For someone who has built a career out of providing advice on growing wealth, writing an article on the ‘’golden rules of wealth’ didn’t come as easily as I thought it would.
Certainly not due to a lack of knowledge or because I couldn’t think of anything to write, but because I wanted to delve deeply into my own beliefs and impart the wisdom of one person who has spent a lifetime committed to the topic, both personally and professionally.
The tips I’m going to provide are nothing new, but if acted upon, I guarantee they will help you build your wealth and provide you with greater financial security. I certainly don’t have a ‘get rich quick’ scheme, and everything I’m about to outline takes time and discipline.
Going it alone
My ‘golden rules’ have a slight orientation to women, and in particular, single women who have to go it alone. The reason being is they’re based on my personal experiences. I am a female in my early 50s who has never married, so everything that I’ve done I have had to do alone.
However, my tips are universal enough to be relevant to anyone – male or female, single or married, young or mature.
I recall being in my 20s and even at that stage, I thought about my financial future. It’s not surprising then that I made a career out of being a financial advisor. My parents were not wealthy, and even if they were, I was very clear that I didn’t want to rely on them.
I remember thinking back then that “it’s just me, I can’t rely on anyone”. This was something I’d recognise as a blessing later in life, because it gave me a focus and purpose when it came to building wealth.
As a financial advisor, I practice what I preach so I can swear by the knowledge I’m about to impart.
- Work hard in your career
I believe the first rule is to do your best in your career. If you take pride in your job and your role, the rewards will follow, both financially and in terms of personal fulfillment. Not everyone wants to undertake study or has the time, but if you put time and effort into your job, you will be rewarded.
When I started at William Buck I was the “office junior” and progressed through the ranks to a Director. I achieved this through hard work, and the opportunities William Buck provided to me.
- Purchase your home
We all need a home – our safe haven and somewhere we can’t wait to get to at the end of a long day. I know it is getting more difficult for younger people to break into the property market these days due to rising prices, however, my first property was a very small unit.
So my advice is to start small and build your wealth over time. The financial benefit of having your own home is that the repayment of the loan is a “forced saving”. Many people live to their bank account and if the money is there instead of being redirected elsewhere, they will spend it. Think about if you didn’t have a home loan, would you save the loan repayments instead?
Also, the growth in the value of the property is tax-free and you can’t beat security of tenure.
- Repay your home loan as quickly as possible
Once you’ve purchased a home, I strongly advise that you concentrate on repaying your home loan as quickly as possible. The interest that you pay to the bank on your home loan is not tax deductible and therefore we refer to it as “bad debt”.
I also suggest that you repay more than the minimum loan repayments.
As an example, on a $300,000 home loan at an interest rate of 4.50% for 20 years, your minimum repayment is going to be $1,898 per month. This means you’ll pay off your loan by March 2037, and would have paid the bank $155,508 in interest over that time.
However, if you increased loan repayments by $1,000 per month ($250 per week), the loan would be repaid by September 2027, and you would only have paid the bank $74,281 in interest.
By increasing the loan repayments, the saving is substantial – in this case $81,226. This is money in your pocket and you are also debt free a lot sooner.
- Salary sacrifice to superannuation
Sacrificing a portion of your wage to superannuation for your retirement future provides many benefits:
- You are saving for your future in a tax effective environment
- There could be immediate tax benefits. When you salary sacrifice to superannuation, instead of the funds being taxed at your marginal tax rate (which could be as high as 49%), they are taxed at the concessional super tax rate of 15%.
- Again it’s a form of forced savings. If you set up the salary sacrifice automatically, the funds will go straight to the super fund and bypass your bank account. You can’t spend what isn’t there.
It is important to note that from 1 July 2017 the maximum concessional contribution (SGC & Salary Sacrificed contributions) will reduce to $25,000 per annum.
- What to do when your home loan is paid off
Another golden rule is to save what you were previously paying on your mortgage when your home loan is paid off. You have been living without this money until now and it’s time to build up your savings.
This is the time you really need to focus on saving not only for now, but also for your retirement future. Look at contributing more to your super fund as the tax benefits are generally worthwhile and get good advice to help you on your way.
- Invest your savings
Investing your savings will help them grow quicker. The key thing to remember is that generally, lower risk means lower return and higher risk means higher return with capital fluctuations.
If you are investing in shares, for example, the performance over the longer term historically is higher than defensive investments such as term deposits. However, capital will fluctuate – sometimes dramatically. It’s important to remember to ride out the waves and focus on the longer term. Don’t get caught up in the hype and let go of good quality share investments that you hold.
Asset allocation of investments is also extremely important. If you are unsure, consider holding 50% of your super savings for example in defensive investments (cash and term deposits) and 50% growth investments (shares and property).
My best advice is to get advice once you are ready to invest.
- Personal Insurance
No-one wants to think about the “what ifs” of life. Unfortunately your health is not guaranteed and you need to think about how you would cope if something happened. If you were sick for a prolonged period, how would you pay your mortgage and other expenses?
If you are employed, I strongly suggest that you consider an Income Protection insurance policy. If you do get sick and are unable to work for a prolonged period this policy is designed to replace your income by up to 75% while you recover.
In some instances this type of policy could be the difference between keeping and losing your home! Death, TPD and Trauma insurance should also be considered. The best thing to do is get good advice to ensure you have sufficient cover should the unexpected happen.
- Estate Planning
There’s no point building your wealth only to see it go somewhere unintended, so make sure you have a Will in place. It’s a good idea to seek professional advice.
As I said at the top, my ‘golden rules’ are nothing new, but from my personal experience they are the foundations to building wealth for the future. Everyone’s circumstances will be different, and that’s where seeking independent advice will help in determining the right approach for you.
Life is generally a fun and exciting journey, and while it’s not all about money, having financial means will certainly help you enjoy the ride more comfortably.
If you have any questions or anything you would like to discuss please don’t hestiate to contact me on 08 8409 4333 or at email@example.com.
Janine is a Director at William Buck and one of the longest serving employees. She has been providing honest, empathetic and direct advice to her clients for more than 20 years.