For those investors who have been buying cash flow–positive properties – well done. For those who are facing challenging times and need advice, I am going to share some of my experiences, which I am sure will help.
Becoming a good investor is like learning to sail a boat. Anyone can seem the expert sailor when conditions are ideal, the water is smooth and the wind light. But what happens when the wind picks up, the sea gets rough, and your boat is pummelled by rain and lightening? Without sufficient preparation, training and experience, you will suddenly find yourself in difficulty!
A bank manager I met with recently in Umhlanga Rocks, Durban, mentioned how he’s noticed that people who have never experienced financial difficulty before are starting to take strain. I remember being in this position in 1990. Financial difficulty was completely new to me, and I had no idea where to turn. I felt I had let the banks down. On two occasions I even contemplated suicide as the only way out of the embarrassment and stress.
So what did I do? Sometime in April of that year, I made a decision that I was going to get out of the mess I found myself in, no matter what. I thought of other people who had been in worse positions and had survived. The most important factor here is that I had the right frame of mind. The first thing I did was accept the worst: I was going to lose everything. Next, I started thinking of how I was going to start up again and, without a doubt, become a millionaire once more. I kept my thinking positive. Excited by the challenge of seeing how quickly I could regain my wealth, I even imagined myself trading at a flea market and moving on from there.What I learnt from the experience is that you can successfully handle a financial crisis and become wealthy at the same time. Here are some steps to follow:
Get your mind in gear
1. Decide that you are going to handle the situation with great success.
2. Believe in your decision.
3. Start taking action.
Cut out negativity
1. Stop reading the newspapers and watching the news.
2. Stay away from negative people.
3. Read books that uplift and inspire you.
4. Listen to motivational CDs.
Look after your health
1. Take a good multivitamin supplement – it will help your body cope when you are under stress.
2. Go for a walk, a run or go to the gym, first thing every morning. It will raise your energy levels and you will feel good.
3. Stay away from alcohol – it is a depressant.
4. Include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet – they boost brain functioning.
Confront your situation
1. Make a list of all your problems.
2. Divide the list into two: first, the problems you can do something about, and second, the problems over which you do not have control.
You may find writing out these lists an unpleasant task. However, once you have completed the exercise, you will probably experience a sense of relief: you have confronted your situation and taken back control.
1. If you have a cash flow problem, contact the people or institutions this will affect, and explain your situation.
2. Keep everyone you owe money updated – in writing – as to what your plans are to repay your debts.
3. If you need more help, contact the National Credit Regulator.
The good news
Experiencing a financial crisis can be challenging. But challenges are what make life interesting. More impor-tantly, when you look back one day, you will see the unique opportunities that arose from your difficult situation. The good news is that once you have weathered this storm, you will be happier, healthier, wealthier and wiser for it.