5 Tips from two of the wisest people I know on how to live a financially successful life

They say that in life there is no need to reinvent the wheel and that almost anything you want to achieve or do has been done before. So, to condense the time that it takes to achieve something and save yourself a lot of mistakes and heartaches, seek out people that have done what you want to achieve and find out how they did it. This will help speed up your journey towards success.

My go-to people I looked to for guidance on financial success when I was growing up, were my two Pop’s.

I grew up in a single parent household from the age of 10. My Mum had 3 kids to house, feed and look after and it took a lot of hard work and effort to provide us with the life we had. I remember that at times when I was growing up, she had to have 3 different jobs to keep the house running.

My Mum did her best and gave me, my sister and brother an awesome upbringing. But it was not a financially extravagant upbringing because of the situation we were in. So growing up I created an internal desire and need to understand what it took to be financially successful. I wanted to make sure that when I grew up, I was in the position to have things and do things that I wasn’t able to when I was growing up. To me this didn’t need to be having an extravagant lifestyle or the need for possessions but to not have money as the reason for not being able to do something that me or my family wanted to do.

I was very fortunate growing up that my Grandparents (on both sides) were successful from a business and financial point of view so I had some early role models to look at and learn from when chasing tips and knowledge about what it took to be successful financially.

My Grandparents were old school though. All of them were born in the 1940’s and were brought up in very different times to my siblings and I but because of their upbringings, they had traits that helped lead to their success. They were hard working, conservative and because they all grew up poor, they were all very smart with their money.

When I first became an adviser and was looking to work out what the money principles were that I was going to incorporate into my work with clients, I sought them out. I asked them about the money habits and traits that they had carried through their lives that helped lead to their success.

 The rest of this blog is about the responses I received from both of my Pop’s and outlines the old school money and success habits that helped them live a financially successful life. They were business owners, so not all the points below are purely about money. But I am hopeful, no matter what financial position or employment situation you are in, that the tips below will be useful in helping you live a financially successful life.  

1. Put a little aside each pay day – target for this to be at least 10% of your take home pay.

Both of my Pop’s were very big on making sure that they were saving or investing each pay day. They always said to me that it was the small amounts that turned into big amounts over time, when it came to saving and investing.

The lesson was that you should aim to save/invest more than 10% of your pay each pay cycle. This was where you should start and than build on from there with the plan to continually increase this figure over time as you got used to not having the money in your bank account to spend on things.

We use this philosophy with our clients and aim to get them to be saving/investing 30-40% of their take home pay each month. This is because we know if they can achieve this figure, that within 10 years their financial world will be completely different and they will be on their way to financial freedom.

2. Work hard

This is something that popped up very early in my conversations with both my Pop’s about what helped lead to their success. Hard work makes good luck is a statement that they both lived by and tried to show me through their actions when I was a child.

My uncle told a story about one of my Pop’s at his funeral, that showed his commitment to this principle.  During his first 7 years of marriage to my Nan he worked 7 days a week, so that he could provide for his family and put them in a comfortable financial position. He came from a family with no money and was determined to make sure that he was in the position to provide financially for his own family.

Both of my Pop’s spoke about how it was hard work not luck, chance or a financial gift that allowed them to reach the positions they did. They drilled into me that if I wanted to be successful in life, the only way to get there was by working hard.

3. Pay down your mortgage as fast as possible

Both of my Pop’s come from an older generation of Australian’s who hated debt – which is a bit different to the current world we live in! Back when they had to borrow money to get into the property market, it was like going to a job interview to get a loan. You had to have a meeting with your bank manager, wear a nice suit and have at least a 30% deposit before they would consider you for a loan.

So once they were able to borrow money for property, they focused all of their energy on getting rid of their debt as soon as possible. This was to ensure that they were not making the banks rich via interest payments.

Both of them told me that by paying off their home loan’s quickly – they were able to have a great sense of security for their families. It also freed them up financially to focus on investing and building wealth (because they no longer had a monthly mortgage repayment) and it put them in the position to travel and live a better lifestyle.

4. Use your income to buy assets not possessions

Both of my Pop’s were self employed – one had a roof tiling business and the other still owns a removal business. But the majority of their wealth was not made from their business but from using the money they made in the business to buy property, shares and investments that went up in value over time.

Yes because of their hard work they earned good income’s from their businesses. But, they were never wasteful with their money and always kept an eye on where they were spending it. They made sure throughout their working lives that they used the income they got from their businesses, to build an asset base that would provide financially for them later in life. Because of where they had come from growing up and their desire to succeed, they didn’t feel the need to “keep up with Joneses” or buy “things” that didn’t add value to their lives, which is something we can all be guilty of in the instant gratification world we all live in now.

There is a saying about this point that is engraved in my brain and that I use all the time with clients “the aim of the game is to convert your income into assets!”. This point sums up this philosophy and means that while you are working you need to save and invest for the future so that one day when you stop working and there is no more monthly paychecks, you will have an asset base via super, investments and savings that can allow you to live a happy and comfortable life.

5. Just do it!

This was one of my Pop’s favourite sayings. He signed off with this after every catch up and it was a motto he lived his life by. He was a ‘do-er’ who didn’t talk about what he was going to do, he showed you what he was going to do by his actions and the way he lived his life.

I think he was trying to teach me a life lesson, that I have carried with me to this day: Don’t talk about it, go out and do it. Be someone who makes a difference and lives an awesome life. Teaching me that the only way to do this was to focus on continually moving forward and to make sure that I was a man of action rather than someone who always spoke about doing great things, but never got around to it.

There you have it. Over 100 years of life experience bundled up into 5 tips that will help you lead a financially successful life. These tips are from my hero’s, the people I saw growing up who were doing big things and making a dent in the world.

Hopefully some of these pearls of wisdom resonate with you and gives you something you can incorporate into your life now to move forward on your wealth journey.

Ryan Porter is a Wealth Coach at Catalyst Wealth Group. His mission is to help his clients achieve financial success and live their ideal life.

Any advice or information in this publication is of a general nature only and has not taken into account your personal circumstances, needs or objectives. Because of that, before acting on the advice, you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs.