the world and to your own feelings about money.

Lastly, the fun bit. Ever walked past the shoe shop or that new restaurant you wanted to try, gazed longingly through the window and then clunked back to reality, remembering there was nothing in your bank account and your credit cards were maxed? What if you had money in a separate Fun Fund – that you just had to spend each month – on whatever you wanted? Like that idea? I bet you do. All you need to do is allocate 5-10% of your net income to your Fun Fund, in exactly the same way as you do your long term saving account. This is your fun reward for all of your fiscal discipline and a great reminder for your mind that you can be firm with your finances and have fun at the same time.

So to summarise:

  • 10% – Long Term Savings for Investment
  • 50-60% – Necessary Living
  • 5-10% – Short Term Savings
  • 5-10% – Debt Killer
  • 5-10% – Giving
  • 5-10% – Fun Fund

Work out the ratio that totals up to 100%, that best suits you and adjust it each twelve months as your financial situation improves.

The best way to run this management system is to have a separate online bank account for each of your money accounts. You do need to find a bank though that will offer you this without all those annoying and expensive account fees, which can be $10-$20 per month – per account! If you leave all your money in one account, without separating it, I guarantee you will not be successful managing your Money system – it is just too easy to take money out of savings or out of debt killer to pay for that ticket to the concert you just had to have when your Fun Fund ran low.

I guarantee you this will work – but you just need to start – and then be disciplined. Think about the lifestyle you want – taking charge of your finances is the first step on the journey.

Now you have money to invest. And you can have fun doing it!



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.


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


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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What will your life be like in 2014…and beyond?

It’s been a while now since I’ve connected with you, mainly because I have been very focused on creating several new really exciting property developments, which I personally have underway.

I’ve also been quietly working on my new book (my 5th!) and preparing to launch my new investment company, Hillsfar

I’ve been watching property markets around the country, with interest – and it seems most of them are heading just one way – up. As you know, over the years, I have done my share of property education, willing to share knowledge with those who wanted it and were willing to act. And after 30 years of successful real estate investing, here is what I am certain of – there are NO secrets in property. Everything you want to know can be found in a book, a course or online.

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