Scattergun, seat of your pants or wham bam – what’s your investment style?

Women with CentsInvestment

After years of careful observation through my work and life, I’ve noticed that there are three things that typically stop people from getting ahead : they either have a scattergun approach to their money, they don’t research their investments or they are impatient. So I wanted to share with you the stories of some of my friends.

Tell me if you can relate….

Mel and Dave – The Scatterguns

My friends Mel and Dave are amazing people. Dave runs his own business and Mel works full time, they’re married with three boys, they’re taking care of four ageing parents, and they still manage to get involved in everything from kids sport to regular dinner parties. As you might imagine, they’re busy. Crazy busy. But they’re exceptionally organised – they plan for tomorrow, next week, next month and they always pull it off no matter the schedule.

Where they aren’t quite so well-planned is their investments. They do ok financially, and their goal is to retire at 55, but their approach can only be described as scattergun! A mortgaged property in a rural town because Mel’s friend suggested the area was going to boom. A pot of cash in an infrastructure investment that one of Dave’s clients was involved in. And who knows what else!

Unfortunately, not every decision paid off and Mel and Dave found themselves losing money they couldn’t afford to lose!

What can you learn from Mel and Dave? Be careful with who you listen to. Although well meaning, your friends are unlikely to know how suitable their advice is to your financial situation. Before you do anything, take some time to do your own research, get expert advice and think about your bigger, long-term goals and keep them in mind when you’re looking at different investments. Will it deliver the outcome you are looking for? Can you afford to take the risk? If not, rethink it..

Sam – The Wingwoman

Sam is an all-round great girl. Nothing really phases her. She’s a classic Australian as the stereotype goes – laid back with an “I’ll just wing it” approach to life. It makes her fun to be around, but when it comes to investing it hasn’t always worked for her.

A little while back she bought her first investment property in Perth – and it happened fairly quickly. One week she mentioned she was looking at it, and then she called me the following week to say she’d bought it! It was in a new area, and while she only had a 10% deposit she was keen to get into the market, and as most Aussies do she thought “you can’t go wrong with property”. Unfortunately, just after the purchase settled, the mining boom started to drop off and when vacancy rates went up, Sam found herself struggling to make the repayments on her mortgage.

What can you learn from Sam? Don’t skip the research! Before you jump into anything, have you done your homework? Do you know what is happening in the local market? New developments, government policy, supply vs demand and infrastructure all come into play in determining how successful your investment might be. And if you have already invested – don’t panic! Do your research now and re-assess how suitable this investment is for you and carefully plan your approach.

Jennie and Ben – The Block couple

Jennie and her partner Ben have always lived a high-energy fast-paced life, and they love, love, love property. She’s an interior designer, he’s a builder – they were a Block couple to the core before the show even existed, both in the speed they work and the passion they have for making over spaces. A while back they bought a small apartment, and lived in it while they renovated it. They turned it over extremely quickly and they earned a pretty reasonable profit which helped them buy their next fixer upper just a month later. Given how quickly they’d flipped the first place Jennie and Ben thought they’d repeat their success easily. But the value of the second place barely moved, despite the makeover. Can you guess what they did? After six months they panicked and sold the place, with no profit – in fact, they even lost money in the process.

What can we learn from Jennie and Ben? While sometimes selling early to exit a bad investment can be the right thing to do, keep in mind that even a good investment can take time to generate a profit. So before selling, make sure you take stock of your position (consider seeking expert advice if you haven’t already) to make sure you are selling for the right reasons and at the right time.

What about you?

Are your financial decisions impacting your longer-term goals? Are you in sync with what you want or are you being counter-productive? What do you need to do differently? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in our Women with Cents facebook group.

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The information provided by Women with Cents is general in nature. It doesn’t take into account your objectives, personal financial situation or needs. Think of it as educational material in which to help you make more-informed decisions. We recommend you obtain financial, tax and credit advice specific to your situation before making any investments or financial decisions.

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