Wisdom from Australia’s financial elite
Wisdom from Australia’s financial elite

Success tips from multi-millionaires

AUSTRALIA is a nation of millionaires. Household wealth has reached $1 million, spurred by high property prices and swelling superannuation balances, the Australian Bureau of Statistics says.

This data raises questions about how an investor can move up a level to become a multi-millionaire.

Hugh Bickerstaff, the chief investment officer for the venture capital group Investible, said people should avoid fixating on earnings.

"When people are faced with the opportunity to choose between income or risk, they pretty much always choose income," said Mr Bickerstaff, whose firm backed $3.5 billion graphic design success story Canva.

Young people, instead of sinking cash into superannuation funds and investments, usually assume that further down the track their projected higher earnings will make saving easier.

"But the reality is that you don't become wealthy from your salary," Mr Bickerstaff said.

Got some spare change? Wealthy people learn how to make their money work for them.
Got some spare change? Wealthy people learn how to make their money work for them.

"You need to make your money work for you. And if you're going to have a crack at something, it's much better to do it earlier in life, when you're less restricted by the costs of raising a family or the impact of an unexpected emergency."

Mr Bickerstaff said where possible, you should diversify your portfolio with assets that build wealth over time. This includes shares, property and extra superannuation contributions.

Entrepreneur Nick Bell's advice to himself before he achieved stellar success was to develop connections.

"Build strong networks from an early age," said Mr Bell, the founder of firms including digital agency Appscore, who has an estimated net worth of $170 million.

It was never too early to seek mentors, Mr Bell said, adding he had grown his network in recent years through social media site LinkedIn and dialogue platform WhatsApp.

The WhatsApp group he runs with other business owners worth $50 million-plus enables access to instant advice. "When in doubt, I shoot a question or scenario to the group and within five minutes the responses start flowing through," Mr Bell said.

Another of his tips was to be ambitious: "Think and act big. You need to believe in yourself and show others that you do, too - that doesn't mean acting arrogant or being rude to people, but it does mean confidence and humility".

Meantime, beware get-rich-quick investments. "Ninety-nine-point-nine per cent of the time, they lead nowhere," Mr Bell said.

"You're better off buying a lotto ticket or donating your investment to charity - wealth is built with the long-term business plays."

Mr Bell said people should never to take themselves too seriously, and enjoy the process of building wealth without gloating.

"There's nothing more off-putting than meeting someone who has done well for themselves financially and makes sure you're constantly reminded of it. It is the fastest way to lose family, friends and connections."