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I was asked to write a column about investments and financial security for the Courier Mail – so I share what I wrote here too.


MY BIGGEST investment was starting my business in 2001.

It began from home and I never really had any intention of working anywhere else. It soon became nine people crammed into my front room which had its limitations.

But in the early days, it kept overheads low which meant that we could spend precious dollars on marketing activities.
Marketing my business correctly has been one of my best investments.

My best investment has also been my worst ? Telstra shares. I definitely have learnt that it is all a matter of timing. Really, I have had little to no success in the sharemarket.

I tried years ago and they are worth less now. The most success I have had is in businesses that I really know.

There are no investments that I missed out on and regret. Regret is an odd word. It implies sorrow or sadness and there is nothing sad about the choices I have made.

Some financial advisers I trust, others I don’t. I trust my husband, accountants and bankers. I don’t necessarily trust my stock broker. I think he has forgotten my name.

The best financial advice I have been given was to invest in the worst house in the best street and then make it the best house. About 10 years ago, investing in residential property was really working for us, but I think now it is a lot harder.

I now get my greatest leverage in investing in my business. Careful selection and understanding true return on investment of marketing and other spends can return a lot more than passive investments.

For this reason, if I had a windfall of $50,000, it would go directly into the business. I would recruit either a ColdFusion programmer or a salesperson ? then by the time that 50k was used up they would be productive and producing a lot more than that.

I’m not that across laws surrounding investments, that’s why I have a great accountant.

However, I do firmly believe that any type of unethical investment is not acceptable to me or anything done for the implied tax break.

I also question the restrictions on superannuation and capital gains ? should we not be encouraged to save as much as we can whilst we are young and earning?

I consider myself very wealthy ? I have a fabulous husband, two creative, gorgeous children and every day I love each minute of what I do as chief experience officer at RedBalloon (well, maybe there are a few minutes every day when I am at the end of my tether).

It all depends on how you define rich. Health, happiness and harmony are what it means to me.

Financial success means that I could walk into a shop and buy a pair of shoes without looking at the price tag. I don’t necessarily do that very often, but it’s nice to think I could.

My key to achieving this success is to never ever give up. Believe in yourself and your ideas, always act with integrity and get great advice. I firmly believe in attending educational events, where you can learn from industry leaders ? we should never stop learning.

I would say that my biggest financial flaw is not keeping up to date or staying informed. That is why my best investment is the running and direction of RedBalloon. I know the return I get from any dollar (or hour) invested.

My biggest financial extravagance is not owning a car. I just get cabs everywhere and never have to worry about parking or traffic, because I can continue to work in the cab!

This is proving quite handy at the moment whilst juggling work commitments and trying to write a fabulous speech for the marketing summit.

Despite this taxi extravagance, my household budget stays under control- if you don’t have one then it is in control!

I am a long way off retiring ? I still have at least 25 more years before I start to hang back.

School fees and HECS fees will finish about half way through that so it should then be smooth sailing.

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