Remember that being wealthy is a state of mind and not the state of your bank balance.
(The picture on the right was taken of a tree growing on the side of a rock – at Sydney Botanical Gardens. It made me think – We are no different to trees. We can survive and thrive however tough our circumstances may get.)
- Keep your cool – at home and at work. When things are going well, anyone can be positive. But it takes an extraordinary person to maintain grace under pressure. So be a pillar of strength. Don’t crumble. Reach deep withinyourself and lift your standard. Life is not perfect. We don’t make it throughlife without setbacks. As Sarah Kay, poet, puts it, “Getting the wind knocked out of you, is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.” I believe that it is in these moments that we have the opportunity to rise above our circumstances and make the choice to be strong. It is in these moments that we use stumbling blocks as stepping-stones to a better life. This isn’t motivational talk. I live by this as a truth.
- Focus on being wealthy not rich. What you invest in, ultimately defines your wealth. I have learned that the safest and most rewarding investment that yields the most abundant wealth imaginable is the investment in yourself. Aim to wake up every morning and do the simple things. Eat well, exercise, spend quality time with your family, keep learning and improving, choose to love your work, have fun with friends and be kind and generous. Focus on creating wealth not just money. Living a complete and happy life is your wealth. But here is the magic. When you invest in yourself you start to attract good things and good people to you. And these often come with opportunities to work and invest in new ideas that excite you and make money for you.
- If you have a huge mortgage that relies on your current income to finance it – sell. Aim to own your home outright, if possible. Be willing to downgrade to make this happen. If a mortgage is unavoidable, keep your eye on the variable rate. Chances are it will drop lower than any fixed rate currently on offer (but please don’t take my word for it – get advice).
- Don’t unnecessarily upgrade your car. It costs much less to repair a car than to spend the extra money on buying a new one. And never buy brand new cars. There is better value in second hand cars. You pay a premium for new cars for no apparent reason other than to be the first to drive the latest model.
- Make sure your pay is in money form. Cash out any stock or stock options that your company has issued to you.
- Reduce stock market risk as much as possible. Get out of speculative and derivative positions, especially bullish ones. If you must stay in stocks, move to investments that are high quality, liquid and commonly traded.
- Sell underperforming real estate investments – If you have real estate investments returning less than 5%, aim to sell now and buy later when the market nears bottom. There will be plenty of distressed sales and you will have the opportunity to buy prime pieces of property; especially commercial buildings in local shopping strips.
- Invest your money in cash spread across 2- 3 banks with high liquidity. In Australia, my pick is CBA and Westpac. I would even put 15% of that cash in actual notes stored in a cash deposit box.
- Get frugal! Strengthen your family’s finances. It’s a fact that families who manage expenses well are often the most successful. Here are a few ideas that my family adopts. I know that you may not be short of a dollar. Neither am I. But this is not just about budgeting and surviving, it’s more than that. It’s about setting an example for your family and proving something to yourself. It’s about taking back control. Read more 16 Tips to get frugal this christmas.
- Get fit and stay fit! When times get tough you need to be in top condition for excellent performance. Energy is the new currency. In my January newsletter I will be listing my top nutrition and exercise tips for 2012.