Where do I put my money?
When I left the Army in 1995 I withdrew my personal contributions from MSBS (which you could do back then) and went to Europe.
Not to be one of the thousands of drunken Aussies spilling out of bars across the region but to open my eyes to what the world has to offer.
Travel was a little more difficult back then, there was virtually no internet, Europe still had borders and you relied on other travellers for information.
The hard lesson I learned on that trip was the value of the almighty dollar. I came home with not too many dollars in my pocket, a few stories and a few vague memories.
The Australian dollar was at an all-time low which meant that my value for money in my travels was poor.
So, for young and older service personnel (or anyone really) the question remains, what do you do with your money.
Here are some tips on the best places to invest your money:
- Your Mortgage – if you have a mortgage regardless of whether it’s for your own home or an investment property the ultimate aim is always to pay it out as soon as possible. Interest on home loans is dead money and the best bang for your buck is right now with interest rates very low and will continue to stay that way for a number of years. The interest rate on my first home loan was over 20%, so make the most of the low interest rates.
- Other Debts – regardless of what they are for, if they are personal loans, credit card debts, car loans get rid of them as fast as possible. The interest on these debts can be a killer. Even pay these out before your home loan because the interest rate on these type of loans will generally be much higher.
- Education – gaining skills and knowledge for use in life after the military can be worth its weight in gold. Just like the military, in civilian life you need to continue to improve your knowledge and skills in order to be successful. In fact, for many professionals their continued training is mandatory. Don’t miss the opportunities that now exist for former or serving member to have your military experience accepted as full or part accreditation for tertiary studies. For some this may mean trade qualifications and for senior servicemen and women this may translate to management courses where you gain credits based on your experience. Grab this with both hands as it may provide you with that ever popular door opener called a “degree”. Investing some time, money and effort early on will make life a lot better in the long run. Finally make sure you get professional help in writing your Resume to help communicate to future employers the positive benefits you can bring to their business.
- Personal Development – this has been a growth industry in the last 20 years and no doubt there are some things that are a waste of your money but you probably won’t know what works for you until you try. What are some of your options here? The only thing that really works is taking action, reading books doesn’t do it for me. So, some of the choices might involve doing a course, using a coach (life coach or business coach), study a martial art – why, because in most arts it’s all about developing you in a step by step process over a period of time. The most important part of any learning and development you do is to start! You may fail once or many times but don’t let that stop you from starting again. The rewards from continuing to develop your own character and mental strength will show in all parts of your life. Just like the military, Attitude is Everything!
- Investing – regardless of where you invest your money, you need to have a clear purpose, some understanding of what you are doing even if you are seeking professional advice and a long term commitment.
If you thought this was about giving you tips on which shares to buy or where to buy your investment property, sorry to disappoint.
The tips above are from years of learning from my own mistakes and successes and from 20 years of providing advice to my clients.
Contrary to popular opinion, as a financial planner I spend just as much time on being a ‘coach’ to our clients as I do on talking to them about the money side of life.
(HF Strategies Pty Ltd ATF Hallam Family Trust ABN 32 890 103 909) is an authorised representative of Professional Investment Services Pty Ltd (Nr.287522).
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