After losing his wealth in the Global Financial Crisis, accomplished CEO Peter Meek learned the hard way about what really matters in investing.
On the Get Invested podcast, Peter told KnowHow founder Bushy Martin that knowledge and networks were his most important investment assets.
The knowledge accumulated through education and learning from mistakes, along with crucial personal and professional networks, became the foundations upon which Peter would rebuild his wealth.
Peter said it starts with becoming self-accountable.
“So when you’re running businesses, you earn a great salary, but it takes up a lot of your time. And up until 2009, I would just abdicate responsibility for all this extra cash flow that we had to someone else to manage,” Peter said.
“And I believe you can trust, but verify people. You can’t do everything on your own, so I think it was the right approach, I just hadn’t done enough due diligence. And the due diligence was one – to understand what I was being invested in, and two – know what the incentive was for me to invest and for the other people to invest. And despite having had a very successful corporate career, we found ourselves after the GFC basically in negative equity because we had over invested in things that were a lot higher risk, as it turns out, than we understood.
“I didn’t understand them (the investments) because I just didn’t have the time or the capacity to educate myself around them. And I literally lost everything. Now I look back, and while it didn’t feel it at the time, it was actually a gift because I said if it’s going to be up to me and if I’m going to make investments outside of my job, I need to understand enough about those investments so that I can either do it myself or more likely, given how busy my job was, I could find others and manage them to do the job for me. And that was a real tipping point for me, and we decided that property was the platform for us.
“So abdicating responsibility is one of the biggest mistakes I made early on. You ultimately have to make the call, and to do that you need to educate yourself about what you’re investing in.”
When taking responsibility, investors must really know what they’re tipping their money in to.
“What I realised quite quickly is education is really important. Whatever path you take in life, you’ve got to get educated. So my best investment has probably been in building my networks and my education so that I had the confidence to do the property investing. I understood the process and I understood what I was looking for, which I think really helped us,” Peter said.
“And I think once you’ve got that knowledge, it’s really reassuring because no one can take that away from you. Whatever happens, you’ve got the skills to rebuild.”
Peter encouraged investors to seek education from a variety of platforms and sources. He said that while you can find plenty of free resources, it is also worth paying to engage with mentors and courses.
“For my education, I’ve paid for training courses, I’ve paid for mentors, I’ve had mentors who just helped me along the way … I think it’s ok to pay for education or mentorship, but you know, there’s also loads of free resources and tools. I’ve listened to podcasts like yours [Get Invested] and lots of other ones.”
Peter also highlighted the value of building a network of trusted experts, professionals and others who have ‘been there and done that’.
“I’ve done lots of networking. So who do you know? Who do you know that’s a bit further ahead of you on their journey and can be reached out to? And people are very kind and generous and will help,” he said.
“And likewise, you do the same for other people. I always believe in sending the elevator back down. So if someone reaches out for a bit of discussion around this or that, just sort of share your experience. You can’t give them advice, but you can share your experience and perhaps help them with the questions that they should be asking themselves and other people.
“I think good advice is a right, not a privilege … so find people that you know, like and trust who’ve already done what you want to do and spend time with them.”
But the most crucial step Peter emphasised is that investors need to continue taking action.
“It’s the most important thing – taking guided action. I always think, you know, success is a stairway, not a doorway, right? And you’ve got to keep moving. And if you don’t take action, then you just don’t move forward. So it’s having people around you that can help you take action is really important,” he said.
Listen to the full interview here.
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