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I grew up in the country with my mum who raised me and my siblings on her own. We didn’t have much because we couldn’t afford it but we didn’t notice because we were happy.
Then I hit my teens and for some reason clothes, hairstyles and basketball shoes became important, along with many other things. Looking back it was possibly due to an unannounced new appreciation for the opposite gender.
Reebok Pumps came onto the market in 1989 and I was seeking a pair of these ridiculous basketball boots around the start of 1992. The starting price was approximately $220 from memory (that’s almost $400 in today’s dollars) and when I asked my strong-willed Irish mother if I could have them, a swift response of ‘I’m not paying $220 for a pair of bleedin’ sports shoes came back’. Upon further enquiry by my 14-year-old self I was told in no uncertain terms that (language has been modified) I had better find a job if I wanted them.
Whilst it wasn’t direct financial advice the message was loud and clear. ‘If I worked hard and saved my money, I can buy the things I like’. So I worked hard at my McDonalds shifts and I bought those pumps. I remember feeling both satisfied and empowered.
A few years later I got my start at the local building society and I learned about the value time brings to money and what investing really meant as I folded those term deposit maturity letters. A wise soul along the way also taught me a simple and powerful concept: ‘inflation is our enemy and compound interest is our friend’.
By this time my mum had managed to accumulate three investment properties and our family home despite her less than modest income and zero base to start from. The lesson for me now meant I needed to work hard, value my money and buy appreciating assets… plus the occasional pair of basketball kicks if the budget allowed for it.
Mum’s lessons around Reebok Pumps and appreciating assets led me to purchase my first property at 23 and I started buying shares soon after but I haven’t lived a life of extreme financial sacrifice. I’ve had plenty of fun and life experiences along the way and I’ve learned so much during the last 20 years in this industry.
I’ll finish with another gem of advice that my fiery and very funny Irish mother gave me – she said that ‘you don’t get anywhere in life without taking a risk’.
She was talking about broader life decisions but it definitely relates to financial planning and investments. Successful investors don’t sit on the fence, they make decisions and take calculated risks
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