Start Up Blog

Most people I know…

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 17, 2013

… want to get rich so they don’t have to care about the company they work for, or the crappy project they are doing. Once they make bank they can do what really turns them on.

I used to be that guy.

Now I just do what really turns me on, and all of a sudden I don’t care so much about how many zeros are in my bank account.

My father once told me; “Regardless of how rich you are Steve, you can only eat 3 meals a day, lay your head on one pillow and enjoy the company of those around you. Money is an illusion. The art of becoming wealthy is actually knowing what it means.”

Needless to say my dad is the richest man I know.

So what we ought do, is not let the Industrial Complex redefine wealth on our behalf and make us live a life of postponing what we care about. Because once we can feed ourselves and have somewhere warm to live, the rest is in our minds.

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Property Investing 101

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on January 27, 2012

A startup blog regular – Josh Moore has been asking for as post on Property Investing. Which like anything can be treated like a startup. It’s a big topic with a million books on it. But I have had a side interest in it for some time. So here are some tips on stuff that I think is worth knowing when investing in property. A bit of a 101 guide:

  • Property returns on average about 10%. Which is quite similar to the share market on.
  • Banks will lend much more money for property investments due to lower volatility than shares.
  • You should buy investment properties that you, yourself would like to live in.
  • Land goes up in value. Concrete and air does not increase in value.
  • Period buildings (unique styles, historical) have higher capital growth than the average property.
  • Rental returns are usually below 5% per annum.
  • Property investment can be a quicker path to wealth than shares due to leverage (borrowing money).
  • Getting someone to manage a property costs about 7% of the rent per week. (so you wont have to fix toilets)
  • You should always allow for 6 weeks a year vacancy on rental properties.
  • High capital growth properties & areas, tend to have lower rental yields.
  • High yield properties tend to have low capital growth.
  • Areas going through gentrification usually have greater capital growth.
  • A rental guarantee is a lie – the rent for the guarantee period is usually built into the selling price.
  • Auctions are invented by real estate agents who want it to sell quick to get their money.
  • Homes on busy roads have a higher turnover of renters and reduced yield.
  • Homes near water (river, beach, lake) grow faster and fetch a premium.
  • Tax benefits of property investment in Australia are a significant advantage.
  • You can draw out profits (capital gain)  from a property that has grown in value and not pay tax on it
  • You can buy insurance against tenants in case they damage your house (Landlord Insurance).
  • Investors should choose between yield or capital growth when investing.
  • Capital gains tax on selling is 50% lower if you’ve held the property for over 12 months.
  • Property investing is very dependent on government policy, technological change, and infrastructure.
  • The key to investing is compound growth. Trading removes the power of compounding.
  • Trading properties & developing, is not investing, they are more like running businesses.
  • Trading properties is expensive – acquisition usually costs between 6-9% of market value.
  • Disposing of property usually costs around 3-5% of market value.
  • The property market can go through long periods of sustained stagnation, 10% returns is 100 year+ average.
  • Buying properties off the plan is risky. The saving in stamp duty can be a false friend.
  • Mortgage insurance is for the bank, not the mortgage holder.
  • The word mortgage is French, meaning; An engagement until death.
  • I believe that property is a get rich slow category
  • The biggest land holder on earth is ‘The Catholic Church’

Hope this helps getting you off and running in your property ventures. Good authors on the subject include; Jane Somers and Dolf De Roos.

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the 2 types of investment

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 5, 2011

There are only 2 things we can invest:

Time & Money.

Rather than complaining about not having enough money to invest, invest your time instead. Time is the great equalizer. A rich person has no more or no less than you, me or anyone. We can beat anyone with what we do with our time. Learn the skills or put in the labour until it turns into money.

The trick is once the money comes in, to keep investing the time so you know how to use the money and not lose it.

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What to spend our money on

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 30, 2011

The common question we hear is: Are you a spender or a saver? It’s the wrong question. Any smart person needs to be both. A more relevant question is what is worth spending our money on, and what things should we resist the temptation to spend on. Given that any good entrepreneur needs to have an live a lean life, not just in their startups but in their life, I thought I’d throw together a top10 list of what to spend on So here it is:

Top 10 things to spend money on:

  1. Books & newspapers
  2. Education
  3. Annual vacation
  4. Gifts (non lavish) for family & close friends
  5. Sports & exercise
  6. Fruit & vegetables
  7. Comfortable accommodation
  8. Public transport tickets
  9. Internet access
  10. Insurance

These are the things that we shouldn’t even think twice about spending on. They add value to our lives and make us better people. In the long run they pay for themselves.

Things which don’t appear on this list, and things we should make what I call our ‘Considered purchases’.

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If money didn’t exist

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on June 21, 2011

If money didn’t exist what would we do differently? Let me first remind us what this would mean.

In this imaginary moneyless it would mean: That we all had enough to eat. That we all had a place to live. That we all have equal access to healthcare and education. That we wouldn’t get paid for our work. That no-one gets paid for the work they do, in dollars at least.

It means that we do in during the day has an entirely different perspective. In this imaginary world it make sense that we choose our line of work carefully. The work itself, becomes the thing that matters.

It turns out that this is also the best approach for a world that does actually have money.

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My family is fine, how is yours?

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 26, 2011

I was interested in reading an article in this weekends Australia Financial Review which was titled ‘What worries the rich?’ – Firstly, who cares? Not me. Not because they are rich, just that it is an irrelevant question. We all have worries, and the worries of a particular demographic are no more important than any other demographic. However, in reading one particular persons comments I was astounded at the irony.

The rich person in question was Bruce Mathieson, who has a net wealth of over $1 billion. He said:

“I’d hate to think that I had a lot of money  but my family and everyone around me were unhappy. That would be an absolute disaster.”

For anyone who doesn’t know, Bruce made the majority of his wealth via Poker Machines. Here is a guy who “sells hope, and provides misery” – claiming he’d hate to make anyone unhappy. Is he serious?

Poker machines provide nothing good to society. The only thing that poker machines are good at, is redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich. And governments falsely believe the tax revenue outweighs the cost of the social ills they create.

You might think this is slightly off topic for startup blog. But for me it sent me a clear message about what business is all about. Creating value for all those who participate in the value chain – not one sided value.  If the cost of being wealthy, was creating heart ache for people, I’d rather be poor. In addition, I like to think we are entering an age where wealth creation is more often a result of creating value for society, not by tricking people.

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Top 10 financial hacks

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 13, 2011

There is no point being a successful entrepreneur, or selling a startup if we have no idea how to handle the money we get. So here is my top 10 financial life hacks.

  1. Spend less than you earn, no matter what that amount is. The net result is happiness.
  2. Allocate cash to savings & investments before anything the day you get your profits, pay or dividends.
  3. Never go into debt for anything which does not appreciate in value.
  4. The real definition of an Asset: Anything that puts money in your pocket. The accounting definition of an asset is flawed.
  5. Do not trade stocks. Trading makes the broker and tax man rich and you poor.
  6. The greatest financial instrument is ‘compounding’. It only happens when we hold assets, not by trading them.
  7. If you can’t afford a consumer product in cash, you can’t afford it.
  8. There is no such thing as ‘financial engineering’. It was invented by Wall street to trick you.
  9. The best type of share investment is an Index Fund. They are investments in civilization. If that fails, we have bigger worries than our money.
  10. Invest more in education than entertainment & ‘things’ and you will outdo society financially.

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Solid advice

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on September 21, 2010

Startup blog friend and movie maker Ryan Spanger has some kind of a secret project happening called creative.biz – I’m not sure what it’s all about but here’s a video which is on the home page. I reckon this is one entrepreneurs should keep an eye on given the solid advice in this short video.

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Wasting money

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on July 5, 2010

As we embark on new projects we hope will be the one, a lot of money gets invested. Hard earned money we’ve saved from busting out a living on week days. The left over money after we’ve paid the mortgage and paid the bills. Sadly, much of it never returns. It’s easy to feel cheated when our projects don’t pay off.

But let’s for a few moments consider the alternatives:

A flat screen TV

Dinner at fancy restaurants

A better car

A new gadget for the kitchen

Other stuff which will eventually gather dust

…….

Turns out the money we lost in startup projects was never really wasted. In fact, it wasn’t lost at all. It’s the investment we have to make to get that elusive win. The alternatives are very poor substitutes with zero chance of a return. Which means we should never be afraid of investing in our projects. What we should really be afraid of is succumbing to pointless consumption.

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We only have one

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on February 4, 2010

There is no career, only life.

If we think of our life and career as separate entities, we’ve  got things terribly wrong. They are inextricably linked. If we want to be happy, we need to make sure what we spend our days doing is how we want our life to be.

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