The 3 Biggest Obstacles to Becoming Financially Free


What has been the single greatest obstacle stopping you from becoming financially free?

Why do I ask? money bill finance debt

Well…last week at a private client function I was conducting I had the good fortune to have conversations with a number of our Wealth Retreat graduates.

I was talking with them about their experiences since attending our 5-day workshop, what they had learned, what they were doing differently, and how they were leveraging the relationships they had built at Wealth Retreat.

Some interesting comments came out which I’ll share with you in a moment, but first I want to ask you that question again:

What has been the single greatest obstacle stopping you from becoming financially free?

Speaking to these Wealth Retreat graduates, here were the three main hurdles I’ve seen them face.

As you read on, see which of these three get in your way.

Maybe you’re facing more than one of them!

Obstacle #1: Isolation: It’s hard to build wealth on your own

Without question one of the biggest things I consistently hear from the Wealth Retreat graduates is that before they joined us at our 5-day retreat they were isolated in their wealth building. 

They didn’t have a Mastermind group of like-minded investors, entrepreneurs or business people with whom they could share their challenges, brainstorm ideas, leverage contacts, or celebrate their successes.

Many said they were looking for a group of ambitious, positive, like-minded, supportive doers to help them succeed.

You see…alone you are vulnerable.

You will never reach your fullest potential.

But when you connect with the right people, a whole new set of options you never dreamed possible opens up to you.

In fact, one of the main reasons people attend Wealth Retreat is to have an instant peer group of movers and shakers.

In today’s changing financial environment it’s even more important than ever to have a supportive mastermind group around you.

Can you imagine how much faster you’d reach your goals and how much more fun you would have along the way if you were a part of a community of elite wealth builders who could support you?

Obstacle #2: Fear

One of the greatest obstacles to building financial freedom is fear.

And with all the mixed messages in the press at the moment with concerns about floods, the after-effects of the Corona Virus on our economy, what will happen when JobKeeper ends, growing social unrest in Australia – not just overseas, the challenges with obtaining finance and talk of a property bubble developing, many of us are more fearful than ever.

This fear can be taken many forms, but the big 4 fears I come across are:

  1. Fear of failure – this is especially prevalent.strong chalkboard
  2. Fear of debt – most of us have been taught that debt is bad and not to take on more debt. Strategic investors recognise that debt in itself is not necessarily bad, rather it’s not being able to repay your debts that’s a problem.
  3. Fear of success – Interestingly, some beginning investors put off their investment decisions because they are haunted by a fear of success. While this may initially seem strange, this fear generally stems from a feeling of unworthiness, where people convince themselves that they are undeserving of wealth or wanting to accumulate wealth makes them a bad person.
  4. Fear of the unknown – Who wants to go into a dark room? Who wants to go to a party where you don’t know anyone? Who is not nervous about buying their first investment property? Whenever the outcome is uncertain, fear rears its ugly head.

Another fear I have commonly seen is the fear to follow your passion.

Many people I see spend 40 or more hours a week doing a job they don’t enjoy and can only dream of following their passions.

Interestingly around 30% of the attendees who attended Wealth Retreat in the past moved up and left their jobs.question uncertain

You can find out more about Wealth Retreat by clicking here

I remember when Stuart, a plumber, sold and cut back his hours working in the business to concentrate on property.

Last year he bought a huge multi-million dollar development site with some joint venture partners to undertake a very substantial development – something he would never have dreamed of when he came to Wealth Retreat a few years ago.

Justin gave up his job in hospitality to run an Internet business.

Julie gave up the security of her IT job to work for a property developer.

The shift in their mindset that they (and all the other attendees at Wealth Retreat) achieved allowed them to give up the security of their day jobs and instead focus on the financial freedom they really wanted.

So what’s the fear that’s stopping you?

In today’s economic climate where debt is a dirty word, many people are scared of borrowing more.

Maybe you’re like Phillip, a three-time Wealth Retreat grad…  risk investment market

Before Phillip joined us at Wealth Retreat one of his biggest fears was that he wouldn’t be able to borrow the money required to fund his property portfolio and allow him to keep doing deals.

He had given up his job and had no income in the traditional sense.

Well, since attending Wealth Retreat, Phillip has bought several more properties and when I spoke with him a few weeks ago (he and his partner have become very good friends of Pam and I) he told me he has sufficient financial buffers to see him through for over 3 years.

I know Phillip could not imagine he would have given up his job, let alone build and live off his property empire when he first came to Wealth Retreat.

Here is the key that has made all the difference for Phillip… and every other Wealth Retreat graduate:

When you have a peer group of high achievers and big thinkers pushing and stretching you, anything becomes possible.

How about you…

What are you doing to take advantage of the new property cycle?

This is a time when fortunes will be made by those who know how to cut through the clutter. property cycle

This is a time when the rich will become richer.

This stage of the cycle is when lifetime wealth is created.

We haven’t experienced conditions like this for over 2 decades

So what are you going to do?

Are you going to acknowledge your fears, and then step up and take action anyway?

What would you do if you were not afraid?

What one dream would you dare to dream and go after if you knew you could not fail?

When you play at a different level you get a different result.

You will get no better chance at life than at this moment!

Obstacle #3: Uncertainty

The third major obstacle I’ve observed our Wealth Retreat graduates had to overcome was confusion.

They had heard so much conflicting financial advice over the years that they quite simply didn’t know which direction to move in.

Can you relate to this feeling of being overwhelmed?

One of the most valuable benefits of Wealth Retreat for attendees was that it simplified the complex world of wealth building and business planning so that they had a crystal clear, specifically defined plan of action to pursue their personal wealth building.

The biggest property myth of 2011

For five full days and nights, they had access to top accountants, financial planners, share traders, business coaches, finance strategists, and property advisors.

People like :

  • Michael Yardney (me)
  • Ken Raiss  – director of Metropole Wealth Advisory, who’ll speak on tax, structuring, risk, and asset protection for serious investors
  • Dr. Andrew Wilson – Australia’s leading independent housing economist.
  • Simon Kuestenmacher one of Australia’s leading demographers who will give us detailed insights into what’s ahead in our future
  • Tom Corley, a CPA and bestselling author and speaker who spent 5 years studying why the rich keep getting richer. This year he can’t fly out to join us from the USA but will be appearing virtually and at the last event Tom was one of the highlights and the attendees gave Tom a standing ovation.
  • Pete Wargent, economic commentator and a chartered accountant who achieved financial freedom at the age of 33.
  • Mark Creedon – business coach to some of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs –including me and the team at Metropole. Last year he delivered one of the most highly prized presentations, so we’re extending his sessions and there will be special breakout sessions for business people.
  • Louise Bedford – a successful share trader and educator. Her presentations were eye-opening for many attendees last year
  • Andrew Mirams – a finance strategists
  • And there will be a large group of property experts.

Take the example of Laurie, a two-time Wealth Retreat graduate:

He had been a builder and property developer for years, but he was still on a treadmill, working longer hours than ever.

I clearly remember how on day 4 he had an “ah-hah” moment when it all fell into place and he said in that 10 minutes, he learned something that would make him half a million dollars.

When he returned the next year, he learned a time management skill that he was sure would make him 100% more productive.

Julie joined us but was concerned that she could not contribute to the Wealth Retreat community.

Well, she was wrong and came back a second time, but this time she was working in her field of passion – property development.

In fact, she came back twice more!

If you’re committed to step up and play with the big boys you must learn what they know because what you don’t know can get you into trouble.

So there you have the three biggest obstacles that I’ve watched our Wealth Retreat graduates overcome.

Are any of the three factors in your own personal wealth building?

The real meaning of wealth

With all this talk of making money, I want to make sure we step back for a moment and look at the bigger picture. Work life balance choices

We all know that money is only one layer of real wealth and prosperity and certainly not the most important.

Sure money is important in those areas of life where the money is important, but it is not important in those areas where it is not important.

To be truly prosperous you need much more than money.

Wealthy people have time, freedom, relationships, health, spirituality and they contribute a lasting legacy.

Right now we are preparing for Wealth Retreat 2021 and have a limited number of spaces available for this exclusive event.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be exactly who we’re looking for.

If you think you might be the type of person who would not only benefit by being with us for 5 days at Wealth Retreat but more importantly are over the next few years, then by all means, please keep reading.


This year some of the topics, speakers, and emphasis will be very different to the past.

We’ve added a range of new subjects to give a more holistic curriculum and there is a whole new curriculum and break-out sessions for business owners or those wanting to get into business.

Plus we’ve once again invited my good friend best-selling author Tom Corley to join us from the USA.

Of course, he won’t be able to make it physically this year because of travel restrictions that we still going to have him giving a real-life presentation – not actually a hologram, but it will be fun seeing him live on the big screen

He spent 5 years studying the rich and the poor and the habits that differentiate them and he’ll share this with you when you join us.

Last year Tom’s two presentations so wowed the audience he received a standing ovation.

It not only inspired and motivated the attendees – it gave them the tools they needed to make the changes they needed to create the transformations they wanted

You can find out more at

If you’re not sure it’s for you please click here and read what some past attendees had to say. 

Then read all about Wealth Retreat 2021 and register your interest in joining us.

If after speaking with you and learning more about your situation we believe you would benefit from joining us, I’ll back myself and the faculty and take all the risk.

I’ll guarantee your satisfaction attending the event!

I’ve never done this before – I guess I haven’t had to.

Every year this event books out because we limit the number of attendees to 75.

And every year a large proportion of the attendees are return attendees, so I know they’ll be happy. light bulb idea leader think smart clever failure motivate thought

But if you’ve wanted to come in the past and you weren’t sure if Wealth Retreat is for you, click here now, find out all about it and register your interest on our website and we’ll be in contact.

This is really the year you must join us. Especially if you’re an investor, entrepreneur, or business person

  • We’re likely to get a new government – do you understand how this will affect you, your business, and your investments?
  • We’re likely to have a raft of new taxes – do you know how to protect yourself?

One of the reasons I am so excited about Wealth Retreat 2019 is because this is going to be a chance for our very top clients to mix and mingle with each other and a group of leading experts in investment, property, shares, tax, economics, business and finance.

Forgetting the 5 days of actual teaching time we’ll spend, can you imagine what you could learn by being around the other participants and advisors, getting their one-to-one input on your wealth-building efforts?

As in previous years, we have strictly limited the places – the room size is kept small on purpose so that participants get the most out of their time with us.

While we have many return attendees, we still have a few remaining spaces for this soon-to-be sold-out event.

Here are the three bottom-line facts about Wealth Retreat 2019:

Number 1: it is an exclusive annual 5-day event that is only available to a  handful of investors, business people, and entrepreneurs, and their partners. And once the allocated spaces are gone–and that will be very soon–then your window of opportunity will be gone. We’re holding it over the long weekend in June (so you can’t use work as an excuse not to come.)expert leader

Number 2: the week isn’t cheap, but if you are the type of person who is going to attend this won’t put you off. This way we know that all of the people at the event are 100% committed to playing at the highest levels.

Number 3: Wealth Retreat is only for real doers who are committed to building something special out of their wealth building. It’s not going to be a “seminar”. It will be intensive networking and masterminding event where we will actually be focusing on large breakthroughs.

Why are we limiting it to so few people?

Because we realise that an event like this will be a huge success and produce incredible results if we bring together a small and highly select group of high achievers who have plenty of one on one time with the experts and networking time with the other attendees.

But don’t count yourself out from coming…

 Every year a group of aspiring investors join us and get the type of information that propels them ahead – the type of information I would have loved to have when I started out.

We are also looking for people who will be a positive presence to the group and are committed to making an impact on the world.

If you are interested in joining us this year or want to find out a little more I urge you to please leave your details here and we’ll be in contact with you to have a qualification interview with and me secure your place,

Of course, you can also check out all the details at and register your interest there.

You may even be able to let Scott Morrison subsidise your attendance…

My accountant tells me that joining us at Wealth Retreat could be partially tax-deductible for many attendees.

Just like every other year, I will chat with attendees for Wealth Retreat to make sure we carefully select the best blend for the event  and that you can take advantage of what we have to offer  teamwork puzzle help peer group team

To be fair, I’ll do the interview on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Once the remaining spaces are gone, that’s it.

And remember… I’ll back myself and the faculty and take all the risk.

I’ll guarantee your satisfaction attending the event!

Who Are We Looking For?

We are looking for experienced investors, share traders, business people, and entrepreneurs who are willing to take on these challenging times and are committed to taking their investment and business to the highest levels.

We are also looking for people who will be a positive presence to the group and are committed to making an impact on the world.

Don’t count yourself out…

If you are interested in joining us this year and take one of the remaining spots or want to find out a little more please leave your details here and we’ll be in contact with you to answer your questions and have a qualification interview with me.

Now is the time for you to step up and seize the opportunity our current financial climate is offering us.


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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

'The 3 Biggest Obstacles to Becoming Financially Free' have 14 comments

    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    March 28, 2018 Jeremy

    No, Nic, things have definitely changed.

    You know how I know? Because in 2005 my then wife and I were able, on ordinary incomes, to save up a deposit and buy a 3 bedroom brick house in a Melbourne suburb.

    We were subsequently divorced and I need to start from scratch.

    And although I and my now partner earn more than we did then, in 2018, paying 2018 rents, it is absolutely not possible for us as ordinary people to save faster than the house prices rise.

    It is NOT the same as it was for you. Things have CHANGED.

    And of course they have – because Howard and Costello created a vicious spiral of housing investment when they irresponsibly wasted the mining boom on obscene tax cuts for the wealthy, in particular halving CGT. Combined with a stupid first home buyers grant which inflated prices at the low end, it caused investors to stampede in to housing. That pushed up prices even further, which caused other investors to stampede in and so on.

    Pushing up prices pushed up rents. It pushed ordinary people who would have previously been able to buy a home, and would not be renters were it not for this catastrophic LNP policy, to rent. Every time they were beaten for a house by an investor, there was one more renter who could be squeezed for more cash.

    The system is BROKEN and needs fixing. Your capital gains should be taxed like actual bloody income. Why should people be taxed more for working than you are for income from just owning stuff? Negative gearing should be removed from housing. There will still be landlords – as there were before Keating brought in NG in the first place. There just won’t need to be so many, because we’d be back in the world where ordinary people could own their own homes.

    And for you of a conservative bent, that should appeal – because home ownership is a factor that makes societies more conservative. That’s why Menzies was a big fan of it. But when you leave workers scrambling to survive, homelessness increasing, ordinary people having to fear their land”lords” coming through their homes checking for dust or cats or whatever, you’re creating the conditions ripe for a more violent correction.

    Maybe you should support some gentle corrections happening before then, eh?

    And stop pretending that the poor are poor because they’re shit and the rich are rich because they’re great. This country has ever-reducing mobility between classes of wealth, and policies like halving CGT are one of the reasons why.


      March 28, 2018 Michael Yardney

      I read your response and I’m sorry you’re having trouble getting a loan, but no where in my writings have I made any suggestions the rich are better than the poor or anything like that.
      Every person is invaluable and my discussions are not meant to be a judge of people.
      If you’ve been following my blogs for a while you’ll know that I believe true wealth is what you’re left with when they take all your properties and money away.


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    March 28, 2018 Jeremy

    Exactly. This is ‘blame the poor’ nonsense. Wages haven’t grown. Rents are exorbitant. Housing costs have skyrocketed. If you weren’t part of that, it’s pretty much impossible for an ordinary person to get ahead now save some extraordinary good fortune like winning money, a gift or inheritance. All of your methods rely on people having disposable income.

    Do you know anyone who has, in the last two years, whilst paying rent, been able to save up for a deposit on a house in Melbourne? Even outer Melbourne? The only young people who are managing it now are either being allowed to live rent-free and/or being given a gift by parents (including going guarantor). In your generation it was most people.

    I’m not sure how you think you can all own a bunch of profitable investment properties without it being at the expense of other people being able to own the house they live in.


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    March 15, 2017 Lawrence

    Money is just one of many obstacles you have to overcome, as Michael says mindset is the most important attribute you need to succeed. If you have drive you can achieve anything. I see far to many of the younger generation complaining that they cannot enter the housing market due to greedy investors taking all the properties. If you dig a little deeper you see that these same people make little sacrifice to achieve home ownership, they still expect to drive around in nice cars, take expensive holidays and dine out each week.I have not taken a holiday since 2012 so i can purchase another property.


      March 15, 2017 Michael Yardney

      Lawrence – you’re right – one needs to make some compromises today to be able to enjoy tomorrow


        Avatar for Michael Yardney

        March 28, 2018 Jeremy

        No, Lawrence is not right. It doesn’t matter what little money young people now spend on going out etc (although the research shows actually they are spending less compared with their incomes than boomers did) – it is impossible for an ordinary person to save faster than house prices are going up. Particularly while paying rent.

        The boomer line of “oh it’s just that an entire generation is lazy” is just self-righteous self-pleasuring nonsense.


          March 28, 2018 Michael Yardney

          Jeremy – sorry I have to disagree – every week hundreds of ordinary Australians buy their first investment property and thousand buy their first home.
          And that’s because they have financial discipline


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    March 21, 2016 jared

    Not having enough money might seem like an issue, I only have two investment properties and the one I live in, Starting out was hard but not starting out would have been harder. The hardest thing for me was actually doing it


      March 21, 2016 Michael Yardney

      Well said – money or lack of it is an issue at all levels – but one of biggest obstacles is not taking action


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    March 20, 2016 Tim Hine

    I feel that most people are not limited due to personal nerves or a negative mindset; when a chance to make money presents itself then having enough money to take up this opportunity is by far the most usual major obstacle


    Avatar for Michael Yardney

    March 20, 2016 Tim Hine

    What a crock of shit these three reasons are; by far the biggest obstacle to financial success ad even freedom is the lack of money to begin with. To make money one always has to have some reasonable amount of money to begin with and the minimum is around $5,000 at least …


      March 20, 2016 Michael Yardney

      It doesn’t surprise me that you think that way, and please don’t think I’m rude when I say that that’s the way poor people think. When an opportunity arises most people don’t even recognise it. If you think that you need a minimum of $5000 to take advantage of opportunities, then that’s not really very much to obtain, is it?
      The rich don’t get richer because they have money – I’ve studied, and mentored, and worked with thousands of ordinary Australians from all walks of life.
      The rich keep getting richer because of their habits which are related to the way they think.


      Avatar for Michael Yardney

      March 17, 2017 Nic

      That’s because ‘most people’ to use your worlds think they can do no hard work (ground work) and opportunities will arise, and then think, I can’t take that opportunity because I have no money.
      That whole approach is delusional. The first thing a person who has no money (ie not $5000 in reserve ) needs to do, is to aim to have that $5000 saved and then $10,000 saved and NOT so you can “take up the opportunity” but so that you and your family are not ‘Flat Broke” … and yes, to not have $5000 of reserve for just plane daily life is “Flat Broke!” So your first responsibility is not to be whining about how you can’t take up an opportunity to “expand yourself” into property because you have no reserves, your first responsibility to yourself and your family is to “expand yourself” from your petty frame of mind, which purports that it is something Other than YOU that is inhibiting you. And no its not about how much you earn, it never is, its about how much you hold yourself accountable to expand your boundary, little by little until you begin to grow exponentially. Babies crawl before they walk and they walk before they run, so to think that not having saved some money is what stops you from investing, is to have missed the whole point of what investing is….. start at the beginning Tim, invest some effort in pushing yourself to grow bigger than your current excuse.
      And my apologies to all including you Tim that this genuine advice sounds rude or mean. But when you get to my age (only early 40s) you can’t not rebut all these weak excuses, because I saved and invested from day one in my early twenties, and I earnt next to nothing in those days……it not about the income, and it’s not about the “Exorbitant” house prices “these days”..(house prices are always too high and incomes are always too low)… it’s that you and all the whining wont-to-be first home owners want it, without applying determination, and working for it – saving.
      PS after you save for the first one, and work hard to gain some equity stake in it, you can begin to leverage off other people’s money, but at least show the resolve to earn the first one – save some money


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