Category Archives: Psychology of the Deal

Investment psychology

Following the pack

Nova 96.9, the Sydney radio station, are running a contest called Double Dilema. They give a tricky situation and ask you to SMS your choice, then tune in at 5pm and see if Sydney agrees with what you think. Random prizes are offered to induce participation.

Sydney’s Channel 7 Sunrise program also uses Yes/No phone polls. The peer pressure in this sort of group-think is incredible. I’ve found myself doubting my convictions in response to polls that don’t go my way. Do I really care what 74% of respondents think?

On the other hand, leading the pack is dangerous in the stock market (and potentially also in real estate markets). Anybody still think Telstra 2 was cheap? The trend is your friend.

My motto is “don’t be a schmuck!” The madding crowd have no clue — so don’t follow them. But keep aware that a stampeding mob can kill you if you stand in their way.

Brains or Money

Further to yesterday’s post on smarts being an obstacle to wealth. I remember reading

‘A’ students go on to work for ‘C’ students and ‘B’ students go on to work for the government.

I don’t remember where I read it, but it was during the late 1980’s. let me know if you have a reference so I can attribute it.

Sim’ Rhymes with Time

Sim’ is a very smart friend of mine. So smart in fact that I think he would already be filthy, stinking, rich if he weren’t so smart. It’ll take him a few years longer, coz he’s finally learned that making money can be simple. That should be a compliment, comment below if it came out wrong.

I believe really smart people have large handicaps to overcome in order to become wealthy. I believe that you are really smart if you are reading this. That’s why I don’t spoon feed you. Plus isn’t it fun to talk to smart people? So the take-home value of my post is keep it simple, smarty.

Anyway Sim’s finally got a blog where, among other things, he eloquently and persuasively makes a case for the correct pronounciation of his name. It is a parable for focus, intelligence and coherence. Overcoming the circumstances of his birth name, Sim’ created an image of what he wanted. People told him he needed to change the spelling to convey his meaning. But he knew what he meant, and enough others knew (at least the one’s who matter). Sim’ doesn’t need to change the world, merely his little corner of it. Happiness and empowerment flow from that.

FYI, yes, the rest of Sim’s blog is very interesting. I don’t think that parable was a stretch. Think about it and leave a comment.

Flu and Harry Potter

I thought I was doing very well, having ducked 4 flu’s around the office this winter. Pride goeth before the fall. So I’m feeling miserable with a box of tissues.

I’ve been reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (HP4) with my 9 year-old daughter, Gaby, then burning a little midnight oil reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix (HP5). Tonight Gaby tells me a huge spoiler for it. Damn! Raised voices and a little tantrum from Dad. That’s why I don’t blog on my superiour parenting skills I guess.

I blame the flu.

Navra Funds

I finally found time to meet with an advisor from Navra Financial Services. We discussed property and share investments as well as an investment in the Navra Blue Chip Australian Share Retail Fund. The financial plan is being prepared and will be ready in a couple of weeks. Very exciting stuff.

Hopefully we’ll buy another investment house soon if I can get my business affairs in order.

Steve Navra then showed me some results of his recent trades and I can admit I’m jealous. Luckily my own trading is greatly influenced by Steve’s ideas so I am only a little green.

One of my frustrations at the moment is being stretched thin. I wear the hats of husband, boss, father, investor, friend and club member. I feel like I am doing none of them well. One of the ways to improve my overall success is to delegate some of the jobs. So good investment results without large time commitment on my part is better than great results with huge time investment.

It’s a kind of strange life-balance equation.

Second Correct Answer

I was interviewing for new distributors today. It was strange as I had my Queensland manager down to help. One interesting side-effect of the shuttle interviews was two correct answers to the same questions. But our answers were often diametrically opposed, even contradictory. How can this be?

One sign of maturity is recognising there is more than one correct answer to many questions. (Thanks Sim’)

The first answer that jumps into my head is often correct. The better answer often arrives second.

Being decisive is a powerful skill. Pausing to ask for the second correct answer generates extraodinary results.

Balance and Obsession

Peter FitzSimons in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald had this great quote:

“While it’s important to have balance in your life, it takes a certain obsessiveness to be outstanding.” Former Hockeyroo coach Ric Charlesworth in the latest issue of Inside Sport. And this, dear friends, is the key problem with modern sport.

I won’t comment on modern sport, but Ric Charlesworth’s comment is not limited to sport. Outstanding results come from two directions: 1) Pure dumb luck, and 2) perseverance.

Without Ric’s certain obsession, setbacks become insurmountable obstacles. What keeps investors going after their first few offers are rejected? How do you cope with any stuborn ignorance and negativity from friends, acquaintances and family members?

Notice he said certain obsession. I’m not talking about the sort of blind obsession that makes compelling drama in film and TV. Rather it shows up in our discussions and even our web-surfing ;).

I do believe in life balance over a period of time. There is a season to sow and a season to reap. That doesn’t mean you reap and sow every day. Outstanding people are willing to make sacrifices today to have what the unwilling don’t have.

10 ideas on starting with no job

With damn hard WORK (not JOB) how to go from 0 to 5 investment properties.


  1. it wont happen fast unless you’re lucky – in which case you didn’t need to follow any plan.
  2. You will work harder than anybody with a job to get the same initial results.
  3. I’d guess it will take about 7-14 years
  4. Getting and keeping a job would be easier (but may leave you broke). How many stories have you read that said “bought my first Investment Property then waited X years before I thought of doing it again because work got in the way”
  5. We want this to be legal

So here is the list:

  1. Start earning cash now. That probably means learning how to sell something, anything, anywhere.
    1. self-employment sections of the papers
    2. market stalls
    3. Walk around industrial areas with your eyes open. Has someone got an overstock problem? Ask for a sample and a price. Hit the road.
    4. Ask yourself how can I get something to sell on consignment?
  2. Start small but scale quickly. Turn $5 into $10. Then $20 then $40 then $80 etc.
  3. Learn to fix problems. Look for people with a problem and find a way to make that problem go away. That lets you set your own price that is not tied to time or personal effort.
  4. Focus on cashflow. In the early days do not build a system to sell it. How much am I making per week/month (forget year). e.g. Some retailers break even on trading but make money by selling the business, others make money from day 1 — guess who normally wins in the long run?
  5. Put 5%-20% (say 10%) away for wealth creation. That way you’ll know when you have enough to buy an accumulating asset. That % may be of gross sales or net profit whatever! But put it away out of every deal/week/invoice.
  6. Network. Now. Go out and meet people. Not just your friends. Talk to business people, sales-reps, seminar-junkies, hairdressers, baristas and bar-tenders. Find a 2 sentence intro and ask them questions about themselves. If you can afford internet access you can afford to do a google search on how to network.
  7. Optional. Find a deal that is too good to pass up and the money will appear. This is a fact
  8. Buy an asset (with your own money) that is 80% right as soon as you see it. You won’t find anything perfect and the time you waste getting 95% perfect will cost you 2 deals. The learning experience is worth the mistakes. Remember you created the deposit and you can do it again if you make a mistake.
  9. Did you know that if you had a 34% deposit the money is relatively easy to find?
  10. Once you have an investment system that works for you, leverage it with investors. Realise almost no investor will back your first deal.

What a Mustache!

I put faces to names this evening. I was at the launch Steve Navra’s of NavraInvest’s Navra Blue Chip Australian Share Retail Fund, (more on that later), when I met a bunch of neat people who hang out in the Somersoft Property Investors Forum

Interestingly one of the guys had a surname that could translate to be “mustache” – he was clean shaven. You know that his ancestor’s mustache must have been truly impressive and remarkable (in a nation of mustached men), for the surname to stick.

Just needed to note that somewhere. Tomorrow I’ll ‘blog some thoughts on the launch, the fund, the people.

Oh and I’ll update the latest in the succession wars.

Communication Technique

One of my distributors got angry at me today. Actually, my phone manner pissed her off. Specifically, she said the way I “hmmm’d” while she spoke sounded like I was eating an apple and reading a magazine. At the time I was trying to make her feel heard (!).

In a dispute use the communication technique that sounds least like a communication technique. That was the advice from Christopher Moore of CDR Associates, the internationally acclaimed dispute resolution firm. These guys are skilled, brilliant and cool. My summary is a poor understatement of their abilities (and I know and love these guys).

I must be getting rusty. Despite not agreeing most of her content, I did want to hear the complaint and acknowledge her reality. I also didn’t want to argue with her.

I could finish this entry with a pithy “you can’t win them all”, but that lets me off the hook. I don’t think my relationship with the distributor is viable. She will probably resign on Monday. But I need to lift my game in difficult times. It’s easy to win when everything is going my way. It’s the way I deal with complex and unhappy pressures that builds loyalty and inspires the extraordinary efforts of my team.