Many of us make New Year’s resolutions and, as the running joke seems to go, break them shortly thereafter. Most resolutions involve short term pain for long term gain, or in the case of getting into shape, long term loss.

It’s hardly surprising that a lot of resolutions go out the window a week or two into the year, because people will often go out too hard and strong rather than just setting achievable, incremental goals.

Doing 100 hill sprints a day is not sustainable, nor is going from walking occasionally to running 20km in one week. The physical boundaries of the body make such feats impossible to achieve. You are much better stepping up the walking, then breaking into the odd jog and going from there, making small improvements on a gradual basis.

Of course, financial resolutions are just as popular and are different at face value, but in essence they are the same.

Going in too hard or making rash decisions and setting unrealistic goals may not cause physical pain, but will undoubtedly cause fiscal pain.

Building wealth is a long term pursuit. If it was easy to become an overnight millionaire, there would be no need for all these so-called gurus to cold call you or send you spam emails offering to teach you how. They would simply be living it up themselves.

If you do want to improve your financial situation through investing, real estate is the most popular asset class in Australia. We love home ownership and all the trimmings.


But like everything else, there’s no point overstretching and mortgaging yourself to the hilt. Start within your budget and knowledge base and work your way up. Before you do take the plunge, it’s good to cover the basics.

First, you need a strategy. Do you want to accumulate 10 or more investments over your lifetime, pay them off, build equity and then retire on the rental income?

Or perhaps you want to buy run down properties, renovate them, sell for a profit and do it all over again; one such project a year could well earn you a six-figure salary. You may even want to invest using superannuation, if you’re not keen on managed funds or shares. This has a number of benefits, including paying less tax.

Whatever it is, once you have your strategy, it’s very important to surround yourself with the right people. Accountants, financial advisers and solicitors can set you on the right path from day one, while a mortgage broker can help you choose the loan product that will best suit your situation and keep fees to a minimum.

Think of yourself as a Sydney to Hobart race competitor, you don’t take off from a standing start. First, you must time your run to the start line and begin the race from the best possible position. Next week, we’ll look at popular strategies.

Tim McIntyre is the senior real estate reporter for the Daily Telegraph and Over the past decade, he has attained widespread knowledge of Australia’s many unique property markets and is an authority on all things buying, selling and investing. His commentary appears every Saturday in the Daily Telegraph Real Estate lift out, as well as online at


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