5 valuable money lessons

03.11.14 | Posted in Entrepreneurship General Women In Business

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I’m absolutely no finance expert, but over the years I have built two eight-figure businesses and a really strong property portfolio that includes a bunch of residential properties and also our commercial headquarters in the Sydney CBD for Business Chicks. I bought a whole floor of an office building late last year and it’s been really rewarding to see our team grow into it – we have designed it into a really well-functioning space that we’re proud to call home.

I always knew from a young age that I wanted to be financially independent, but my upbringing didn’t necessarily mean that this was going to happen. I grew up in a lower-middle-class family in the suburbs where we wanted for absolutely nothing, but never had much money (not that my sister, brother and I ever knew that). A family holiday was a road trip to the Gold Coast (which we adored but is a far cry from the many international holidays that we take our kids on at every opportunity we can these days. My three-year-old has been to eight different countries!).

Growing up, our parents instilled strong values in us. We attended church every weekend and there was a sign on my sister’s bedroom door that read ‘God + nothing = everything’. Of course, I understood the intention behind this sign – that you didn’t need to rely on material things to get your happiness – but I also interpreted that as permission not to strive for anything more.

A family friend introduced me to the world of personal development and I was hooked. I devoured every business biography I could get my hands on (the irony being that now many of these people have spoken for Business Chicks) and attended every seminar/course I could. A whole new world to the one I’d known started opening up and I never looked back.

Along the way I’ve learnt (and am still learning) some valuable lessons about money …

Starting early is great, but starting is more important

I began my first business when I was 18 and bought my first property when I was 19. I got knocked back by nine different lenders to buy that first place, but I never gave up. When the approval letter finally came through, I saved it. I turned over that piece of paper and drew up a couple of columns. The first was ‘Mortgage amount’, then ‘Amount paid off’. I obsessed over that handwritten spreadsheet. If I had $70 in my bank account, I’d transfer it into that mortgage and proudly write it up. When I got a windfall from dividends or commissions, every dollar would go into the mortgage. I would also put most of my salary into that mortgage, and took extra casual jobs on to accelerate it (I owned a recruitment company back then so would do temp work at nights and on the weekends whenever I could for my clients). It doesn’t matter if you’re 19 or 59 – it’s never too late to start building your wealth.

Make your money work for you

Money sitting in an everyday transaction account is doing nothing for you. I never have a large amount of excess funds sitting in any bank account. Any ‘extra’ money I have goes to the non-deductible debt first – my credit card (I only have one) or onto my home loan so I can smash the mortgage, one dollar at a time! I don’t have money sitting in my super fund either – it’s all invested into shares.

Small actions make big differences

I try and take tiny little bits of action EVERY day on my financial health. That action could be as small as paying $400 off my credit card and even transferring an amount as small as $300 onto my mortgage. I’ve always found that any incremental step towards financial success builds confidence and helps me believe that I’m always moving forward.

Believe you can

Any amount of success, no matter what your endeavour, starts with getting your head right. The old saying is so true here: ‘If you believe you can or can’t, you’re right.’

Giving is just as important as making

I give my money away generously. I always sponsor my friends and Business Chicks members in their fundraising initiatives and I’m a strong investor in The Hunger Project and other charities. I started giving generously even before I had any money, when it would have been very easy to say, ‘I can’t afford it.’ Somehow I knew that having positive energy around money – watching it flow in and out and giving it toward good things – meant I always seemed to attract more.



  1. Cathy

    Hi Emma, I really appreciate this, and the earned wisdom behind it. I so admire your focus and clarity to your financial well being, and it inspires me. Food for thought. Thanks x

  2. Shivani

    Love that you share that darling – I am inspired. Want to make more money and give more away too. Off to Indis on Thursday with business women to micro finance women in India

  3. Thuy Nguyen

    Emma, this is such an inspirational read – I love the wisdom and insight that you provide behind every word in your blog. It’s so important that we educate more women in the world of wealth creation. You are doing amazing work and I’m so blessed and grateful to know you through The Hunger Project during the January 2014 trip to India! Thuy xox