A couple of weeks ago after another round of uninspiring golf, my three golfing buddies and I were discussing a number of topics that invariably arise.
One fellow golfer, a successful self-employed tradesman, was lamenting the fact that it was becoming quite difficult to borrow new funds in the current economic climate. He was keen to invest in residential property as a means of wealth creation in the future and mentioned he was a hardworking individual who just wanted to get ahead.
As it turned out another member of our quartet was recently retired CEO of Bendigo Bank, Mike Hirst a person, in my opinion of impeccable integrity which is important to recognise given the current Financial Services Royal Commission. As the discussion progressed Mike shared with us the three things he believes are imperative in being successful in life, both personally and professionally.
- Obtain a good education – We are fortunate in Australia to have a wonderful education system and there is every opportunity for most of us to continue to learn and grow throughout our working lives and beyond. For example I have a client who has been a very successful retired business man and he proudly states “I never want to be an old dog. I always want to keep growing my knowledge.” Life requires progress so keep learning.
- Maintain good health – Naturally this is basic stuff being diet and exercise. But how many of us do it well? Disturbingly in the USA according to cbsnews.com a staggering 4 out of every 5 people do not get the recommended amount of exercise each week. Some people think exercise is a must and for others it is a should. The key to exercise is that we need to turn our shoulds into musts.
- Have access to financial services – It is no good being well educated and in rude health if you don’t have the financial capability to invest, be that financial literacy right through to capital formation. People can only get ahead in life by taking calculated risks and generally access to finance is required to allow that to happen.
We were very fortunate to hear this rare insight which reinforced for me the need for people to take control of their lives, set clear written goals and make plans to accomplish them.
The brutal reality is that to many Australians are retiring too early with too less. Someone retiring today at the age of 65 is expected to live to 85 or longer, and that’s the average. In my opinion, with a rapidly aging population, our current welfare system is unsustainable so I wouldn’t be relying on government pensions in their existing format to maintain an abundant life in retirement.
The truth is we need to take into account Mike’s insights as there has never been a better time in Australia to obtain and maintain a great education, be fit and healthy and obtain the financial support to build businesses that will have positive impacts right across our community well in to the future.