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Published on 13 Oct, 2023
My Dad has been a massive influence on me throughout my life. He’s helped me cultivate discipline in my life and to build great financial habits.
 
For the past 97 Friday’s in a row my Dad and his partner Jean have read, dissected and sent back a thoughtful reply to my newsletter.  
 
Earlier this week I sat down with a green tea and read back through all their previous newsletter replies.
 
It felt nostalgic.
 
And I felt grateful to know I will always have their words of wisdom written down to reflect on in the years to come.
 
Today I want to share with you some of the gold nuggets I’ve extracted from my Dad’s newsletter replies over the past 97 weeks.   
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33 Lessons on Money & Life from My Dad
 
Making Money
 
1) I have always found financial reward has been the outcome of hard and earnest endeavours doing something I really enjoy.
 
2) I decided to endure the unendurable & continue in a job I hated because I was about to become a father & I had mortgages to pay & a family to feed. I needed a steady reliable income. Years earlier I was doing something I really enjoyed – building, buying & selling property. Now in my dotage I am able to reap the rewards which I worked for for so many years.  Something that has sustained me all the way through is a good lifestyle & a dedication to fitness. I am now able to share the lives & adventures of my three children from a position of comfort & financial freedom.
 
3) Cliff {my grandfather} was a very simple man but he instilled in all four of us the two things you need as you go through life:
 
1) a job 2) a roof over your head. I drifted through life never really knowing what I wanted to do or be but I have always been aware there is a dignity in work. You can develop your skills and levels of satisfaction. Apart from making money, work provides you with a personal and social identity. It develops family and social bonds and contributes to your physical and mental well being and self confidence. It’s what you do with the money you earn that will eventually lead to your financial well being. Or in the case of some a life of struggle or even their undoing. Some develop and hone their skills to make money work for them for a lifetime. They love the lifestyle that money has brought.
Managing Money 
 
4) You can’t always control what’s coming in but you can forensically examine what’s going out. Look for areas where you can cut down.
 
5) It’s not what you earn or what’s coming in that’s so important – it’s what’s going out. We all have to contend with inflated food prices, high petrol costs, soaring power bills & generally an increased cost of living. What we need to do is tighten our belts, review our expenditure & ensure at the end of each month outgoings do not exceed incomings.
 
6) A cappuccino a day will put a dent in your pay! You must have discipline.
 
7) Just analyse your expenditure over the last six months to identify areas where you can make savings.
 
8) Dad’s law: the more you spend on ‘desires/necessities’ the less you’ll have in your purse. I have calculated my annual outlays – which is all encompassing & I have reduced that to a $ figure per week. I then allow myself a margin for discretionary expenditure & by so doing have been able to save 40% of my income for the last five years. The problem is/has been 1)almost negative interest rates & 2)inflation – which means as much as I would like to invest in another property it would be difficult for me to do so.
 
9) ‘A penny saved is a penny earned’.
 
10) My golden rule: plan for unforeseen or unexpected expenditure. Adjust your goals. Cut your cloth to suit your coat.
 
11) Most people find going to the dentist can not only be a frightening experience but also a costly one. They come away with a numb mouth & an empty wallet. Those who practise good dental hygiene, like those who use their money wisely, have no fear of the dentist & a full wallet!
 
12) Cliff {my grandfather} was risk averse (hated borrowing money), Sylvia {my grandmother} was more the entrepreneur. She said: ‘You have to speculate to accumulate’.  They both managed their money very carefully. They agreed that migrating to Australia would be in the best interests of the children. They both had an extremely strong work ethic – a person must have a job, must have a roof over their head & rent is dead money.
 
13) On buy now pay later schemes: my Dad {Cliff} hated them – he would never borrow money. He called such schemes the never never, or the glad & sorry – glad when you get it, sorry when you have to pay for it.
Multiplying Money
 
14) The best gift I ever got from my Mum was her persuading me to buy the block of land at Maslin Beach when I was only 18.
 
15) When purchasing a house, location is everything. Buy the worst most run down house in the best suburb. Then renovate.
 
16) There is a big difference between taking a calculated risk & gambling. Gambling in any sense is a mug’s game. A fool & his money are soon parted.
 
17) And I particularly like this one: ‘Most advisors are far better at generating high fees than they are at generating high returns’.
Goal Setting
 
18) To be successful one must set realistic long term goals & short term goals. Then on a month to month basis, measure achievements & make any adjustments!
 
19) I am always setting myself goals which I measure & adjust regularly. Failing to set goals could well see us adrift on the sea of heartbreak, destitution & despair!
 
20) Plan it, schedule it, do it!
 
21) The road we travel toward our goal is often more important than our destination. We learn & experience so much along the way. It’s all part of the rich tapestry of life.
 
22) It’s very important to be decisive. Weigh up the pros & cons, make a decision & stick to it.
 
23) A simple reply from a simple chap: I do set goals & review them constantly. I am fiscally disciplined.I live frugally & I have no debts or encumbrances.
Personal Philosophy on Life & Money
 
24) Just as you take pride & interest in your home, taking the care to plan your finances reaps rewards.
 
25) It is very important to attend to some of these mundane aspects of life you refer to. I made my first will before I went to Vietnam. We were all instructed to do that lest we did not return. I update it from time to time (but I do not pay a solicitor to do this). I have sought financial advice from a range of professionals over the years, but I have always applied the ‘first visit is free’ principle.
 
26) I have learned not to take life too seriously because you’ll never get out of it alive!
 
27) ‘The happiest people do not necessarily have the best things. They simply appreciate the things they do have.’
 
28) Today is the day you worried about yesterday. Tomorrow is the day you will worry about today. Take care of today and tomorrow will take care of itself.
 
29) Something to aspire to: learn to love without condition, talk without bad intention, give without any reason, and most of all care for people without any expectation.
 
30) But what I am most grateful for is that we are living in Australia. Just look around at the havoc & mayhem going on in other countries.. We are truly blessed!
 
31) To me wealth means waking up each morning knowing that I can face the day and whatever it may bring. I am in fairly good shape for an old codger and when my fuel pump suddenly gives up the ghost I can easily find the $500 needed to replace it. I still believe I am a very simple person in terms of what I have achieved: not a high flyer financially and nowhere near being an Olympian. But I am happy. My most remarkable achievement has been raising three kinder who are now young adults and starting to make their own mark.
 
32) A lawn is only as good as its edges!
 
33) I measure my net worth through the accomplishments of you, Amelia & Patrick!
 
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What was your favourite lesson from my Dad?
 

Big Love,

Marshy

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