I would have been a better property investor if I knew these 12 things earlier in life

Recently one of my children, who has suddenly taken an interest in property, asked me: “Dad you’ve been investing for a long time. If you could go back 40 years what would you have liked to know then that would have made you do things differently?”

Now that’s a great question isn’t it?

It made me realise that I have lived long enough to stop thinking about the past with regret, yet there are lots of things I wish I had known earlier in life.

These would have made me a better and wiser person and a more successful property investor.

So here are the twelve things I wish I had known about “then

1. Become the pilot of your life

Everything changed for me when I learned that my thoughts lead to my feelings, my feelings lead to my actions and my actions lead to my results.

This meant my inner world (my thoughts and feelings) controlled my outer world (my actions and results)

The turning point was when I realised that I was responsible for all the things (both good and bad) that happened to me.

I then became the pilot of my life and not a passenger.

And even if it’s not true, I know I act differently and my results are better because I believe I’m responsible for everything that happens to me.

2. Keep your eye on the prize!

When I was young no one taught me about the Reticular Activating System, that part of your brain that only lets you see in your surroundings what you focus your thoughts on.

It pretty much always helps you to find what you are looking for.

Setting goals and regularly reviewing them is one way to keep your focus on what’s important and to help you take action that will move you closer to toward where you want to go.

3. Your attitude changes your reality

It’s the old “is the glass half full or half empty” story.glass half full

When things happen in life that we don’t like, we can either choose to see them as a problem or as a solution waiting to be discovered.

It took me quite while to discover that if you change your attitude, you actually change your reality.

When you have a positive attitude instead of a negative one, you start to see things and viewpoints that were invisible to you before.

 4. You must give to receive

As children we are told that the joy is in giving rather than receiving.

But as we become adults, for many life becomes about what we can get out of someone or something.

However, if you want to increase the value you receive (be it money, love, kindness, opportunities) you have to increase the value you give.

Because over time what you get is in proportion to what you give.

While it would be nice to get something for nothing, that seldom happens.

5. Be Pro-active rather than reactive

There seem to be 3 types of people:

  • Those who make things happen
  • Those who watch what happens, and…
  • Those that sit and wonder “what just happened?”

Be in the first group and always be on the lookout for opportunities.

6. Make your time count!

How often have you heard someone say: “time flies”clock time calendar

Indeed it does, so use it wisely!

Just as you are careful about how and where you invest your money, you should also be careful as to how you invest your time.

The Pareto Principle says that 80 per cent of the value we receive comes from just 20 per cent of what we do with our time.

So what things do you spend your time doing that take a lot of energy yet deliver few results?

7. Mistakes mean growth!

Sometimes negative experiences, mistakes and failures can be even better than a success because they teach you something new which another win could never teach you.

However we are often so driven to get things right that we fail to see the value in the things we get wrong.

Instead we spend our time wishing we had done it differently.

Or not doing anything at all because the fear of making mistakes paralyzes us.

If you get it wrong, learn from your mistake and make it count by doing it differently next time.

One “failure” can – with time – help you create many successes.

8. Don’t waste your time worryingstress_e

Most things you fear will happen, never do.

They are just monsters in your mind.

And if they do happen then they will most likely not be as bad as you expected.

So now when confronted with a challenge I put things into perspective by asking myself:

  • What’s the worst that can happen?
  • What’s the best possible outcome? And…
  • What the most likely thing that’s going to happen

This means you shouldn’t take things too seriously because that which seems like a big problem today, you may not even remember in five years.

So lighten up a bit.

Time spent worrying is time that could be spent identifying opportunities and taking action.

9. Don’t compare yourself to others

When you compare yourself to others you let the outside world control how you feel about yourself.

Instead strive to become the best you can be and look at how far you have come, what you have accomplished and how you have grown.

And here’s 3 property related concepts I wish I realised earlier in my investment career:

10. The economy and investment markets move in cycles

That’s mainly because most of us get swept up in the optimism or pessimism of others.

Of course, no two cycles are ever the same, but investors need to know that each downturn paved the way for the next boom just as each boom sets the scene for the next slump.

11. It’s important that investors enjoy the magic of compounding

Wealth is created by building a substantial asset base.

You do this by holding good investments for a reasonably long time, reinvesting the income you’re receiving and allowing your capital gains to build up.

And finally…

12. Every year there is an X factor

CrystalBallAn unforeseen event or situation that blows all our carefully laid forecasts away.

That’s why it’s critical to have a contingency financial buffer.

In conclusion we live in the best country in the world and at the best time in history.

Appreciate what you have and enjoy the journey of life, because an attitude of gratitude is a simple way to make yourself and those around you feel happy.

Now what are you going to do with your life?

Want more of this type of information?


Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who create wealth for their clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit Metropole.com.au

'I would have been a better property investor if I knew these 12 things earlier in life' have 16 comments

  1. February 21, 2014 @ 2:31 pm Thisbe

    Dear Michael
    Can you ask your web administrator to relocate the banner of Facebook , Google etc
    to a different position on your article.
    It blocks 1/3 of the reading. Reader cannot close the banner or move it to other area.
    Very frustrating.

    I have written to you previously. I am sure many readers will share my view.


    • February 22, 2014 @ 7:42 am Michael Yardney

      Thisbe – what sort of device are you using to read this blog?


  2. February 22, 2014 @ 6:19 am carlos

    Hi Michael,

    Recently I attempted to purchase a tenanted commercial retail in North lakes, qld from the liquidator but had to drop it after finding out that the sinking fund is only $13K. This commercial strata units with 18 retails is 9 years old and has been placed under administration. This building is due for repainting and thatched roof replacement.
    Am I being too reactive or am I pragmatic and made a good decision?

    Thank you


    • February 22, 2014 @ 7:46 am Michael Yardney

      I can’t really tell because I don’t know all the circumstances.
      If other than that it was a good investment that fitted your criteria then you should have allowed a sum to contribute to the sinking fund in your budget (and maybe received a further discount)
      The problem is the other owners may not have had money to contribute in one lump sum and that may lead to future problems.

      You’ve done what you’ve done. Move on…


  3. February 22, 2014 @ 8:54 am Chida

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for your invaluable advice & tips as it has been very helpful throughout. I think this article captures the gist and stands out the most.

    Thanks again,


  4. February 19, 2015 @ 7:40 pm Lee

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for your terrific tips. I plan to print them out so I can remember them every day!


  5. February 20, 2015 @ 7:24 pm Dan Popping

    Michael, Thanks for sharing your insights and sharing your experiences, I always find your blogs and tips very helpful. Cheers


  6. September 23, 2015 @ 12:27 am Ben

    Michael I am relatively experienced property investor, however I find myself learning lots for each and every one of your articles. Keep up the great work.


    • September 23, 2015 @ 8:30 am Michael Yardney

      Ben – thans for the kind words – they’ve made my day!


  7. April 29, 2016 @ 1:28 pm Marilyn Goss

    Hi Michael
    I have been a member many years as well. I enjoy your informative, insightful and honest approach to everything you do. I have taken on board a lot of what you say. I have been an investor/developer in real estate for more than 20 years. It has seen me drop my full time employment to concentrate on small boutique developments which have worked for me. I particularly like the way you respond individually to all the emails you get. I subscribe to a lot of property/investment newsletters and many are not as hands-on as you. You are doing a good job. Thank you.


  8. May 1, 2016 @ 7:53 pm Dafna

    Hi Michael,

    Thank you so much for this inspiring article. I am exactly at a point in my life where I’m trying to follow some of these tips and am struggling a bit or am struggling to see the success..I will read this article more times! Thank you for all these helpful articles you write!


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