Start investing early and keep your focus. These are the two lessons Business Chicks CEO Emma Isaacs wants people to learn about money.
“It’s all about mindset – you have to believe you’re worthy enough to be financially independent, or wealthy – whatever your goal is.
“[And] the earlier you start, the better you’ll be.”
Ms Isaacs learnt the most about money from her grandfather, who worked for the Navy and never had a sick day. Frugal and astute with his wages, he would put part of his wage onto his home loan every week.
“He paid off that mortgage diligently and knew all of the tellers by first name,” Ms Isaacs said.
“He often tells the story of the last payment he made on his house and how proud he was to be debt free.”
She also learnt about diversifying her assets and the importance of research and active involvement.
“As well as reducing the debt on his home, he simultaneously started investing in blue chip shares and taking an active interest in the stock market from very early on.
“He bought all the banks and resource companies when they were worth nothing, and now his portfolio is unbelievable.
“He built it through reinvesting all the dividends, and educating himself on the stocks he would buy.”
Risk has been a constant part of Ms Isaacs’ own finances, bringing its fair share of rewards.
As well as owning Business Chicks, a national community for women in business, she has a small stock portfolio and 10 property investments.
“I already had a great business that returned strong profits and was well established. I knew, though, in my heart that I was ready for the next challenge and that the Business Chicks model held a lot of potential.”
She bought her first apartment at just 19 years old, and believes her worst financial decisions came when she became “a bit lazy” after she married.
“I kind of coasted along for a while there, as my husband is not as interested in investing as I am. I lost my way a bit there for a few years before getting stuck into it again,” she said.
“When I did eventually get into it, I bought two more properties without telling him. We have very different risk profiles, and I worried that he’d be scared and I didn’t want anyone’s fear to hold us back.
“He’s very grateful for my determination and efforts now.”
Ms Isaacs’ savvy investment strategy is a strong part of her character despite “a culture in our family that money was evil – it was much more noble not to have it, and to enjoy life without it”.
“People with money were considered ostentatious and different to us. I had the best childhood and never wanted for anything, but needless to say I’ve really had to work on my mindset around money.”
With three children and various investments, Ms Isaacs doesn’t live on a strict budget – but she knows where her money is going.
“I have three children [aged] four and under, and my current childcare bill is over $2,000 a week, plus there are other massive expenses too. Whenever I have any spare cash I put it in the offset account, but there’s generally not much left over to save each month.”
Making her money work for her is high on Ms Isaacs’ priority list. Instead of hoarding and shying away from debt, she tries to get the best return possible.
“The more debt, the better! Good debt that is. I pay off my credit card every month so I don’t have any bad debt and want to keep it that way, unless it’s capital that can work for us.”
But money itself is not the end game.
“Money makes you less stressed, that’s all. Money buys you the opportunity to support causes that are close to you, and it allows you to create experiences for the people you love.