He didn’t even introduce himself.
An old bloke just walked straight up to me, poked his knobbly old index finger into my ribs, leaned in, and said:
“They don’t listen to you, do they!”
“Huh?” I replied, cowering like a schoolboy (I was at a function, and I didn’t know this old codger.)
“I’ve been reading your questions in the newspaper for years … and they don’t listen to your advice!”
He did have a point. Maybe my message just isn’t getting through. After all, each week I try and give people honest, commonsense advice to help them out.
Fat load of good that does!
So this week let’s try something different — a bit of reverse psychology.
If people don’t respond to good advice, maybe they’ll listen to some bad advice?
So in honour of the old bloke, let me give you half a dozen ways to totally screw up your financial life.
How to Lose Your Shirt in the Share Market
Buy shares based on the tips of your brother-in-law (a 43-year-old IT helpdesk employee who ‘dabbles’ in shares, porn, and sporting memorabilia).
Yet what if you are not lucky enough to have a brother-in-law who has outspoken views on things he knows very little about?
Just read scary newspaper headlines: “Sell Everything!”, “Prepare for a Cataclysmic Year!”
(The Royal Bank of Scotland made these headlines in January 2016. Since then the US stock market has jumped 35 per cent, while our market is up around 18 per cent … not including dividends.)
And after you’ve bought some shares, make sure you watch them right throughout the day.
Do not take your eyes off them for a second.
The minute the shares go up, buy more. The minute they go down, sell.
Okay, so now let’s focus on losing money in something you are an expert in: property.
You’ve been living in a house your entire life … right? How hard can it be?
You: Property Mogul
If you buy an investment property, don’t buy a good-quality family home from your local real estate agent.
What do those losers know?
Instead, go to a wealth-creation seminar, preferably hosted at a suburban Holiday Inn conference room.
You want a tanned fellow from the Gold Coast who’ll teach you the ‘secrets’ the rich have been keeping from Domino’s-Pizza-munching plebs like you.
Ideally, you’d like a complicated strategy that involves you purchasing ten properties in ten years and will have you retired at 40 and living off $229,345 a year!
Go ahead and buy a property from the spruiker using ‘OPM’ (Other People’s Money), interest only (remember, the more debt you have, the wealthier you are). Location? Preferably South-East Queensland, though what matters most is that the property you buy at the seminar is located somewhere far, far away. While you’re at it, use their legal representatives and mortgage broking ‘team’. It’s so much easier than worrying about all those annoying details yourself.
Yet the real money is made (and lost) in business.
You’ve read Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal, and look where he ended up.
Okay, so he did get a multi-million dollar loan from his father, but screw it — let’s do it!
How to Go Broke in Business Without Even Trying
Start a business you have no experience in, preferably in partnership with your ex-boyfriend … preferably funded with credit card debt.
Focus on ‘brand positioning’ (business cards, a fancy office, an agency-designed website) before you even think of finding any customers. If your product is as good as your friends on Facebook think it is (38 ‘likes’ — you GO girl!), customers will beat a path to your door.
And what if you can’t think of an idea for a business?
Easy. Just buy a franchise, like Pie Face, or 7-Eleven.
They always work out well.
Harness The Secret
Money can be attracted through your mind.
(Picture me rubbing my temples as I write this).
Let’s be clear: God wants you to be rich.
The 800 million people in sub-saharan Africa? … not so much.
But you? … Sure.
Now, one way to awaken the spiritual money muse is to always keep $2,000 worth of cash ($5 notes) in your wallet. It’s a sure-fire psychic signal to the universe that you are bathed in abundance.
And it works! Every time you open your wallet you’ll see your riches … and so will the sketchy dude waiting behind you at the Taco Truck on King Street.
Now repeat the affirmation: “please, take my money, just don’t hurt me”.
How to Find the Wrong Financial Advisor
Once you’ve got a bit of dough … you need to share it with someone. So it’s time to find the most expensive financial planner you can find.
Judge them on (a) their car, (b) their office, (c) their pinky ring.
Let them know you’re a player.
Explain that you want the most expensive super fund they have. Your retirement is no time to be a tightarse.
And when they explain it to you in terms you don’t understand – nod like an idiot.
And make sure you invest in things you don’t understand.
And if someone cold-calls you about an investment opportunity, under no circumstances should you Google them.
Who cares what other people’s experiences have been?
Let’s be honest, the interwebs is just full of freaks that like cats anyway. If you are tempted to go near Google, the only keywords you should use are: “get rich”, “lifestyle design”, “Barnaby Joyce”, and “Multiple Streams of Income”.
Let’s be honest though, the real reason to get rich is so you can exert control over your family, right?
Well, I’ve saved the best to last.
How to Ruin Your Relationships
If you’re dating, don’t talk to your partner about their financial situation, or their views on spending and saving.
Didn’t your mother teach you anything?
It’s rude to talk about money — and unless you’re loaded it’s not going to help you in the sack anyway.
Split everything down the middle except for: your secret shopping money, your secret mistress money, and your secret betting money. Oh and keep a little set aside that your partner doesn’t know about, just in case you have to run. Because you will, eventually. And divorce will be the final crowning achievement of your financial life.
So there it is: six simple ways to completely screw your financial life.
Are you listening? Don’t make me have to poke you in the ribs.
Tread Your Own Path!