It’s interesting to look back on that initial conversation, not with the intention of ticking boxes, but to see how our goals and our attitudes towards them have evolved as we’ve progressed in our relationship and our careers, and gained life experience.
At that time I was 28. I’d just come back from 2 years working at an accounting firm in London and re-joined BLG, where I’d worked while I completed university and the Chartered Accountants program. I had a small two bedroom apartment in Wollongong with a large mortgage against it. Paying off that mortgage was my primary goal. After all, that’s the Australian dream, right?
New Insights & Mindset
As I met more savvy, financially sophisticated people, that philosophy started to change. The message seemed to be that using your surplus income to pay down your mortgage isn’t necessarily the best strategy. In fact, borrowing even more money, and using this to expand your asset base, can often be the starting point for wealth creation – as long as you’re buying good quality assets, whether passive or business related. It’s all about what you choose to do with the money you earn, and being comfortable leveraging the assets you own.
My mindset went from “there’s no way I could do that” to “there’s no reason I can’t do that”. Which I’ve found to be a common attribute among successful people – they back themselves. They educate and inform themselves, they seek out opportunities, take on risk and make judgement calls on things. When things go to plan and they get a win – fantastic, what’s next? If it doesn’t work out – ok, what will we do differently next time?
Being Open to New Opportunities
If we’ve learned anything over the past 2 years, it’s that you can never plan for everything. You need to be open to different outcomes and you need to be able to adapt. If it takes a little longer to get where you want to be, that’s ok. The key is to keep looking for opportunities and be ready to jump on those opportunities when they arise. Be prepared to put the time, energy and financial resources in to give yourself the best possible chance at achieving the outcome you want.
I never did pay off that first mortgage. In fact, my current level of debt would make my younger self’s eyes water. What I have done though, is develop a longer term, bigger picture outlook. And there’s a couple of things in the works with a lot of potential. Which means that 9 years on, conversations with Sarah about our future are still very exciting!