Tuesday, 26 May 2015

How is my Investment Banking Website going? May 2015 Update

Just over a year ago I launched Banker's Pitch, a website dedicated helping aspiring investment bankers get in, make the most of their time in Investment Banking and then get out to other careers. As an ex-banker myself I definitely thought I had knowledge that would be valuable to others out there.

However it wasn't purely altruistic.  I also wanted to generate an income from this site.  I had a plan - both in terms of content (the topics I would write on), marketing (how I would get the word about my site out there) and monetisation.  At a very basic level my plan looked something like the following:

  1. Create awesome content
  2. Let people know that the content exists
  3. Reap the rewards for my hard work

Things didn't quite go to plan...



Ahh I'm such a planner but with my business ideas and projects things never really seem to go to plan.  I got my website up and running and created some kick-ass content but I choked on the marketing aspect of the project (and as a consequence the rewards definitely didn't flow my way).

Marketing does not come naturally to me.  Whilst I'm more than happy to let my network of friends and colleagues know what I am up to and promote my material that way, commenting on related blogs and building an online network is not something I'm really good at.  This is something I definitely I need to work on.

Because I wasn't out there promoting my material I was barely getting any visits at all to the site which in turn makes it pretty challenging to keep generating awesome content.

I was depressed at the lack of progress I was making...and then one day I just stopped writing...

 It wasn't a conscious decision I made to stop writing...it just kind of happened.  The last scheduled post I had went out and I couldn't get up the will to write any more.

But then recently I noticed something about Banker's Pitch


Banker's Pitch was honestly the last thing on

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

What does Financial Freedom look like to me?

When I uploaded my recent post on what I would need to be financially free I didn't realise the impact that it would have on my life and the way I thought about it.  I did it because I thought it would be a cool thing to do and to track.

However thinking in terms of financial freedom has really changed the way I look at my approach to wealth generation.  Previously (as the name of this blog would suggest) it was all about becoming rich.  I didn't really have any plans for those riches...it just seemed like the right thing to aim for. Financial freedom is something else though...it allows you to choose the lifestyle that you want, when you want.

What does it mean to be financially free?


People describe financial freedom in a variety of different ways.  For some people it's about not having to wake up every day and go to work.  For others it's about having a security blanket so you know that you are never going to end up on the street.

Here is the definition I am using:
To be financially free is to be able to choose what I want to do, when I want to do it and not worry about the financial consequences of my decisions
Why did I underline the word 'worry' in the sentence above?  Well that's because most decisions have financial consequences.  Some of them large and some of them small.  If you run your own business, your decision to take a few months off can have huge financial consequences.

I'm not aiming for a system where

Thursday, 14 May 2015

What do you like on this blog and what can be changed?

Today I'm asking for your help and advice.  I have been writing this blog for almost 4 years now and as I approach the 4 year anniversary of this blog I'm considering making some big changes to it.  So I have two questions for you:

  1. What do you like about this blog?  Why do you read it and what do you get out of it?
  2. What can be changed and what would you like to see more of?

Why do you visit Journey to 90 Million?

I confess that I'm not 100% sure why people like visiting this blog.  I get great traffic but honestly some of the traffic baffles me.  Occasionally I'll spend hours writing a post with a huge amount of research behind it and it will only get 30 or 40 views.  Other times I will spend far less effort and that post will become incredibly popular and have visitors coming back for years.

So why do you visit the blog?  I certainly don't want to make assumptions about what people get out of it so send me your feed back.

What can be changed?

What do you tend to skip over when you visit the blog?  Is there something I used to do which I no longer do which you liked?  I know the format and design of this blog is incredibly outdated - this is something that I am working on...is this something that bothers you?

I have a pretty thick skin so feel free to lob any criticism that you like...it's all a learning process.  When I started this blog I knew nothing about blogging and honestly half of what I've learned is because I've made some pretty big mistakes in the past.

Feel free to post in the comments section below or send me an email at 90millionblogger (at) gmail.com

Thanks heaps in advance and I'll be back to posting regularly next week!


Monday, 11 May 2015

How much do I need to be financially free?

When I first started writing this blog I stated that my goal was to have $90 million dollars by the year 2031.  I gave myself 20 years to reach that goal of and to be rich.  However a question I haven't really considered before is "how much do I need to be financially free?".

Being rich is great but the real step change in ones life is when they are financially free.  When they are no longer tied to their job and have the freedom to choose what to do with their life.  I was recently reading a post on 2millionblog (the blog which motivated me to start writing this blog actually) where the author had a clear target for financial freedom and was measuring his progress towards this target.

I thought this was a brilliant idea and I've decided to give it a go myself.

Step 1: What sort of income do you require?


According to various sources a 'comfortable' retirement for older people is something like $60,000 a year for a couple in Australia.  I'm not really planning on living like a retired grandparent so I'm probably going to need more than this.

Having said that I won't need as much as my current income as when I am financially free I will not have a home loan to pay down and will not have many of the expenses that come with having to go to work and make a living each day.

I settled on $100,000 as the income I would need to be financially free (in today's dollars).  At $100,000 per year I would not be 'rich' but I certainly would not be tied to my job and I would have the freedom to decide whether I wanted to work or whether I wanted to do something else.

Step 2: Work out where this income is going to come from


This is a reasonably simple exercise.  What classes of assets do I feel competent investing in and where do I think I can earn income (and in what proportions).  I split it something like this
  • Cash / Bonds: $10,000
  • Rental Properties: $30,000
  • Stocks: $50,000
  • Business Income: $10,000
Don't forget that

Thursday, 7 May 2015

What health insurance product is right for you?

When it comes to insurance I'm the type of person that is always over-insured.  It's not so much that I think insurance is a great deal...it's just that I tend to up-sell myself to premium products whenever I look at insurance.  This results in me paying far more than I really ought to be paying.

This is especially true when it comes to Health Insurance.  I currently have a very high level of hospital and extras cover when I barely use any of it.  I'm healthy, in shape and have no serious pre-existing or family conditions to worry about...I'm the last person that should have full cover on everything (I even have pregnancy cover...).

I obviously have had the wrong health insurance for a long time (despite promising myself to the contrary) I have done nothing about it and I continue to pay my exorbitant premiums.  However I was recently forced to re-look at my health insurance plans when I was considering my fiance's and my future financial position.

She doesn't have health insurance however she was going to get stuck with both the medicare levy surcharge as well as the lifetime health cover loading in one hit after marrying me (which would affect my tax as well) so we started looking at plans together.

Comparing health insurance plans is incredibly difficult


Let's state this up front.  Comparing health insurance plans is one of the most difficult things you can do.  They all offer different levels of cover, they exclude different procedures and offer different amounts back for the same procedure.  Some offer policy limits and some offer limits per person per year while others have lifetime limits on what you can claim.

With all of this complexity how on earth do you sort it all out?  I like to think that I'm pretty astute when it comes to finance but honestly comparing these plans was about the most difficult thing I have ever done.

I have put together the following step by step guide to help you work through the nightmare of health insurance products, premiums and offerings.  Some of this is very similar to my original post 'Choosing the Right Health Insurance' but this will go into more detail.

Step 1: Know what you want and what you need


Before you start looking at any products you need to know both what you need and what you want.  If you don't you're going to be inundated with choice and too much

Monday, 4 May 2015

April 2015 Net Worth: $551,000 (+0.4%) and Goal Tracker

It's once again time to update my net worth and this month has seen some serious swings in the composition of my net worth even though the actual numbers didn't change all that much.  I continue to keep track of my 'future liabilities' (see this post for an explanation of them).  As at the end of April my future liabilities sit at $43,000 (down from $52,000 in March).

April 2015 Net Worth: $551,000 (+0.4%)


Value
% Change
Assets
$965,000
+0.0%
Liabilities
$413,000
-0.4%
Net worth
$551,000
+0.4%

My performance this month at the headline level was actually quite lackluster and didn't quite live up to the modest $553,000 goal I had set at the end of last month.  However under the rather flat result there were a more movements and portfolio changes than I have had in a very long time. I've outlined some of the changes that were made this month below:
  • A significant re-organisation of my share portfolio
    • Recently I have been talking pretty consistently about how much the Australian share market has run and how I have been starting to get uncomfortable with being invested at these levels
    • Well in the last month I put my money where my mouth is.  I sold some pretty big parcels of shares...some of which I wrote about and others which are just a continual re-balancing of my portfolio
    • In the month I sold ~$30,000 of shares and made a significant profit...however from a net worth standpoint it was actually a negative
    • This is because I account for the current market value of my shares in my net worth however it is only when I sell them that I actually generate capital gains liabilities
    • Selling the shares therefore didn't increase my asset value but it did increase my liabilities to the tune of ~$4,000

Friday, 24 April 2015

Finding, gaining and keeping a mentor

How do we get ahead in our careers and our financial life?  It's a question that many of us ask all the time.  If you have read any books on getting ahead you will almost certainly have been told that seeking out the right mentors is incredibly important.  The problem that most of us face is twofold:

  1. How on earth do we find a mentor who is where we want to be in life?
  2. When we do find them how do we convince them to take an interest in us?
I suspect that most of us would love to be mentored by Warren Buffet or Bill Ackman but that's never going to happen.  I also have never really liked 'mentoring programs' that workplaces and student organisations typically run.  The mentors often treat it as an obligation and they are never really seem to have a real interest in you personally succeeding.

I therefore concluded that mentoring, while great in theory, was never really going to work in practice...until it did for me.  I found a mentor without actually searching for one and the experience has been far more positive than I originally imaged.

How did I find my mentor?


I didn't go out searching for a mentor.  I've always found the concept quite strange.  Of course there were people I wanted to learn off and I certainly didn't think I could do it all myself...however what did I have to offer?  Why would they take a particular interest in my life?  I found a mentor without intending to find one.  I'm not even sure that he realises that we have effectively fallen into that sort of relationship.

Where did I find my mentor?

My mentor is actually a