Category Archives: Financial Services

Living Below One’s Means

I tend to see a trend amongst the social media-addicted crowd these days. The focus on materialism and showing off seems to stem deeply in the crux of their image.

Show off your watch, show off your new car, or the holiday you spend your bonus on. Doing it for the ‘gram has become the holy grail for a generation whereby short-sightedness overtakes the long term build up of wealth. Is it much of a surprise that nearly half of Australians live pay cheque to pay cheque?

So what would you do differently? I understand the current economic environment is a tough with rampant global inflation and a threat of a recession hampering confidence in most.

Here are a few things I’d recommend doing to improve your financial position in the medium term.

  1. Invest in yourself

Most people, especially early on in their careers will complain they don’t earn enough. This is fine, so what I would recommend is think about the career path you’re on and what courses, skills, and attributes that you need to grow and develop to be in a role you want. If you’re in a graduate scheme or progression track weather its CA, CFA, Law or Medicine, then put in all your effort to passing those exams.

I know its hard especially with the long hours of work but delaying the gratification and giving yourself small rewards is the best way to get through the tough times. Having a set goal and lure of a better role, and salary is often the light at the tunnel that keeps most people motivated.

  • Build up a budget

Nothing standard, but it’s the best way to understand your status quo. There’s dozens of apps, spreadsheets, and sites that can help you devise a budget. Be sure to divide up your expenses as essentials and disposable income so you can figure out where you’re able to make cuts.

  • Cut down on expenses

Once you’ve made a budget, go through your list and shop around on making sure you get the best deal. Whether its your phone, broadband, insurance, there’s dozens of price comparative websites that can help you ensure you get the best deal.

  • Always save

A portion of your income, put it away to build up an emergency buffer, my recommendation is 3-6 months of living expenses. Get into the habit of always saving a % of your salary, many banking apps these days can help you do this in an automated manner.

  • Invest

Then once you have built up your rainy-day fund, think about investments, I’d probably start off with Index Funds initially. Have a flick through videos on YouTube or even Reddit. But basically start investing early on in your life to maximising the impact of compounding later on

Investment Banking – Questions and Answers

I get questions from readers about Investment Banking based on earlier posts where I mentioned work related matters.

So I thought I would provide some answers to the FAQs:

What is Investment Banking?

The definition is something along the lines of helping companies raise funds through debt or equity and broadly advising clients on investment opportunities.

Most of the time in Junior ranks you’ll be editing slide decks and helping with the materials for client meetings and communications. Once you’re a bit more senior you’ll be building out and reviewing models and managing teams

Does it pay well?

In short, yes.

These days I’d say $150k base is fairly normal starting out (Again this varies widely between front and back office, team and bank) bonuses can be as big as your base depending on performance

What are the hours like?

I’d say 12-hour days are the norm for most Analysts, however if you’re working through a complex M&A and the project is at a critical stage you could do more than 16 hours. Think worst for me was an 18-hour day. Also, on average I’d say one weekend a month would be expected.

What are the exit opportunities?

There are heaps of options. Many people try to continue the long hours but trade up for more pay by going into Private Equity. Some go work at clients and do in-house Corporate Development / M&A work. Others move into Technology companies and work in areas like Strategy. It’s a fairly broad spectrum of opportunities with the skillset you acquire.

If you have a good reputation with colleagues and clients there will regularly be opportunities coming up in conversations, but as you understand yourself more and realise what you like and don’t like – you’ll end up being far pickier with roles you’ll consider.

Do you need to go to a Top University?

It won’t hurt if you do. If you’re in Australia, given how small the intakes are, it would be a lot harder to get into an Investment Bank as a graduate from a lower tier University. Overseas in places like the UK or US, it’s a bit more open given there’s a much larger in-take. You can also move into banking as a lateral hire given the right employment background.

What are the different ranks?

Analyst -> Associate -> Vice President -> Director -> Managing Director

Is it for me?

if you’re a driven person whose interested in markets and corporate life you could enjoy it, however, there comes a sacrifice with the hours you’ll do in the job as well as the stress that can have harmful impacts on your health.

5 Things to do ahead of the expected recession

  • Build up an Emergency Fund
    With unemployment expected to rise, and massive layoffs in many major companies recently. It makes it obvious to have money stashed away for emergencies (e.g., Losing your job, medical emergencies and so on). This is not money tied up in the stock market or in property, it is purely cash, the most liquid asset! This could be something along the lines of 3-6 months of living expenses for people currently employed full time and if you’re self-employed, 6 months for living expenses and 6 months of business expenses. This will give you that piece of mind during the period where cost of living is increasing.
  • Avoid high interest borrowing
    Interest rates are rising, and the cost of borrowing continues to increase. So, it’s important now to be paying down on your existing debt. Weather its car loans or credit cards, now is the time to be paying down these outstanding loans. You’ll be getting a guaranteed return on your investment; you’ll be saving on the interest that you no longer need to pay!
  • Don’t realise them losses
    The stock market is quite unstable and has dropped considerably since 2021 in numerous sectors. It hurts waking up and noticing the investments going from Green to Red and it’s tempting to wanting to end it all and cash out before it gets even lower.
    But do not panic sell! I’ve seen smart, talented people in Finance succumb to this, when the times are tough – all logic goes out the window.
    If you’re investing money that you don’t need and have a good emergency fund, it makes sense to have those diamond hands. Look at March 2020, those who sold when we had the first lockdown dip are regretting their choices. Markets came roaring back and history has shown us time and time again that after a dip and stagnant period, the market corrects itself and improves over the long run. Look at the 1979 crash, the dot com bubble, the GFC and so on, they were all overcome. It’s all about time in the market, not timing the market.
  • Buy now
    In conjunction with the last point, when quality stocks are discounted, you should go in and buy up. See it as a sale. I look back at some of my recent gains, and the biggest capital gains I achieved were from stocks I bought during 2020 when the world was in panic mode.
  • Diversify income streams
    It’s always handy to have a few side hustles that you can attain some income from. Weather its selling digital content or monetising a hobby – having fall back options and diversity in income helps when times are uncertain and can help provide you some piece of mind in the event you lose your day job.

Have you made these mistakes before? Don’t sweat it. Don’t dwell on the negative. Don’t spend too much time thinking about past mistakes, you learnt from them. He who clings to the past has no present, and compromises his future.

The Legacy


Imagine you’re a regular guy, you go to work, pay your taxes, hang with friends and party on weekends. You lead a rather average existence, like most people.

Just imagine you died tomorrow.

Perished. Just like that.

What legacy would you leave behind?

Sure, your friends would feel sad, your family would mourn but what do you really leave behind? You worked at at your job who will find a new employee to replace you and all that hard work, blood sweat and tears you put in will be gone to waste.

There isn’t much of a legacy left behind. You spent your creativity, energy and time on helping fulfil someone else’s dream.

Nobody cares about the endless hours I put in during my Investment Banking days, nobody cares about those all nighters, those deals or those endless tasks I completed.

It means nothing any more, they got my six-figure salary and nothing else.

Sure, it might raise eyebrows I was an Investment Banker when someone asks these days but ultimately there was really no legacy for my hard work left behind.

I bailed on that life, took my hard earned money and started working on my own projects.

Why? I wanted the freedom of not being tied down to a job that leaves me no time to pursue my interests and hobbies, I hated those long hours, those endless nights and the depressing thought of waking up the next day knowing life really wasn’t going to get any better.

I failed, over and over initially, even considering a move back into Finance. But I kept going.. I held on to hope, hope that tomorrow would be a better day, after every failure I re-traced my steps, and made an effort to improve. It worked, I started making money doing my own thing, initially not much to fund a lifestyle but enough to give me the drive to push on.

I slowly realised I could live doing online work, running ventures and doing whatever took my fancy. I left the toxic city that made me so jaded and moved abroad, I felt re-born and had the drive to push harder than I ever had before, it didn’t feel like work, it felt like I was getting closer and closer to my goal, my dreams.

I look at the arch of my life now and realise if I died tomorrow I have so many projects that would live on after my life and could make a difference to other peoples lives that I truly have some sort of legacy. It might not be a family or my genetic bloodline left behind but its something more than what I would have had I stayed in banking and slaved. Knowing this gives me great comfort.


The Fake Email


As you all know, I worked in Financial Services sector for a few years. Financial Services can be a pretty cut throat field for the people who aren’t able to build a good perception amongst their peers. The field can lead to extensive work hours and stressful times.

However, if you have a tool kit of strategies to appear to be a dedicated and hard-working employee, things can be a lot easier. I was a master at making my work ethic look substantially better than what it is. Lets be honest, nobody wants to slave in Investment Banking, and therefore I used a few strategies to appear to work hard without actually doing so.

My first strategy was to write fake emails.

I used to regularly write emails to myself or close friends that made absolutely no sense. For example:

Dear sir,

We have discussed all aspects of our enquiry with all parties involved. It appears though final considerations of the species mindset are being made as we speak. The plethora of activity which has occurred in Sector B2 and B3 suggests to me that my initial predictions had some sense of accuracy also. I understand your doubts and concerns over the longevity of this potential deal however, I am assuring you this paradigm shifting transaction will require faith in all parties involved. The leadership and future of this rubric of individuals are heavily dependent on all parties conforming to a strict and well adhered set of guidelines. I am aware of your inability to comply and will take necessary action in order to correct any instances of misalignment to our core values which have stood in unison for the last fifty years.

The confidential nature of this email requires it to be deleted after the information has been read and conveyed to all relevant individuals. I expect full compliance with this request.

All the best,



Now, this email means absolutely nothing, just random sentences stitched together making absolutely no sense to anyone. I would freestyle these emails at rapid pace when people were around me so my laptops keyboard made enough noise to imply I was so heavily focussed on writing an important email that nobody surrounding me would disturb me with any requests. This strategy proved very effective for me as I already had a “hard-working” reputation and this further solidified how into my work I was.

The Fake E-mail is a fantastic strategy to use when you’re in a room with people around you and you’re trying to give the impression you are really busy and deeply focussed on your work.