THE PRICE JUST WENT UP

“Winning has a price.  And Leadership has a price.”  Michael Jordan, The Last Dance

Like most of the Western world in lockdown, I’ve been watching ‘The Last Dance’ over the past few weeks.  It’s been a great trip down memory lane.  Who didn’t love the Chicago Bulls in the 90s?  Who didn’t love Michael Jordan, who didn’t want to be like Mike?

I remember taking my kids to Space Jam and enjoying it even more than they did.  Still in my 20s, nevertheless I would still try and do double-pump lay-ups (I’d already learned that I had a white-man’d jumping ability so forget the dunks), imitating MJ and Scottie Pippen in the weekly neighbourhood scratch matches.

But watching Michael Jordan – both then and now – reminds you of the utter focus and dedication it takes to be successful, a real winner, in this world.

The thing is, back in the day I only saw the highlights, the last-second-nothing-but-net game winning shots.  Now, I understand that all that glory doesn’t come for free.  Winning and succeeding has a big, big price, regardless of your field of endeavour.

 

BUILDING BLOCKS FOR SUCCESS – HOW I WROTE MY FIRST BOOK

Planning is key. Whether you’re managing your finances or writing a book, it is the most significant building block that will help you reach your goal.

Just recently I sat myself down and decided to write a book. I’d always wanted to be an author, but of what?

In the past, I had given fiction a few attempts, but it was clear to everyone (including me) that I was lacking in talent when it came to imaginative storytelling.

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of people who were settling for less than what they really desired out of life, simply because they didn’t have a blueprint for their financial future, and so More Than Money was born.

I did what I knew best to kick myself off – and that was piles and piles of practical planning. I even found myself looking through books similar in length to what I thought was ‘right’ and counted the words.

I had to start writing eventually, though, and in the beginning this was somewhat overwhelming. How could I make it different to other ‘money’ books and reflect my own experiences?

Ideas began to take shape and evolve in my mind before finally spilling out, page after page, onto my computer.

My top 5 self-help books

1. How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling  by Frank Bettger

My sales manager at National Mutual gave me this book to read as a young man in 1987.  I remember thinking: “How can a book about a life insurance salesman in New York in the 1940s help me?”

Well it did, and still can help you too.

Sure, it was a different world, but every principle he displays from personal organisation, to setting goals, to helping people buy something they want rather than selling them something they need, still rings true today.

His personal story of overcoming adversity is worth it alone.

 

2. The Little Prince  by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This is a childhood classic for grown-ups. It’s one of the most inspirational and beautiful stories I have ever read.

It reminds me that, as the Prince says: “What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

It’s easy in life to get wrapped up in work or striving, and this book gives balance in showing the essence of who we are is indestructible and loved.

 

3. True Grit  by Charles Portis

What? A book about a John Wayne movie? Yes, indeed.

Success often comes down not to talent, not to luck, not to networking – but to True Grit.

And the heroine of the story, Mattie Ross, shows such grit in a manner that reminds you that you can succeed in adversity, against the odds – if you refuse to accept what the world tells you that you should accept.

Read this book – and then watch the 1969 movie for which the Duke won his only Oscar!

 

4. Conversations with God  by Neale Donald Walsch

In a low place in your life? Blaming everyone else but don’t know how to take the first step to recover? This is the book for you.

A friend gave it to me when I was lonely and depressed after my first marriage failed.

I gave up on it as spiritual quackery after the first chapter. Then another friend gave me this same book, and I took it as a sign that I better read it.

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, this is a challenging and motivating book for change – as God says, if everything you believed got you to this point, isn’t it insanity to not want to change things?

 

5. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson

Reading essays that are well-researched, cogently argued and gracefully constructed is, for me, bliss for my brain.

These 12 essays are simply magnificent in examining the human condition and showing that yes, we possess the ability to live the life we want, if only we have the courage to be honest with ourselves.

 

My top 5 rock albums

1. Alive! by KISS

This is the album that really started them on their road to fame, and the album that introduced me to KISS.

What a brilliant piece of marketing and packaging, as well as of course the amazing live energy that they previously had failed to capture on vinyl.

The archetypal characters that they played, and the accompanying ‘notes’ on the inside of this double album, completely captured the imagination of this 11 year-old – and made me certain that the bass was the coolest instrument in the history of the universe!

 

2. Bad for Good by Jim Steinman

I think the story goes that this was supposed to be Bat out of Hell 2, but Steinman, who wrote all of Meatloaf’s songs, got tired of waiting for him.

Whatever. It has all the bombast, wailing guitars and long songs with storylines of love, rebellion, heartbreak and glory – all delivered with Kasim Sulton’s bass and Todd Rundgren’s guitar solos. I still know almost every word of each song.

 

3. Grace by Jeff Buckley

If you put me on a desert island for the rest of my life and said I could only take one album, this would be it.

Buckley created a modern masterpiece with his soaring vocals and huge dynamics.

Songs of love, death, surrender… it just doesn’t date and I’ll bet that this album is just as popular in 100 years.

 

4. Desperate by Divinyls

This second album announced the quintessential Aussie 80s rock band to the world, and what a band, what an album this is.

A rhythm section with the genius and seriously cool Rick Grossman on his Steinberger bass provided an unstoppable backdrop to Chrissy Amphlett’s unreal vocals.

I was lucky enough to see the Divinyls a couple of times in pubs. Chrissy was almost frightening to be close to, she was so in character – yes, I was a little scared just watching her!

If there is any justice in the world, this band will be the next INXS.

 

5. Ghost Mile by Voyager

If you like your music hard, intelligent and with great melody, then Voyager are for you.

Amazing musicianship doesn’t hide their sense of joy as they deconstruct accepted wisdom on what a song should be, and then put it all back together in a way that makes you think: “Why hasn’t anyone done that before?”

 

ROCK N ROLL FINANCES – TURNING A BAND INTO A BRAND!

“From the get-go, KISS understood that we were a business”

-Gene Simmons-

It used to be that someone with passion and talent would write some songs, try and get played on radio and, if they were lucky, sell enough records to make a living. Nowadays, you need to get the business model and marketing right if you want to have any chance of your tunes cutting through the noise.

When KISS started, they toured incessantly to get fans to buy their records. This is where they first made all their money…Records nowadays? Well they’ve only released two new albums in 17 years, and in concert they may play one song from those records.

In other words, KISS has turned a band into a brand. Their music is just an excuse to create the concert event, an experience that you as the customer can choose to taste in many different ways. From the budget seats in the nosebleed stands to the platinum rock star ‘meet and greet’ (with tickets around $1500 each!). And KISS charge you EXTRA just to have the right to buy those meet and greet tickets, such is the demand!

Aged care: Don’t wait until it’s too late

It’s natural to think you are invincible when you’re in your 20s, but too often this thinking keeps going well into our 70s and 80s.

The truth is it makes a lot of sense to plan well ahead for how you want to live the last years of your life and start making plans for aged care.

Too often there’s an abrupt health incident or accident that thrusts the issue upon you – or your children – and there’s no plan in place.

Sourcing aged care is a complicated process and it stands at the intersection of money and emotions – so it makes sense to plan ahead, understand a bit about how the system works and have a conversation with your family as to what you’d like to happen.

Have a think about the following areas:

1. Type of care

There are all sorts of care levels – from occasional house cleaning and food preparation to in-home care packages or full residential care. Each of these have different fee structures depending on your needs.

Care can be bought privately, but as most can be quite expensive there are government subsidies available. These are based on:

a) An assessment of your needs from a health perspective.

b) The availability of services – there could be a waiting list for the services you want.

c) Your existing assets and income, which may affect the amount of government support you need.

2. Eligibility

If you think you need help now, the starting point is your GP, who can order an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) report. Get used to the acronym ACAT – their assessment is the basis for your future eligibility.

Advice for young people: Why insurance is important

How can young people make sure they’re getting the most out of their insurance provider?

Do they even need insurance?

Here are my five top tips when it comes to young people and insurance.

1. It can happen to you.

When you are young, you think you are bulletproof. Sadly, that’s not the case. I know money can be tight, but I tell you – every financially successful person I know has a good insurance plan in place.

2. Car insurance: Shop around!

Car and health insurance is incredibly competitive. The car insurance that was cheap this year might be expensive next year, simply because that particular company had more than an average number of claims in the past 12 months. A lot of the time you can get premium reductions just by telling them you are going to move companies.

Top tips for buying your first home

Are you tired of renting and feel ready to buy a home?

Instead of rushing into anything, it’s important to conduct a thorough assessment of your situation and get a sense of what you’re able to afford.

Here are a few things to consider before going ahead with it:

1. Be prepared. Find out what State Government subsidies and starter packages are available and how to apply.

2. Talk to your bank and mortgage broker. See about getting pre-approval so you know how much you can borrow.

3. Save up. The reality is, it’s going to be tough to get a deposit together on your own. Don’t feel maligned. It was the same for me back in 1986 when I bought my first place for – wait for it – $34,000! So, trade off every bit of discretionary spending to save your deposit.

Advice for young people: How to avoid financial hardship later in life

The best part about being young is that you think you will live forever. The worst part about being young is that you think you’ll live forever, so why not live for today?

However, the odds are, thankfully, that you will live much longer than today, and those days need to be planned and provided for.

I have advised many ‘baby boomers’ over the years and would like to remind all of the young people out there reading this that, once upon a time, these ‘oldies’ were as young as you!

Sure, they might have travelled around in a horse and buggy, but the challenges they faced in building wealth were just as real.

When they were starting out, there was very little credit available and it was hard to get. Believe it or not, credit cards were yet to be invented. This meant that they had to develop great saving habits very early on, because it was the only way to get ahead.

The power of these habits is unbelievable – now that most baby boomers are retired, they still can’t help but live within their means. This is a great thing!

They can now relax because, even while living a wonderful lifestyle, many of them will never spend all the money they have saved.

Top 5 tips for money smart families

Over the years I have received plenty of tips, and the best ones are those that reflect how families interact and how we behave with money.

These top five tips are staggeringly simple, but incredibly effective – I know because I still follow them all!

 

  1. Have a budget

Okay, I know this one seems strange, but most families don’t even know where their money goes!

It’s not easy when money is so virtual. But a budget – any budget – is a step in the right direction.

To stop the money slipping through your fingers, try taking out physical cash from your pay.

Sit the family down at the table and then split it up into all the things you need. Make money real.

  1. Choose your money roles

Whether you are a single or double income household, have an honest conversation with your partner about who does what with the money. Successful money management requires clarity about each other’s roles and responsibilities.