Having confidence and courage while saving and investing are the keys to successfully living your best life on your own terms, says Jim Smith.
Jim Smith, founder of Focus Tours, is continuing to achieve his ideal lifestyle – one with freedom, choice and pursuit of his passions for travel, teaching and helping those less fortunate.
He spoke to KnowHow founder Bushy Martin on the Get Invested podcast about how much of this comes down to embodying the wealth building characteristics of confidence and the courage to try and learn new things.
“It sounds like I’ve got all this confidence to do these jobs, but it’s actually quite terrifying when you’re starting new jobs … [so] don’t not have a go because you think you aren’t good enough or you can’t do it … fake it till you make it, because you can do better than you think you might be able to,” Jim said.
“You don’t have to be the best, but you should try your best. And I think that’s because wherever you are in your life, there’s always people with good skills and better skills than others and lesser skills and others. But it’s about them reaching their full potential. And you’re not necessarily going to be competing with someone else, it’s about being the best person you can be.”
Jim believes that living by design is also about ‘looking after the pennies and the pounds’ and spending your money on what makes you happy – as long as you don’t ‘buy credit’. He said it’s about knowing when to save and spend.
“In terms of day-to-day lifestyle, and right from the beginning, I always saved up for stuff that I wanted, like camping. Good quality camping gear was important to me. So, I didn’t go out and buy with my credit card. I saved up for it because I know that you’re going to pay more for it if you’re buying credit. And so, I have always tried to save for the things that are important to me and sort of not what I would say waste money on bits and pieces that I don’t really need,” Jim said.
“And then having said that, I do borrow money. I’ve borrowed money quite heavily, but it’s always been for things that I think are going to appreciate. So, for example, I’ve saved up for the camping gear, I’ve always saved up for cars because these are things that they’re going to depreciate or wear out over time. But the things I have borrowed extensively for has been for real estate. So, I looked for opportunities that would arise that would help me eventually to develop a passive income.”
Jim is a huge advocate for growing your wealth and securing more freedom through real estate, and has invested in a number of properties across Australia. He gave a number of tips to investors looking to buy a property, such as investing with others (if it’s suitable to your circumstances) and using assets beyond money to seal a deal.
“My brother and I had been looking around to buy something. We had worked out that at the time, I probably had about $125,000 I could spend on a house, and if I can buy that with my brother, we’ve more than doubled the value … so, if you bought something that’s $250,000, you were getting something really substantial,” he said.
“This house came up as a bit more than what we wanted to spend, but it had a really good rent return … [we were] limited with how much money we had, we couldn’t really go much higher … But this fellow’s sister-in-law lived in one of the side flats, and I think he was worried that she would be kicked out if someone took over when he sold it. So, I think that weighed on his mind a bit. So we said, ‘well, we can’t give you any more money, but we guarantee you we won’t change the living situation of your sister-in-law’. And he knew we’d got along well with her. And I think that actually swayed quite heavily.
“So sometimes when you’re trying to buy a property, sometimes you have things that don’t add up to money that can help sway the vendor or a person selling the house anyway.”
Jim revealed this experience was just one example of his mindset of always taking the opportunity to be good to people, a view he believes all should take on in property.
“I really find it hard to hear the stories of the conflicts between landlords and tenants. I don’t understand people not maintaining their properties. And if you’ve got a good tenant, it’s better not to have the most expensive rent. It’s better to be a bit under the market so that they’re not feeling like they’re being taken advantage of and value staying where they are,” he said.
“Nearly every time someone moves into a property, there’s always something that they would like that other tenants necessarily don’t care about. For example, we were talking about doing something, and this tenant said, ‘look, I don’t care about that, but I’d really like roof fans’. And so we put them in, and you’ve got a happy tenant.”
Finally, whether it’s a venture in property or another aspect in life, Jim emphasised the importance of seeking advice from others and setting yourself goals to live your best life.
“Look around throughout your personal life and your working life and find people that are role models that you want to be like or that are living a life like the one you would like to live,” he said.
“It’s not going to happen overnight, but if you work towards it, set realistic goals, and sometimes you make some sacrifices to get there. But look for where you want to head and look for the steps you can take to get there by quizzing people and surrounding yourself with people that are positive and supportive and share your dreams.”
Listen to the full interview here.
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