About this blog
Welcome to my blog.
I write primarily for my own satisfaction and people seeking the means to be financially free because when you think about it, we are talking about buying back your time to pursue what really floats your boat.
Why the interest in this subject
In 2008 while in my secure job as a medical research scientist, the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) hit. Too many businesses, families and relationships were badly hurt and some still have not recovered. Citizens felt let down by their leaders. People were left feeling vulnerable, lost and hurt. Not a good place to be.
I saw a 40% reduction in my superannuation (401K) overnight. Who would have thunk (?)-considering the money mantra , that we the people, have been led to believe is that our retirement money i.e., superannuation funds are managed by “professional fund managers”. These same investment professionals did not bat an eyelid collecting their usual management fees while posting me annual reports of these eye watering losses.
The mainstream press narrative called the GFC a black swan event, something that no one could have predicted …..or did some people know what was about to unfold and were prepared to profit from this cataclysmic event.
Say it isn’t so
That’s where I started to ask questions and do my own research. That’s what research scientists do-research. But before we get to the meaty stuff, let’s rewind and create some context.
I grew up the youngest of 5 girls to a stay at home mum and military father. I was fed, watered and educated. The deal was to excel academically at school and then get a good paying job. Being good at sports or having a skill playing a musical instrument (self taught) was a bonus but a 2 edged sword. It also attracted unwanted attention and the inevitable bullying.
However, in retrospect, I did not die as I realized I had choices in redefining my paradigms that supported my goals. More on that later.
As well as I could crunch through algebra, calculus and trigonometry, quote lines from Shakespeare’s works and even score an “O level” in English literature from Cambridge University, I was clueless about money. More precisely, I did not get an education about sound money management or investing while at school. Money was not a subject discussed at home either.
It was fun playing music during my PhD and the extra cash went to buying “stuff” instead of being sensible about it. This included having electric bass guitars custom made for my height and size, expensive bass amplifiers and cool gadgets that a part time muso must have as “necessary” stage gear.
I picked biomedical subjects and freshwater ecology at university and definitely did not get a tertiary education on modern monetary theory. But I did get to wear a cool PhD graduation gown. I continued to put my heart and soul into establishing a career in medical research; this also meant more hours, more responsibilities and managing staff and supervising graduate students. Things got real and serious.
Just do something
There used to be a jingle on the radio (that’s a give away isn’t it) from Bank SA that went, “Money coming in,money going out and me in the middle trying to work it all out”. I could relate because even while I was gainfully employed I had not saved or invested a portion of my income (less taxes). The growing sense of disquiet and not being where I wanted to be was the impetus to start figuring out this money thing.
It started with reading as many books on investing and personal development as I could find at the library-side note, if you are skint, you can still go borrow and read a book at the library. It’s free. So, no excuses, people.
Read, Research and Read More
The early authors included Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad), Og Mandino, almost everything by Warren Buffett, Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”, Michael Lewis’ “The Big Short”,T. Harv Eker, John DeMartini, Denis Waitley, Jack Canfield-Mark Victor Hansen’s “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, James Rickards “The Road to Ruin”, everything by Eckhart Tolle, Louise Hay and many others too numerous to mention.
I binged watched motivational speakers like Les Brown, Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy on Youtube
It was pre-Covid, so I signed up to attend (in person) as many multispeaker pitchfest gigs that came to town. It was a smorgasbord of courses in forex trading, options and stocks, real estate investments with a plethora of strategies (some highly questionable), eCommerce approaches like drop shipping, selling eBooks (information) and even multi level marketing. What I was witnessing was a well oiled machine of the sales funnel at work as the speakers on stage pitched their high end “Inner Circle ” coaching.
The highlight from this phase of my life was being transfixed by Richard Branson appearing at the Wayville Showground, Adelaide Australia sharing his wisdom on what it takes to be an entrepreneur. I still have the copious notes I took that day.
What struck me was his almost shy and awkward demeanour that did not fit with the public persona of being an extrovert willing to do anything for publicity. Who remembers him losing his bet to Tony Fernandez (AirAsia X CEO) and having to dress up as a Virgin Airlines flight attendant complete with fishnet stockings and make up. Once seen, cannot be unseen.
When you change, things change
The best $20,000 I invested was in myself.
At one of the said pitchfests, one particular presenter offered some words that stopped me in my tracks. Essentially it centred on developing emotional intelligence and that until we sorted out the emotional baggage we acquired around relationships, health and money it did not matter which wealth creation strategy a person picked to achieve financial success because it would be fleeting. They would always revert to their previous comfort zone (of debt and financial distress or continue to pick relationship partners that ended in tears).
Case in point-the majority of instant lottery millionaires do not stay millionaires for long, instead becoming broke and leaving a trail of broken relationships in their wake in a few years. They are not wealthy but poor people with a lot of money (temporarily). Wealth is a state of mind.
I signed up on the spot and made a 12 month commitment to attend 4 residential bootcamps (each run over 4 days in a different capital city from where I lived) and be accountable to a Master Coach who worked with me to unload unwanted baggage.
I was and still am fascinated with what sets successful people (millionaires) apart from the rest of the population. Serendipitously, I had started a blog about coaching people transitioning out of their jobs and with a modest online presence and was contacted by Real Coaching Radio to start an internet radio show Your Money and Your Mindset. That gave me the street cred to approach and interview these millionaires. It was a hoot.
My takeaways were that they are human, complete with their quirks and frailties. However, they are persistent and do not take failure personally. They have an unerring sense of self belief and a vision they can see long before anyone else.
Leap of faith
The personal development course led me to the realization that I would never be financially independent in my then steady and secure job (spot the irony). So I made the decision to resign, giving my boss 12 months notice. Colleagues thought I had lost my mind, but privately some did say to me that they wished they had the courage to walk away.
The decision to experience more in the real world led to gigs in the commercial world, learning to generate leads via Face to Face marketing in shopping malls for a home improvement company. Being an introvert I thought I would really suck at it. Instead, I found I could tap into aspects of my personality and channel the extrovert, making the first move to introduce myself to strangers, quickly creating rapport and trust and getting their contact details for the sales team to do their job of securing the sale.
The secret was not to take rejection personally and to turn up every day expecting to do well. My take away-if you learn to handle rejection and not internalize it, you are practically invincible.
My success rate in the field did not go unnoticed by management who promoted me to Face to Face Manager in due course. This environment gave me opportunities to improve my communication with people I managed who had never completed high school. It challenged my paradigms considering I previously worked with people with postgraduate degrees.
Bottom line- I worked on myself to improve the way I communicated with my team; my Jim Rohn inspired mantra was “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better”.
I moved on to a Not For Profit organization that is heavily focused on the governance process. I continue to be there because it is providing another piece of learning I require. Skip to the bottom of the page to see what I mean.
This blog is a living breathing document, evolving with me as I uncover more “aha” moments that I will add to here.
My journey to financial freedom is a work in progress; what I learned is that there is never a perfect time to start. Hell, I started residential property investing at the peak of a cycle and then had to watch values go backwards for almost a decade. I had my share of horror stories of tenants that skipped town without paying the rent and in the process left a mess to clean up. I learned that not all property managers are the same, and it was my job to manage the manager.
I had to grow as a person to handle all the challenges that were thrown at me. I learned that most investors quit within the first couple of years and swear never to touch it again. I learned that if I hang in there and manage my emotions, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I learned to negotiate with my creditors when cash flow dried up and I didn’t die having to talk to my creditors.
As it turned out, Australian property values rose in 2021 and gave me some nice returns.
I learned that having more than one stream of income is a safety net.
Why FU Money is Vital
I learned the importance of having FU money to keep you going for 6-9 months while the dust settles and you get your bearings.
There is something wickedly delicious and satisfying to know I have FU money and that I am only staying in a job because the work is engaging me intellectually, the people are great and that I can pull the pin should things become less than pleasant.
I learned at each job there are learnings that I require to achieve my aspirational goal.
I learned that you are never done; here’s where it is vital to have a big, hairy audacious goal.
My aspirational goal is to establish the Kenny Research Institute. Kenzo (his friends called him Kenny) was a purebred Akita I got when he was 8 weeks old from a breeder in Melbourne Victoria. It was difficult to have him at home while I spent my long days at work; neither of us took being separated very well.
On a different level, I now understood the emotional toll my female colleagues experienced juggling being a mother and pursuing a career in the very competitive world of medical research.
Many of my peers just quit when faced with making the hard choices. It is such a waste of talent when I know what it took to become a postdoctoral research fellow. This brain drain must be stopped. I figured it’s no point complaining about the unfairness etc when there are constructive options. To do this requires a serious amount of money and that is why I am shooting for the moon with my investment decisions.
Click here to read more about my “why” on the Kenny Research Institute (KRI).
Mission statement: To support women in STEMM establish and grow their careers
The 7 pillars of the Kenny Research Institute:
- Bright and talented postdoctoral fellows will have a guaranteed 5 year salary (virtually unheard of) and a research assistant to pursue their particular specialized research niche. It allows them time to develop their area of expertise instead of chasing short term grants. That is counter productive as it takes their time and energy away from the main game
- Each postdoc will be matched with a mentor. The mentor is there to help them navigate through the politics that exist within any industry and temper any naivety about how the real world works
- Participation in personal development courses is compulsory; this includes being taught emotional intelligence enhancement skills. Gee, I wish I was taught that at school, how about you?
- Attendance in financial literacy courses is mandatory. Financial literacy equals financial freedom
- The Kenny Research Institute will be equipped with a human crèche, infirmary and a pet crèche. Happy mothers who can have regular contact with their human or fur kids are more likely to be focused and productive
- A 24 hour gym on site to cater to the irregular hours worked Notice the emphasis on health and wellness?
- A 24 hour cafeteria onsite that serves healthy meals. Junk food and soft drinks will not be available from the vending machines. If they want to eat crap they have to go elsewhere to forage for it. Good luck!