I have a confession to make.
A dozen years ago, when I first pulled on a tie and walked into work at the Australian Stock Exchange, I knew I was different.
Well, I quickly realised the game was crooked. I also realised that most ‘advisors’ were posers who didn’t have two bob to rub together. They made their money from leaching commissions and kickbacks from their clients.
See, I come from a working-class family, and that’s why I never really fitted in with the flash finance crowd. But standing out and standing up for something turned out to be a very good thing indeed.
Since I figuratively kicked off my shoes and began treading my own path:
I’ve been a poster boy for the largest television financial news network in the world, CNBC, with my show reaching 12 million people across the globe.
I write a weekly headline column for News Limited and monthly columns for Better Homes and Gardens, and hosted an award-winning radio show.
I’ve been a key advisor to elite AFL and Rugby League teams on independent wealth-creation strategies.
I’ve personally helped Sir Richard Branson launch a new finance venture here in Australia.
And lately I’ve been employed by the Australian Government to help overhaul financial education in every school in the country (a very big passion of mine).
But – and here’s the confession part – that’s not me. Truth is, I’m a farm boy. I was born that way, and I like to live that way. In fact, I bought myself and my fledgling family a sheep farm last year where we spend most of our time.
I only got into the financial industry because I wanted freedom. I didn’t want to worry about bills … or banks … or if I’d be able to afford proper vacations.
That’s all money is to me. I know most people who get into finance do it for wealth, notoriety or $300 pairs of jeans. That never really interested me. I just wanted my freedom.
Glad to say, I’ve got it. And I didn’t do it with any get-rich-quick schemes (or selling get-rich-quick schemes), I didn’t do it stealing fees from the regular wally, and I certainly didn’t do it making wild bets on the stock market.
In fact, how I did it was simple. I took what I learnt about finance, turned it into a set of commonsense guidelines, and lived by those rules.
That’s it. No magic. No gambling with stocks. Just sound financial planning.
But I admit I don’t feel done yet. That’s because the things I’ve learnt can apply to anyone, in any situation … yet it’s sometimes difficult being heard above the shrieks of the financial selling machine.
The people who should be telling you these things, don’t – because if you’re in the dark it’s that much easier for them to charge useless fees, take a percentage of your investments, or push you into debt so they can make money off you every month.
For most people in the financial industry, the less you know, the more they make.