Finance advice
Give back, money, hand

When property experts give back their prosperity

By Sasha Karen

Property investors are fairly lucky to be able to invest into property, to the point that such luck allows them to give back to society. We chat with a few property experts to know about their charitable exploits and their reasons for doing so.

Helping those who need it most is an admirable act no matter how it’s done, and no matter who does it — someone who has been giving back for years or someone giving for the first time. We found two people at both ends of this spectrum who found their success in property and then felt compelled to give back.

Giving for a while

Helen Collier-Kogtevs is the founder and managing director of Real Wealth Australia, and she is also one of four women who started the ShaRM Foundation that operates in Vanuatu which focuses on community projects, mostly those involving school buildings.

After Super Cyclone Pam hit the nation on 13 March 2015, Ms Collier-Kogtevs and her husband felt compelled to help out, bringing with them tarps, food, clothing as well as a chainsaw.

“My husband and I started with a kindergarten. When I was walking through the villages, handing out the tarps, they showed me what they called a building which they ran a kindergarten for about 26 children and it emotionally moved me to the point where I couldn’t walk away and do nothing, so Ed and I personally decided to do what we could. We rebuilt that kindergarten,” Ms Collier-Kogtevs told Smart Property Investment.

“Because Vanuatu is a small community of expats, word got out as to what we were doing, and three other women decided to also contribute and wanted to do something, and the result of that was, we created SHaRM.

“SHaRM Foundation stands for — it’s for our names, really. So, S is for Stephanie, H is for Helen, the little a is and, and then you’ve got the R for Robin and M for Marg, and that was pretty simple, but that was the way in which we created the name of the foundation.”

These four women, who either lived in or visited Vanuatu, decided that as they had invested in the country, they should give something back in return.

Today, ShaRM is responsible for over 20 community projects, with calls for at least 15 more, which involve constructing or repairing schools, providing clothing for children, teaching locals how to sew, and the basket blong titty (Bislama for bras) initiative.

“We’ve imported close to a thousand bras over the time, and weve handed them out in [villages] because theyre too expensive to buy over there for the locals,” Ms Collier-Kogtevs said.

Additionally, some of the proceeds from Real Wealth Australia from property education in Australia goes to SHaRM to further its initiatives in Vanuatu, the MD said.

“Ive run public events where I charge a fee for people to attend the event, and the money of that goes to SHaRM. Ive run book sales online where people, if they buy a book or resources, I’ve donated all the money of that to ShaRM.

“We also have businesses that refer us business or that we refer them business, and with some of them, I donate all of the proceeds to SHaRM.”

Giving back for the first time

Not everyone can give to charity, but any amount raised for a cause is a good thing, no matter how frequent or infrequent. Long-time Smart Property Investment commentator Simon Pressley, managing director and head of research at Propertyology, has decided this year to attend the St Vincent de Paul Society’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout, where he will be sleeping out during one of the year’s coldest evenings to date to raise money for homelessness.

Mr Pressley had always wanted to attend the sleepout, but previously, life got in the way and by the time he seriously considered it, it had come and gone, the head researcher said.

“Weve all got excuses in life because were all busy, but the hardest thing was actually, ‘I need to look into how you do that,’ because it’s not just rocking up on the night and sleeping. There’s a registration process and there’s a create awareness process and there’s let your networks know and not allocating the time to actually explore, that is why I haven’t done it before.”

In the past, Mr Pressley thought negatively of homeless people, with such thoughts as “bludger or druggo or criminal”, but now, he admits he is embarrassed he ever thought of people placed in a homeless situation like that.

“Often, it’s depression-related; loss of job, loss of loved ones, general lack of support in their life, no network, nowhere to go, end up on the street, and would be hard to find any great self-esteem when you’re doing that,” the research head said.

Mr Pressley is now participating in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, and he is glad he is doing something about the issue of homelessness.

“Now I’ve got no excuses for doing this every single year.”

How and when you can give back

While both Ms Collier-Kogtevs and Mr Pressley have different avenues for charity, both said that it was important to give back only when you are in a position when you can give back, especially for first-time investors.

“I would prefer investors in their early days to hold off doing that. Help yourself first, help yourself to then help others,” Ms Collier-Kogtevs said.

“When you’re negatively gearing properties, it really bites into your disposable income, and even though you’ve got a couple of assets under your belt and you feel wealthy, the reality is because you’re negatively geared, from a week-to-week perspective, it bites into your cash flow, and for a lot of investors, it hurts.

“Trying to give to charity in that moment isn’t really helping you... helping them.”

Instead of giving right way, Ms Collier-Kogtevs said that investors need to plan out their future, and once investors see their cash flow turn out more positively, then instead of little bits of $5 donations, a $100 donation every month will feel both like a more substantial donation, yet not feel like anything in the grand scheme of your expenses.

“I think everybody should give back, but not at the detriment of your financial position and your living each month,” Ms Collier-Kogtevs said.

“Just because you can afford to buy an investment, a lot of people aren’t buying the right investments, so their cash flow is quite significantly depleted, so I would rather they would just hold off and gave more at the other end when they could afford it.

“I’m all for giving, but you’ve got to be able to afford to give, and I want people to give and give freely where it doesn’t impact them. So, when you donate the $100 a month, it’s like, 'Ah, it’s no big deal and I can easily afford it'.”

For those who are placed in a fortunate enough position, Mr Pressley said that while he does not feel comfortable telling others how to be charitable, giving back to society should be a goal.

“I think it’s a good thing… for all of us from time to time realise how fortunate we are, and for those who are prepared to help some others who are less fortunate, whether it’s this particular cause or any other cause, I think it’s a really nice thing to really be able to contribute back to society and make a difference in someone else’s life,” the research head said.

“It’s not that hard, really. It’s just making that first step.”

If you would like to follow the charity initiatives mentioned in this article, click here for more information on ShaRM and click here for Mr Pressley’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout attempt.

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FROM THE WEB

podcast

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Luke’s first property investment included what he now looks back on as “learning experiences”.  He chose it only because it was close to where he lived, he bought it at the peak of the market and he elected to manage his (unreliable, damage-prone) tenants alone. Now, 16 years on Luke has 30 properties and a much better idea about how to approach the investment game.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show Luke joins host Tim Neary to unpack how he went about educating himself, how his investment style has changed over time and why patience is the name of the game.

Luke will also share how his initial mistakes discouraged him and had him doubting the wisdom of being an investor, and how his realisation of the importance of active management bought him back into line.  He will discuss the importance of having a strong support team and why it’s smart to put a proper value on your personal time.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

How to profit from changing market conditions
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4 tips for first time property investors

AREAS MENTIONED: 

Sydney
Brisbane
Adelaide
Wollongong
Geelong
Melton South
Cairns
Perth

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An unsure start in property investment leads to a 30-property portfolio
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  ["title"]=>
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Promoted by Blue Ink Finance.

Budgeting tips when your Personal Debt is High.

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Credit card debts and personal loans are the greatest obstacle between everyday people and their potential to live in financial freedom.

Of course, I understand that sometimes getting a small personal loan is absolutely necessary. Unexpected costs like medical expenses can make personal loans the only option.

However, the majority of us have debt simply because we spend more than we earn.

In either case, your number one priority is unlocking those chains of debt that are holding you back.

I’m going to give you some tips for budgeting with hefty personal debt, but first I want to talk about the impact those loans are having on your life.

How much is your debt really costing you?

Over the years that you’re paying off your loans at the minimum repayment, the interest on those items will end up costing you multiple times more than the original borrowed amount - and those endless due dates will haunt you. There’s no freedom in that!

Let me give you an example. You’ll be shocked, I guarantee it!

Let’s say you have around $4,000 of credit card debt, charged at 19.99% p.a. If you paid only the minimum monthly amount, it would take 37 years to pay off the total debt.

How much will that $4,000 debt cost you? $19,200. Depressing, isn’t it?

You might feel like you need a full-blown money explosion to get out of debt, but don’t despair just yet.

What you need to do is arm yourself with a strategic budget, and I’ve got some tips to help you.

Budgeting while you have hefty personal debt is tough, but possible – and it’s essential for eliminating that debt forever. Let’s have a quick look at how you can start to tackle that mountain of borrowed money.

It’s time to take charge and break some chains!

There’s a method for reducing debt that has an excellent success rate, if you’re committed:

  1. Make a realistic budget (and stick to it)
  2. Reduce your expenses and/or increase your income until you are in the black
  3. Save an emergency fund first
  4. Pay off your personal loans and credit cards, starting with the either the smallest debt first or the debt with the highest interest rate
  5. Revise your budget as you go along.

Why an emergency fund is paramount to success

You’ll see I’ve put saving an emergency fund before paying off your loans. Even a small amount initially, like $500, is enough to stop the cycle of borrowing to pay bills, then paying out even more in interest each month, which leaves less in the bank to pay the next bill.

Once you have a buffer saved, then you can start aiming some serious firepower on your debt, and that’s when it gets exciting!

Think back to my credit card example. If you upped the payments each month from $84 per month to $212, you would have the card paid off in two years and save $14,285 in interest. That’s worth a little bit of effort, wouldn’t you agree?

Tips for a budget that works

You may need to cut back drastically on your expenses to clear your debt, but here’s some other ways to make the most of your budget:

  • Find micro-ways to reduce your expenses every day. Make work lunches at home, cancel a pay TV subscription, find a better phone deal, or pass on your afternoon chocolate bar from the vending machine. Instead of spending $40 on a takeaway dinner, have a bowl of cereal!

  • Find a friend who will keep you accountable. Having someone else who shuns a pricey outing to the day spa for a walk along the beach instead will make you feel better about saying ‘no’ to expensive events that will blow the budget.

  • Refinance your home loan to release some funds. If you have a mortgage, talk to us at Blue Ink Finance about the possibility of refinancing your home loan to allow you to release some equity to help clear your high interest, personal debt. It’s not always the best strategy, but it’s worth investigating, especially if you can consolidate it into a home loan that has a significantly lower interest rate.

  • If your income increases, leverage it! The only place that extra money should go is into paying off more debt. Enough said!

  • Refine and polish your budget as your circumstances change. Your budget shouldn’t stay the same. As you find more ways to decrease your expenditure and become adept at sticking to your financial plan, fine-tune your budget to reflect your savvy saving. Any spare change goes directly onto your debt.

  • Automate payments of bills, so you don’t spend the money first. This saves you from late fees if you forget, too.

The reality is that you won’t have a profitable budget until you get rid of that high-interest debt. The beauty of a budget is that it can get you there! Knock the debt, stay away from borrowing except for assets like property, and you’ll have a well-oiled financial plan that kicks goals instead of paying lenders!

At Blue Ink Finance, we have a team of expert brokers as well as a panel of industry experts that understand all the nuances of positioning your personal finances to kick real goals with Property Assets and can support you in achieving your goals.

Give the team at Blue Ink Finance a call on 1300 888 796 or click here to request your Complimentary Finance Review with one of our experienced Finance Coaches now.

And see how having a panel of industry experts on your side, can fast track your property goals.

About The Author

David Wegener
Chief Executive Officer
Blue Ink Finance

Who I am, and why I want to help you succeed.

As an award-winning Mortgage Broker with nearly 20 years’ experience in the finance industry, I’ve seen it all.

I’ve gone through constant industry changes and yet I still successfully help my customers borrow the money they need to get ahead.

As a Finance Coach, my goal is to help you understand your financial potential so that you can borrow with confidence.

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Leveraging your Blue Ink Finance Broker for more than just a loan.
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With the softening market impacting property values in many parts of Australia, Sally Dale, Opteon state director for NSW, ACT and Qld joins us to discuss the importance of valuations in the current property market

" ["fulltext"]=> string(3002) "

Joining host Phil Tarrant, Sally will draw on her 25 years of experience in valuation and discuss the processes involved in arriving at a value for a particular property. She will also share how that process differs between commercial and residential properties and the difficulties which regional property valuations can present.

Sally will unpack the importance and cost of regular valuations on your properties, discuss whether presentation and owner input can sway a valuation and share what you should look for when seeking a reputable property valuer.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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Sydney
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Can property presentation result in a higher valuation?

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